Fare evaders on DLR cost TfL £10m in ten years

The managing director of the DLR’s franchise operator told the London Assembly it takes fare evasion “very seriously”, reports Joe Coughlan, Local Democracy Reporter

The Docklands Light Railway (DLR)
The Docklands Light Railway (DLR)

Transport for London (TfL) has lost over £10million in the past ten years from fare evaders on the Docklands Light Railway, the latest data has found.

The transport authority revealed in new figures that the value of fares evaded on the DLR for between 2010 and 2020 was just under £10.9m. The number was discussed at a transport committee meeting for the London Assembly today (Monday 18th).

Richard Graham, managing director of Keolis Amey Docklands, the franchise operator of the DLR, said at the meeting that several groups of staff, called revenue blocks, had been placed at the entrances and exits of stations to try and ensure fares were paid.

Graham said: “We obviously take fare evasion very seriously on the network. As part of our contract, we run a whole series of revenue blocks. Obviously, a large chunk of the network is gateless, it doesn’t have ticket gates in the same way the London Underground does, and we run approximately 40 revenue blocks a period to control fare evasion.”

The managing director said that data from staff at stations had estimated just over 1% of commuters do not pay fares on the DLR network. However, TfL travel surveys estimated this figure may be as high as 4%, with Graham saying the difference in the data may be due to individuals deliberately staying away from stations with staff present to avoid being fined.

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Graham said staff were also present on DLR trains to check tickets and issue fines when necessary.

Tom Page, general manager of the DLR, said at the meeting that differences in data may also come from individuals not touching in or out if they have special ticket types such as Freedom Passes. He added that the number of passengers dodging fares on the DLR was similar to other ungated forms of public transport in London, such as trams and sections of National Rail services.

Trish Ashton, director of rail and sponsored services at TfL, said at the meeting that TfL was aware several pay points across the network were difficult to notice when using the service, and said this was due to locations where electricity was available for the terminals being limited in stations. She said the transport authority had started rolling out trials of projecting notices at stations to highlight the kiosks to commuters.

Ashton said: “Part of the reason for doing that rather than a lower-tech version of stickers, is that we found that changing what people see is actually a bigger aid to letting people know where they are, whereas a sticker quite quickly becomes wallpaper. We absolutely are akin to the idea that people are missing the validators and doing everything to make sure we publicise them.”

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