children being issued with penalty fares

MQT on 2016-12-14
Session date: 
December 14, 2016
Question By: 
Andrew Dismore
Labour Group
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


Do you share the concern at the number of children being issued with penalty fares by TfL inspectors because they have forgotten their Oyster ZIP cards on bus journeys to and from school? Of course, inspectors have an important job to do ensuring that fare evasion is tackled as the costs of such evasion are borne by those who do pay, but for a child on their way to or from school within the Oyster ZIP card bus area there cannot be any question of a revenue loss to TfL given that the Oyster ZIP card provides for free bus travel and a child in school uniform is clearly resident in the London area and is prima facie entitled to such free travel.  Nevertheless, given that children cannot be expected to have the same responsibility as adults and are prone to misplacing things, do you agree that it appears draconian for TfL to levy the same penalties on children for not having a valid Oyster card with them as it does for adults?  Is this not  especially so given that there is now no mechanism by which children can pay by other means if they suddenly find they have lost their Oyster ZIP card ,whereas a high proportion of adults will have a cashless payment card they can use which  cannot be assumed for children? 


Answer for children being issued with penalty fares

Answer for children being issued with penalty fares

Answered By: 
The Mayor

TfL expects to finish its review into the way its enforcement staff deal with young people travelling without a valid ticket or Zip Oyster photocard on the bus network early next year, and will be looking to introduce a more consistent approach across all services.

Only young people with a valid Zip Oyster photocard may travel for free on the bus network and they must comply with the Young Person's Behaviour Code. The vast majority do, but a small number of young people breach it and, therefore, have their free travel suspended. For this reason, wearing a school uniform is not sufficient evidence of being entitled to travel for free.

TfL does show discretion when younger passengers are found to be travelling without a valid ticket or pass, as they may not be familiar with the requirement to carry a Zip Oyster photocard.

In addition, all bus drivers carry a pack of Unpaid Fare Reports, which ensure that young and other vulnerable people can travel home safely.