Fare-dodgers risk 500 euro fine!

The Flemish transport company De Lijn has drawn up a new plan to combat fare-dodging. Starting Thursday the number of checks will be stepped up.

On Thursday the transport company also launched simultaneous controls across its network.

The company hopes to convince us that fare-dodging is a social ill and is unacceptable. Some of the extra checks will be announced beforehand. Others will be launched in secret.

On Thursday morning extra checks were carried out in Antwerp, Lommel, Ghent, Kampenhout and Ostend where passengers on the coast tram were asked to show their ticket.

De Lijn's director-general Roger Kesteloot: "We intend to announce some of the checks beforehand because we believe that this will help convince some customers to buy a ticket."

The extra checks that are being announced will be published on the company website delijn.be and will also be listed in the free newspaper Metro.

De Lijn inspectors are having a hard time coping with the volume of fare-dodgers. Mark Herman is a bus inspector: "We notice more fare-dodgers in the cities especially on the trams with five doors. You will encounter fewer fare-dodgers on buses in rural areas as here passengers get on at the front and the driver has an easier time keeping tabs on the situation."

Fare-dodgers risk fines between 75 and 400 euros. Last year the fines raised 3.2 million euros.