A ScotRail passenger has been forced to cough up more than £3000 after being caught dodging train fares for almost two months during lockdown.
The woman had been travelling from Bellshill in North Lanarkshire to Haymarket in Edinburgh, but instead would falsely claim she’d boarded at closer railway stations including at Uphall, Slateford and Curriehill.
She was eventually caught via CCTV after ScotRail launched an investigation following an alert over the misuse of the Ticket on Departure option from the ticket machine at Bellshill.
ScotRail took action as part of its crackdown on customers attempting to travel without paying amid the pandemic.
The rail operator said more than 500 fare dodgers have been caught, with more than 10,000 tickets confiscated via spot checks by mobile teams.
ScotRail operates more than 350 stations across Scotland and only 17 are equipped with ticket barriers, making it relatively easy for passengers to get on and off without paying for all or part of their journey.
However, ScotRail says its CCTV network will be able to prove where the fare dodger’s journey began, and from there it’s an “easy task” to work out how much they owe.
Ticket checks onboard ScotRail services have also recently resumed as Scotland’s route map out of lockdown continues.
Phil Campbell, ScotRail head of customer operations, said: “A minority of our customers have been taking advantage of the fact that due to coronavirus restrictions we have been unable to put ticket inspectors on our trains or at most of our stations.
“While most of the population is sticking to the rules, these passengers have been using the cover of Covid to avoid paying for their ticket.
“Revenue on the railway is down by around 90% due to the pandemic, so it’s vitally important that in order to give the best value to the taxpayer, we collect as many fares as possible.
“We have caught a number of repeat offenders and the message to anyone thinking of dodging their fare is simple. We are watching and we will catch you.”