The on the spot fines are being increased from March 2nd, with anyone caught without a ticket facing the prospect of a €50 fine plus the price of a single ticket, instead of the current €35 fine on train journeys of 150km or less. Those preferring to not pay instantly, the fine will increase to €88 plus the price of the ticket.
SNCF has announced it will increase the number and frequency of ticket checks on both the trains and on the platforms, to try and increase the number of passengers it catches travelling illegally.
The train operator has also said that it would regard anyone who is caught five times, to be considered a multiple offender, and would face additional sanctions – including the risk of six months in prison and fines of up to €7,000.
Last year, SNCF said they issued fines to 2.5million passengers for failing to pay their fines. Of those, 1million paid up immediately in full on the train, but they admit that they only collected 10% of the remaining fines and have said that they are going to improve its recovery operation significantly to make sure that more is successfully collected.
Last year, they already changed the ticket rules, in a bid to cut down on fraud, including the validity of the length of tickets on some of its services. They are also looking into the possibility that some passengers are reusing their tickets several times to avoid repaying.
It is estimated that the amount of money they lose on fraud would pay for 10 new TGV’s, 30 TER Trains, or the renewal of over 150km of existing lines.