Time to tackle ticketless travel

09 December 21

By ANNA STRELLEY, Research and Analysis Manager

In a normal year the Rail Delivery Group (RDG) has estimated that around £240 million is lost through fare evasion on Britain’s railways. Undertaking ticketless travel surveys will help your organisation pinpoint root causes and enable you to make data driven decisions. And it’s not just revenue that will benefit – evidence shows that reduced ticketless travel can make a positive impact on customer experience, too. Ticket fraud is often associated with other crime and antisocial behaviour and tackling it head-on can improve customers’ feeling of safety and value for money.

Railway station information board

Our Ticketless travel surveys are carried out by dedicated people over a period of time across a network to estimate the current level of people travelling without the correct ticket to help prioritise improvements and understand the impact on revenue. At Tracsis Transport Consultancy (TTC), we can also create bespoke surveys for light rail and bus, helping operators to identify local issues and driver training needs. Getting a grasp on these issues has never been more important because of the rises in new technology, and our data is helping all forms of transport.

Passengers using ticketless turnstiles at a railway station

Ticketless travel surveys are more than a tick box commitment

Most train operators will have a commitment to report on ticketless travel and revenue at risk. With over 10 years of experience of conducting and analysing ticketless travel surveys, TTC is well placed in delivering the reports and complying with the DfT’s own approved methodology. TTC can crack on and do this for you, but we can also go beyond this so your organisation can get even more benefits from this activity. We can add additional survey questions and we can also provide a more detailed and strategic analysis of the data for you. This can help you get even more benefits to your overarching Customer Experience strategy.

Not everyone is a fare evader

It’s a myth that everyone who has the wrong ticket is a fare evader. Sometimes you can have inadvertent fare evaders, who may not be able to buy tickets before boarding the train or simply purchase the wrong ticket. Our ticketless travel surveys can help to identify problems with customer information, and inadequate ticket buying facilities as well a host of other issues that may not have previously been on the radar, from inadequate parking to inconsistent revenue protection. Your survey gives you a snapshot into all sorts of problems, some of which you might not be aware of yet.

Railway station ticketless turnstile

Getting under the psyche of a fare evader

For those who do travel on trains with a deliberate intent to avoid paying the right fare, we work to understand their motivations. We have conducted confidential 1-1 and panel group discussions with fare evaders to determine the psychology behind their actions and how they regard their behaviour (and in particular whether they view it as fraud or not) as well as what might make them change their ways. Quite often attitudes towards fare evasion among perpetrators differ by mode of transport, operator, location and demographic – with regional nuances prevalent. We can get to the heart of this for you through our research!

Taking action!

Our team comprises some of the most experienced Revenue Protection Managers within the transport sector. We can translate the results of your ticketless travel survey and research into tangible, value-added analysis and action plans on a company and location specific basis. We can review and refresh your current Revenue Protection Strategy and Action Plans or write you a brand new one, should you so wish!

You need the right people

When undertaking a survey like this – where you might be faced with higher-than-normal conflict – it’s essential to have customer-focussed people who understand how to deal with difficult situations. It’s testament to our people that we have an extremely low refusal rate to take part in the survey and many customers actually feel happy to see the operator tackling the issue. This is because we carefully select people – many of whom have railway experience – and we also provide training to ensure that the people are confident in the railway environment and providing excellent customer service.

Passenger using a ticketless turnstile

TTC make it easy

We’ve now worked with many of the rail operators and have also recently started working with a light rail operator in the Midlands to undertake these surveys. We understand that conducting ticketless travel surveys can be a distraction from the day job of running a complex transport business. That’s why our priority is in making the process as simple as possible. We’ll have a meeting with you to make sure the survey is bespoke for you and we’ll then create diagrams for our surveyors to make sure that we are covering the required routes, time of day, days of the week and we will get useful snapshot across the network. Our survey period is normally around two weeks, but this can depend on the size of the network and the needs of the individual operator. We will also ensure that we record any anomalies throughout the survey period – such as service disruption or ticket acceptance – so you can be confident in the data we provide.

Have a chat with us to find out more, contact consultancy@tracsis.com.

Railway station ticketless turnstile