ScotRail ticket fraud crackdown

Last updated: Friday, 23 June 2023

ScotRail is cracking down on people who deliberately try to dodge paying the correct fare for their journey.

The train operator is creating 42 new Revenue Protection Officer roles as it attempts to reduce ticket fraud, currently costing around £2million per year in Scotland. 

A pilot scheme using new ticket validation machines has also been taking place over the last few weeks at stations including Edinburgh Waverley, Glasgow Central, Glasgow Queen Street, Croy, High Street, Rutherglen, and Paisley Canal. 

The devices are designed to read mobile tickets and barcoded tickets as passengers pass through the ticket gates. Tickets are scanned and passengers who have paid the correct fare will pass through the gates as normal.  

The ticket validation devices are designed to flag up potentially invalid tickets. Examples of this include: 

  • The ticket isn’t valid for a particular journey.
  • Rail card conditions apply.
  • An adult customer is using a child ticket.
  • The customer is claiming a ‘short-hop’ journey, such as Haymarket to Waverley, when they have been travelling a longer distance.
  • The customer is travelling from a station that is staffed where they could have bought a ticket but chose not to. 

Revenue Protection Officers will check tickets that are flagged. If they are valid the customer will be allowed through the gate.

The small number of passengers found travelling with an invalid ticket will have their details taken and the correct fare charged on all discounts claimed. Additionally, they may be further investigated and referred to the British Transport Police where appropriate.

Customers should buy their ticket before they board a ScotRail service, through the ScotRail app or website, through a ticket office, or at a station ticket machine.  

It’s also important for customers to activate their mTickets, tap in and out of stations with their SmartCards, and to carry any railcards at all times. 

Phil Campbell, ScotRail Head of Customer Operations, said: 

“Tackling ticket fraud has always been a priority for ScotRail. 

“It’s a small minority of passengers who deliberately try to avoid paying the proper fare but it’s honest, fare-paying passengers who bear the burden of lost investment in Scotland’s Railway. 

“The 42 new Revenue Protection Officers will be deployed around the rail network working from first trains to last. 

“Those roles will really help support front line colleagues with ticket irregularity, fraud, and any difficult situations.  

“We are determined to drive down ticketless travel, making the rail network a safer and more secure environment for customers and colleagues alike.” 


A video with further customer information is available on ScotRail's YouTube channel.