By Lola Johnson
National Express West Midlands are clamping down on fare dodging by increasing the number of ticket inspectors on Coventry buses – and targeting ‘fraud hotspots’.
The bus company has reorganised its ticket inspector teams, and revenue staff are now permanently based in Coventry and the Black Country.
Tom Stables, Managing Director of National Express West Midlands, said, “Ensuring that everyone buys a valid ticket is really important – it means we can continue to keep our fares as low as we can.
“We’ve brought in these dedicated teams in response to requests from both customers and drivers. It will give us greater coverage on our transport network to fight fare evasion and anti-social behaviour.
“These inspectors will get to know their patch really well, so they’ll have the local knowledge to target prolific fare dodgers and fraud hot spots.
“We’ve also invested in the technology, staff and police assistance to back up our teams of inspectors as they do their job on the frontline.”
Once on board a bus, inspectors check tickets and passes.
Swift cards are also checked electronically. If incorrect travel is detected, the passenger will be requested to get off the bus so “any details discussed remain confidential”.
Customers have the option to pay a standard penalty of £40 by cash or card. If not paid within 21 day, the charge increases.
National Express West Midlands said, “We operate a robust appeals process.
“If the passenger believes there are mitigating circumstances that we should know, or information that wasn’t apparent at the time of the inspection, these will be considered by our appeals team.
“If necessary an appeal will be escalated to a senior manager for further investigation using evidence, such as the inspector’s body-worn camera.
“National Express West Midlands inspectors are often accompanied by Safer Travel Police, with whom we work closely to tackle fraudulent and antisocial behaviour on the West Midlands travel network.”
Ticket inspectors for National Express have been working across the country for 30 years. Last year, National Express West Midlands inspectors checked more than
2,800,000 tickets and recovered approximately £853,000 in revenue.