A couple of months ago I came across an article from BBC News about the sale of forged rail tickets on the dark web, and in the midst of Southern Rail travel chaos now seems like a good time to look back at it.
It is undeniable that rail tickets are incredibly expensive for what they provide. Four days of commuting into the capital from just outside Zone 6 has cost me £17.20 a day, which is a 16-25 railcard price. That’s a total cost of £68.80 for a train that is perpetually late (the 8:23 arrived no earlier than 8:27 every single day). I was lucky to get a seat each day, but the majority of people after my station had to stand for the 30-40 minute journey.
Because of my railcard (supposedly) I also had issues getting through the barriers at the train and underground stations. Most of the time staff are around, but on my final day I struggled to find someone to let me through and almost missed my train. They also never asked for proof of my railcard, although probably because I look about 12.
It’s no wonder though that there’s a degree of money to be made in selling fakes. Not working in the barriers is no problem as they are indistinguishable at a glance from the real thing, and with prices over half of what you’d pay from a reputable retailer, there is a clear market of commuters and leisure travellers hoping to get a good deal.
You can read the full article here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-37800623. This is also a fantastic example of responsible investigative journalism – they didn’t name the company, so they don’t generate business for them, and they carried genuine tickets alongside the fakes. Well done to the BBC!