Wednesday, September 06, 2006

"Maximum Fines" and morality

It appears that you can be fined £20 for travelling on the DLR without a valid ticket (e.g. by forgetting to "touch in" using Oyster).

A one-way fare into Zone One on Oyster is £1.50.

Therefore, the fine is equivalent to about thirteen or so journeys.

If the frequency of inspections is less than about 1 in 13 journeys, the rational response would be to travel without a ticket and pay the fine when caught.

Is personal morality the only reason for not following this strategy or are their other "sticks" the transport authorities could use were one to take this path?

8 comments:

David Currie said...

Did you find this out through personal experience? ;-)

Richard Brown said...

I almost wish I did... I'd have saved a fortune. Sadly, I fork out for an annual travelcard and am beginning to feel like a mug :-)

Henry said...

You can always cash in the unused time on your travelcard and move to a life of illegality.

Note that the £20 is a "penalty fare" and couched as a ticket, not a fine. If they actually suspect you of fare evasion rather than forgetfulness, you are also subject to a major fine, criminal record, etc. That's why when they issue with a penalty fare, they take your address even if you pay up immediately. No idea how good they are at progressing this.

BTW, Interesting, and not overly relevant fact I learnt this week: if you have an annual travelcard, forget it and buy a ticket instead, the first time you do this they will give you a full refund (the second - and possibly third (?) - times they will also refund you, minus a hefty admin fee to stop abuse).

Richard Brown said...

A ha!

So there *is* some sort of further sanction they can apply should they choose to. Reason enough to stay this side of the legal line I think :-)

Anonymous said...

I know someone who did the maths and stopped buying a railcard. They also found it was cheaper to not run if challenged as that risked dirtying and damaging your clothes which cost more to replace than the fine.

Is this capitalism in action?

Andrew Ferrier said...

From experience of watching people on the train, it seems you can also often get away without paying a fine:

'Oh, sorry, is that the wrong ticket? My mistake...'

'I thought I could buy a ticket on the train for this journey?'

etc....

Of course, I'm sure being well-dressed, polite, etc. helps.

Richard Brown said...

Is this capitalism in action?

No. It would be theft.

Of course, I'm sure being well-dressed, polite, etc. helps.

An interesting observation on the DLR is that the opposite appears to be the case. The train operators don't bother extracting money from kids and the sloppily dressed (they probably realise they have no chance) and, instead, target the suited types. My guess is that suited types are more likely to pay up and are easier to embarrass. This suggests to me that the fine collectors are paid on their fine revenue (rather than, say, measured falls in ticketless travellers)

Andrew Ferrier said...

Hmm, well, I've never had a problem when I've had the odd run-in with a ticket inspector, and of course I'm always well-dressed and polite :)

Making fine revenue part of a "Revenue Protection Officer's" compensation would definitely be a good way to raise revenue for the train company, although I'm guessing from the lazy nature of most of those folks that's not the case.

But your mileage may vary :)