James Constable

Senior Associate Solicitor

DATE PUBLISHED: 05 Mar 2024 LAST UPDATED: 05 Mar 2024

Fare Evasion: Can you avoid a criminal conviction?

What is fare evasion?

Fare evasion is the deliberate avoidance of paying part of, or the entirety of a journey made on public transport. Fare evasion is a criminal offense that could lead to a £1,000 fine, or even prosecution and a criminal record. Fare evasion is commonly known to affect the railway and was made illegal under The Regulation of Railways Act 1889. Today, the offense is applicable across all public transport.

How is fare evasion detected?

Fare evasion can be detected in a number of ways across various different types of public transport. Train guards who patrol the train during its journey to inspect passenger tickets is a method well known to us all.  Meanwhile, Transport for London (TFL) have developed more discrete methods of detecting the crime through “its irregular travel analysis platform (ITAP) […] which uses patterns in ticketing and passenger data” to identify people dodging travel fare’s. Other methods rolled out by TFL include body worn video cameras which are now part of “essential kit for all frontline customer facing staff” as fare evaders often act violently or aggressively towards staff.

In 2023 in London alone, TFL “prosecuted 19,614 people for fare evasion”, a 56% increase in the number of prosecutions made the year before. Fare evasion is:

“estimated to cost TFL around £150m a year”

What are the consequences?

The penalties associated with a convicted fare evasion offense include a monetary fine, a criminal record, or even a 3 month prison sentence which can all have life changing consequences. However, with the correct legal representation these cases can be dealt with and resolved outside of court.

How can Ellis Jones help you?

Having recently obtained a successful outcome for a client in relation to an evaded fare offence, our expert James Constable in the Crime and Regulatory team can offer a reliable service to those with alleged or proven offences.

If you feel as though you could benefit from seeking advice in relation to a fare evasion offence, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us by emailing james.constable@ellisjones.co.uk or via our online website enquiry form.


About the authors

James Constable

James is a Senior Associate Solicitor based in our London office and specialises in Crime and Regulatory work.

Lovetta Pring

Lovetta is a Secretary based in our London office and works to support our London team across a variety of matters and service areas including Banking & Finance Litigation and Crime.

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