• France's news in English
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

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

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.

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Calais migrants given mixed reception in French towns
Photo: AFP

Some in France have shown solidarity with their new guests, while others have made it clear they are not welcome.

Lonely Planet says Bordeaux is world's best city to visit
The fantastic new Bordeaux wine museum. Photo: AFP

After The Local France, the Lonely Planet has followed suit by urging everyone to head to Bordeaux in 2017.

Jungle shacks set ablaze and torn down as camp razed
All photos: AFP

IN PICTURES: The razing of the Jungle has finally begun.

Frenchwoman finds WW1 grenade among her spuds
Photo: AFP

It could have been a very explosive family dinner.

Refugee crisis
What rights to a future in France for Calais migrants?
Photo: AFP

What does the future hold for the migrants of the Jungle? Can they work or claim social benefits or travel freely inside Europe?

Pampers nappies 'contain carcinogenics': French study
Photo: Robert Valencia/Flick

The substances in the nappies are meant to prevent skin irritation but are cancerous, the study concludes.

France to scrap special prison wings for dangerous jihadists
Photo: AFP

The experiment has been ditched.

Myth busting: Half of French adults are now overweight
A model at the Pulp Fiction fashion show in Paris that represents society's diverse spectrum . Photo: AFP

Hold on, aren't the French all meant to be finely toned specimens with not an ounce of fat on them?

France poised to send bulldozers into Calais Jungle
Photo: AFP

As hundreds of migrants leave, the bulldozers are set to tear down the sprawling Calais shanty town on Tuesday.

UK to spend €40 million on securing Calais border
Photo: AFP

Britain spending big on security in Calais.

The annoying questions only a half French, half Brit can answer
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Forget Brangelina's chateau - here are nine others you've got to see
The must-see French films of the millennium - Part One
How life for expats in France has changed over the years
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
jobs available