Ticket gatesnot the only
56. The Government has recognised the unsatisfactory
situation regarding lost rail revenue.
Lastly, the Government will review with operators
the role of gating across the network. Operators estimate that
around five per cent of revenue is lost on the network due to
ticket-less travel. The Government considers this to be an underestimate,
since every recent survey conducted on individual parts of the
rail network has shown losses to be considerably higher.
57. Gates (ticket barriers) clearly have value on
a closed system such as the Tube and there are certainly those
who support additional gating of National Rail stations. However,
the focus on gates is too narrow and overlooks the complexities
of the situation. According to Transport Solutions, "station
] is not necessarily cost effective, is often customer
unfriendly and many of the benefits claimed for such equipment
are overstated or misapplied."
58. The types of ticket gate deployed on the National
Rail network accept only the credit card size magnetic paper tickets,
and not the larger format tickets often delivered for internet
or telesales, nor the number of other pass styles without any
encoding. Further, there is a significant rejection rate on magnetic
tickets, even when valid. As smartcards are introduced into the
National Rail network, beyond the existing application of Oyster,
these gates would require substantial modification. Taken with
proposals to extend the reading by gates of mobile phones and
barcodes on print-at-home tickets, this becomes an increasingly
complex challenge, both for operation and systems support.
59. Passengers with tickets that do not, for whatever
reason, work the barriers correctly, have bulky items of luggage
or are in wheelchairs cannot pass the regular gates. They require
prompt assistance. "Meeters and greeters" are effectively
barred from platforms and general passenger movement is restricted
or delayed. Gates can take up valuable space and isolate station
trading facilities, while detracting from the appearance and customer
environment of many historic or Listed stations. When no staff
are available to supervise them they must be left open which rather
defeats their purpose.
60. There are moves to install ticket gates at more
rail stations. Yet ticket gates are not a panacea. They cannot
be used by all passengers and staff are still required to be present.
Gates introduce new drawbacks including delays and obstructions
for passengers; they are not in keeping with historic stations;
and they are not always the best method of protecting rail revenue.
The Government, in consultation with the rail industry and passenger
groups, needs to review this one-track approach and develop a
more holistic policy.
61. Transport staffparticularly bus drivers
and railway ticket inspectorsface an unacceptable risk
of assault and abuse when checking tickets or undertaking revenue
protection duties. In 2006/07, there were 299 recorded assaults
on railway staff in London.
On London buses in the same period there were 21 recorded major
assaults and 115 minor assaults on revenue protection officers
62. The RMT makes the point that these risks are
increased when ticket offices are closed or vending machines out
All too often staff have to issue penalty fares
to passengers who have started their journey at stations where
the ticket office is shut and the ticket vending machine is out
of use due to vandalism.
63. The transport unions and passenger groups are
concerned that cut-backs in ticket office staff and opening hours
are making it difficult for some passengers to get the right ticket
when they need it.
The powers of revenue protection
64. The laws and regulations currently governing
revenue protection on public transport have developed over many
years. Different laws apply to railways, to London Underground,
to buses in London and to buses outside London.
There is inconsistency across modes and even within modes.