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Section 5.3a Regulations of Railways act & Legal Action - lost ticket issue


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Hi All,

 

Looking for some practical advice if possible!

 

Back in August I purchased a single rail ticket from a 'fast ticket machine' with my debit card for the correct value of £2.05.

 

I jumped onto the train, and somehow during the 3 stops and 12 minutes to my destination I lost both the ticket and the receipt.

 

On arriving, and after much rooting around realised must have left the ticket on the train and went back to look to no avail.

 

On presenting myself at the ticket barrier, my story was not understandably not accepted! I incurred a penalty ticket which has escalated to £57.00.

 

So my main point : Within the request for payment the threat is against legal action on the grounds of Specifically "Section 5.3a Regulations of Railways act & Legal Action". I have consulted this section and note:

 

Section 5 (3) (a) If any person travels or attempts to travel on a railway without having previously paid his fare, and with intent to avoid payment thereof he shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine.

 

Given this particular section where legal action is threatened does not refer to anything about having a " ticket on his possession", and is specifically focused around "without having previously paid his fare", will this in your opinion stand up?

 

I now have a letter from my Bank detailing both the debit card transaction reference, auth code, exact time and date etc, which all corresponds to the fare allegedly not paid for, which I am happy to use to defend myself. I also am thinking of requesting station CCTV footage which I know will show my at the ticket machine making this transaction with my debit card at the particular time.

 

Any thoughts??

 

Do I let this run to court and present this grounds for defence, or do you think there would be merit in revealing it sooner?

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The firts merit in talking to the prosecution team is that to 'present a defence at Court', you would end up having to attend.

 

If you can show that you bought a ticket, do so. I am curious why you allowed this matter to escalate. There is a risk that the railway might still prosecute for the lesser offence of failing to show a ticket. (Byelaw 18.)

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The 'fare' is an odd amount, £2.05. Was this with a 'discount' card? Were you issued with a penalty fare notice, which you seem to have ignored, or were you 'reported'?

 

One of the problems with showing receipts is that it does not prove that you paid your fare. That is why there is a strict liability offence of failing to show a ticket.

 

A good defence, which you seem to have, carries more weight if it is submitted 'early'. If you leave things late, the railway has incurred costs in writing reminder letters and so on, which they will want to recover. (And other passengers/tax payers expect them to recover)

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£2.05 for three stops? Even in London that is unrealistic for a full fare. Was it discounted, or was it a Child rate ticket? If you admitted it was a child ticket any you're not a child, that would explain the 5.3(a) I guess, Byelaw 18.2 would be most applicable to a simple case of a lost ticket, and wont carry as harsh a sentence as being found guilty of a 5.3(a). Otherwise I would have thought a byelaw would be more appropriate in this case, especially as you merely haven't paid a Penalty Fare. If the ticket was purchased with a Young Persons Railcard or similar, I'm assuming you had this on your person?

Edited by Stigy
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Hi All,

 

Thank you for your responses.

 

To be clear - It was a discounted ticket yes, full price 3.10 (yes! even for a 3 stop, 12 minute ride) discounted down to £2.05. But I believe that to be inconsequential, certainly in view of the fact that I held (and still hold) the valid card to support the discount.

 

@ Wriggler7 - The reason I have allowed this issue to escalate is because I missed the window of appeal, and there appears to be no valid process to take into consideration any additional information outside of this window. The only correspondance I have been receiving are frequently escalating demands for payment.

 

Any ideas - As it is at the pre- litigation stage I am wondering what I can do? The RPSS flatly refuse to consider the matter any further given it is outside of the appeal window, and the only lines of communication I have with them are a call centre dealing only with the taking of payments. I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place :(

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You may have left it too late to request the cctv, many places only keep it for a week or two.

 

I would say that you would be best revealing your defence as early as possible, the court may well feel that by not showing your defence before court you have caused the company more costs than necessary.

 

I assume you still have the details of the appeals section? I would submit the appeal anyway, even though it is late, and put in an explanation why it is late. That way, if it does go to court, at least you have tried.

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The 'window of appeal' is 21 days, three weeks. (After midnight of the day of issue) The appeal address is on the notice. Once that 'appeal date' is passed, the appeal is no longer to be dealt with by 'IPFAS' or 'IRCAS'. (You mention RPSS, so I guess the appeal should have gone to IPFAS.

 

The 'ball' is now with the train operator which issued the Pfn.

 

I assume that you had the discount card with you, and showed it to the inspector.

 

If ignored, these things have a horrible habit of escalating, and eventually finding their way into Court. I recommend writing to whoever sent you the 'prosecution' letter, enclose copies (not originals, I know you knew that, but there may be some other folk reading who aren't too bright) of your bank statement/letter. And explain in easy to understand terms that you did buy a ticket, and that you had it with you when you got on the train, and that you really don't know what happened to it.

 

Again, for 'other readers', if any of the above can be proved to be a lie, expect a short answer, involving the words 'Court, and 'see you in'.

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@ Wriggler7 - The reason I have allowed this issue to escalate is because I missed the window of appeal

 

Well this does happen unfortunately (holidays, post, crises etc)...

 

The only correspondance I have been receiving are frequently escalating demands for payment.

 

...but this suggests you still could have contacted them on other occasions before now?

 

Apologies if I misunderstood your post!

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Just to clear up whether or not there is a requirement to have the ticket with you, this is the relevant section of the Regulation of Railways Act (1889)

 

Section 5 (1) Every passenger by a railway shall, on request by an officer or servant of a railway company, either produce, and if so requested deliver up, a ticket showing that his fare is paid, or pay his fare from the place whence he started, or give the officer or servant his name and address; and in case of default shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine.

 

5.(2) If a passenger having failed either to produce, or if requested to deliver up, a ticket showing that his fare is paid, or to pay his fare, refuses (or fails) on request by an officer or servant of a railway company, to give his name and address, any officer of the company may detain him until he can be conveniently brought before some justice or otherwise discharged by due course of law.

 

5. (3) If any person

 

(a) Travels or attempts to travel on a railway without having previously paid his fare, and with intent to avoid payment thereof; or

 

(b) Having paid his fare for a certain distance, knowingly and wilfully proceeds by train beyond that distance without previously paying the additional fare for the additional distance, and with intent to avoid payment thereof; or

 

© Having failed to pay his fare, gives in reply to a request by an officer of a railway company a false name or address,

 

 

 

he shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine

-------------------------------------------------------

 

So far as a ticket is concerned, yes, you have to have it with you and show it for it to be accepted as valid for travel (5.1)

 

Clearly you hadn't shown a valid ticket and did not pay the fare due at the time, otherwise the penalty notice would not have been issued.

 

Unless you have actually received a Summons detailing that allegation, it doesn't appear that you have yet been charged with an offence of 'intent to avoid' unless you can tell us differently?

 

I agree the fare seems to be an odd amount and likely to have been discounted. If you had a discounted ticket, but no railcard, you could be so charged and especially if you don't actually have a railcard that was in date at the time of the journey.

 

You should have acted within the time allowed for the appeal, but certainly need to write to wherever the letter that you have received has come from now.

 

.

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