Abellio denies train staff ordered to issue three penalty fines a day

There are delays to journeys between North Walsham and Sheringham after a signalling problem emerged

There are delays to journeys between North Walsham and Sheringham after a signalling problem emerged. Picture: James Bass - Credit: James Bass

Abellio Greater Anglia has denied it orders staff to issue three fines a day after the accusation appeared in a national newspaper.

Will Quince has asked for a meeting with the transport secretary Chris Grayling after reports emerged in The Sun that staff are being given penalty fare targets.

The national newspaper claimed Abellio Greater Anglia demands staff issue three fines a day and prosecute a passenger every two days - something Abellio Greater Anglia denies.

A Greater Anglia spokesperson said: 'Revenue lost through fare evasion risks reducing the amount of money available for investment in additional service improvements or necessitating an increase in fares to replace the lost income.

'All passengers need a valid ticket for their journey and it is both our duty as a train operator and our obligation to the vast majority of our customers who do pay their fares, that we do all we can to prevent and minimise fare-dodging. In doing so, we deploy inspectors on trains we believe are used by ticket dodgers and look for them to be as effective as possible in their roles.

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'We do set company targets for reducing the percentage of fare dodgers and we do manage and monitor the performance of ticket inspectors.

'However, we aim to strike a sensible balance that both gives inspectors discretion and minimises fare evasion.'

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In a letter to Mr Grayling, Mr Quince, the MP for Colchester, who is now a leading figure in the Great Eastern Mainline taskforce, said: 'It is generally considered inappropriate to impose targets on TOC (train operating company) staff when it comes to the enforcement of penalty fares. Whilst it is the case that passengers do not like to see fare dodging as it puts upward pressure on their ticket prices, there must always be room for discretion.'

Are you a train inspector? Email annabelle.dickson@archant.co.uk

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