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Soupdog

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  1. Finally ready to report back. Well, my problems seem to be over in a most surprising way. Fingers crossed! A month after my statement to the S. W. T. RPO, I received a letter from the Prosecutions office "in lieu of prosecution" and the chance to end the matter for a sum well short of £100. I'm really not sure how I got to dodge the proverbial bullet to this extent, beyond that I had never come to their attention before. Perhaps it is better to have a season ticket halfway to your stated destination, rather than none - ? From all my reading on CAG posts, I'd expected at least a letter which would allow me to explain myself and offer a sum around 5 times what they settled for in the end. I'm delighted to say the least to put the matter behind me and not to have to explain myself. I really had thought they would explore where one works, how one gets there normally etc - luckily not, as I have no record of what I paid for previously or how. To CAG advisors on these matters, many, many thanks for your advice. A perusal of the advice given in this forum shows you offer advice with great patience to people who have got themselves into a fix. We panicky seekers of your help thank you for all you do. To panicky people who find their way here seeking advice, the most important thing to remember is - you don't know what will happen until you hear from the company involved. Don't waste energy worrying about every possible outcome until you hear what they say. And to S. W. Trains, you are a lot more forgiving than I had been led to believe elsewhere. You won't hear from me anymore! You might consider installing more ticket barriers on your suburban lines BTW, there are plenty of people who find it easy not to pay fully or at all to travel..
  2. Thanks again. Am done flagellating, at least in this forum!
  3. To all who have taken time to respond, thankyou so much. The benefit of your experience is very gratefully received. Much of what you have told me is comforting. Two things to make clear; firstly, I have of course rationalised and justified persistent fare evasion to myself previously - I hope everything I've written, starting with the title of the thread, makes it clear that I am not seeking to make excuses or justify it to anyone else. No good telling you that I accidentally used my granny's freedom pass or my cat had eaten my oyster card if seeking advice on how to proceed. Truthfully, it is only since viewing previous posts on this forum that I really appreciate what a serious offence / series of offences I have committed. I suspect that persistent fare evasion has been and remains quite common on train lines without ticket barriers. I've seen others get away with it and I was tempted to try it, in reduced financial circumstances. Secondly, the train company is now very welcome to view my travel etc as they wish, as I will not board a train again without a valid ticket and now feel much more at ease travelling to work without wondering whether train company staff will appear or board the train! I would strongly advise anyone else tempted to cut costs on travel in this way not to, for even a single journey. Much less stress in honesty, I find. I will await contact from SWT, and see what they say. I don't think I even offered any excuses about jumping onto the train when it arrived, hoping I could buy a ticket en route and having the means and desire so to do etc etc, to the RPO - making excuses seemed somewhat pathetic at the time, so I made as short a statement as possible and left shamefaced asap. I admitted fully that I was guilty, as he stated it, of fare evasion. He made no mention of other journeys, so I can only hope that any letter I receive focusses only on this one offence - from what you've all written, I now have more hope that this will be the case. More than I deserve, if so. Whatever they put to me, I will admit culpability and pay up, a wiser man. I can only hope that the matter can be settled out of court, as I haven't tried to avoid blame for the journey in question and am willing to pay any level of costs to put the whole affair behind me, saying I now recognise the seriousness.., will never again travel without.., etc - which is perfectly true. I'll refer to previous threads at that point to see what to expect next and hints on what any response should say.. Oh, if anyone has read this far, one final question if I may - would the initial letter from SWT prosecutions normally * invite * a response or clarification from me? - or just say that there is evidence to prosecute and this will be sent to the CPS, or whatever, so that I would have to write proactively to the sender to put my side of things and show contrition? Just wondering. Thankyou once more for the benefit of your experience and guidance.
  4. Just hoping to get out of a bad situation without opening unnecessary cans of worms, you understand. Not much to do now but pay up as quickly and painfully as I can - I've kind of gone off dishonesty myself! And apologies for the verbosity - thought it easier to present all facts than answer related questions..
  5. Dear all, any help in choosing between two evils would be hugely appreciated. Since moving house over a year ago, I have bought a monthly / weekly ticket, which gets me legally only halfway to work. I am therefore a fully informed and conscious fare evader. I have been able to buy extensions on occasion where necessary, but have generally not had to. Sort of thing. I have justified this to myself by saying that the £2,500 a year for a legal ticket was excessive (including travelcard rights which I don't use) and difficult to pay, with an extended mortgage etc. Also, I thought that if Southern and South West Trains didn't employ enough people I would take the risk of paying the odd penalty fare and be able to support the family and pay the mortgage more comfortably.. Credit crunched, but with no history of antisocial behaviour, sort of thing. Needless to say, I ran into a SWT RPO last week, and now kind of wish I'd bought the right ticket all along. Clearly the whole thing was a bad bet, and I'm hoping that the thing now gets settled out of court, I can pay £x00 and act more responsibly. If I have to go to court, okay, but I hope not to! I realise that to have this happen again would have serious consequences, so will find the money and move on happily. I was not trying to leave that station, but changing onto another train. I had already made one change and not seen a ticket seller, but I can't pretend that I was looking for one. Does the fact that I change(d) trains from one run by Southern to one run by SWT make me doubly liable, BTW? The SWT RPO took a statement under caution. All very polite, but he didn't give me a copy of what he wrote, and he said that as his writing was illegible he would read me my "confession" - ie, from memory, that I had travelled on a South West train without a ticket, which constitutes fare evasion. He took my details including phone number and said that SWT trains would be in touch - implication, they wanted to speak to me before deciding how to proceed. So, to cut a long story shortish, three questions please and I would value your advice on my best course of action. a Will they really phone me and give me the Spanish Inquisition, do you think? Other follow-up responses seem to suggest that letters are sent out. b Do SWT have the ability to check where I work? If I say that I do freelance work near the station to which I can legally travel, are they able to check this, or are they likely to demand employment contracts etc? How about if it goes to court? A key factor in that question perhaps, is that I showed the RPO that I had a valid 7 day ticket for half of my journey. He didn't look closely at it, didn't take details, made no mention of it in what he read out as my statement and there was no question of its confiscation. I didn't push this, as I thought that saying I had a 7 day season ticket to an intermediate station might open a big can of worms related to whether I make the journey regularly, was I travelling to work perhaps etc.. So, starting from where I am now, question c is c Am I better off or worse if I say that I had a season ticket at the time which got me legally half way there? Should I - Confess I did wrong on one occasion, and hope I don't get into a conversation about whether I make the journey regularly, can you provide proof of employment etc (I used to get a ticket all the way to work before the move so they must be aware of my travel history I guess and can put two and two together from my name and address!) - Or say that the RPO ignored the fact I had a ticket halfway there, and was travelling beyond my stop on this one occasion? - risking the perhaps increased likelihood of them looking into my travel and employment history? I rather think that if I speak to someone and they ask about my regular journeys, I would be flat out lying if I said worked elsewhere, but that they may only be able to find out the truth if a court's resources are bought into force - ? I guess that could happen whether or not I bring up the valid season ticket halfway there point.. Having written all this, perhaps my best and obvious move is to be proactive, write a letter (or email? If advisable, which?) to SWT and apologise for having got on one of their trains without buying a ticket or seeking to buy one, fall upon their mercy and ignore the part about having done it before (300 times!). BTW would SWT through a court be able to seek payment for previous journeys made? I guess it would be difficult to prove exactly when I did travel, except through being able to asses my attendance at work.. I was a fare evader, and I know I done wrong. Bah. Thanks so much again for your attention and any advice you can offer.
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