North East Herts MP Oliver Heald has welcomed a crackdown on crime and ticketless travel by First Capital Connect. In meetings with Elaine Holt, Managing Director of First Capital Connect, Oliver has asked what effect the new measures have had. Commercial Director Hugh Clancy has reported to Oliver that since taking over the franchise the introduction of automatic gates, coupled with other safety and security measures including an annual £1m investment in twenty four Police Community Service Officers and five Police Officers dedicated to the route, has helped a great deal in reducing overall crime by 15% and in particular anti-social behaviour by 44% on trains and at stations.
Ticketless travel costs the railway industry approximately £200m every year and is hugely frustrating for fare paying customers. Along with Royston, First Capital Connect have installed automatic gates at eleven stations since they took over the franchise, with a further five expected to be installed by this summer. Ticket barriers are installed not only to ensure they receive appropriate revenue, but also to help improve security at the station and on trains by deterring crime and vandalism. Automatic gates also reassure customers who have purchased the correct ticket for travel that they will no longer be subsidising those who have not.
Automatic gates have also raised revenue by 7% at Royston, highlighting the likely previous level of abuse.
Commenting, Oliver Heald said, “I welcome this improved attention to stopping crime and ticketless travel. Nothing is more annoying to genuine customers than anti social behaviour and abuse of the system.”