Black Market in Tube Tickets You Can Use Again and Again

By Shaikh, Thair; Scardovi, Fabrizio | The Evening Standard (London, England), June 18, 2001 | Go to article overview

Black Market in Tube Tickets You Can Use Again and Again


Shaikh, Thair, Scardovi, Fabrizio, The Evening Standard (London, England)


Byline: THAIR SHAIKH;FABRIZIO SCARDOVI

A LUCRATIVE black market in Tube tickets that can be used indefinitely has sprung up in pubs and cafes across London.

Sold for a one-off fee, the fraudulent Travelcards can be used again and again without detection because ageing technology means the date sequence on the magnetic strip comes round again, making the ticket appear valid.

The Evening Standard purchased a pass for [pound]80 - it looks like any other London Underground zone 1-3 weekly pass, except that this one should have expired on 15 June 1999. We used it extensively for a week and it never failed. Their price on the black market ranges from [pound]60-[pound]100.

The amount paid for the card is not much more than the price of a monthly zone 1-2 pass, which costs [pound]72.60. Considering that a monthly zone 1-4 pass costs [pound]106 and a monthly zone 1-6 card costs [pound]139.80, the savings to be made from illegal passes are clear.

There are no figures on the number of illegal cards in circulation, but their relatively low price suggests a reasonable supply. Our pass was bought in a pub on Portobello Road in Notting Hill. Our source, an Italian, promised and produced more illegal cards at short-notice.

He introduced the Standard to one of his "customers" - an Italian student from Sardinia who claims to have used her pass for months without detection.

"I have never been asked to show my card when travelling," she said. And even if she was, all she would need to do is claim to be travelling without a ticket and

pay the [pound]10 penalty fare. LU admits to losing approximately [pound]25.8million annually on uncollected fares, a figure that includes one-day passes sold by ticket touts and "lost" Travelcards that are sold on. …

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