Last night I watched episode 2 of The Tube, the BBC series which goes behind the scenes of the London Underground.
The episode documented the work of ticket inspectors on the network, and focused on the number of journeys which are said to be made without a valid ticket.
The estimate is that 60,000 journeys per day are not paid for, costing Transport for London (TfL) a total of £20million in lost revenue each year.
And just to make any fare-dodgers feel that little bit more guilty, the quotes were carefully worded to emphasize that the lost revenue was “costing Londoners” and therefore depriving them of additional funds which could otherwise be invested into making network improvements.
But wait, there’s another side to the story! Before offering too much sympathy for Transport for London, consider the fact that over the course of a year, there are hundreds of thousands of paying customers every month whose journey is affected either by long delays or cancellations.
The TfL charter entitles customers to apply for a refund if their journey is subjected to delays of 15 minutes or more but a recent report revealed that 96.35% of passengers entitled to a refund fail to make a claim. As a result, more than £20million worth of refunds are not paid out by TfL.
So it’s not only the fare-dodgers costing Londoners millions of pounds each year, but Transport for London, too.