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'They'll spot you': Luas warning commuters about plain clothes ticket inspectors

A new campaign by the private operator was launched earlier this month.

Luas.

LUAS OPERATOR TRANSDEV is warning commuters travelling on Dublin’s tram service about plain clothes inspectors tasked with tackling fare evasion. 

Plain clothes inspections have been in operation on Luas for four years, according to a Luas spokesperson, but the new campaign by the private operator was launched earlier this month to highlight them. 

“We felt it was appropriate…to raise awareness that these inspections do take place,” they said. 

The spokesperson could not confirm how often these inspections take place nor how many plain clothes inspectors are present at any one time on the Luas. Transdev has previously told commuters that the success rate for court prosecutions for those caught without a valid ticket was 72%.

Tickets held by passengers travelling on Luas are usually inspected by employees wearing orange hi-vis vests. 

Known as Revenue Protection Officers, Transdev has been alerting passengers to the presence of these plain clothes inspectors in a series of posters at Luas stops and social media posts. 

Inspectors board in varying numbers at stops throughout the system.

According to Luas, ticket inspectors “check tickets in their civvies regularly” meaning passengers can’t spot them.

“They’ll spot you though and if you’re caught using Luas without a ticket, they will issue you with a Standard Fare penalty of €100,” Luas said in a tweet. 

A sign at Beechwood Luas stop warned commuters: “Pay the Fare or Pay the Price – Plain clothes ticket inspectors look just like you – don’t chance it!”

The spokesperson did not confirm if the use of plain clothes inspectors and the recent campaign was due to increased instances of fare evasion. 

The Luas first opened in 2004. It was reported in 2007 that €445,000 in fines had been issued by Luas operators from January to October that year. 

In December 2017, the green line extension was opened, linking the south of the city with the northside. The number of passengers travelling on the Luas increased by 11% to almost 42 million in 2018.

A spokesperson for Transdev told TheJournal.ie that it could not release figures related to fines due to commercial sensitivity concerns.

The plain clothes inspector campaign started on 3 April and runs until this week. 

According to the spokesperson: “We have been actively managing fare evasion on the Luas system since Luas commenced passenger service in 2004.”

“We do this through a variety of campaigns and operations on the system, including the recently-highlighted Plain Clothes ticket inspections and operations involving the Gardaí, who we work with closely.”

According to Transdev, plain clothes inspections involve non-uniformed ticket inspectors carrying out Luas ticket inspections across the system.

“We wish to reassure customers that Luas staff always carry ID and they will always produce same if requested to do so by any of our customers.”

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