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1996-10-17 LRT-001
London Regional Transport


Operation Amazon reduces Underground ticket touting

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London Regional Transport

Operation Amazon reduces Underground ticket touting

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1996-07-15 Operation Amazon targets ticket touts (London Regional Transport)


17 October 1996
source London Regional Transport
type Press release

But crackdown set to continue

The first stage of a network wide crackdown on ticket touts who have cost London Underground an estimated £1 million annually has already reported record numbers of offences and arrests - and the blitz is set to continue!

Operation Amazon enters a second phase this week, building on the success of the initial exercise run jointly with the British Transport Police. Phase one started on 15 July 1996 and in just 13 weeks recorded an astonishing 3,400 offences and 237 arrests at Tube stations across London.

Phase two of the exercise is run by London Undergroundís Revenue Services and involves 20 Revenue Control Inspectors and six officers from the British Transport Police. Touts will continue to be reported and arrested, but the exercise will also focus on crime prevention and reinforcing the message to passengers that it is illegal to transfer or purchase used tickets. Nick Agnew, London Undergroundís Revenue Service General Manager said: "Operation Amazon has been very successful at key stations so far. However, the message remains the same - buy, sell or use a second-hand ticket and you are committing an offence."

"Most second-hand tickets, if not all, start as legitimate purchases. Donating, buying or carelessly discarding used tickets denies the Underground revenue which could be used for system improvements." The dramatic number of offences recorded - particularly at Victoria, Kings Cross and Brixton - has reinforced London Undergroundís earlier estimate of the scale of ticket touting. The second stage of Operation Amazon demonstrates LULís commitment to reducing theft of revenue which could otherwise be reinvested.

Inspector Chris Connell of the British Transport Police said: "Whilst significant, the number of reports and arrests only tell half the story. Letters banning persistent touts from the system have been served, and injunctions are already in progress for those hard core offenders who have defied them."

The money raised by touts - estimated to be £13,000 per year - is often used to further other criminal activity. Undercover BTP officers have confirmed that some touts are working together in gangs and most have no qualms about intimidating passengers.

London Undergroundís extensive CCTV network has enabled this threatening behaviour to be recorded and used successfully as evidence in court.
Recent offensives to combat ticket touts have included a highly successful One Day Travelcard offer in which passengers who saved five Travelcards could claim discounts for meals and up to a third off the costs of selected West End shows. The offer helped to prevent the fraudulent resale of valid tickets by passengers who would have otherwise discarded them after use, potentially allowing them to be picked up by ticket touts and resold.
Similar offers that benefit customers while protecting vital revenue for investment in the system are currently under consideration.


The total number of offences under Byelaw 7 and 22 reported since the commencement of the operation is 3,398. This consists of 2,363 re-sale offences, 783 revenue related offences and 252 other offences. There have also been 85 re-sale arrests, 14 revenue related arrests and 138 other arrests, giving a total of 237 arrests. This gives a cumulative total for Operation Amazon of 3,635 offences.


Listed below are the monthly totals of ticket tout offences detected so far during 1996:

January 60
February 55
March 89
April 94
May 76
June 49
July 547* Operation Amazon phase 1 starts 15 July
August 1080*
September 725*
October 126* phase 1 finishes 12 October.


Total offences under Byelaw 7 and 22 for the top 15 stations are as follows:

Victoria 1,339
Kings Cross 221
Brixton 184
Gloucester Road 95
Euston 69
Seven Sisters 62
Stockwell 54
Tottenham Court Road 44
Russell Square 39
Walthamstow Central 37
Hendon Central 32
Leytonstone 30
Earlís Court 25
Leyton 25
Tooting Broadway 20

Railhub Archive ::: 1996-10-17 LRT-001


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