Central Trains has employed an extra 24 staff to provide permanently staffed barriers at Birmingham New Street station.

Railfuture has long argued that train operators do not do enough to make it easy for people to buy tickets and to check passengers tickets properly.

Central Trains took action after a six-week barrier check last year at New Street.

From 11 June 2002 all rail passengers will have their tickets checked in and out of New Street station.

It is estimated that around 7% of rail passengers currently travel around the West Midlands without tickets.
Central Trains aims to reduce ticketless travel to just below 3%, encouraging everyone to buy their rail ticket before travelling.

Commercial Director Mike Haigh said: Although the majority of our rail passengers are honest there is a small minority who deliberately set out to avoid paying for their travel.

In the end, fares evasion reduces the amount of money train companies can invest in improving services and facilities for the benefit of all rail users.

The barrier checks will also help Central Trains (along with other operators) evaluate the benefits of fitting automatic ticket barriers at stations within the West Midlands.

The barriers are expected to improve station security and reduce vandalism.

Around 50,000 passenger journeys are made on local services in the West Midlands every day at an average ticket cost of