Amanda Milling, Member of Parliament for Cannock Chase, calls on the government to review rail penalty fares.
The Chase Line is blighted with an array of issues, including ticketless travel and fare dodging, the scale of which was demonstrated by the number of tickets and fines that were issued by London Midland's Revenue Protection Team last month.
Amanda Milling MP joined London Midland's Revenue Protection Team last month and saw first-hand the issue of ticketless travel and fare dodging which, over a week alone, saw and additional 1,004 tickets sold and 192 fines issued and a further eight recommended for prosecution.
To address this issue, the Cannock Chase MP is calling on London Midland to make sure ticket machines at stations on the Chase Line are working so that passengers can purchase a ticket before boarding a train, as well as urging the government to review penalty fares.
Amanda Milling MP said: "Many passengers have complained to me about fare dodging and ticket machines not working at stations on the Chase Line - issues which I have seen for myself. I was very pleased to join London Midland's Revenue Protection Team although I was shocked by the extent of ticketless travel and fare dodging. While it is important the ticket machines are in working order, an issue I have raised with London Midland, I am also concerned that the £20 penalty fare is not an effective deterrent to fare dodging. This is why I have called on the Rail Minister, Paul Maynard MP, to review penalty fares. It is not fair on honest fare paying passengers and season ticket holders that there are people not paying their way. In my view fare dodgers will only be stopped if they are seriously out of pocket when they get caught."
As part of Amanda Milling's campaign for station upgrades, which has seen her call for extended platforms, she wants to see more ticket machines and barriers at the stations along the line. Amanda added: "With increasing numbers of commuters using the Chase Line and our stations, we need more machines so that passengers can quickly and easily buy a ticket. If we are going to genuinely tackle fare dodging I feel we need ticket barriers at our stations. I am sure they will pay for themselves with the increased revenue from ticket sales and I believe this is an investment the train operator who secures the franchise this year should make. These measures will also help the train operator capture real passenger numbers, which are currently significantly underestimated. This data will help to demonstrate why we so desperately need a more regular train service and trains with more carriages."