Northern teams-up with BAFTA-winning actor and writer Phil Mealey to send a message to fare dodgers on National Poetry Day

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Train operator, Northern has teamed-up with the BAFTA-winning actor and writer, Phil Mealey, to send a message to ‘fare dodgers’ on National Poetry Day. (Thursday 6 October).

Mealey, well-known for his work on The Royle FamilyEarly Doors and Sunshine, has penned a poem called The Dodger that highlights the tactics and pitfalls of a fare dodger on the operator’s 550-station network.

It is hoped the light-hearted limerick will make people think twice about travelling without a ticket, for which they can prosecuted.

The Dodger, by Phil Mealey

I am a dodgy geezer
Dodging all my rail fares
Dodging the conductors
And their suspicious stares

Dodging the collectors
When they come walking through
Dodging into the next carriage
Or even dodging in the loo

But these days of being a dodger
Aren’t like dodging days gone by
I see it’s others who must pay
For every time I don’t comply

So now my dodging days are over
It’s not artful it’s a crime
And it doesn’t pay to be dodger
When you’ve got a twenty pound fine!

Mark Powles, customer and commercial director at Northern, said: “Phil’s poem has perfectly captured the effort to which some people will go to avoid buying a ticket. Our conductors and revenue protection teams encounter these – as Phil would call – ‘dodgy geezers’ on a daily basis and their belief that they have the right to travel for free when those around them have paid is unacceptable.

“Northern is investing in the largest network of digital ticket infrastructure of any train operator in the country – making it easier than ever for customers to buy a ticket via our app, website or one of more than 600 ticket machines across the network. There is no excuse.”

Mealey, whose latest work Making A Murderer: The Musical has just premiered at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe to rave reviews, added: “I’ve spotted my fair share of ‘dodgy geezers’ on the train. Never thought I’d be writing a poem about them!”

National Poetry Day is the UK’s annual celebration that encourages everyone to make, experience and share poetry with family and friends.

Northern is the second-largest train operator in the country, with nearly 2,000 services a day to more than 550 stations across the North of England.

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.

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