I do feel sorry for young mother Maja Krogh fined Â£50 for not paying her 90p bus fare and given a criminal record, albeit a temporary one (see today’s Evening Standard). That said, she might have forgotten to swipe her card every day for all we know. Too many people still do across London’s transport system.
Transport for London’s crusade against fare dodging would have more credibility if all of its staff consistently confronted fare dodgers all the time. Too many staff shrug their shoulders when people tailgate you through ticket barriers or fail to swipe on to buses. It seems staff can only stand up to fare dodgers when they are in gangs of ticket inspectors backed up with police. It looks unfortunate to say the least to see an inspector accompanied by an officer round on a mother with a young child.
But TfL must collect its fares. In 2006/7 every bus journey cost TfL 87p. Unfortunately it only managed to collect an average of 55p per journey. As a result TfL’s bus operations (forget buying the buses in the first place, just running them) need subsidising to the tune of Â£617 million. If TfL could rouse itself to collect 90p per journey, it could run buses at a profit.