Penalty fare

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On the United Kingdom's public transport systems, a penalty fare is a special fare charged at a higher than normal price because the purchaser did not comply with the normal ticket purchasing rules. Typically penalty fares are incurred by passengers failing to purchase a ticket before travelling or by purchasing an incorrect ticket which does not cover their whole journey.

Penalty fares are not a fine and the person paying the penalty fare is not considered to have committed a criminal offence. Penalty fares are used to discourage casual fare evasion and disregard for the ticketing rules without resorting to the drastic and costly step of prosecution under the Regulation of Railways Act 1889. More egregious fare avoiders can still be prosecuted and fined if convicted.

Penalty fares are used on the UKs National Rail network and also on other modes of transport within London.

History and legal status

Penalty fares were first introduced on British Rail Network SouthEast under the British Rail (Penalty Fares) Act 1989. Over time they have been extended to cover many parts of the National Rail network.

The London Regional Transport Act 1992 and the Greater London Authority Act 1999 allows Transport for London to charge penalty fares under similar but not identical rules. TfL's penalty fares scheme covers buses and trams as well as the London Underground and Docklands Light Railway.

Initially the maximum penalty fare was set at £10 (£5 on buses & trams) or twice the full...
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