Train operator trials power packs in Wigan so passengers with digital tickets don't have the 'dead phone' excuse
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Not that the excuse would get them out of trouble: with Northern ticket inspectors unable to distinguish between those with a genuine problem and those trying to dodge paying, they’ve all been hit with the national penalty fare, which has recently increased to £100.
However, in the last 12 months, Northern has installed more than 11,800 plugs and 17,200 USB sockets on-board its trains – providing ample opportunity for customers to charge their devices.
And now, the company has begun a trial – at Wigan Wallgate among other stations – with a company called BattPoint to provide power packs at stations for those travelling without their phone charger or power cable.
They cost 99p for the first 10 minutes or £3.99 for the day and come with Micro USB, Type-c and iOS adapters - making them suitable for a range of devices including those by Apple and Samsung, as well as games consoles like Nintendo Switch.
The whole process is contactless and no app download is required. For more information, visit: https://battpoint.co.uk
Mark Powles, commercial and customer director at Northern, said: “Customers not only have a duty to buy a ticket before they board one of our trains – but also to be able to present it for inspection.
“We were fascinated by research from BattPoint which suggests 50 per cent of smartphone and tablet users run out of battery at least once a day and 96 per cent carrying no form of backup power with them.
“Through this trial – and the roll-out of out of nearly 30,000 plugs and USB sockets on our trains – we’re doing our bit to make sure no-one finds themselves ‘out of juice’ when they hear the words ‘tickets please’.”
Northern has invested in the largest network of digital ticket infrastructure of any train operator in the country, making it easier than ever to buy a ticket via their app, website or one of more than 600 ticket machines across the network.
Fare evaders are prosecuted under the provisions of the Regulation of Railways Act 1889 and the Railway Byelaws made pursuant to the Transport Act 2000.