Fare Dodgers TV show – Q&A with Karen, Thomas and Tim

My5 Fare Dodgers At War With The Law

We caught up with our revenue enforcement officers and undercover investigators to find out more about their jobs and experiences. 🎟

Watch Fare Dodgers: At War With the Law on Channel 5’s My5 player.

Karen, Thomas and Tim

Karen, Tube inspector

What’s a typical day like in your job? 🙋‍♀️
There’s no ‘typical’ day as we work with the public! We follow a duty which will either be monitoring the gatelines for fare evaders, conducting ticket checks on trains, checking tickets manually of passengers changing lines or writing up our reports for prosecution. Our teams can vary in size and we’re sometimes teamed up with Metropolitan Police, British Transport Police or inspectors from other train companies.

What’s it like being part of the Fare Dodgers doc? 📺
I really enjoyed being part of it. It was good to be part of something different and I saw it as an opportunity to show the public what we do and the reasons why. The reaction has been great (to my face!) about the first episode. It’s been interesting to hear how surprised people are when they find out the level of information that can be tracked from Oyster cards.

What are the biggest challenges you face in your job? 🤨
I think the biggest challenge is dealing with people who feel there is ‘nothing wrong’ with fare evasion and then go on to be obstructive, abusive and even violent in order to get away from any form of penalty. There does seem to be an ever growing feeling in the population that there is an entitlement to behave how they please and it is not ‘their fault’ when they behave badly.

What do you love about your job? 👏
I have a great team to work with who are supportive and professional. That is incredibly important when dealing with the public. Also, not all the people that we deal with are awful. Talking to people, hearing what circumstance brought them to be speaking with me, can be very eye opening and has helped me develop my skills in my role.

If you could tell the public one thing about your job what would it be? 🗣
The thing I would like to tell the public is that we’re doing a job. The station staff, train operators, cleaners, everyone, we’re doing our jobs. We didn’t get up in the morning and come to work to be shouted at, shoved, sworn at and generally abused. Please don’t do it!

Thomas, bus inspector

What’s a typical day like in your job? 🙋‍♂️
We normally check between 25 to 30 buses a day from different routes around London. We have a lot of interactions with drivers and passengers! We also provide assistance to passengers, answer customer enquiries and aid wheelchair and buggy users if need be.

What’s it like being part of the Fare Dodgers doc? 📺
It was a great experience to have the opportunity to be part of the doc though it was a quite odd at first to have you day at work recorded. I felt that taking part in the show would let the outside world know what we go through every day. I’ve received a lot of positive feedback from family, friends and drivers who have seen the show, as well as passengers who have since recognised me while checking their tickets.

What are the biggest challenges you face in your job? 🤨
We receive abuse from passengers who are unhappy that they were detected evading their fare or committing some type of ticket fraud which ranges from using fake passes or adults using child passes. Surprisingly in some areas we also receive abuse from members of the public who do have a valid pass but simply don’t like being approached by someone in uniform or some position of authority.

What do you love about your job? 👏
Every day at work is different, in fact not even two buses on the same route are alike. Getting to travel around London for a living, experiencing different areas of the city that I haven’t been before is very enjoyable. I’m fortunate to interact with people from all walks of life, as well as witnessing first hand the different cultures, traditions and activities which all help to make London vibrant, diverse and cosmopolitan.

If you could tell the public one thing about your job what would it be? 🗣
We do more than just check tickets. We’re there to help, like reuniting lost children with parents, customer service when there’s disruption on our network, helped stop people falling victim to unwanted sexual or racist behaviour and keep an eye out to help prevent potential terrorist activities.

Tim, prosecutions

What’s a typical day like in your job? 🙋‍♂️
A typical day will include me reviewing and processing case papers of individuals reported to TfL for not paying appropriate fares. In most instances this will include dealing with defendants and solicitors on the phone as well as letters and email.

What’s it like being part of the Fare Dodgers doc? 📺
I’ve enjoyed being involved in the programme. I’m passionate about taking fare evasion seriously, for this reason I’ve been keen to reflect the extent of the problem to the public. I’m particularly pleased in the way the show has shown how TfL is using its resources to tackle the worst abusers of our network.

What do you love about your job? 👏
I enjoy building a strong, water tight prosecution case. I also love court advocacy and cross examining defendants in trial hearings.

If you could tell the public one thing about your job what would it be? 🗣
The travelling public are fully aware of the on the spot Fixed Penalty Fare Notice. Although TfL have signage on services warning people that they can be prosecuted for not having a valid ticket, I believe an awful lot of people choose to not take this seriously. I would ask people to do so in future. My entire role is in place to process people to court. This results in a Criminal Conviction. TfL prosecute thousands of people yearly. That’s a lot of convictions! If someone doesn’t want a conviction they must travel with a valid ticket.

How does tech help with your role? 💻
The majority of those travelling on TfL use a form of electronic payment, either Oyster or contactless. Every time one of these is used it leaves a footprint. This results in huge amounts of data being logged. ITAP (Irregular Travel Analytics Platform) is harnessing that data and using algorithms to detect patterns of irregular use. As an Investigator this tool is at the top of our armoury in the battle against fare evasion. It helps our frontline teams to identify, detect and apprehend serious abusers.

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