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Penalty Fare for not having permit to travel

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My daughter was issued a penalty fare for travelling without a permit to travel. The station she travelled from has a permit to travel machine which is frequently out of order and in the past when this has happened she has been able to buy a ticket from the guard on the train or has ensured she paid when she got off the train. On this occasion the ptt machine had been out of order for several days and she boarded the train without purchasing one. She was stopped the other end and when she explained that the machine was out of order was told that it wasn't as they'd had others with ptt from this station that day. This was a genuine mistake on her part and she was not trying to avoid paying the fare.

 

Is it worth appealing either on the grounds that the machine is so frequently out of order (and was again the day after this incident - do they fix it on days when they know they're going to be checking and then leave it the rest of the time)?

 

Any help asap would be great - thanks

Edited by condorman
some personal info removed

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PTT machines are turned off when alternative facilities for the purchase of a ticket are available

 

Before adding further comment, it would be helpful to know which station she had travelled from.

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The station is unmanned so only has a ptt machine which is out of order more than not. We had never noticed the penalty fare signs at the station but after this we checked and they are there. The trains also have the notices on them so she couldn't claim ignorance. She always purchases a ptt and pays the other end ... except this time because she assumed the machine was still down. She had to make the same journey a couple of days later and found the machine was out of order again.

 

She was travelling into Canterbury.

 

Thanks

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Stations such as Selling, Chilham, Adisham etc have no booking office and nor are there self-service ticket machines, but as you have already identified, Penalty Fares do apply if a Permit to Travel is not obtained.

 

The failure that the rail company will point to in this case is that your daughter failed to check that the machine was working and in not doing so, she boarded the train without authority.

 

Yes, it is always worth appealing and I would highlight the fact that the PTT machine is frequently out of action if that is the case. The TOC will have a record of this because the machines should be monitored for availability and there will be a computerised record in most cases.

 

Factually, they do not have to allow the appeal if the machine was working, but your daughter could ask them to look at the record of machine failure and the fact that she normally does use it.

 

I have noted the comments about your daughter's health and you don't say how old she is, but assuming that she is over 18, you could write the letter for her and leave her to sign it. As you mention mental health issues, it would certainly help if you could get a letter or note from her GP in support of the appeal.

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Stations such as Selling, Chilham, Adisham etc have no booking office and nor are there self-service ticket machines, but as you have already identified, Penalty Fares do apply if a Permit to Travel is not obtained.

 

The failure that the rail company will point to in this case is that your daughter failed to check that the machine was working and in not doing so, she boarded the train without authority.

 

Yes, it is always worth appealing and I would highlight the fact that the PTT machine is frequently out of action if that is the case. The TOC will have a record of this because the machines should be monitored for availability and there will be a computerised record in most cases.

 

Factually, they do not have to allow the appeal if the machine was working, but your daughter could ask them to look at the record of machine failure and the fact that she normally does use it.

 

I have noted the comments about your daughter's health and you don't say how old she is, but assuming that she is over 18, you could write the letter for her and leave her to sign it. As you mention mental health issues, it would certainly help if you could get a letter or note from her GP in support of the appeal.

 

My local station (Prittlewell) is only manned untill about 13:00, all other times there is nowhere to buy a ticket, there is a PTT machine but like the OP I have found that it doesnt appear to work the majority of the time, I have even put money in and been given no ticket, Ive never actually been asked to show the ticket when buying a fare on the train though, I suspect this is because most ticket inspectors know how unreliable they are.

 

Is there some way of asking the TOC for details of problems with PTT's ?. I'm sure they are well aware of the problems with them, they are never fixed as quickly as actual ticket machines as there is no real incentive to check that PTT's are always working correctly.

 

I don't know how they are switched on ?. Manually ?. But clearly they are not actually checked they are working when this switch on occurs.

 

Andy

Andy

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Incidentally, what is the minimum value ptt a ticket inspector will take, as if you stick 5p in there then give the inspector on the barrier at the other end the remaining value will a penalty fare still apply? I ask this because I have seen it done before now, and the argument was that since there was a ptt then all the guard could do was issue a ticket not a penalty fare. Could be a good get-out clause there.

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5p is fine - as far as I can tell the permit to travel is a way of showing where you got on the train. The guards on the train/ticket office staff always complain in my experience because they have to charge the full amount for the ticket and then refund the PTT amount?

 

I think I read somewhere that if you can prove that you didn't have small change and so couldn't use the machines, then they can take that into consideration but this was not the case on this occasion.

 

We will appeal because we know that she was not trying to avoid the fare - and at least will have the satisfaction of knowing there's been an administrative cost to them.

 

Do they review CCTV footage as a matter of course when processing appeals? I can't believe that any adult in the vicinity (including other station staff) could fail to feel concerned about a young person being publicly put through a process which is causing considerable distress.

 

Will report back on any success.

 

Thanks for responses

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5p is fine - as far as I can tell the permit to travel is a way of showing where you got on the train. The guards on the train/ticket office staff always complain in my experience because they have to charge the full amount for the ticket and then refund the PTT amount?

 

I think I read somewhere that if you can prove that you didn't have small change and so couldn't use the machines, then they can take that into consideration but this was not the case on this occasion.

 

We will appeal because we know that she was not trying to avoid the fare - and at least will have the satisfaction of knowing there's been an administrative cost to them.

 

Do they review CCTV footage as a matter of course when processing appeals? I can't believe that any adult in the vicinity (including other station staff) could fail to feel concerned about a young person being publicly put through a process which is causing considerable distress.

 

Will report back on any success.

 

Thanks for responses

 

How long ago did it happen?

 

If it was within the past few weeks you may be able to ask for any CCTV footage that may exist to be viewed.

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the way a permit to travel works is that you present the voucher (e.g.50p) this shows where you travelled from, the permit to travel then acts as a voucher for 50p towards the fare, so if the ticket was £1 then you pay the guard another 50p and he/she issues a ticket.

 

Permit's to travel will state the origin station so that if presented at a barriered station then customer can't claim that they came from "the last station".

 

It is easy to say that discretion should have been used but the member of staff is there to do a job and it is a very difficult job to do, telling the difference between genuine cases and people trying it on is VERY difficult, I've been there, and lets not forget that the member of staff is not always in a position to make a judgement on whether a person is vulnerable or not.

 

I certainly would reccomend appealing and see what happens, good luck.


Views expressed in this forum by me are my own personal opinion and you take it on face value! I make any comments to the best of my knowledge but you take my advice at your own risk.

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I do understand about it being a job and it can't be an easy one. But I question the way it is done.

 

Unlike in other instances where a "crime" is deemed to have been committed, my understanding is that it is not up to the train companies to prove the passenger was trying to avoid paying - so the burden of proof is on the passenger. And every suspect, whether innocent or guilty is challenged in a very public place - which can be humiliating and distressing, especially for someone who is law abiding.

 

And in our experience, they seem to go for the easy targets ie. young people and children. I have a friend who commutes daily from the same station who never buys a PTT - but always pays the fare on the train or at the other end and has never been questioned or put through this. Maybe he is just lucky!

 

Thanks for all comments.

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I do understand about it being a job and it can't be an easy one. But I question the way it is done.

 

Unlike in other instances where a "crime" is deemed to have been committed, my understanding is that it is not up to the train companies to prove the passenger was trying to avoid paying - so the burden of proof is on the passenger. And every suspect, whether innocent or guilty is challenged in a very public place - which can be humiliating and distressing, especially for someone who is law abiding.

 

And in our experience, they seem to go for the easy targets ie. young people and children. I have a friend who commutes daily from the same station who never buys a PTT - but always pays the fare on the train or at the other end and has never been questioned or put through this. Maybe he is just lucky!

 

Thanks for all comments.

 

Your friend is very definitely just lucky.

 

The strict liability requirement of the Byelaw makes it the passengers' responsibility to hold and produce a valid ticket on demand. However, the burdon of proof that intent to avoid a fare still lies with the prosecution.

 

This means that you can be found guilty of an offence simply because you don't have a ticket if facilities were available to you.

 

Where facilities to buy a ticket are available and where a traveller boards a train without paying it is worth noting the words used in a specific judgement by Lord Widgery and others in an Appeal Court case where the appeal was dismissed:

 

"It is clear on the facts that he did not intend to pay the fare unless and until requested to pay. That is quite enough to constitute an intent to avoid payment."

 

There is no targeting of traveller types that I am aware of. Children are not prosecuted for fares matters and it may seem that a high proportion of 'offenders' are young people, but opportunist fare evasion does seem to be more prevalent among certain groups.

 

We all understand that times are tight and it may be particularly so for students these days, but we all know that if we want to use a service, we have to pay for it. The fact that fares are very high in some areas isn't in dispute, but that doesn't mean stealing a ride is OK.

 

From long experience, we find that it is a much more common amongst some professional groups and I have long said unofficially that, if I heard a new excuse I'd let them off!

 

When I was a 'Scud', I always tried to preserve as much privacy and dignity for the person being questioned as possible, but it is incredibly difficult on crowded trains with short journey times.

 

One of the things that I was also always conscious of was the number of honest, law-abiding travellers that went out of their way to pay their fares too. That's more than 95% on most UK routes, although there are known 'hot-spots' where travelling without tickets can be as high as 15%

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Just an update: my daughter did appeal and was successful because the train company could not show that the permit to travel machine was working at the time the fare was issued. Thanks for advice.

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Well done, I expect that the train company knew it wasn't working but just didn't want to admit they were wrong! This story does show that the Penalty fare system can work though.


Views expressed in this forum by me are my own personal opinion and you take it on face value! I make any comments to the best of my knowledge but you take my advice at your own risk.

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Well done on your appeal. As a conductor i find a lot of these problems, particuly on the Uckfield line via oxted as a lot of station's are unmaned but what i always tell passengers is you are unsure or the PTT is not working then find the conductor yourself to buy a ticket as it shows willingness to pay for your ticket as sometimes it can be hard for the conductor to get to every passenger.

Edited by Southern Guard
Grammer

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Yes, congratulations on the result. As RPI says, this confirms that the appeal process does work.

 

In far too many cases people are in just too much of a hurry and don't check properly then get angry or look for excuses when the appeal process proves that they could have got a ticket or permit and their claim is properly rejected.

 

It is these successful appeals that prove the system. Well done.

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Hi!

 

Most of my local stations in the West Midlands are manned with Permit-To-Travel machines but if I *do* come across an instance where the ticket office/machine is closed or u/s (Ticket-Machines showing a Blue-Screen-Of-Death are far from unknown!!!) - and the PTT isn't on either, is it worth taking piccies with my mobile as evidence (I think my mobile time-stamps 'em!!!) and a defence to any possible charge?

 

Chris Williams

Edited by Chris56000

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Hi!

 

Most of my local stations in the West Midlands are manned with Permit-To-Travel machines but if I *do* come across an instance where the ticket office/machine is closed or u/s (Ticket-Machines showing a Blue-Screen-Of-Death are far from unknown!!!) - and the PTT isn't on either, is it worth taking piccies with my mobile as evidence (I think my mobile time-stamps 'em!!!) and a defence to any possible charge?

 

Chris Williams

 

Yes, definitely.

 

Before any Court action is finalised, the TOC will need to show that a traveller is aware of the action against them.

 

When they write to you, send a copy of the photograph and a letter explaining that you contest any claim on the basis that the PTT machine wasn't working and that you intend to show this photographic evidence at any subsequent action. Make sure your photograph can be clearly identified as the station in question and the date / time stamp is visible.

 

Offer to pay the single fare (if you hadn't already done so) and wait for them to capitulate.

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Yes, definitely.

 

Before any Court action is finalised, the TOC will need to show that a traveller is aware of the action against them.

 

When they write to you, send a copy of the photograph and a letter explaining that you contest any claim on the basis that the PTT machine wasn't working and that you intend to show this photographic evidence at any subsequent action. Make sure your photograph can be clearly identified as the station in question and the date / time stamp is visible.

 

Offer to pay the single fare (if you hadn't already done so) and wait for them to capitulate.

 

Although taking photos is a great defence I find it quite surprising that the traveller should have to resort to such measures, surely it should be upto the TOC to prove that all the available machines (tickets machines (if available) and permit to travel machines) were working on the day in question.

 

Nothing much has changed since my previous post, I was approached today by an elderly woman who was confused by the permit to travel machine that wasn't working and she was concerned about travelling without a ticket despite the fact that I tried to explain that she was perfectly entitled to (I doubt whether she was about to whip out a phone/camera to take a pic).

 

Andy

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Anything that facilitates a prompt closure in such matters is a good thing as far as I'm concerned.

 

Chris56000 simply asked if it would help, I didn't say it was essential. No-one, least of all me, will expect everyone to do this.

 

The TOC can & should always be able to prove that a machine was working and available if they claim that it was, but in any dispute there is never any harm in trying to help yourself legitimately

 

Imagine the scenario: You say the machine wasn't working, the Inspector says it was. You show him the image on your phone. Job done

 

No need of a report and you pay your correct fare as required

 

Where's the problem???

 

.

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What we've learned from this experience ...

- Children photograph the "out of order" ptt machine in order to challenge any inspector (as Old Codja advises)

- children are advised that if a penalty fare is being issued to co-operate but not to pay the fine on the spot (which my daughter did in this case but was reimbursed on appeal)

 

To add a more positive note ... my other young daughter was recently in the wrong carriage at a short station, doors didn't open and she ended up going two extra stops. She was very distressed because she was then travelling without a valid ticket for the return journey and had no money on her. Station staff and conductor on the train were really helfpul and reassuring and got her back to her stop. It restored our faith somewhat.

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