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Fine and court action - Oyster Extension Permit


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I was fined for travelling outside the zones covered by my travelcard without Oyster Extension Permit (OEP) .

 

Here are the facts :

- I had a zone 2 - 5 travelcard on my Oyster card

- I had £10 PAYG worth of credit on my Oyster card

- I travelled from East Croydon (z5) to London Bridge (z1) where barriers rejected my Oyster.

- I had done the same journey 2 days before without issue and countless times before that with no issues

 

I was totally confused when the inspector decided to fine me on the grounds that my ticket was not valid because I didn't have an OEP. The PAYG credit on my Oyster card was enough to cover my z5 - z1 journey. Up until that point, I had never heard of the OEP. After the fine, I called up a few friends to find out if they knew about OEP. None of them knew about it. I asked some railway station staff, they too were unsure what it was. How was I expected to know about OEP ?

 

I am not prepared to pay the fine. They are threatening to take me to court. So I'm preparing my defence. I'm hoping that the judge will see through OEP as a penalty fare revenue generator for rail companies.

 

I am interested in any information that can help me win the case if/when it is taken to court. Has anyone gone to court for a similar case? What should my main line of defence be ?

 

Thank You

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Unfortunately you dont have a defence in law, when you obtained the oystercard you accepted the T&Cs.

Best case scenario if you allow it to proceed to court is an absolute discharge but it will still be a conviction for a strict liability offence.

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@SRPO and Stigy, thank you both for your replies.

 

I really do not think I should be fined for an obscure permit that nobody knows about. Before that fateful day, I had done that same trip several times under the same circumstances with no issues; each time I was correctly charged the additional fare for going through z1. There was no attempt to evade the fare or pay a lower than due fare. I was doing what I had done for 9 months without issues. Will the judge not consider this?

 

I am hoping that the judge will order a review of OEP as a result of this ...

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The only judge likely to be involved is a district judge, which is the new name for a stipendary magistrate & they cant 'order' such a review, only express an opinion.

This will likely be charged as a strict liability & a judge cannot find you not guilty just because you say you have done it before with no problems. Forget 'fare evasion' this is not about that, its about being charged a penalty for having the wrong ticket.

To get to the stage of a judicial review (which does have such power) you will need to sell your's & your neighbour's houses to pay the legal fees.

 

I hate oyster & its complexity, although I agree with the principle, it is not fit for our transport system.

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Yes, I echo the comments made by SRPO.

 

Ignorance of a rule cannot be used as a defence and the purchaser accepts the T&Cs when they purchase an Oyster.

 

The rules regarding OEPs are as follows:

 

If you travel outside the zones covered by your Travelcard you'll need to get an Oyster Extension Permit

 

Oyster Extension Permits

 

 

If you want to travel beyond the zones covered by your Travelcard on National Rail services within London you must set an Oyster Extension Permit on your Oyster card before you travel. This means you will use pay as you go once you've gone outside the zone.

  • You can set your permit at any Tube or London Overground station ticket office or touchscreen ticket machine, Oyster Ticket Stops, some National Rail ticket offices or self-service ticket machines
  • You only need to set an Oyster Extension Permit when you start a journey within the zones covered by your Travelcard and want to travel outside those zones on National Rail
  • Only set your permit to your card just before you make your extension journey
  • You must have at least £1.50 pay as you go balance on your Oyster card to set one
  • A permit stays on your card until you touch out at the end of your journey
  • When touching out, the permit will be cleared from your Oyster card and the fare for the extension journey will be deducted from your pay as you go balance

If you travel beyond the zones covered by your Travelcard without an Oyster Extension Permit you may be liable to a penalty fare or prosecution.

 

I too think the Oyster system is unnecessarily complicated and in many ways it is unfit for purpose in terms of our London commuter area, but although they may be sympathetic and that might be reflected in their judgement, a DJ or Magistrates Bench cannot vary the law on that basis. It is a stict liability matter.

 

If you have received a Penalty Fare notice and fail to pay or to successfully appeal within the time period stated on it, the company may proceed to cancel the penalty fare option (allowed under the rules) and issue a Summons alleging your failure to pay the fare due.

 

Any Court would only be able to rule on that charge.

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