Guard on board the train checks a customer's ticket

Ticket checks and revenue protection

We're committed to putting you at the heart of everything we do. Our approach to protecting revenue is no different. Our aim is to provide easy to use retail facilities online and at stations and to have a highly visible revenue protection team that treats customers fairly and consistently and is an effective deterrent to people who might travel on our trains without buying the correct ticket.

We work round the clock to check tickets on stations and trains and have already reduced the amount of ticketless travel by over 40% since we took over the franchise in August 2017. This work includes:

  • Gatelines at key stations across the network to help prevent ticketless travel;
  • Ticket checks on trains and at stations by guards and the revenue protection team to make sure passengers have the right ticket for their journey.

Most of the time, staff will be in a recognisable uniform, but we also deploy staff in plain clothes to tackle fraudulent travel – all staff carry a South Western Railway ID, so you can be assured they are genuine.

Our first-line teams are also supported by a back-office team and part of their role is data analysis, which is increasingly helping us to better identify areas of concern and target resources accordingly.

If you see something you don’t think is right, you can let us know through our customer services team or on Twitter. If it is related to crime or a specific incident, you can also contact the British Transport Police discreetly by text to 61016.

Our Revenue Protection Policy

We have a revenue protection policy that tells you everything you need to know about how we minimise ticketless travel and fare evasion on our network and what the consequences of not buying a ticket before you board a train might be.

The full policy can be found here and covers:

  • How we expect customers to buy their ticket before boarding a train, or at the first opportunity if facilities were not available;
  • What happens when you are asked to show a ticket and don’t have one, or don’t have the correct supporting information (e.g. photocard or railcard);
  • That we may prosecute serious or persistent offenders.

Penalty Fares Scheme

We operate a Penalty Fares Scheme across our whole network, which means you must have a valid ticket before you start your journey. If you travel on one of our trains without paying the right fare, we may charge you a penalty fare for not having the right ticket. This will be £20 or twice the full single fare to the next station, whichever is more. We have produced a leaflet that will tell you everything you need to know about how the scheme works.

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