Fare dodgers fined in swoop at Wolverhampton railway station
Nearly 50 penalty fares have been issued to ticket-less passengers at a Black Country station in one afternoon.
Forty-eight penalty fares were handed out at Wolverhampton railway station after revenue protection and security managers from West Midlands Railway checked passengers' tickets.
Officers from West Midlands Police and British Transport Police, as part of a Safer Travel Police team, also carried out a knife arch exercise on Tuesday (Feb 5).
The arch was put in place at the railway station and Wolverhampton bus station throughout the day.
Five people were stopped and searched after an indication from the arch.
A man also handed in a knife before walking through.
Steven Fisher, head of on board experience for West Midlands Railway, said "We want to reassure our fare paying passengers that we are doing all we can to make sure everyone has a ticket when travelling on our trains and that all customers and staff can travel safely across our network.
"We advise all passengers to purchase a ticket before travelling – either from station staff, ticket vending machines, online, or via the West Midlands Railway app.
"Passengers who don't buy a ticket before travelling from a station where ticket buying facilities are available, may be issued with a penalty fare.
"Penalty fares are £20 or twice the full single ticket price for a journey, whichever is greater."
West Midlands Trains operate 1,300 services a day, manages 150 stations and provides more than 70 million passenger journeys a year.
Councillor Milkinderpal Jaspal praised the move, calling it 'only fair'.
The Labour councillor for Heath Town said: "It's only fair. People need to pay for the service that they use and it's having an impact on people who are honest and decent who buy the ticket on the daily basis.
"It's making a difference if people don't pay because at the end of the day, it will have an impact on the fares.
"Why should people who are honest suffer?
"I welcome the initiative and hope people do it on a daily basis.
"There's no such thing as a free lunch, is there?
It comes after rail fares went up by an average of 3.1 per cent, with some season tickets rising by more than £100 on average last year.
West Bromwich East MP Tom Watson told the Express & Star last month that commuters were being 'squeezed' by rail fares.
He said: "Service has plummeted last year on the rail network and rail fares are above inflation yet again.
"People need to know that someone has got their back. Labour has got an alternative plan for the rail network.
"We're going to bring the network in its entirely back under public control as quickly as we can. The profits of the rail network should be invested back into better services that provide better value for money and important infrastructure projects.
"Right now, commuters are being ripped off."
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