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City chief 'in £42,000 fare dodge'
4:30pm Sunday 13th April 2014 in News
A senior city executive is believed to have dodged more than £42,000 in train fares after exploiting a loophole which meant he only paid a third of the journey cost.
The hedge fund manager is thought to have spent five years "tapping out" through the barriers at London Cannon Street with an Oyster Travelcard rather than paying the full fare for the one hour and 22 minute journey from Stonegate, near Wadhurst, a spokesman for Southeastern trains confirmed.
The spokesman said the man, who has not been named, is believed to have caught the train from the rural station with no barriers, avoiding ticket inspectors on the train and changing at London Bridge to catch a connecting service to Cannon Street.
The executive used an Oyster card to pass through the barriers, paying the then maximum £7.20 fare incurred when a passenger taps out through a barrier without having tapped in, the spokesman said.
He was eventually caught in November last year by a ticket inspector standing next to the barriers and was able to pay the £42,550 in dodged fares and £450 in legal costs within three days as part of an out-of-court settlement, according to the train company.
Southeastern's investigators discovered that the man had bought an annual season ticket from Stonegate up until 2008, but within five days of being challenged at Cannon Street he renewed his lapsed ticket which led them to believe he had been evading the fare for five years.
The Southeastern spokesman said the company took fare evasion very seriously and that it had quadrupled the number of revenue protection officers out on its network since 2006, and now had a 150-strong team.
He said: "Conductors on our trains carry out checks during journeys, our revenue inspectors travel across the network making checks and enforcing penalty fares, ticket barriers at our main London terminals are manned, and we've also installed self-service ticket machines at most of our stations to make it easier for passengers to buy tickets before travelling.
"We recognise that this issue is important to customers who pay their way and expect the system to treat them with fairness by acting against people who don't buy tickets.
"This case highlights the cost of fare evasion to the industry and the scale of the penalties that individuals face when caught.
"We hope it will act as a deterrent, particularly given that the sum involved is far above the average earnings of most of the fare-paying public."
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