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Fare evasion in public transport systems: a review of the literature

Abstract

Fare evasion has become an important issue for public transport companies, especially for those that have adopted proof-of-payment ticketing systems. Recent years have seen strong growth in the publication of studies on fare evasion. This paper reviews 113 studies to identify the characteristics of the research on fare evasion. An overview and classification in five main areas, i.e., fare evader-oriented, criminological, economic, technological, and operational is provided. Next, the status quo of these studies is assessed to support possible unifying research development.

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Fig. 1

Notes

  1. 1.

    In this paper, POP occurs when passengers purchase tickets (or passes) in advance and are required to validate before using the service, regardless of the verification of fare payment. According to this definition, POP can be implemented without barriers (or self-service or honour-based or POPs) and with barriers (or POPB).

  2. 2.

    https://101innovations.wordpress.com/, accessed on 21/12/2016.

  3. 3.

    An update has been added to the original review due to the publication of recent papers after the first submission of this review. The same search and selection strategy was applied for the years 2018 and 2019. The publications retrieved for these years are listed in Appendix A, but these papers were not reviewed.

  4. 4.

    To the best of our knowledge, there are groups of fare evaders that may deal with the elusion of fares by astute tricks. They are clever and well informed about the mazes in the system, or have become experienced in that no harm will come if they adapt their behaviour to the change of the fare system control.

  5. 5.

    An assault is a physical/verbal act against the mission of the staff by passengers. It may depend on time, location and crowding.

  6. 6.

    NFC is wireless short-range communication technology.

  7. 7.

    Recently, there have been court cases in the USA surrounding the ability of police to act as inspectors or ask passengers to show Proof of Payment. For instance, in Cleveland (Ohio), a judge has ruled that police cannot act as inspectors because they do not have probable cause to detain passengers (Groves 2017).

  8. 8.

    The copycat syndrome refers to a person who adopts, imitates, mimics, or follows the same behaviour of someone else (i.e., fare evaders may follow the behaviour of pass holders that in many worldwide transit systems are not required to tap in/out their tickets).

Abbreviations

AFC:

Automatic fare collection

APC:

Automatic passenger counting

AVL:

Automatic vehicle location

C:

Conductor

fBTS:

Off-board ticketing systems

GIS:

Geographic information system

IT:

Information technology

ITS:

Intelligent transport systems

nBTS:

On-board ticketing systems

NFC:

Near field communication

POE:

Pay-on-entry

POP:

Proof-of-payment

PTC:

Public transport company

QR code:

Quick response code

UITP:

Union Internationale des Transports Publics

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Acknowledgements

The authors thank Professor M. Di Francesco, and Dr. S. Salis for very helpful comments on earlier versions of this paper. The authors are very grateful to the Editor-in-Chief Professor S. Voß and four anonymous referees for their valuable comments. However, the content of this article is the full responsibility of the authors.

Funding

This work has been partially supported by the Italian Ministry of University and Research (MIUR), within the Smart City framework (project: PON04a2_00381 “CAGLIARI2020”).

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Correspondence to Benedetto Barabino.

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Appendix: Overview of publications for 2018 and 2019—not reviewed

Appendix: Overview of publications for 2018 and 2019—not reviewed

  • Allen J, Muñoz JC, Ortúzar JD (2019) On evasion behaviour in public transport: dissatisfaction or contagion? Transp Res Part A 130:626–651. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tra.2019.10.005

  • Ayal S, Celse J, Hochman G (2019) Crafting messages to fight dishonesty: a field investigation of the effects of social norms and watching eye cues on fare evasion. Organ Behav Hum Decis Process. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.obhdp.2019.10.003(in press)

  • Barabino B, Salis S (2019) Moving towards a more accurate level of inspection against fare evasion in proof-of-payment transit systems. Netw Spat Econ 19:1319–1346. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11067-019-09468-3

  • Dai Z, Galeotti F, Villeval MC (2019) Fare-dodging in the lab and the moral cost of dishonesty. In: Dishonesty in behavioral economics. Academic Press, pp 245–265. https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-815857-9.00004-2

  • Delbosc A, Currie G (2019) Why do people fare evade? A global shift in fare evasion research. Transp Rev 39(3):376–391. https://doi.org/10.1080/01441647.2018.1482382

  • González F, Busco C (2019) Fare evasion in public transport: grouping Transantiago users’ behavior. Sustainability 11(23):6543. https://doi.org/10.3390/su11236543

  • Fabbri M, Nicola Barbieri P, Bigoni M (2019) Ride your luck! A field experiment on lottery-based incentives for compliance. Manag Sci 65(9):4336–4348. https://doi.org/10.1287/mnsc.2018.3163

  • Hughes P, Maroske K (2019) Fare evasion in Queensland-compounding inequity and the need to improve social inclusion on public transport. Parity 32(4):18–19

  • Tan ES (2019) “Paying” the way for a better BART future: a call for better enforcement of fare evasion policies and strategic planning at BART. Scholarship repository, University of San Francisco

  • Delfau JB, Pertsekos D, Chouiten M (2018) Optimization of control agents shifts in public transportation: tackling fare evasion with machine-learning. In: 2018 IEEE 30th international conference on tools with artificial intelligence (ICTAI). IEEE, pp 409–413

  • Keuchel S, Laurenz K (2018) The effects of a higher ticket inspection rate in a medium-size public transportation system. Transp Res Procedia 31:56–66

  • Fürst E, Herold D (2018) Fare evasion and ticket forgery in public transport: insights from Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Societies 8(4):98

  • Kulkarni V, Chapuis B, Garbinato B, Mahalunkar A (2018) Addressing the free-rider problem in public transport systems. arXiv preprint, arXiv:1803.04389

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Barabino, B., Lai, C. & Olivo, A. Fare evasion in public transport systems: a review of the literature. Public Transp 12, 27–88 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12469-019-00225-w

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Keywords

  • Fare evasion
  • Proof-of-payment
  • Pay-on-entry
  • Fare dodging
  • Fare evader
  • Fare dodger
  • Fraud in public transportation
  • Fare cheating
  • Free rider