SNCF cracks down on fare-dodgers

A third of the SNCF's fines each year go unpaid

Rail operator wants to carry out automatic checks to stop the million people each year who give a fake address

THE SNCF has launched a new campaign to target the million fare-dodgers each year who refuse to pay their fine.

The rail operator is looking at new ways of handing out fines and automatically checking that a passenger's address is correct.

A third of the fines handed out by the SNCF each year go unpaid, at a cost of €31m a year.

In most cases the fare-dodgers give a fake address. Ticket inspectors are being urged to encourage a passenger to pay their fine on the spot - at the moment about half of fines are paid instantly.

The SNCF has announced it is now looking to join forces with the central parking fine centre in Rennes, which sends out nine million penalty notices a year and claims a 93% success rate in making people pay.

The rail operator is looking at whether it can use the same system, and is also examining the possibility of being able to use the parking fine database to perform automatic address checks.

At the moment, the SNCF only keeps the address details of persistent fare-dodgers, who face up to six months in prison and a €7,000 fine if they are caught again.

The only other means the group has of checking a person's identity on the spot is to call in the police.

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