No, "salmon flipping" isn't what you say when you desperately want to swear but there's children present, it describes a method of fare dodging that we've probably all fallen foul of. The (artful) dodger gets right in front of their mark, or 'fish', at the ticket barrier and pretends to swipe their Oyster card. The fish then assumes the dodger has paid, puts their card on their reader and the gates open - for the dodger only. Researchers looking into fare evasion termed the act "salmon flipping" which, frankly, sounds like they had far too much time on their hands.
Apart from creating ridiculous terminlogy, the survey of 2,004 London transport users revealed 6% of tube and bus users have deliberately not bought tickets at some point since 2004, as well as 9% of mainline train users. (We imagine that's down to the lack of gates at so many suburban - and central - train stations. Watch fare evasion tumble as they barrier up for PAYG.) Not buying a ticket cost LU about £3m in the last year alone, and the survey team estimated that if all those fare dodgers had been caught and stuck with penalty notices, it would have raised at least £18.7m in fines.
Now, we obviously don't condone fare dodging, but with fares on the rise, the recession still with us and places where you can just genuinely forget to pay being squeezed out, we reckon scams will only rise. Especially now we (and every second news outlet) has just told you how to salmon flip. Wouldn't a fairer fare structure be fairer all round?