Penalty fares are designed to discourage people from travelling on trains without first paying for their tickets and will be implemented between Lancaster and Morecambe/Heysham Port later this month.
The penalties, which will be £20 fines or double the cost of a single fare (whichever is the greater), will be enforced at destination stations by Northern’s authorised collectors.
Penalty fares have been in place across the UK rail network for many years and have been introduced in phases by Northern over the past two years.
Now Northern has announced the new routes which is set to ‘go live’ on Monday 28 October.
Stations on penalty fare routes will have either ticket offices or ticket vending machines and so customers will have the opportunity to purchase tickets before they travel.
In addition, tickets may be bought at any time before a customer boards a train by using the Northern App, with no booking fees incurred.
If these facilities are not available at stations, or if offices are closed or machines out of order, customers will still be able to buy a ticket from the on-board conductor.
Where customers want to pay cash, but ticket machines are card only, they will be able to obtain ‘promise to pay’ notices from the machines which can be presented, along with cash to the conductor – in this case the full range of fares will still be available.
If customers board from stations with ticket machines or staffed ticket offices, but do not have a valid ticket, they will only be eligible for standard fares if buying from the conductor. If a customer chooses to do this, they may be issued with a Penalty Fare if an authorised collector is encountered.
Northern has invested millions of pounds on more than 600 new ticket machines across the network and have developed our website and mobile app to give customers more options and to make buying a ticket easier than ever before.
However, there will still be some circumstances in which customers are unable to buy tickets and Northern’s authorised collectors are able to use their discretion to ensure no-one faces unfair penalties.
Where customers do feel a penalty fare has been applied wrongly there is a tried and tested, independent appeals process which is used across the country.
For full details of Northern’s penalty fares – including routes and the appeal process – please visit the website.