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k1mmie

Rail prosecution letter - advice please

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On 27th August, my son aged 17 and some friends travelled to Brighton for a concert gig. They got on at Upminster and he paid on his Oyster to London Bridge and then a seperate ticket to Brighton. The concert over ran and they missed the last train home that night. Not wanting to be stuck in Brighton for nearly 6 hours with no where to stay, they were told by the bus driver that they could get a bus to one of the London airports then wait for the next train to run and go back on several trains. This meant he had to buy a bus fare back to London (which took all his money) and then use what he had left on his Oyster to get home. The trouble is he had to get to Laindon which is out of the Zones and his Oyster had covered him to West Ham. Eventually at abour 6:45 the next day he called me to pick him up after travelling nearly 6 hours to get home.

 

An inspector stopped and asked for his ticket for which he explained what had happened and that he had paid all the way to West Ham but ran out of money to get the last leg of the journey as he had to pay for the bus. My son showed him the ticket for the previous part of the journey to prove his story. He took his details and statement.

 

Today 8th October, I get a letter saying that" he was travelling between the two stations without paying the correct fare. That Non payment ofrail fares is an ofence which may be prosecuted in a Youh Court. In order that I may close the report from our inspector, I request that the fare of £6.40 and an administrative fee should now be paid.

 

Payment should be for £51.40 which represents a £45.00 administration fee and £6.40 for the outstandign fare".

 

I acknowledge that this statement is correct in that he did not have a fare for the last part of the journey. Could someone please advise me if they are obliged to supply a copy of their report? This seems excessive considering the fare. Do I have any rights to challenge this?

 

Any help please much appreciated.

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If he was summonsed to court you/he would have seen a copy of the statement I believe, as this is staying out of court, I don't believe the Train Operating Company has to provide a copy of the statement. This is the best and most cost effective way to settle the matter unfortunately. Going to a youth court is a rarity for any train company, so these might be scare tactics. In my experience the only time a TOC goes to a youth court is if the offender is persistant. If your son is nearer 18 than 17 then I believe it's acceptable to go to a Magistrate's Court so long as he is 18 when the appearance is held.

 

Although it may seem harsh to you, your son didn't have a valid ticket for his journey, and had no money to pay for one. At best he's got some mitigating circumstances I'd imagine, should the matter end up in court. If he was 18-years of age he could have been charged with 5.3(a) Regulation of Railways Act, which is a Recordable offence. I'm sure you appreciate that RPI's hear alot of different stories as to how people have become stranded etc, but the fact remains that the ticket your son had was valid on the day of purchase only I'm afraid.

 

I recomend calling the TOC, probably Southern, unless your son was caught further up the line!

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Hi. Thanks for your reply, You say it is not going to court but as mentioned above, their letter suggests it may.

 

Whilst I agree completely with what you say about him not having a ticket for that part of the journey, I am confused as there is no mention of a penalty in the letter. So whilst the fare mentioned is fair enough, how can they charge this for an administration fee?

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The admin costs will be broken down into things such as the Inspectors time on the day and time to write report etc,

the prosecutors time etc etc


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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If I have read this right, the part of the journey in dispute is from London to Laindon, which is on the c2c route.

 

It seems true that prosecution in Youth Courts for this type of offence is 'rare', but not unknown. Railways are not obliged to get 'stranded' people home, and there are arrangements through which they could, and should, have got a ticket before boarding the train.

 

The cheapest way to make this matter 'go away' is for him/you to pay the admin fee & fare.

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Hi. Thanks for your reply, You say it is not going to court but as mentioned above, their letter suggests it may.

 

Whilst I agree completely with what you say about him not having a ticket for that part of the journey, I am confused as there is no mention of a penalty in the letter. So whilst the fare mentioned is fair enough, how can they charge this for an administration fee?

There was a reletive threat about court, not a letter staing their intention to prosecute your son, therefore, at this stage there's no need to see the statement. Hope that makes sense! Who mentioned a penalty?

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