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Last Updated: Wednesday, 24 May 2006, 12:20 GMT 13:20 UK
London fare dodgers 'cost 30m'
Bendy bus, pic by TfL
Fare evasion is higher on bendy buses
Bus fare evaders in the capital cost Transport for London almost 30m a year, new figures show.

Passengers are getting away without paying by hopping on at rear doors of bendy buses, steaming past bus drivers or failing to swipe Oyster smartcards.

Last year 1.9m in revenue was lost on bendy buses and 28m on conventional double deckers, according to figures from London Assembly Lib Dems.

TfL said 97% paid their fare but it was doing everything to prevent evasion.

Liberal Democrat Geoff Pope, chair of the London Assembly transport committee, said: "Passengers need to see squads of ticket inspectors sorting out bendy buses - we need shock and awe tactics.

It's time to scotch the bendy bus myth that they offer a free ride once and for all
Geoff Pope, London Assembly member

"Above all these tactics need plenty of publicity so people really understand that if they cheat, they get caught.

"Cracking down on fare evasion could crack down on fare rises. It's time to scotch the bendy bus myth that they offer a free ride once and for all."

A TfL spokeswoman said more than 97% of the six million daily passengers have the right ticket for their journey and those who do not face a fine of 20, which could be raised to 50 in the future.

Intelligence-led inspections

In one year, 50,000 fare evaders were fined 20 while each month 1,000 are prosecuted in the courts, she added.

There are 250 revenue protection inspectors who are chasing fares every day with inspections carried out at particular hotspots.

She said evasion was slightly more prevalent on bendy buses because they are open at the rear.

"It is a case of educating people to ensure they do pay before boarding.

"Fare evasion rates on London's buses are broadly comparable or better than other major transport operators in the UK and overseas."

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