How to bump TFL – By @eudaimonicr

By Rachael Simoes


How to bump TFL


TfL made a profit of 3 billion pounds in 2017. I know this because when I was taking Level 3 BTEC Media Studies, I made a mockumentary about tfl. The insight was that it was expensive, people had no choice but to scam it.


It started off as a documentary, and my editing with drastic zooms and racy articles were class. But there was a reality to the people we interviewed. One goes by the brave name Musti, and had spoke for many young Londoners. He spoke about how he couldn’t pay the high travel fairs, and when found on the train without a valid travel card, was publicly humiliated by a TFL worker… 


Although Musti’s account was comical enough for my teacher to remark that the work was fit for a mockumentary, there’s a very harsh truth to it. As a result, here are some ways to avoid paying for TFL, with some thoughts on it. For context, I wouldn’t have come to the SCA if it wasn’t for Commercial Break paying for my travel. Otherwise, it would’ve been too much of a financial burden. 


“The barriers weren’t working when I got in at X station so they just let me through.” This is the most simple method, and works best, I’m guessing, with claiming it happened at underground based stations such as bank or Aldgate East, where there’s no signal connection and a very small likelihood of them asking the station for proof. I haven’t done this one personally but friends have. 


It makes me wonder why the further you go out in zones, usually for cheaper rent for people with low income due to the socio-economic oppression in this country, the fares get higher to travel into central London where a big chunk of well paying jobs are.


Strength in numbers. I’ve seen this many times and is iconic at Marble Arch on 4/20. Is one or two likkle TfL workers going to stop and fine a team of persistently denying bumpers? I’m yet to see it happen without the force of police.


As we travelled from the Borough of Barking and Dagenham or Newham, the poorest ones, police await us at the barriers. We’re followed if we retrieve back to the platform, and we try to go back because it’s stress if mum finds out. She doesn’t need to deal with that, she’s got her own problems. I’m just trying to get to school.


Learn your stations, read body language on the DLR. Some stations have more than one exit, find out if some are less guarded, have open barriers, etc. DLR stations don’t have barriers, but watch out, certain train constructors love to catch you out like it’s a game.


I walk up and see someone looking backwards. They ask if I mind tapping out at the big barriers. Sometimes I see people hesitate before the gates, then I feel their shoes kick against mine as they squeeze through with me.


When you get caught, give them the address of uni halls, and maybe don’t give them your real name. They can’t verify residency at halls, you’ll be free from that fine. My friend once claimed homeless with crocodile tears and a dead phone where she was supposedly using Apple Pay when her fake name didn’t match her neighbours address.


I knew a 17 year old that had £800 in fines from tfl. When my child oyster expired I had three people I asked for a crooked card. 


Yet Musti’s misery was worthy of a mockumentary.

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