Fares Please

By london_pjb Last edited 162 months ago
Fares Please

Once every few months you can be fairly sure that a news item will be released on how much fare-dodgers are “costing” the transport system. Today the Liberal Democrats claim that nonpayers are taking 150m free trips a year.

Londonist has never had much faith in the mathematical skills of politicians, but it seems to us that, when it comes to fare-dodging, all rational thought is thrown out of the window.

The Lib-Dems’ proposed solution is to double the penalty from £10 to £20. Londonist has another idea. One easy way to reduce fare-dodging from the current 2.2% of journeys to virtually nothing is simplicity itself: reintroduce bus conductors. But that won’t happen, because stopping fare-dodging is not the real point. What the powers-that-be are really concerned with is maximising revenue.

Londonist never quite understood why bus conductors had to be phased out. They ensured the smooth running of the bus system, they collected fares, and they made buses less dangerous places to be at night. But no-one, not even glorious Ken, ever mentions the possibility of bringing them back. “Uneconomic”, they say.

Just for once, Londonist thinks that there are some areas where you have to look beyond the bottom line.

Last Updated 17 November 2004

Frankie Roberto

I'm sure that Ken HAS mentioned this idea in the past, however the idea has largely been superceded by a new idea: cashless operation of buses. With Oystercards and Pre Pay, as well as the carnets, it's now easy to pay before you board, and by 2007 all buses will be cash-free, enabling faster entry and exit (using more doors), and less risk of attack for the drivers.

If you look at the statistics, the number of fare dodgers has actually gone DOWN, against an increasing number of bus users, so as a percentage, the number of fare dodgers is massively dropping.

It's more important to get buses moving faster and being more reliable than it is to stop the odd fare-dodger anyway.