Penalty Fares - Zone diagram

New TfW Penalty Fare zone

We know that the vast majority of our customers pay their fares in full. It’s only a small minority who try to avoid paying their way. Penalty Fares are aimed at deterring unfair behaviour.

From Monday 4 March 2024, if travelling without a valid ticket for your journey on a TfW service within the new Penalty Fare zone between Carmarthen and Severn Tunnel Junction, you may have to pay a Penalty Fare (£20)* or twice the full single fare applicable to your journey, whichever is greater).

*This penalty may increase to £100 in the future (which would match the Penalty Fare currently applicable in England).

You must buy your ticket before you board. All stations in this Penalty Fare zone have ticket buying facilities. You can also buy tickets on the TfW app.

A Penalty Fare may be charged if you:

  • Travel without a valid ticket
  • Travel in First Class with a Standard ticket
  • Are unable to produce an appropriate Railcard for a discounted ticket
  • Are aged 16 or over and travel on a child rate ticket
  • Travel beyond the destination on your ticket or on a train service where your ticket is not valid

Please note that we also operate a Penalty Fare zone between Shrewsbury and Birmingham International, this route is entirely within England and as such, is part of the English Penalty Fare scheme based on 2022 Penalty Fares Regulations Amendment legislation.


Frequently asked questions about Penalty Fares

  • What is a valid ticket?
    • Always check your ticket is valid for the train service you are travelling on, and for the specific time you want to travel. If you have bought your ticket with a railcard discount, you must carry your railcard with you. If you are travelling on a child ticket, proof of age may be required.

    • If you are using a digital / SMART ticket, you must activate your ticket before you start your journey or it’s not valid.

    • A Penalty Fare may be charged if you:

      • Travel without a valid ticket

      • Travel in First Class with a Standard ticket

      • Are unable to produce an appropriate Railcard for a discounted ticket

      • Are aged 16 or over and travel on a child rate ticket

      • Travel beyond the destination on your ticket or on a train service where your ticket is not valid

  • How to buy a ticket?
    • There are many ways to buy a ticket before boarding a train:

    • Online

    • You can buy tickets on our website. We don’t charge booking fees if you buy direct from us.

    • You can also download our ticket app - simply search TfW app in your app store.

    • Season tickets

    • If you are a regular traveller along this route, a weekly, monthly or annual season ticket may offer you great savings. Visit or your local ticket office for more details.

    • Self-service ticket machines

    • All stations between Carmarthen - Severn Tunnel Junction have self-service ticket machines that sell the full range of tickets for this route. You can also purchase weekly season tickets and discounted railcard tickets.

    • Ticket offices

    • Between Carmarthen and Severn Tunnel Junction, there are ticket offices at Carmarthen, Llanelli, Swansea, Neath, Port Talbot Parkway, Bridgend, Cardiff Central, Newport and Severn Tunnel Junction.

    • Opening times of ticket offices can be found at

    • Pay as You Go

    • We are currently trialling contactless pay-as-you-go between Newport, Cardiff Central and Pontyclun, where you can tap in and out using your physical contactless bank card.

    • Promise to Pay / Permit to Travel

    • If you are paying by cash and there is only a card self-service machine available, obtain a promise voucher to exchange for a normal ticket at the earliest opportunity. This demonstrates your intent to pay for your journey and a penalty fare will not be necessary. You must exchange your promise to pay voucher with the required cash either on the train from the conductor, or at your destination.

  • What if ticket buying facilities at the station are not open or are out of order?
    • If ticket buying facilities aren’t available then you must pay your fare at the first available opportunity. Conductors are available on all of our services and are able to check with our control centre to confirm the availability of ticket buying facilities.

  • What if I arrive late and there is a large queue to buy a ticket?
    • Ticket buying facilities can be busy especially during peak travelling times. We recommend that you leave enough time to buy a ticket before you board the train. Long queues at ticket buying facilities are unusual but you’re advised to allow enough time to buy your ticket during busy periods to avoid being liable for a penalty fare.

  • How much is a Penalty Fare?
    • The Penalty Fare is £20.00 or twice the cost of the full single fare applicable for your journey (whichever is greater).

  • Why is the Penalty Fare £20 in Wales and why may it go up in the future?
    • The penalty fare is set at £20 (or double the exact fare, whichever is greater) in line with the 2018 Penalty Fares Regulations which are applicable within Wales. It aims to minimise the fare evasion costs for TfW, TfW customers and taxpayers who ultimately subsidise TfW journeys in Wales. The scheme will ensure that honest, fare-paying customers are not unfairly penalised and that TfW is able to target fare evaders specifically. In the future this may increase in line with the Penalty Fares scheme in England which is based on the 2022 Penalty Fares Regulations Amendment. This amendment is not currently in operation within Wales, however, should this change, the Penalty Fares scheme implemented by TfW may also change accordingly.
  • Who can issue a Penalty Fare?
    • Penalty Fares may only be issued by an authorised collector identified with a unique identification card and number. Typically this will be a revenue protection inspector on the train or at a station who may be in uniform or plain clothes.

  • How do I pay the Penalty Fare?
    • You will be asked to supply your name and address, then a penalty fare notice will be issued to you with instructions. You are required by law to provide your name and address when being issued with a penalty fare. It is a serious offence to provide false details and doing so will be deemed as an attempt to deliberately avoid payment, leading to potential prosecution and a fine of up to £1000.00.

    • Payment of a Penalty Fare or an appeal must be made within 21 days following the day after the Penalty Fare is issued. Our revenue protection inspectors are instructed not to accept payments at the time of issue. Payments can be made online by debit/credit card or in the post by cheque.

  • What happens to the data I give you?
    • The data is retained in line with the General Data Protection Regulations and is not used for marketing purposes or distribution to third parties. Details of penalty fare recipients are retained electronically to monitor persistent offenders

  • How do I know if I am travelling in a Penalty Fare zone?
    • There are clearly displayed posters at all stations within the Penalty Fare zone and there are frequent station and on-board announcements.

  • Will a Penalty Fare leave me with a criminal record?
    • A Penalty Fare is a civil matter and in itself will not lead to a criminal record. However, customers who receive multiple Penalty Fare notices, customers who provide false details and customers who fail to pay may be subject to either civil debt recovery measures or legal proceedings which may ultimately lead to a criminal record.

  • What if I want to buy a season ticket and the booking office was closed?
    • If you have a photocard, you can buy a weekly season ticket at a self-service ticket machine. If you require a monthly season ticket, you should buy a single ticket for your journey and buy your season ticket at your destination station. The cost of the single ticket will then be deducted from your season ticket.

  • What if I have left my season ticket at home?
    • Simply buy a ticket to cover your journey and then apply for a refund when you renew your season ticket. Only two refund applications are allowed in a 12 month period and you may be charged an administration fee.

  • How can I dispute the Penalty Fare that I have been issued with?
    • You may appeal against the Penalty Fare in writing to the address indicated on the Penalty Fare notice. The appeal system is totally independent to Transport for Wales and will base the appeal on the facts that you put forward. A three-stage appeal process is available and the clock is stopped for 21 days to allow sufficient time for you to put forward your grounds for the appeal. If your appeal is successful, the Penalty Fare will be waived.


Terms and conditions

The TfW Penalty Fare system is in line with The Railways (Penalty Fares) Regulations 2018 that are currently applicable in Wales. More Information about our Revenue Protection policy

  1. You must be able to produce a valid ticket or other authority when required to do so, to your destination (and any other document necessary to make it valid e.g: railcard). The ticket must be for the class of travel you wish to use.
  2. If you have failed to produce a valid ticket for the entire journey you are making (or have made), you are liable to pay a Penalty Fare, being either £20 or twice the full single fare applicable to your journey (whichever is greater).
  3. Unless you leave the train at the next station stop, any travel beyond that must be paid for at the standard rate.
  4. Revenue protection inspectors are instructed not to accept payments at the time of issue. Payments can be made online by debit/credit card or in the post by cheque.
  5. If you do not wish to pay immediately, your name and address will be taken and a bill will be given to you so payment can be made within 21 days. Failure to do so (including giving false or out of date details) is a criminal offence.
  6. If you join the train without the means to pay for your fare you may be liable to prosecution.
  7. If you wish to dispute your liability to pay a Penalty Fare, you must give a written statement explaining your failure to produce a valid ticket or authority for your journey, together with any other relevant information. This must be sent to the address stated on the penalty fares notice to arrive within 21 days from the issue date. Failure to pay the full amount owing within 21 days following the day after the penalty fare is issued may result in legal proceedings being bought against you.