Bus travel gets fairer as more fare dodgers are caught

Over five thousand buses checked as inspector team doubles.

Over 100,000 customers travelling with National Express West Midlands during June had their ticket checked by an inspector as the bus company clamps down on fare dodgers.

National Express West Midlands recently doubled the size of its inspector team, as the operator continues to take a zero tolerance policy against the small number of people who refuse to pay their fares or disrupt other passengers' journeys.

Nearly 5,000 buses were checked in June - significantly up on the same month last year. As well as identifying fare dodgers the inspectors are also on the look out for antisocial and nuisance behaviour on the buses, such as playing loud music and smoking. As a direct result of these checks National Express West Midlands issued over 2,400 'on the spot' fines to people refusing to pay the correct fare.

The bus operator’s investment in this team comes on top of the introduction of two new dedicated police officers who are now working and travelling around the National Express West Midlands bus network full time.

The new police officers will use a variety of tactics, including targeted patrols based on known hot-spots and tip offs from the public; high profile 'gateway' checks of all buses as they pass a particular location on main roads into city centres; and travelling undercover. The team will also use mobile CCTV cameras and remote monitoring of bus cameras.

Peter Coates, Managing Director of National Express West Midlands, said:
“We take fare dodging and anti-social behaviour on our buses very seriously. We know that our customers don’t want people smoking, playing loud music and refusing to pay their fares, and that is why we have doubled the number of inspectors. We take a zero tolerance policy against people who refuse to pay their way and those disrupting law abiding passengers' journeys.

“As a result of the action we have taken anti-social behaviour has fallen by 61% in the last five years and we will work hard to ensure that this fall continues.”

Published 12th July 2012