Tram ticket dodgers to get on-the-spot £10 fine

The army of inspectors will be easily recognised from their fluorescent orange gilets and grey jackets. Picture: comp
The army of inspectors will be easily recognised from their fluorescent orange gilets and grey jackets. Picture: comp
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AN army of multilingual ticket inspectors will patrol tram carriages ready to crack down on anyone dodging the £1.50 fare.

And the Evening News can reveal any fare dodgers they catch will be slapped with an on-the-spot £10 fine for riding the tram without a valid ticket.

Those who claim to not be carrying any cash – or who outright refuse to pay – will be reported to Transport for Edinburgh street supervisors.

They will take decisions which could see people banned from the trams – or the police called to take further action.

In total 52 ticketing services assistants (TSAs), as they will be known, will be employed with one or more allocated to each tram – and extra staff drafted in during peak periods.

TSAs – on a starting salary of £17,000 a year – have been tasked with checking every ticket and travel card.

Each inspector will be clearly identified by their fluorescent orange gilets and grey Transport for Edinburgh-emblazoned jackets.

They have all undergone extensive conflict resolution training to better enable them to deal with abusive or drunk passengers before passenger services go live before the end of next month.

They have also undergone crowd control training to allow them to provide additional support during special events.

Several TSAs are also fluent in languages such as French, German and Spanish so as to better communicate with foreign tourists. Also among the ranks are Polish, Greek, Lithuanian and Italian speakers.

It is understood that a rogues gallery of repeat fare offenders will also be kept within a database – images will be gathered through both the ticket inspector’s personal cameras and the tram’s own CCTV network.

Those who are kicked off the tram can then be blacklisted for up to one year.

A by-law covering the new tram arrangements was confirmed by Scottish ministers last year and came into force last November. Section 13 of this by-law states that any person convicted of any contravention may be prohibited from “entering or remaining upon any part of the Edinburgh Tram Network for a period of up to one year from the date of conviction”.

The price of a ticket will be £1.50 for a single adult journey and 70p for a child.

However, those travelling to and from the airport will face an additional supplement which is yet to be decided.

Tram tickets or smart cards must be purchased and validated before boarding the tram – existing bus ridacards and Scottish National Entitlement Cards must also be validated by touching them on one of the smartcard validator machines which are located on the platform of every tram stop.

Failure to validate your card or buy a ticket before boarding will result in a £10 fine or “standard charge” being issued.

Edinburgh Trams director and general manager Tom Norris said: “Full ticketing information is being finalised in readiness for passenger services launching.

“Regarding fare dodging, our plans have been developed following advice from other cities who have experience of running trams.

“If a Ticketing Services Assistant discovers that a passenger is travelling without a valid ticket or travel card, the individual will be asked to pay the full ‘standard fare’ for a tram journey on the spot, ie £10. Refusal to pay will result in the customer being asked to provide their details and then leave the tram.”

One tram expert said the city’s ticketing pricing plans generally mirrored those of other UK networks such as Manchester, Nottingham and Birmingham.

Professor Lewis Lesley, technical director of light rail company Trampower, said: “Pricing is different because trams operate differently in each city, so it’s difficult to have a direct comparison.

“Lothian Buses operate a flat fare, a single fare, for whatever length of the trip, whereas other systems adjust theirs depending on length of trip. £1.50 is the same as the buses and it seems eminently sensible.”

Eight trams carrying up to 250 people each will run per hour during peak times along the £776 million route when it goes live next month.

Each stop will be served every seven-and-a-half minutes from Monday to Friday during peak hours. That frequency will fall to every ten minutes during non-peak times and at weekends. Services will operate from 5am until midnight.

Journeys from York Place to the airport are expected to take 33 minutes, with trams waiting at each stop for around 25 seconds. The aim is for there to always be a tram waiting at the airport.

In February last year the Evening News won a major victory for the city’s old and disabled folk by ensuring they will be able to use their bus passes on trams for free when it begins operating.

Under the Fare Deal campaign banner our pressure – backed by hundreds of loyal readers – was hailed as a victory for common sense after the Scottish Government and council chiefs agreed to find a way of extending concessionary fares to cover the tram network.

Councillor Hinds welcomed the agreement and said it paved the way for the integrated bus and tram service, which is vital for the Capital.

She said: “The tram needs to be wholly integrated into the national transport network and, for me, this means that over-60s and people with disabilities should have free use of the service.”

Cllr Hinds hailed the “integrated” nature of the travel network, and said it would come as a major boost to passengers.

She said: “Instead of having a day ticket for the bus and a separate one for the trams, you will get a day ticket which works for both modes of travel. You will then have Ridacards, which you will be able to use on the trams as well.

“There will be a difference in the fare if you go from the airport past a certain point, but that’s yet to be finalised. If you’re going from the airport to York Place or Princes Street, there will be a supplement. That’s the same as you’ve got at the moment with the airport buses. You pay more than if you get a bus in the city centre.

“But we are looking to have the fare at the moment as £1.50 in the central city. That’s the commitment I’ve given.”

Annual operating and maintenance costs to run the tram line are expected to hit about £13.7 million. A report produced by engineering consultants Atkins said £7.4m of those yearly costs would come directly from the operation of Transport for Edinburgh – the new company that will run the trams and bus network.

Of those costs, 15.9 per cent will be spent on drivers; 13.9 per cent on revenue protection officers; 18 per cent on energy; 26 per cent on management, legal, accounting, human resources and administration and 26.2 per cent for all other costs, including supplies, insurance and business rates.

The council’s financial model has forecast a total profit of £3.7m over the first 15 years of the line’s operation. That estimate has been based on operators achieving £228m in passenger revenue.

OFFICE SPACE LET

A MAJOR office development close to the tram line in the west of the city has been let in just nine months.

Edinburgh-based Cosmopolitan Investments has let the final phase of its 10,000sq ft Birch House to charity Barnardo’s.

Developers have noted a significant increase in interest in property near to the tram tracks in recent months – with the Princes Street corridor especially seeing a mini letting boom.

Martin Crewe, director of Barnardo’s Scotland, said “the location is very attractive” to the charity.