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South West Trains - Prosecution Threat

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Hi, after coming off a South West Train and trying to touch out of the barriers (and failing), I was accused of fare evasion. The officer has told me that he will send off a report with his statement of events and it would be forwarded to the South West Trains Prosecution Department. He said I will be issued a court summons within the next couple of months. He also let me know that I can settle out of court, by paying the penalty fare and also other costs.

 

I don't want the hassle of court action nor any risk of conviction - so I would like to settle this off asap and get it off my mind. So what I want to do is to contact South West Trains Prosecution Department and settle this asap before they even file a claim with the court.

 

So I would like to ask, if anyone who has experience with South West Trains, if they know the contact details of their Prosecution Department?

Also can I ask if South West Trains usually like to agree out of court settlement or not?

 

Any help would be much appreciated, thanks.

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sould be on the slip he gave you

else a letter will come through the post with the details

 

the court date will not be swift anyhow, so's don't worry

 

all you need to do is write a groveling letter and all will be ok unless you have previous of the same.

 

have a read of a few threads here, you'll soon get the idea

 

nothing to be worried about.....

 

btw: why did the touch out fail, this might be important...tell the truth now!

 

dx


please don't hit Quote...just type we know what we said earlier..

 

if everyone stopped blindly paying DCA's tomorrow

the biggest financial industry in the UK, DCA;s would collapse overnight.

 

 

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Thanks for your reply.

The officer didn't give me any slip - all he did was to write down his statement and my details into his little book. Hence I don't have any contact details and am desperate to find anyone who has them.

 

The touch out failed because I was trying to get out of a z1 station, but I had negative pay as you go balance despite having a valid z1-2 travelcard. The officer said they couldn't verify where I originally got on from and demanded the 20 pounds penalty fare. At that point I was panicky, scared, couldn't think straight with my mind blanking out and so became unsure exactly where I started off from. I suggested a z2 station (I thought it must have been, otherwise my card would not have let me through. I had made 2 bus journeys during that day travelling around the z2-z4 area too, which was recorded on my card). He didn't believe me and asked me which platform I had used at the claimed z2 station and what did the entrance look like. I then couldn't remember and amongst them pressing me on, I was persuaded later that maybe it was the original z4 station I got off in the morning (I'm still not clear about it my self right now, but thinking about it, maybe it was indeed the z4 station...). So in the end, they accused me of having lied and I'm now in this mess...

 

So a letter should come from South West Trains first in the near future (and not a court summons)?

I really don't want to risk anything and am thinking its best to tackle the matter as early and possible to settle it before anything becomes initiated. I haven't had previous experience of this at all, so I really hope they accept the settlement offer (is this likely?)...

Edited by yearly

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no it certainly will not be a summons!

long way off.

 

dx


please don't hit Quote...just type we know what we said earlier..

 

if everyone stopped blindly paying DCA's tomorrow

the biggest financial industry in the UK, DCA;s would collapse overnight.

 

 

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You wouldn't have got a slip of any description from SWT, so don't worry about that. For whoever to inform you that you could settle out of Court was, in my opinion, the wrong thing to say, as it very much depends on the circumstances of the alleged offence, as to if an out of court settlement will be an option. If it was your first offence and the situation was as you said it was, then I'd imagine a settlement would be likely. It does look to me as though a certain amount of scare mongering has taken place here, but that's just me thinking out loud, as I wasn't there, afterall.

 

You'll receive correspondence within the next four to eight weeks I would imagine (depending on when it was you were spoken to by the Officer/Inspector), and you can't call the Prosecutions Dept. before this date, solely because without having the ball in motion (a letter sent to yourself), they won't know who you are. Just sit tight.

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Thanks for your advice! Okay, maybe I should just wait and see if they contact me first and try to resolve the issue asap with apologies + offer to pay. Yeh, the officer who questioned me told me about the settlement possibility as if it was indeed one of the standard options and even told me that the likely price is £100 plus £20 penalty fare!

I guess maybe this means that this would be a likely 'standard procedure' for a person with no previous history of offence (he even called up his dept to check if I was on their history list and confirmed that I was not) who was apologetic/co-operative on the scene..?

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I certainly wouldn't have mentioned costs, as these can vary. The problem is, if you go in to too much detail with people they start over-analysing things, and they have the tendancy to ask questions of the Inspector, that they don't necessarily have the answer to, and that in turn gets wires crossed. I was always taught not to even mention court or prosecutions, which, trust me, is easier said than done when you have just cautioned somebody!

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If you had a zone 1 card they cannot prosecute you unless they can prove you got on outside the zone you have paid for at the start of your journey. There is no legal requirement to validate a travel card on SWT at the start of a journey.

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If a journey is made within the validity of a travelcard on an Oyster, then there is no offence. But, there are a lot of unanswered questions in this thread. (And probably questions that should not be asked/answered in public)

 

The whole issue started because the Oyster had not been validated on 'entry'. There seems to be a bit of a grey area about where 'entry' was made. I don't know the SWT route into London, or their timetable, but I rather think that the reporting inspector does.

 

If there is no evidence then they cannot prosecute. But, if there was no evidence, I would have thought that the inspector would not have got his biro out. To avoid the issue ever arising, touch Oysters at the station of entry.

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If you had a zone 1 card they cannot prosecute you unless they can prove you got on outside the zone you have paid for at the start of your journey. There is no legal requirement to validate a travel card on SWT at the start of a journey.

 

Moot point. Oyster CoC on National Rail state:

 

'3.6 When you use a National Rail service, you should touch your Oyster card on the yellow card reader before you start your journey, at the station you are leaving from; and at the end of your journey, when you arrive at your destinations station. You can still use your Oyster card at stations where there is no yellow card reader or if it is not working provided that your

Travelcard is valid for the journey you are making. You may be asked instead to show your Oyster card (and photocard where needed).'

 

Suggesting it should be touched in so the passenger can prove his/ her starting point.

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The touch out failed because I was trying to get out of a z1 station, but I had negative pay as you go balance despite having a valid z1-2 travelcard.

I just noticed the above in your second post. I'm a bit confused by this, as if you had a valid Travelcard on the Oyster Card, you wouldn't have been reported, surely? As for touching Travelcards on the yellow readers, it's more to leave a paper trail I believe, and one that can be read instantly with an Oyster Card Reader, as opposed to paper tickets that would have to be swiped on another machine that not many staff carry with them, and thus meaning it's really not worth the hassle. The above will eliminate or confirm any suspicion of fare evasion!

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Balls. I just typed a long reply and then the explorer refreshed and lost all of it.

But bascially I said, although they confirmed they saw the z1-2 card, their suspicion rose because 1) the Oyster had no records of starting point which meant I did not touch in at the starting station and 2) telling them one starting station and then later admitting to another.

I must have forgotten to touch in wherever I started from and then stupidly said some inconsistent things. I really regret all of this, which has created a big problem and stress for me. Never will anything like this happen again.

My main concern now is to resolve this issue as quickly and peacefully as possible without fuss by settling. I was thinking of giving them a few weeks for the report to be updated onto their system and then contacting them quickly, in order to 1) increase the chances of settlement, 2) less chance of them having already progressed the case so far as to have filed it with the British Transport Police or the Court already, and 3) reduce the administration costs involved. Hmmm.. but Stigy advises just to wait till they contact first.

Edited by yearly

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Stigy is right, wait for their first letter. It will give you a reference number and the address of the office that is dealing with the case. It could be Tfl or BTP, or one of the railways that run trains through the station where you were interviewed.

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Moot point. Oyster CoC on National Rail state:

 

'3.6 When you use a National Rail service, you should touch your Oyster card on the yellow card reader before you start your journey, at the station you are leaving from; and at the end of your journey, when you arrive at your destinations station. You can still use your Oyster card at stations where there is no yellow card reader or if it is not working provided that your

Travelcard is valid for the journey you are making. You may be asked instead to show your Oyster card (and photocard where needed).'

 

Suggesting it should be touched in so the passenger can prove his/ her starting point.

 

I have been using an oyster travelcard for years on SWT without swiping in as until recently there were no swipe points due to no PAYG use. I still don't swipe in at my entry station which is not gated and can still exit through the gates at my destination. Surely if this scenario is correct I should not be able to exit a Surbiton to Wimbledon journey at the Wimbledon gate because the train originates in Woking outside my Travelcard zone, yet this has never happened. I cannot see how this penalty can be legally correct as I can still hold a paper season ticket Surbiton to Wimbledon and there is no legal requirement to show it at Surbiton to prove I got on there rather than Woking? If SWT are going down this route then they can penalise everyone getting off a slow train from Portsmouth at Waterloo unless they have a ticket from Portsmouth or can prove they joined at the station shown on their ticket.

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Stigy is right, wait for their first letter. It will give you a reference number and the address of the office that is dealing with the case. It could be Tfl or BTP, or one of the railways that run trains through the station where you were interviewed.

 

Really? It can it be TFL or BTP? The officers were all wearing SWT badges and the RPO specifically said he would report to SWT (he even called up SWT to check that I had no previous history of this). But then he said something about the SWT prosecution team forwarding it to BTP who would send the summons... he specified a specific day that he submits all the reports and said the report will be done that day, and he said all I'll receive afterwards is the summons which will come through in about 4-8 week's time. I dunno how reliable this information is, but this is why I was worried and wanted to contact SWT as early as possible... What would be the disadvantage if I get in touch with SWT prosecution team before having received anything (assuming that they have already received the report)?

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Ignore them SWT revenue staff often act beyond their authority if they do persue this stupid charge take it to Court you have not broken any law you had a ticket for your journey and showed it on request.

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Ignore them SWT revenue staff often act beyond their authority if they do persue this stupid charge take it to Court you have not broken any law you had a ticket for your journey and showed it on request.

 

Will you be accompanying the OP to any hearings?

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Ignore them SWT revenue staff often act beyond their authority if they do persue this stupid charge take it to Court you have not broken any law you had a ticket for your journey and showed it on request.

 

As has so often been illustrated in the past, bad advice is very much worse than no advice at all.

 

Four important points arise:

 

1. To be accepted as valid for travel any ticket tendered must be valid for all of the following; the day, date, time, train, place and class of accomodation occupied.

 

2. A Pre-Pay, or Pay-As-You-Go Oyster card is not a rail ticket. It is described as an 'electronic purse' or means of carrying credit. It cannot be accepted as evidence of a ticket for travel until it has been validated at the start of any journey. It can only be used on routes that allow it's validation and this must be done before boarding any train.

 

3. If a traveller is charged with 'intentional fare evasion' having not validated a Pre-Pay Oyster at the start of any journey, the Courts do normally accept the view that a pecuniary advantage may be gained by the person who does not give up the credit that is due to be deducted from the Oyster to pay for their journey by failing to touch-in at the start. Many hundreds of successful convictions bear testament to that simple fact. (Check with the London Courts if you don't believe me.)

 

4. If a traveller is on a train on National Rail, in a non-compulsory ticket area, where facilities were available for them to buy a ticket, any pre-pay card held that has not been validated is an irrelevance.

 

The traveller may be charged with the strict liability Byelaw offence of 'fail to show' a valid ticket.

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I fully endorse and agree with Old Codja's post.

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As has so often been illustrated in the past, bad advice is very much worse than no advice at all.

 

Four important points arise:

 

1. To be accepted as valid for travel any ticket tendered must be valid for all of the following; the day, date, time, train, place and class of accomodation occupied.

 

2. A Pre-Pay, or Pay-As-You-Go Oyster card is not a rail ticket. It is described as an 'electronic purse' or means of carrying credit. It cannot be accepted as evidence of a ticket for travel until it has been validated at the start of any journey. It can only be used on routes that allow it's validation and this must be done before boarding any train.

 

 

Maybe you can explain how oyster travel cards have been used on national rail for years without validation then? The swipe machines only arrived when PAYG was accepted until then oyster was never validated for travel cards? The OP was not using PAYG they had a valid travelcard for the zone they where in how can that be travelling without intention to pay?? I guess all the thousands of people making millions of journeys using Oyster 'electronic purses' pre intallation of card readers are all criminals then?

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1. To be accepted as valid for travel any ticket tendered must be valid for all of the following; the day, date, time, train, place and class of accomodation occupied.

 

2. A Pre-Pay, or Pay-As-You-Go Oyster card is not a rail ticket. It is described as an 'electronic purse' or means of carrying credit. It cannot be accepted as evidence of a ticket for travel until it has been validated at the start of any journey. It can only be used on routes that allow it's validation and this must be done before boarding any train.

 

3. If a traveller is charged with 'intentional fare evasion' having not validated a Pre-Pay Oyster at the start of any journey, the Courts do normally accept the view that a pecuniary advantage may be gained by the person who does not give up the credit that is due to be deducted from the Oyster to pay for their journey by failing to touch-in at the start. Many hundreds of successful convictions bear testament to that simple fact. (Check with the London Courts if you don't believe me.)

 

4. If a traveller is on a train on National Rail, in a non-compulsory ticket area, where facilities were available for them to buy a ticket, any pre-pay card held that has not been validated is an irrelevance.

 

The traveller may be charged with the strict liability Byelaw offence of 'fail to show' a valid ticket.

 

In addition if an oyster car is never a valid ticket why don't they prosecute everyone using one?

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http://www.tfl.gov.uk/assets/downloads/oyster-conditions-of-carriage-on-national-rail.pdf

 

Penalty Fares apply on the National Rail network in accordance with the National Rail

Conditions of Carriage.

 

If you are within a Compulsory Ticket Area or travelling on National Rail services within the

London National Rail Fare Zones Area without:

 

• a ticket that is valid available for the journey you are making

an Oyster card containing a valid Travelcard season ticket

• a validated Oyster card, when you are paying as you go, showing a record of the start of

your journey

• an Oyster card containing an Oyster Extension Permit where you are travelling beyond the

zonal validity of the Travelcard season ticket held on your Oyster card having commenced

your journey whilst within the zonal validity of your Travelcard season ticket.

 

you may be issued with a Penalty Fare and/or you may be prosecuted.

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An Oyster card itself is never a valid ticket, it is the carrier of a valid ticket or credit to pay a fare.

 

A pre-pay or pay-as-you-go Oyster may be accepted as evidence of a valid ticket held only AFTER it has been validated and thereby showing a record of the start of a journey

 

You highlighted point two above, which correctly defines a paid season ticket, but if you had highlighted the next relating to single journeys, it would have made the rule perfectly clear as reproduced below.

 

a validated Oyster card, when you are paying as you go, showing a record of the start of your journey

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Really? It can it be TFL or BTP? The officers were all wearing SWT badges and the RPO specifically said he would report to SWT (he even called up SWT to check that I had no previous history of this). But then he said something about the SWT prosecution team forwarding it to BTP who would send the summons... he specified a specific day that he submits all the reports and said the report will be done that day, and he said all I'll receive afterwards is the summons which will come through in about 4-8 week's time. I dunno how reliable this information is, but this is why I was worried and wanted to contact SWT as early as possible... What would be the disadvantage if I get in touch with SWT prosecution team before having received anything (assuming that they have already received the report)?

 

Sorry to diverge from the oyster validity discussions, but just wondering if there's any advice on the issues above... thanks :)

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yes do so

 

dx


please don't hit Quote...just type we know what we said earlier..

 

if everyone stopped blindly paying DCA's tomorrow

the biggest financial industry in the UK, DCA;s would collapse overnight.

 

 

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