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More than 1,700 fines for avoiding fares on Glider’s public transportation

More than 1,700 fines have been issued for circumventing rides on Belfast’s Glider transport service.

Most were on the route from west to east, operator Translink said.

Since the fast transit connection came into effect in September 2018, fines of an average of around £ 50 for driving without a ticket have been imposed.

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Sustrans said public transportation was already very undervalued (Liam McBurney / PA)

Anne Madden of Sustrans, a charity for sustainable transport, said: “It is unfortunate that people try to jump for free because public transport is already very poor and tariff evasion is something that will harm us all.”

A total of 1,740 fines were imposed, according to a FoI response from Translink.

Average fines were £ 52.10 or £ 51.60 depending on the service.

Ms. Madden, policy and communications manager at the charity, said inspectors regularly checked passengers on the glider and that had helped minimize the amount of fare avoidance.

She added, “We are not aware that fare evasion is a major issue for the Glider.

It would be clearer with fewer people employed during the coronavirus emergency.

“Glider has been a great success story for Belfast.

“We are pleased to hear that progress is being made in the second phase of the Glider from north to south Belfast.”

UUP Assembly member Roy Beggs sits on Stormont’s infrastructure committee and takes a closer look at Translink.

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Roy Beggs said he was surprised that a significant number of people have been caught evading tariffs (PA)

He said, “I am surprised that a significant number of people have been caught and are therefore traveling without a ticket.

“Public transport is a vital service to the community and Translink is currently under great financial pressure.

“It is completely irresponsible to try to escape paying the already subsidized public transport fare.

“It is clear that the level of inspection needs to be revised to further reduce circumvention.”

The Glider service works most of the day at seven or eight minute intervals.

According to the proponents, travel time by public transport was reduced by 25%.

It works mainly along bus lanes and speeds up travel times via off-ticketing.

Passengers buy tickets or validate smart cards before traveling, which means faster boarding and travel times, Translink said.

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