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Millions dodge public transport fares in Britain

G4S Secure Solutions (UK And Ireland) : 15 July, 2008  (Technical Article)
G4S survey shows fare dodging as being acceptable to 10% of the population driving requirements for revenue protection systems on public transport services
A new study commissioned by G4S Security Services (UK) reveals the extent of fare avoidance in the UK, with nearly one-in-10 (9%) Britons admitting that they failed to pay a fare for a journey by public transport during the last five years.

The crime is perpetrated predominantly by 16-24 year olds, with almost a quarter (22%) of those questioned admitting to dodging a fare. This contrasts with the 45-54 age bracket where just 4% admitted failing to pay for a journey by public transport. This figure falls to just 1% for those aged 55-64.

The crime is clearly more prevalent amongst men, with 13% having admitted to fare avoidance compared to just 5% of women. Worryingly, a third (33%) of those who have committed the offence in the last five years consider their actions to be justified and morally acceptable.

Surprisingly the crime appears to have little to do with the offender's social status. Those admitting to having dodged a fare are over 50% more likely to be from higher socio-economic groups. Of those questioned, 11% of adults categorised as A,B (managerial and professional), and C1s (supervisory and clerical) admitted to the offence, compared to only 7% in the C2,D,and E (skilled manual, unskilled manual and unemployed) social classifications.

Age Percentage of those who have dodged a fare in the last five years:.

16-24 22%.
25-34 12%.
35-44 7%.
45-54 4%.
55-64 1%.
Total 9%.

Steven Taylor, Head of Rail and Maritime, G4S Security Services (UK), said: "Our research reveals some very worrying trends for the public transport sector. The fact that fare dodging is clearly such a frequent occurrence will obviously have a serious impact on revenues, and could have a detrimental effect upon the security of the vehicle concerned.

"Rail operators in particular have invested heavily in revenue protection mechanisms over the last few years. Electronic gates to access platforms and trains are now common place across the network. However, if fare avoidance is to be further reduced we need to see additional solutions such as an increased presence of Revenue Inspectors extended across the stations and on trains.

"That such a high percentage of those questioned consider fare dodging to be morally acceptable is a concern. Fare avoidance takes away valuable revenues that can be re-invested on upgrading public transport facilities."

Greater London has by far the highest frequency of fare dodging with 17% of those questioned having committed the crime in the last five years. Only 6% of those questioned in the Midlands admit to having done so.

Percentage of those who consider dodging a fare morally acceptable:.

Greater London 17%.
Wales & West 11%.
Scotland 7%.
North East / Yorkshire / Humberside 8%.
North West 8%.
South East / East Anglia 8%.
East & West Midlands 6%.
Total 9%.
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