Northern has announced five new routes on which penalty fares are to be introduced.
Penalty fares are in place to discourage people from travelling on trains without first paying for their tickets and will be implemented on a number of new routes from the end of June.
The penalties, which will be £20 fines or double the cost of a single fare (whichever is the greater), will be enforced at destination stations by Northern’s authorised collectors.
Having been in place across the UK rail network for many years, a trial was introduced to Northern’s routes in West Yorkshire. Even some customers who were skeptical about the trial praised the way that it was introduced and was received well by all customers. Following this trial, penalty fares were rolled out more widely across the Northern network.
Now Northern has announced new routes which are set to ‘go live’ on Sunday 30 June.
The routes to be introduced are Navigation Road to Chester, Lancaster to Windemere, Barrow to Lancaster (Furness Line), Barrow to Carlisle (Cumbrian Coast) and South Milford to Hull.
Stations on penalty fare routes will have either ticket offices or ticket vending machines so customers will have the opportunity to purchase tickets before they travel.
In addition, tickets can be bought at any time before a customer boards a train by using the Northern website or mobile app, with no booking fees incurred.
If these facilities are not available at stations, or if offices are closed or machines out of order, customers will still be able to buy a ticket from the on-board conductor.
Where customers want to pay cash, but ticket machines are card only, they will be able to obtain ‘promise to pay’ notices from the machines which can be presented, along with cash to the conductor with the full range of fares will still available on board.
If customers board from stations with ticket machines or staffed ticket offices, but do not have a valid ticket, they will only be eligible for standard fares if buying from the conductor.
If a customer chooses to do this, they may be issued with a Penalty Fare if an authorised collector is encountered.
They are investing millions of pounds to introduce more than 600 new ticket machines across the network and have developed their website and mobile app to give customers more options and to make buying a ticket easier than ever before.
However, there will still be some circumstances in which customers are unable to buy tickets and their authorised collectors are able to use their discretion to make sure that no-one faces unfair penalties.
Where customers do feel a penalty fare has been applied wrongly there is a tried and tested, independent appeals process which is used across the country.