RAILWAY operator Nothern is clamping down on rail fare dodgers by fining non-paying commuters £100 for using a popular excuse.

The service provider says that although some bona fide passengers will use the excuse in a genuine way, others are taking advantage of it, and must be stopped.

Northern has issued the following warning: "No battery, no excuse."

Leigh Journal: Northern runs through Warrington Central StationNorthern runs through Warrington Central Station (Image: Newsquest)

According to the rail operator, a number of fradulent passengers have told on-board inspectors that they did purchase a ticket, but that their phone died and they are unable to present it.

The service provider says that although some genuine customers may be caught out by their phone dying, many are simply attempting to avoid paying for the train, and therefore there will be a blanket ban on the excuse - with fradulent passengers facing fines of up to £100.

Northern says that a device running out of battery is no excuse, as there are charging points on trains and in railway stations across the country.

The company said: "Customers not only have a duty to buy a ticket before they board one of our trains – but also to be able to present it for inspection."

Mark Powles, commercial and customer director at Northern, said: "We were fascinated by research from BattPoint which suggests 50 per cent of smartphone and tablet users run out of battery at least once a day and 96 per cent carrying no form of backup power with them.

“Through this trial – and the roll-out of out of nearly 30,000 plugs and USB sockets on our trains – we’re doing our bit to make sure no-one finds themselves ‘out of juice’ when they hear the words ‘tickets please’.”

Leigh Journal: Northern will be issuing fines of up to £100 to fraudulent passengersNorthern will be issuing fines of up to £100 to fraudulent passengers (Image: Newsquest)

The company added: "Northern has invested in the largest network of digital ticket infrastructure of any train operator in the country, making it easier than ever to buy a ticket via their app, website or one of more than 600 ticket machines across the network."

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