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railway fare court summons

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I was hoping someone might be able to help.


I have received a court summons for the following offence:



  • that you did enter a train in a non-compulsory ticket area for the purpose of travelling on the Railway without a valid entitling ticket.


This is under Byelaw no 18 (1) of the Railway byelaws made under section 219 and schedule 20 of the transport act 2000


The letter explains that they are looking for court costs of £100 and the ticket price of £1.75.


I have read the following thread on this forum which indicates that I am up for a more serious charge than merely travelling without a valid ticket.




The letter states that I can plead guilty and not attend, plead guilty and attend or plead not guilty.


I have never been in trouble with the law before over anything and I am really worried. I entered a railway station with an oyster card ticket (pay-as-you-go). The oyster machines at that station had black cloth over them so I touched in at the next station where after I touched in I was approached by a ticket officer.


Due to the way that oyster card works it takes off £4 until you touch out again. After I touched in I only had 30p on the card (so before I touched it I would have had £4.30 on the card).


The ticket officer’s statement implies that I didn’t have the full money to pay the fare as there was only 30p on the ticket despite me having just touched in.


I don’t think I am guilty of this charge (although I would accept pleading guilty to the lesser charge of travelling without a valid ticket)


My question is should I plead not guilty then will the court costs rise as I have only recently started my job and moved into a new flat so don’t have any extra money to spare on hiring a solicitor or extra money for the court costs.


Also, I don’t want to waste the courts time. I understand they are busy but I don’t want to plead guilty and then end up paying £1000 + court costs.


If I do plead guilty how much is the fine likely to be and will I have a criminal record (for example, will I be able to travel to the USA or will I have to put this down on any job application?)


I hope someone can help me as I’m really stressed out about this and fraught with worry even though I hadn’t realised that I had done anything wrong.

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looks like u fail to touch in at the start of your rail journey and the fare is missing from the station you first travel from to the station you travel to. the inspector stop you and ask to check your ticket (oystercard) just after you touch in at the last station.??

was you offered to pay a penalty?

did you have any means to pay for your journey at the time??

was you caution at anytime you got stopped?

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Oyster PAYG is not accepted on National Rail except for 1 route as far as I know.

Where did you travel from/to?

If the summons is under the byelaws its the lowest on the scale of offences.

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Sorry if this seems a bit sharp, I'm pushed for time just now so will post just basic facts:


Re: Byelaw 18.1. This is a strict liability offence.


You are required to hold a valid ticket before boarding any train where pre-purchase facilities are available.


Oyster Pay-as-you-go is NOT a rail ticket. It is only a means of carrying credit to pay a fare before travelling. If you have not touched-in to give up credit at the START of your journey, then you do not have a valid ticket and the rules state that you will be treated as if no ticket is held.


Touching a validator at the end of your journey does not pay the fare due, it starts a journey from there.


PAYG is not accepted on all routes and is restricted to the LUL area.


If you have been charged on a route where PAYG is not accepted the fact that you had one is irrelevant to the TOCs claim if alternative methods of purchasing a ticket were available to you.


Were there any ticket machines or booking office at the station where you started your journey?


If this proceeds to Court it is a lesser charge than that of 'intending to avoid a fare'.


Magistrates are advised that if they convict you, the penalty will be a 'Band A' fine and that will be reduced by credit for an early guilty plea. They may order you to pay the rail company's costs claim and compensation of the fare.

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