• France's news in English
 
app_header_v3
This shows how bad fare-dodging in Paris really is
Photo: AFP

This shows how bad fare-dodging in Paris really is

The Local · 17 Mar 2016, 16:08

Published: 17 Mar 2016 16:08 GMT+01:00

If you live in Paris, you’ll be familiar with the sight of people jumping the barriers to get a free ride on the Metro and RER.

In fact, it’s probably almost as common as spotting someone actually using their ticket or Navigo pass to get through the gates.

But the huge scale of the problem was revealed on Wednesday as an operation to crack down on ticket cheats got underway.

All in all a staggering 1,500 fare dodgers were snared within just three hours.

From 2pm, around 500 agents (a group made of ticket inspectors, SNCF and RER security officers and plain-clothes policeman) got into position at all the entrances to the train lines at Gare du Nord, stopping each passenger and asking to see their tickets.

Not surprisingly, many of those stopped were unable to produce a ticket and the numbers soon clocked up to 1,500.

“I lost my Navigo pass four months ago and I don’t want to pay €60 to get a new one,” was one woman's excuse, according to Le Parisien. She described the operation as “frankly excessive”.

The operation aimed to send a strong message to regular dodgers, estimated to make up 7 percent of all passengers, who may have calculated that it is worth their while to risk occasional fines rather than pay for a Navigo public transport pass.

Thanks to the 1,571 cheats who were caught transport officials raked in €12,000 in on-the-spot fines, with the operation set to be repeated on Thursday and Friday afternoons.

Story continues below…

Fare dodgers were handed on-the-spot fines of €30 for a non-validated ticket and €50 if they had no ticket at all. An additional €30 is added if the fine is not paid immediately - however, however that requires the inspectors to get the correct identity of those responsible, which is not always an easy task.

However, the foiled attack on a Thalys train last year led to a change in law, giving increased powers to SNCF security agents, including the authority to search travellers’ luggage and to hold them until transport police arrive should they refuse to declare their identity.

In February 2015, SNCF reported that it lost €500 million every year through people trying to cheat the ticket system, and increased passenger fines by up to twofold, penalizing passengers according to the length of their journey.
 

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Common wine blunders you should really avoid in France
Photo: AFP

Don't be a plonk-er. Learn to negotiate the "winefield" in France.

Ten things you didn't know about gay Paris
Do you know where to find penis-shaped bakery goods in Paris? Photo: Legay Choc/Facebook

IN PICTURES
Britain and France mark 100 years since Battle of Somme
All photos: AFP

It was Britain's bloodiest day of battle ever.

What you need to know about France's ban on plastic bags
Photos: AFP

Plastic bags are banned in France as of today, July 1st, although it’s a little bit more complicated than that.

What does the Paris ban on old cars actually mean?
The ever-busy Rue La Fayette in Paris. All photos: AFP

The ban on old cars, trucks, and motorbikes begins today. Got questions? We've got answers.

The small changes to life in France from July 2016
Fancy some Sunday shopping in Paris? Photo: AFP

It's a new month - and that means changes in France at the shops, at home, and online (plus more). Here's how you'll be affected.

French tourism industry set to suffer over falling pound
Photo: AFP

Britons visit France each year in their millions, but for many it may become unaffordable.

Prince William honours lost Somme generation in France
Photo: AFP

Prince William was in France on Thursday, where he paid tribute to the "saddest day" in the history of Britain.

The burning questions about Brexit facing British expats
Sarlat in the Dordogne where there are many concerned Britons right now. Photo: Ben Salter/Flickr

The Brexit vote has not changed anything yet, but there's no doubt our heads are full of questions about what might happen?

The ten most expensive motorways in France
Photo: AFP

A new study has shone a light on which stretches of motorway in France cost the most per kilometre.

Sponsored Article
Education abroad: How to find an international school
Features
Gay Pride: Here are ten things you didn't know about 'gay Paris'
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Society
Paris Pride parade cut in half and the gay community is angry
Culture
What's on in France: Eleven great things to do in July
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
Paris to honour Ireland's two sets of 'wonderful' fans
Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
Politics
When France 'ignored' the result of an EU referendum
New app aims to rid Paris pavements of dog poo
Society
No more plastic bags! See what changes in France from July 2016
National
Mixed reaction from the French as UK votes for Brexit
National
How Brexit could now scupper that dream move to France
Brexit limbo: What happens next for Brits in France?
Gallery
Ten reasons why you should think about becoming French
Analysis & Opinion
Brexit: Life for Brits in France 'will get more complicated'
Culture
20 English words that 'should be banished' from French
National
Best Briehaviour: A guide to French cheese etiquette
Features
And the best city in France for expats to live in is...?
Society
Forget bikes, Paris is set to roll out scooter rentals
National
'We fear for our safety': French police feel the strain
Lifestyle
Why Rennes (and not Paris) is the best city in France for expats to live
National
Why are the French losing appetite for baguettes?
Lifestyle
Naturism booms in France as young eager to ditch clothes
Lifestyle
Is working life better in London or Paris?
National
Dear Americans: Please come to Paris
National
It's official (kind of): French work fewest hours in EU
2,762
jobs available