The penalty for rail fare dodgers is to soar five-fold to £100 in a crackdown.
The Department for Transport (DfT) hopes to recoup more of the £240million lost to fare evasion on the railways in England and Wales each year.
It follows concerns that the current £20 fine, introduced in 2005, was no longer a deterrent.
A DfT spokesman said: ‘With over £240million lost every year due to fare evasion on our railways, it is vital deterrents are effective and fair.’
The Department for Transport (DfT) hopes to recoup more of the £240million lost to fare evasion on the railways in England and Wales each year
On top of the £100 fine, fare dodgers will also have to pay the cost of the ticket they failed to buy. The penalty will be cut to £50 if payment is made in 21 days.
The increase, to be introduced in the spring, brings railways in line with other transport providers, such as Manchester’s Metrolink.
It also means fines in England and Wales will be higher than in many European nations, such as Germany where evaders pay £55, and France, where they pay £46.
The DfT added: ‘Fare evasion costs train operators, rail passengers and taxpayers who ultimately subsidise the journeys of those who deliberately travel by train without paying the correct fare.
It follows concerns that the current £20 fine, introduced in 2005, was no longer a deterrent
‘The Rail Delivery Group estimates that in a normal year around £240 million is lost through fare evasion on Great Britain’s railways.
‘When set against the profound impact coronavirus has had on passenger numbers and industry revenues, it’s never been more important to minimise the cost of fare evasion to the railways.’
Penalty fares are only issued in instances where there were facilities to buy a ticket at a passenger’s departure station, and they have passed signs stating the consequences of not having a ticket.
The DfT said it will issue an update in spring 2022 on when the new penalty fare in England and Wales will be introduced.