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Moonman1266

Trains Help - What might happen please?

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I am new to this forum and would appreciate some help please.

 

I am both physically disabled (walk with aid of crutches) and am also deaf. My primary language is signing, but provided people do not mumble or cover their face, I can usually lip read. I can speak moderately clearly although some do have difficulty understanding me, but in general I get by.

 

In April (it maybe early May) this year, I got a ticket using my disabled railcard for a train journey and got a seat reservation (I do this journey alone a couple of times per year without problem).

 

Anyway, I boarded the train, which was very full with some standing and found someone sitting in my reserved seat. After a bit of deliberation where I tried my best to explain I had that seat reserved the man refused to move and showed me he also had a seat reservation for exactly the same seat on the same day. The guard came along and from what I could understand there had been some problem or other with seat reservations.

 

Anyway, to cut a long story short, the guard was very helpful and assisted me along the train, carrying my rucksack, to find another seat, the only seats free where in 1st class. I tried to explain I only had a standard ticket but reading his lips he said it was okay as it was their fault. So I sat in 1st class for the rest of the journey (and very pleasant it was too if I may say).

 

Anyhow, later into the journey, there must have been a change of guard and a new guard came along wanting to see tickets. I showed him my ticket and seat reservation for the original seat. I also showed him my card to say I am deaf and a BSL user. He mumbled so I could not understand what he was saying but I presume he was not aware of the previous guards actions in moving me to 1st class. I tried to explain as best as I could what had happened and I thought he understood.

 

I thought he was asking for my address (he took my name off the disabled railcard) so I gave him my other card with name and address and he wrote things down in his notebook. I thought that was the end of the matter as he then left.

 

Anyway, after the journey, I wrote into the train company asking if what had happened was okay as I was worried my name and address had been taken. I think they misunderstood the actual point of the letter as customer services replied to the effect that there had been a problem with the computer reservation system that day and apologised for it and enclosed a £10 rail voucher for future use. They made no reference to the taking of my name and address etc. Anyway, I thought that was that and the matter was closed.

 

Anyway, later I have received another letter basically saying that I have fraudulently travelled in 1st class accommodation and having refused to pay they are considering taking action. I had 10 days to reply, which I did, explaining what had happened and even enclosing a copy of the customer service letter.

 

I haven't heard anything since but am really worried about all this (I do worry a lot about things). Do your expert readers think I am okay or will they prosecute me?. I have never been in trouble in my life and I hold down a job and work very hard. I don't like hiding behind my disabilities or using them as a 'cop out' but I genuinely could not understand the second guard and I didn't refuse to pay (I could have paid as I had my credit cards and would have complained later had I been given the chance as I know face to face sorting out can be difficult for me as well as others due to the communication issue, or I would have moved back to second class if I realised I was been asked to do so).

 

Thank you in advanced for any help.

Edited by Moonman1266
spellings mistake

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I deeply sympthasise with you as I am hearing-impaired myself.

 

As far as the law is concerned, you were given permission by a member of on-train staff to sit in first class with a standard class ticket, and therefore no offence was committed.

 

It sounds like a simple mix-up has occured between different staff members, and between different departments. It is very likely that no further action will be taken, and you may even receive a letter of apology.

 

They may offer to "settle the case" if you pay them money- reject this, as they have no grounds to demand payment, as you did nothing wrong.

 

If they do insist on prosecuting for a non-existent crime, contact the RNID Casework Team, as they may be able to help you prepare your defence, and claim back your costs after your defence suceeds. Additionally, they will be able to advise you on whether the train company has committed a offence under the Disability Discrimination Act, for which you could sue them for compensation.

 

If they do take this further, you should also write to

i) the train company, asking for a copy of their Disabled Passengers Protection Policy, and also making clear that you will vigorously defend any prosecution, and will seek costs if (when) your defence is successful

ii) Passenger Focus

iii) your MP

iv) Also, ask the RNID Casework Team it if would it be productive to go to the media in order to embarass the company concerned into dropping their case.

 

Railway bye-law 18:

http://www.dft.gov.uk/pgr/rail/legislation/regs/railwaysbyelaws.pdf

(3) No person shall be in breach of Byelaw 18(1) or 18(2) if:

(i) there were no facilities in working order for the issue or validation of any ticket at the time when, and the station where, he began his journey; or

(ii) there was a notice at the station where he began his journey permitting journeys to be started without a valid ticket; or

(iii) an authorised person gave him permission to travel without a valid ticket.

 

National Rail Conditions of Carriage Rule 39:

http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/system/galleries/download/misc/NRCOC.pdf

39. Travelling in first class accommodation with a standard class ticket

If you have a standard class ticket (other than a Season Ticket), no standard class accommodation is available, and ticket staff on that train give their permission, then you may travel in first class accommodation (or the equivalent) where this is available without extra charge.

Edited by jkdd77

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Thank you so much jkdd77.

 

I never thought about contacting the RNID.

 

Hopefully as you say it will be a mix up, but I am so worried that the trains company will try to take me to court or something.

 

Thanks again.

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Hi Moonman

 

I'm a great believer in only worrying about things when they happen. You aren't being taken to court as far as you know, so you have nothing to worry about. Also, only worry about things you can actually do anything about. Worrying helps no-one and makes no difference whatsoever. Take it from an ex-worrier who's learnt this.;)

 

IF, and it's a very big if, that should happen, you have evidence that you dealt with the matter at the time and were even recompensed for it.

 

A suggestion that something that may help for the future, is that if you encounter problems, you also take details of people's names and info from their ID, then you can refer to them directly if you have any future problems.


 

What's Best for You?

 

 

The Consumer Action Group is a free help site.

Should you be offered help that requires payment please report it to site team.

 

Alliance & Leicester Moneyclaim issued 20/1/07 £225.50 full settlement received 29 January 2007

Smile £1,075.50 + interest Email request for payment 24/5/06 received £1,000.50 14/7/06 + £20 30/7/06

Yorkshire Bank Moneyclaim issued 21/6/06 £4,489.39 full settlement received 26 January 2007

:p

 

Advice & opinions given by Caro are personal, are not endorsed by Consumer Action Group or Bank Action Group, and are offered informally, without prejudice & without liability. Your decisions and actions are your own, and should you be in any doubt, you are advised to seek the opinion of a qualified professional.

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This sort of thing really ****es me off, staff who do such things are not welcome on the railway and undo all the good work done by other staff.

 

You are protected under Byelaw 18(3) as has been said above.

 

I apologise that you had this negative experience.

 

If you have any problem with the rail company please contact me and I will sort that matter on your behalf.

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I agree entirely with SRPO and offer only one other comment that I think might be of relevance:

 

I appreciate the fact that you work hard and have gone to great pains to avoid allowing your circumstances to prevent a normal life, but maybe, if you might consider adopting something I saw many years ago in my early days as an inspector, things might never be so bad again.

 

When speaking to a traveller I was shown a small card, about 6 ins x 4 ins with the clear wording

'I AM DEAF, I WILL BE GRATEFUL IF YOU PLEASE WRITE DOWN YOUR QUESTION FOR ME, Thank you.' printed on it. The traveller always carried this on him.

 

Short written exchanges were easy and with no misunderstandings.

 

You have nothing to worry about and as SRPO said earlier, all genuine rail staff will be agrieved to hear your story.

  • Haha 1

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Many thanks SRPO and Old-CodJa,

 

I do have a RNID card stating I am deaf and a BSL user. It does also explain I can communicate in writing but some people ignore it unfortunately. I can usually lip read but the second guard seemed be stood at an angle to me so I could not read his lips and seemed to mumble when I could try to lipread making my understanding very difficult.

 

I just don't know whether to write to the train company again or just wait and see what happens.

 

Thank you all so much anyway.

Edited by Moonman1266
speallings mistake

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If it was me Moonman I would just forget about it and put the incident behind me. I really don't think it likely that any action will be taken against you.


 

What's Best for You?

 

 

The Consumer Action Group is a free help site.

Should you be offered help that requires payment please report it to site team.

 

Alliance & Leicester Moneyclaim issued 20/1/07 £225.50 full settlement received 29 January 2007

Smile £1,075.50 + interest Email request for payment 24/5/06 received £1,000.50 14/7/06 + £20 30/7/06

Yorkshire Bank Moneyclaim issued 21/6/06 £4,489.39 full settlement received 26 January 2007

:p

 

Advice & opinions given by Caro are personal, are not endorsed by Consumer Action Group or Bank Action Group, and are offered informally, without prejudice & without liability. Your decisions and actions are your own, and should you be in any doubt, you are advised to seek the opinion of a qualified professional.

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You should write in as the railway isnt very well 'joined up' in the communications area.

Customer services wont have any idea your details were taken by the guard.

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