Penalty for evading rail fares in England will increase to £100 next year

The penalty for evading rail fares in England will increase from £20 to £100 next year, the Government has announced.

From January 2023, fare dodgers will be charged the new penalty fare, which is reduced to £50 if paid within 21 days, plus the price of a ticket for the journey.

Currently, those travelling without a ticket are fined whichever is greater of £20 or twice the ticket price to the next station the train calls at.

The Department for Transport (DfT) said the present system, which has not been updated since 2005, was not enough of a deterrent for fare dodgers.

The Rail Delivery Group estimates that fare evasion is costing the rail industry an estimated £240 million per year.

The new rules will bring the National Rail penalty fare more in line with the £80 fine handed out by Transport for London, as well as the Manchester Metrolink which charges fare dodgers £100.

The DfT said the level of increase was based on public consultation into what will make an effective deterrent, and that the new fare would stop thousands of people “riding for free at the taxpayers’ expense”.

The increase will only impact travellers without valid tickets and not those passengers who do buy a ticket to travel on the railway.

A DfT spokesperson said: “Fare evasion is estimated to cost taxpayers around £240 million a year.

“We need penalty fares to act as a proper deterrent, and we are putting in place a modern system that will help create a more sustainable railway.”