Revenue Protection Inspector
Revenue Protection Inspector (RPIs) or Revenue Protection Officer (RPOs) (or even Revenue Control Inspector on London Transport) is the job title given to staff who patrol different forms of public transport issuing penalty fares to passengers who travel without a valid ticket or without the correct ticket (e.g. travelling where the ticket is not valid or an adult travelling on a child ticket). These titles are principally used in the United Kingdom. In the United States, the term fare inspector is often used to refer to persons who audit transit passengers for proper payment of fare; in addition, police officers are authorized to conduct fare inspections on some systems.
Revenue Inspectors and Officers mostly work at railway stations checking passengers' tickets as they board and alight trains. They are also found on board trains, often assisting the onboard traincrew. Inspectors may begin an investigation if they believe a passenger is travelling without a valid ticket, travelling in first class accommodation holding a standard class ticket, an adult travelling on a child ticket or if the passenger has travelled beyond the destination printed on their ticket, with the intent to avoid their correct rail fare. If the Revenue Inspector or Officer believes there was intent to avoid payment a Penalty Fare may be issued, or the passenger may be reported for prosecution. Inspectors usually wear a uniform provided by their employer but also work in civilian clothing.
In some areas, penalty fare schemes operate with a minimum charge of £20, or double the single fare to the next station stop - whichever is the greater. In other areas, the penalty is £80. These penalty fare areas are clearly advertised with large yellow station posters. If the journey is to be continued, the fare for the remaining portion is also taken into account.
Inspectors are also charged with the duty of investigating Railway offences within the codes and practices of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act. In the discharge of this duty the Inspector cautions potential fare evaders before interviewing them for the purpose of reporting the offender for possible prosecution. If found guilty, offenders can currently face a maximum of a £1000 fine or three months in prison.
Currently, East Midlands Trains, Merseyrail, Southern, South West Trains, London Midland, London Overground, South Eastern Trains, c2c, Greater Anglia, First Capital Connect, Chiltern Railways, Heathrow Connect and First Great Western are some of the train operating companies that participate in the penalty fare scheme.
Transport for London currently recruits over 200 Revenue Protection Inspectors that work on the Bus network alone. Due to the introduction of 'Articulated Buses' to London, TfL is now recruiting an extra 150 inspectors to combat the increased fare evasion.
Railway employees have the power to detain people in certain circumstances:
- if a person fails to provide their name and address after being required to because for lack of a ticket or failing to buy a ticket when required, and
- if a person fails to leave a train when reaching the point that has been paid for.
Revenue Protection Officers also patrol Yarra Trams and Metro Trains Melbourne services in Victoria. They were introduced in a bid to curb fare evasion after conductors were taken away from the trams. Replacement of conductors with ticket machines as the point of sale method has also resulted in thousands of commuters evading fares on Melbourne trams. Many people view RPIs and RPOs negatively, and in the discharge of their duties, they regularly face being verbally abused and sometimes physically assaulted. It is believed that an estimated 1500 people are reported each week on services.
In New South Wales, revenue protection on its rail network is primarily the responsibility of Transit Officers. Like their Victorian counterparts, these transit officers also carry out security patrols on trains and railway stations, with the power of issuing on-the-spot fines for minor offences, and even to use "reasonable force" to make arrests.
Revenue Protection on the NSW State Government-owned Sydney Buses & Sydney Ferries is done by "State Transit Revenue Protection Officers".
- Ticket controller (transportation)
- Conductor (transportation)
- Asset Protection Unit