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Hello all,

 

I've been a member of CAG for a while now and been strictly a lurker!

 

But now, I'd like to put something back.

 

I am an ex Revenue Control Inspector (ticket inspector to the rest of the world!) with London Underground and if you need help or advice with any matters related to ticketing, penalty fares or legal action I'd be glad to help out.

 

Regards

UNDERGROUND :D

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I would like to take advantage of your offer.

 

I was recently caught using a family member's student oyster card on the underground. It was a stupid stupid and regrettable thing to do. There were a team of inspectors which were at the station and I was stopped by them.

From research I am familiar with the process which follows - the letter from TFL to explain, followed by the summons.

I would be grateful for your advice in how to deal with this matter.

 

i) I would prefer to settle out of court. What are the best ways to convince TFL of this? Is it worth hiring a lawyer?

ii) Also how long before I hear from the Investigations team? Do you have an idea of their current workload?

iii) The inspector did not caution at the beginning of the interview - ie all questions were asked outside of the caution. Does this have any bearing?

 

Thank you for your help

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Just ring up the prosecutions dept and ask to settle out of court, they will usually agree unless there are aggravating circumstances & ask you to pay the costs.

A solicitor will cost about £500 btw.

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My concern is that this is rather difficult with the Underground team (relative to the buses team).

 

Also with regards to going to court - i have read conflicting scenarios. One set implies that cases are brought in bulk with most offenders not turning up. Very much a batch process. But others imply much more of a trial scenario where the inspector is called as witness and a full defense must be mounted. Can anyone clarify?

 

Thank you

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They are all done in batches, if you plead not guilty the case will be adjourned until the next date that LUL are at that court, time will be put aside to deal with your trial & the batch will be reduced to reflect that amount of time.

The prosecution costs will increase if there is a trial, however the bench will decide what to order if you are found guilty.

You must be very careful if you decide to go for trial,study the evidence against you & take some legal advice, most prosecutions involve byelaws which are strict liability & your chances of winning are slim.

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UNDERGROUND:

 

My case was I used someone else's freedom pass. from the moment when the moment the incident occurred, I was sincere, honest and cooperative with inspectors hoping this would work in my favour. It is my first offense and I am student graduating this year and I know the criminal record will work against me due to the profession I'm going to enter. So I have used the TFL revenue enforcement and prosecution policy guidelines to refer to my case, saying in one of the sections some of the factors considered before prosecution is:

- whether you are a first time offenser or not

- and how cooperative you have been with the TFL inspectors throughout the process up til the later stages

 

Therefore when considering the details of my case, these factors have not been taken into consideration and therefore it could be open to suggest that the court summons is a bit unfair.

 

What bothers me about the tfl prosecution team is that there seem to be no rules. So ppl get to settle out of court very easily (via phone, mail), others have to keep on trying until they hopefully get a yes and the rest are simply unlucky. how do you crack this team?

 

Thank you in advance

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...What bothers me about the tfl prosecution team is that there seem to be no rules. So ppl get to settle out of court very easily (via phone, mail), others have to keep on trying until they hopefully get a yes and the rest are simply unlucky. how do you crack this team?

 

Thank you in advance

 

Its all down to whether there are aggravating factors (previous convictions,penalty fares,seriousness of the allegation and yes, attitude when questioned) the other major factor is how much you offer to settle, they would want you to at minimum cover their costs.

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I would like to take advantage of your offer.

 

I was recently caught using a family member's student oyster card on the underground. It was a stupid stupid and regrettable thing to do. There were a team of inspectors which were at the station and I was stopped by them.

From research I am familiar with the process which follows - the letter from TFL to explain, followed by the summons.

I would be grateful for your advice in how to deal with this matter.

 

i) I would prefer to settle out of court. What are the best ways to convince TFL of this? Is it worth hiring a lawyer?

ii) Also how long before I hear from the Investigations team? Do you have an idea of their current workload?

iii) The inspector did not caution at the beginning of the interview - ie all questions were asked outside of the caution. Does this have any bearing?

 

Thank you for your help

 

Hi mlondon

 

I'll try and answer you as best I can, I'll also contact a couple of colleagues still working in revenue control to verify / validate my answers.

 

i) TfL will not 'settle' out of court. Your best bet is to write to the prosecutions team and set out any mitigating circumstances and ask that they do not proceed with the court action. If they decide not to proceed they may ask you to cover the administration costs incurred so far. This approach is unlikely to be successful if you are a 'recidivist' i.e. you have been caught for fare evasion on LU before. As far as hiring a lawyer is concerned, that really is a personal choice, but could be costly.

 

ii) From memory the prosecutions team typically write within 4 weeks. I couldn't really give a timescale for a court summons.

 

iii) The inspector should have cautioned you before questioning you about the offence, this is as per PACE (Police And Criminal Evidence Act) guidelines. You could argue that you didn't realise it was that the interview could be used in court however I think that if you do end up in court the inspector will insist that they did caution you.

 

I have a couple of questions for you which will help me give you further advice:

 

- Is there a particular reason that you were using someone else oyster card? For example are you under financial hardship?

 

- Did you read inspectors notebook at the end of the interview? (this should have been offered), also did you sign it?

 

- Did the inspector inform you that you were not obliged to remain with them?

 

- What ID did you provide to verify your address?

 

- Do you recall if you specifically admitted 'intent'? i.e. did you answer a question that implicated that you intended to avoid paying?

 

I hope my waffle is at least of some use! Please do get back to me with answers to the above questions and advise me if there's been any further developments.

 

Regards

UNDERGROUND :grin:

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UNDERGROUND:

 

My case was I used someone else's freedom pass. from the moment when the moment the incident occurred, I was sincere, honest and cooperative with inspectors hoping this would work in my favour. It is my first offense and I am student graduating this year and I know the criminal record will work against me due to the profession I'm going to enter. So I have used the TFL revenue enforcement and prosecution policy guidelines to refer to my case, saying in one of the sections some of the factors considered before prosecution is:

- whether you are a first time offenser or not

- and how cooperative you have been with the TFL inspectors throughout the process up til the later stages

 

Therefore when considering the details of my case, these factors have not been taken into consideration and therefore it could be open to suggest that the court summons is a bit unfair.

 

What bothers me about the tfl prosecution team is that there seem to be no rules. So ppl get to settle out of court very easily (via phone, mail), others have to keep on trying until they hopefully get a yes and the rest are simply unlucky. how do you crack this team?

 

Thank you in advance

 

Hi thegalax

 

TfL will nearly always prosecute for fare evasion using a Freedom Pass. Also these cases are sometimes passed to the British Transport Police who prosecute on TfL's behalf. Can you confirm that you are dealing direct with TfL.

 

To save me repeating myself could you take a look at the post I wrote to mlondon. When writing, in your case you should include the fact that being prosecuted would have a detrimental effect on your career.

 

I'd appreciate it if you could also answer the questions in the same post, it'll give me an idea if the inspector did his / her job properly and if I can help you any further.

 

Unfortunately being sincere and honest often has the opposite effect than it should, those who lie and give false details get away with it whereas people like yourself end up in the sh!t (this is one of the reasons I quit).

 

Please get back to me and let me know of any developments.

 

Regards

UNDERGROUND :-D

Edited by UNDERGROUND
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Thank you Underground.

 

Unfortunately there is no reason for me using the oyster card - other than stupidity.

 

The inspector did offer me to read his handbook but I didn't - as I was nervous and wanted to leave the situation quickly. I now realise this is silly and I should have read it carefully.

 

Yes the inspector did inform me that I did not have to stay with them. However this was said along with the caution at the very end of the interview, after all the questioning had been done and I was told to leave.

 

He did ask to see one of my bank cards but didn't seem to take anything down other than the bank's name. I provided correct personal details including DOB.

 

I think my intent was implied by the fact I admitted it was a family members card. They also took my PAYG oyster card which was my own.

 

This is my first time having been caught with LU so I don't have any previous offenses.

 

Thanks again for your help

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i) TfL will not 'settle' out of court. Your best bet is to write to the prosecutions team and set out any mitigating circumstances and ask that they do not proceed with the court action. If they decide not to proceed they may ask you to cover the administration costs incurred so far.

 

This is called 'settling out of court'.

They decide not to proceed & you recompense their costs.

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This is called 'settling out of court'.

They decide not to proceed & you recompense their costs.

 

I take your point.

 

But TfL will not call it 'settling' in case it seems that court action can be avoided by merely paying them off. A case can be dropped due to 'exceptional circumstances', any any payment to TfL is to cover base costs not to remedy the legal action.

 

UNDERGROUND :D

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Thank you Underground.

 

Unfortunately there is no reason for me using the oyster card - other than stupidity.

 

The inspector did offer me to read his handbook but I didn't - as I was nervous and wanted to leave the situation quickly. I now realise this is silly and I should have read it carefully.

 

Yes the inspector did inform me that I did not have to stay with them. However this was said along with the caution at the very end of the interview, after all the questioning had been done and I was told to leave.

 

He did ask to see one of my bank cards but didn't seem to take anything down other than the bank's name. I provided correct personal details including DOB.

 

I think my intent was implied by the fact I admitted it was a family members card. They also took my PAYG oyster card which was my own.

 

This is my first time having been caught with LU so I don't have any previous offenses.

 

Thanks again for your help

 

Not ignoring you, have to go out!

 

I'll get back to you later.....

 

UNDERGROUND :D

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I was reading the following, a Parliamentary hearing on transport issues. TFL themselves mentioned gave evidence

 

House of Commons - Transport - Written Evidence

 

and it mentioned the following:

 

"Bus operators apply the current legislation differently, varying from a standard fare being charged for fare evasion through to penalty fares and prosecutions. The current legal framework does not have set transport-industry wide criteria for proving fare evasion. On London's bus network, not having a valid travel product represents adequate proof of fare evasion as PSV legislation does not require the burden of intent to be proven. London Underground, however, does have to prove a passenger intended to evade their fare in order to successfully prosecute. These anomalies allow fare evaders to abuse the ticketing requirements and can lead to genuine customer confusion."

 

 

 

They do later go on to say that further legislation will be used to overcome this but looking at the new legislation it seems it only grants powers to take the name/address.

 

Does that mean underground prosecutions are not strict liability?

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Guest mc661

I thought LUL's bye-laws made under the Greater London Authority Act and not under the Transport Act.

 

I belive this suttle difference is big when it comes to court as they have to prove intent.

 

I also believe LUL cant prosecute under the Regulation of the Railways act 1889 as they are not a 'railway' in the eyes of that law.

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I thought LUL's bye-laws made under the Greater London Authority Act and not under the Transport Act.

 

I belive this suttle difference is big when it comes to court as they have to prove intent.

 

I also believe LUL cant prosecute under the Regulation of the Railways act 1889 as they are not a 'railway' in the eyes of that law.

 

The Greater London Authority Act is used for penalty fares. The full quote is from TFL will clarify:

 

4.1 Current legislation needs updating to take technological developments into account. It also needs a degree of flexibility to ensure relevance to future developments. The legislation governing the modes and their application varies greatly across the country. London Underground prosecute under Section 5 of the Regulation of Railways Act 1889 and also under byelaws made pursuant to section 67 of the Transport Act 1962 or schedule 11 of that Act. Bus Operators primarily prosecute under section 25 of the Public Passenger Vehicles Act 1981 and the related the Public Service Vehicles (Conduct of Drivers, Inspectors, Conductors and Passengers) Regulations 1990. In London penalty fares can be imposed instead of prosecutions under Schedule 17 to the Greater London Authority Act (1999) for both bus and rail modes. Bus operators apply the current legislation differently, varying from a standard fare being charged for fare evasion through to penalty fares and prosecutions. The current legal framework does not have set transport-industry wide criteria for proving fare evasion. On London's bus network, not having a valid travel product represents adequate proof of fare evasion as PSV legislation does not require the burden of intent to be proven. London Underground, however, does have to prove a passenger intended to evade their fare in order to successfully prosecute. These anomalies allow fare evaders to abuse the ticketing requirements and can lead to genuine customer confusion. Amendments to Schedule 17 of the Greater London Authority Act contained in the Transport for London Bill are currently progressing through Parliament to ensure its ongoing relevance to current operations and improve deterrence. Amendments to the Public Service Vehicle Regulations have been suggested to the Department for Transport.

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Thank you Underground.

 

Unfortunately there is no reason for me using the oyster card - other than stupidity.

 

The inspector did offer me to read his handbook but I didn't - as I was nervous and wanted to leave the situation quickly. I now realise this is silly and I should have read it carefully.

 

Yes the inspector did inform me that I did not have to stay with them. However this was said along with the caution at the very end of the interview, after all the questioning had been done and I was told to leave.

 

He did ask to see one of my bank cards but didn't seem to take anything down other than the bank's name. I provided correct personal details including DOB.

 

I think my intent was implied by the fact I admitted it was a family members card. They also took my PAYG oyster card which was my own.

 

This is my first time having been caught with LU so I don't have any previous offenses.

 

Thanks again for your help

 

Hi mlondon

 

It sounds as if the interview was fairly standard, however the caution should have come after the collection of your details and before questioning about the offence - after all it's pointless telling someone they don't have to remain with you after the interview. It'd be worth including this fact if you decide to write to them. Also state how you felt - for example if you felt embarrassed, nervous, harassed and if this had a bearing on your answers, i.e. if you admitted things because you wanted to get away from the inspector, tell them this too.

 

Also, was there any money on the PAYG oyster card?

 

Regards

UNDERGROUND :D

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I thought LUL's bye-laws made under the Greater London Authority Act and not under the Transport Act.

 

I belive this suttle difference is big when it comes to court as they have to prove intent.

 

I also believe LUL cant prosecute under the Regulation of the Railways act 1889 as they are not a 'railway' in the eyes of that law.

 

Hi mc661

 

LUL do indeed prosecute using the RRA 1889, and they are a 'railway' in the eyes of the law.

 

The specific section used is 5(3)(a), which states:

 

(3) If any person

 

(a)Travels or attempts to travel on a railway without having previously paid his fare, and with intent to avoid payment thereof

 

he shall be liable...... (goes on to prescribe fines / imprisonment upon conviction)

 

This is why it is so important for LUL inspectors to prove intent. I sometimes used to add a bye law offence to the case file to reinforce the strength of it, but the RRA was always the primary legislation.

 

Regards

UNDERGROUND :D

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Underground - would you mind answering the following questions:

 

-) under what circumstances/reason are cases passed to BTP

-) if /when / why are are offenses charged under the Fraud Act? is there any chance this would be applicable to me or thegalax

-) you mentioned adding bye law offense to the file - can you give examples where this may apply

-) if wanting to 'settle' , can this be done before the summons arrives or are TFL reluctant to do so before then

-) if case was to go to court and a not guilty plea entered on the the basis of evidence not admissible due incorrect caution (PACE), what counter measures would TFL have?

 

Apologies for being so pedantic.

 

Ps do you think the investigations team read these forums :)

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Underground - would you mind answering the following questions:

 

-) under what circumstances/reason are cases passed to BTP

-) if /when / why are are offenses charged under the Fraud Act? is there any chance this would be applicable to me or thegalax

-) you mentioned adding bye law offense to the file - can you give examples where this may apply

-) if wanting to 'settle' , can this be done before the summons arrives or are TFL reluctant to do so before then

-) if case was to go to court and a not guilty plea entered on the the basis of evidence not admissible due incorrect caution (PACE), what counter measures would TFL have?

 

Apologies for being so pedantic.

 

Ps do you think the investigations team read these forums :)

 

Hi mlondon

 

- The BTP will only process the 'premium' jobs, i.e. Freedom Passes, annual travelcards, multiple recidivists etc. When I worked in revenue (4 years ago) it was decided by the computer which cases would go to the BTP. There was a stage where all Freedom Passes and gold cards (as they used to be) would go to the BTP, but they quickly found they couldn't cope with the volume and it went back to computer selection. I can't guarantee how cases are selected now or even if the BTP still take cases.

 

- I NEVER put a case through using the Fraud Act, and as far as I know neither did any of my colleagues. We virtually always used Regulation of Railways Act 1889, Section 5(3)(a).

 

- I used to use Byelaws for things like altered tickets and tickets purchased from touts. There are also byelaws for ticket transfers which some other RCI's used.

 

- I'd get a letter off as soon as you can.

 

- The inspector may well say that they cautioned you at the appropriate time. I wouldn't use this as the sole basis of a defense, but include this fact if you decide to write to prosecutions.

 

Also, can you tell me if you had any credit balance on your PAYG oyster card?

 

Regards

UNDERGROUND :D

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Unfortunately there was no (over very little) balance on the PAYG oyster from what i can remember.

 

Ah, just wondered as you could have perhaps argued you used the wrong card by mistake. It's the one of the most used excuses in the book but would have been an idea to try and add more weight to your letter.

 

I really hope you get some success with this as you genuinely seem to regret it and I'm sure you'd not be tempted to do it again.

 

Please keep me up to date with any developments.

 

UNDERGROUND :D

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Thank you underground

 

One of the reasons as to why I was using someone else's freedom pass was because I couldn't afford to pay for my ticket. I was still waiting for my student loan to come through and had already pretty much maxed my overdraft. I'm afraid I had been using it for a week or so when I was caught. And this was indicated in my court summons, as the inspector had printed off a journey history for the past 12 journeys.

 

The inspector was very good at his job, took down all the details, gave me the caution prior to the interview (details available in the court summons). He tricked me into staying behind. When I was first caught, he was very convincing in informing me that if I were to leave without giving any information, I would most likely end up in court. However if I co-operated and was sincere then I would get a penalty fine as it had been my first offense. Following having agreed, he started taking down the details. I have to admit this made me feel very uncomfortable and embarrassed but I'm not sure whether I can use this as an argument? Is not better if I say I was honest and co-operative rather than felt compelled to stay behind because of what the inspector said?

 

I gave my driving license and in my court summons, I have signed everything so I can't use the pace argument or take back any comments that I made at the time.

 

If the prosecutor is a decent person and takes the above information into consideration, then hopefully they will agree to settling out of court.

 

Appreciate any advice that might help me

 

cheers.

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