FARE dodging tram passengers are costing Metrolink around £9 millon a year after revelations 12- per-cent of all journeys are not paid for.
Fares were due to rise by an average of 5.93-per-cent from January 2018, but costs will vary between individual tickets.
Now Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) bosses are being urged to introduce more enforcement officers and “ruthlessly prosecute non-payers”.
The call comes from Shaw councillor, Howard Sykes MBE, an Oldham Council representative on the TfGM committee.
It is estimated one in eight Metrolink passengers are fare-dodgersm leading Councillor Sykes to say: “Rather than hammering the honest passenger, transport bosses need to focus on tackling fare evasion.
“12-per-cent non-payment is a disgrace. Everyone should pay their ‘fare share’, so we say tackle the fare-dodgers.
“Oldham Liberal Democrats are flatly opposed to Labour plans (supported by the Conservatives) to put up fares for honest Metrolink passengers by an inflation-busting 19-per-cent by 2020 when one in eight passengers travel free.
“Labour goes on constantly about austerity and workers having to tighten their belts when at the same time the Labour-controlled Transport for Greater Manchester is hitting these very workers in the pocket by increasing Metrolink fares by such an astronomical amount.
“This will send out all of the wrong signals. Commuters will be put off using the tram and if they do they may be more inclined not to get a ticket.
“There are 40 million tram journeys a year, so fare-dodging is estimated to cost Metrolink about £9 million in lost revenue a year.
“Rather than hammering the honest passenger, transport bosses need to focus on tackling fare evasion.
“We need more enforcement officers on the line at more times and we need to ruthlessly prosecute non-payers.”