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Fare dodgers overcharged for not having valid ticket

TRAIN companies have admitted overcharging thousands of passengers caught fare dodging.

Eight operators punished ticketless travellers too harshly by failing to act on a rule change made in April last year, the Rail Delivery Group said.

The change reduced the correct punishment for some passengers travelling without a valid ticket depending on the time of their journey.

Up to 10,000 people could have been affected by the mistake, which has led to tens of thousands of pounds being unfairly demanded by ticket inspectors. Around half of travellers affected will be issued refunds for the overcharged amount — varying from £4.50 to £8 on average depending on the operator. But, in many cases, the full contact details are not known.

An RDG spokesman said: ‘It’s important for train companies to take a firm but fair approach because fare dodging denies the railway around £200million a year. People who have been charged a penalty fare shouldn’t be overcharged, though.’

Transport Focus demanded that operators must do ‘everything possible’ to prevent a repeat of the error, discovered last month.