'Don't cross the line' warning to Sunderland rail fare dodgers
Rail passengers have been urged not to cross the line following the launch of a new crackdown on fare dodgers.
Northern, whose services use Sunderland, Seaham, Horden, Hartlepool, Seaton Carew and Billingham stations, insists there are plenty of ways for travellers to pay for their journeys in advance.
These include the company’s website, mobile app or one of the 600 ticket machines at stations.
Jason Wade, head of retail operations at Northern, said: “There are plenty of ways for our customers to buy tickets and we’ve made big improvements to our website, app and ticket machines in recent months.
“There are still some, however, who think they can travel without paying and we are doing all we can to tackle this small minority who think they are above the law.
“We have penalty fares in place across most routes of the Northern network which can see those who do not have valid tickets issued with on-the-spot fines.”
In 2020, 30,000 penalty fares were issued by Northern and more than 8,300 court prosecutions completed.
Mr added: “In some cases we are reluctantly left with no option but to take the matter to court where the average fine in the past 12 months has been just over £400.
“A court appearance is very much the last resort and not something who choose to do lightly, but prospective fare dodgers should be aware that trying to avoid even a small value ticket could result in a heft fine and even a criminal record.”
To prompt travellers, Northern has added red lines at some of its station entrances with a stark message “cross the line, risk a fine”.