I imagine, like many others, I stumbled upon this excellent forum having received this letter and diving onto Google. I’ve been reading a few posts from years past and taken on the advice there. I also entered into a thread elsewhere within the forum (I'm unable to link to it due to new member status) and use the template provided as a base for my own response, which is also contained below.
The letter reads:
On Tuesday 14th April at 11:40 your details were taken by a Revenue Protection Inspector en route near Denmark Hill station, on board the 11:20 train from West Hampstead Thameslink station to Sevenoaks station.
Proceeding paragraphs outline cost of travel fraud to rail industry and details of potential penalty for offenders.
Entering a train for the purpose of travelling without a ticket entitling travel.
For reasons unknown to me, my first name is printed incorrectly, it is wrong. My middle and last names are correct. During the encounter, I provided ID upon request. I’ve noted this in the letter below and presume(?) this to be of little consequence to the matter at hand.
I’m super unfamiliar with trains and buying tickets in general. I cycle everywhere. On this day, I was visiting a friend for the first time at their home way out somewhere I’d not been to before. I punched the address into Google Maps and followed that route. I purchased a paper ticket from Victoria to Bellingham.
I subsequently missed my stop without realising. I realised this once it was noted I was beyond my stated destination by the RPI.
The paper ticket was retained by the RPI, my bank statement shows a £7.20 purchase on the 14th April. I was considering attaching this as supporting evidence.
My friend whom I was visiting works alongside me. I was considering he write a supporting letter to be attached on company headed paper (intention being to make it more official and believable), confirming my intentions on that date to visit him, collaborating the address – this would be to clarify I was not attempting to travel somewhere further, which would have cost more, and thus purchased a cheaper ticket with intention of paying less. Hopefully that makes sense.
I think that is all the information I can think to provide, please feel free to request more.
My intended letter is provided below, please feel free to review and suggest amendments.
A super long post I know; I’m not particularly rolling in money and the thought of paying out sucks. Be sure to know that any advice you guys provide is extremely welcome and thanks so much for taking the time out to read all this. Very much appreciated.
To whom it may concern,
I write regarding the letter received concerning the occasion on 14th April 2015 at 11:49 when I was reported for travelling without a valid rail ticket.
I firstly would like to amend the name attached to the matter at hand where it should read: D****rather than the current G****. I can offer no assistance to this error having provided supporting identification upon request by the attending Revenue Protection Inspector in the form of VISA DEBIT card and my place of work Identification Card which provides full name and photo.
My final destination during this period of travel was **ADDRESS**, a work associate’s home whom I was visiting for the first time. This is pertinent as it reflects my intended destination in relation to the encounter with the Revenue Protection Inspector. I additionally attach a supporting letter from this associate, **NAME**, confirming my intention to visit him on this date and time. My intended route to this destination was from Victoria station to Bellingham and a short bus ride thereon. I purchased a return travel ticket from Victoria station for this specific destination. (I provide additional proof in the form of bank statement where date, time and cost can be measured against this statement – I no longer retain the travel ticket as this was confiscated by the Revenue Protection Inspector).
Being an inexperienced rail traveller (I cycle daily) I lost myself to both music and reading material and subsequently missed my stop; I was unaware of this. I was confronted by a Revenue Protection Inspector at the station Shortlands. I attempted to explain my mistake and made offer to both pay for any additional fares I incurred or on-the-spot-penalty. Both were declined. After providing personal details upon request, both myself and attending Revenue Protection Inspector exited the train at the station St Mary Cray.
Curiously, it appears a ticket purchase for the date Tuesday 30th June via the website thetrainlineDOTcom for similar travel times as mine on the 14th April offer a lower price of £6.90 than that of the £7.20 I actually paid for my intended destination. Understanding that I was ‘out of bounds’ in regards my ticket and the destination printed upon that ticket, I do feel that my intention to travel in accordance within the rules of travel – that I have indeed purchased a ticket, that additionally my supporting materials collaborate this with evidence of purchase and intended destination, that I did make a simple mistake.
I wish to offer my unreserved apology for my actions in the hope that you will allow this matter to be resolved without court action and thereby allowing me to preserve my good name. I have not previously been reported nor travelled without paying the fare due
I understand that fare evasion is a serious problem and unfair to the vast majority of travellers who pay the correct fare every time, I hope that you will recognise that I did genuinely make an honest mistake and did not with intention, attempt to avoid payment for my journey.
I am offering to pay the full fare that is due and the reasonable costs that have been incurred by the rail company in the hope that you will allow me to make amends for this uncharacteristic act.
Should that last paragraph be included? I'm unsure what route to take here as the above was written in supprt of a different scenario as mine..