TfL collars fare-dodgers posting clips online

Transport authority reveals it has apprehended offenders after and uptick of evaders recording themselves

Authorities in London have reported success in identifying and catching fare-dodgers as a result of an increase in offenders recording themselves in the act and posting the clips to social media.

According to Jon Poett, operational policy manager for Transport for London: “One of the things we’ve noticed in the past two or three months is fare evasion being promoted actively on social media.”

“Lots of things are happening where people actually fare evade and are recording themselves while they’re doing it,” he added, during a presentation at the Transport Ticketing Global conference held this week and reported on by local news outlet MyLondon.

A quick search of TikTok by PublicTechnology reveals that there are, indeed, numerous videos of users pushing through, jumping, or going under ticket barriers at tube stations – a practice often referred to as ‘bumping’ – or offering advice on how to do so.

According to Brady, the transport authority – alongside law enforcement – has used such online content to work with law enforcement to apprehend fare-dodgers.

“Working with our policing partners, legal team and we’ve had success with our internal investigation team actually stopping a few people who have recorded themselves fare evading,” he said.

TfL statistics for the 2019/20 indicate that the organisation lost £116m to fare evasion – equating to almost 2% of ticket revenue.

The transport authority classifies fare evaders in three categories, the first two of which cover accidental and opportunistic evasion. The third category is – where most of its work tackle the problem is targeted – is ‘chronic’ fare evaders, who travel with no intention of paying their fare, and often react with aggression if challenged.

In addition to on-the-spot checks and interventions, TfL also uses a technology system called the Irregular Travel Analytics Platform, which aims to detect possible patterns of repeated evasion.

Sam Trendall

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