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Northern Rail Fare Evasion


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Hi guys,

 

I have received a letter from the Northern Rail Debt Recovery and Prosecutions Unit regarding the non-payment of a rail fare.

 

I was questioned and had my details taken by a Revenue Protection Officer upon leaving station B without a valid ticket (worth £3.50).

 

I travelled from station A (which is unmanned), to station B.

 

The train guard didn't come down the train on the journey so I was required to buy a ticket at station B.

It was my full intention to buy a ticket so I queued at station B for a while and as I neared the front of the queue,

I was told to pass through the ticket barrier and re-join a queue at the ticket office.

 

I was in a hurry as I was due to be at an important University seminar and after passing through the gate I proceeded to leave the station.

I was caught by RPO without a valid ticket and now face possible court action.

 

I fully understand I should not have attempted to leave the station without a ticket

however it was my genuine intention to return the station later on and buy the ticket (which I did).

 

I am a very frequent user of the service and have since bought a monthly railcard.

I now have to reply to the letter with my explanation.

 

I was wondering if you had any ideas on what to write and what the likely outcome of the situation is?

I am more than willing to pay any fines/admin costs if it meant an out-of-court settlement.

 

I have been very worried about the outcome as receiving a criminal record would obviously have adverse effects on my future career.

 

I am 19 years old and have certainly considered the experience a lesson learned!

 

Any help would be very much appreciated,

 

thank you.

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firstly as other will point out

 

its for YOU to SEEK the conductor and buy a ticket should you fail to get one before boarding.

 

however,

 

you need to send a grovelling letter offering to pay etc etc as you have eluded too

 

You may wish to write to the prosecution office with an apology and ask if you may be allowed to pay the outstanding fare and all the reasonable costs incurred by the company in order to preserve your good name by resolving this without court action. The Rail Company is not obliged to agree, but if they do it does remove the likelihood of a conviction and court record.

there are many examples in the threads here

 

but keep the letter short and to the facts

 

dx

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

DCA's view debtors as suckers, marks and mugs

NO DCA has ANY legal powers whatsoever on ANY debt no matter what it's Type

and they

are NOT and can NEVER  be BAILIFFS. even if a debt has been to court..

If everyone stopped blindly paying DCA's Tomorrow, their industry would collapse overnight... 

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The advice from dx100 is spot-on of course.

 

Having not previously paid the fare, the moment that you decided to walk out of the station rather than join the queue to pay, you displayed intention to avoid the fare.

 

Your declared intention to 'return to the station and pay later' is completely irrelevant I'm afraid. The fare is due at the time of travel and not later.

 

Just as dx100 says, if there are no facilities at the station where you boarded the train, it is up to you to seek the staff on the train and declare your correct journey and pay your fare.

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Thank you for your prompt responses,

I intend to reply with a polite letter asking them to accept my apology and payments out of court. As far as I am aware (after speaking to someone at Northern Debt & Pros. Dept.) the outcome will either be a formal warning, a fine of some description or "worst case scenario", court action. It is the first time I have ever committed an offence of its nature. I realise that a settlement out of court is not an automatic right, cases are reviewed on an individual basis and the decision lies ultimately with Northern. Does anyone know what the likely outcome will be? After reading about Northern taking someone to court over 50p, that gives me little to no hope :|

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I'm sorry to say that the answer to your question really a case of 'how long is a piece of string'.

 

I know that you recognise how silly your action was and how serious the outcome can be, but where the TOC is concerned, it would be particularly easy to prove the case against you. They would normally go for 'intent to avoid a fare' contrary to Section 5 of the Regulation of Railways Act (1889) in a case like this because 'making off without payment' or 'bilking' is considered a very serious matter. If Police were dealing with it there would be a possibility of a charge under the Theft Act, but railway prosecutors usually stick with RRA or the Byelaws.

 

Whether or not you get a chance to settle really depends on three things, a) how contrite you appear from your letter, b) the company policy on matters such as bilking and c) how sympathetic the prosecution manager is feeling after having read your letter and checked for any previous warnings.

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Thanks for your informative response, I think that yourself and other contributors do an excellent job on the forum sharing your expertise on the subject and advising people in similar situations to myself.

 

In terms of my opinion on the matter, I'd like to express my views on a few things. The first thing is that although I wholly agree that, as a passenger, it is my responsibility to seek out a member of staff on the train; at times this is completely impractical. Anyone who has travelled on the Southport to Manchester Airport service in the morning at peak time will know exactly what I mean. The sheer volume of passengers makes buying a ticket on the train at certain times an unrealistic feat.

 

Another issue I am slightly confused by is that; if I had travelled 20 miles in the opposite direction and used Merseyrail services and had been found to be travelling without a valid ticket, I would have received a Penalty Fare which would have been paid and nothing more would be said on the matter. If the Regulation of Railways Act 1889 says that anyone found to be travelling without a valid ticket is subject to conviction and therefore a criminal record, how can TOC's have different policies on the matter? In my opinion a criminal offence is a criminal offence and should be treated uniformly.

 

Another thing I find debateable is that people's future careers/travelling ambitions can potentially come down to your ability to write a letter and whether or not the prosecutions manager is having a good day or not.

 

Again, these ideas are reflective of my own opinions. As you can probably tell I have been quite affected by the matter and I certainly didn't envisage myself writing this on Christmas Eve but like I say, it is a lesson learned. Anyway thanks for reading and Merry Christmas to all on the forum!

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sadly we dont make the rules

 

you know what you have to do

 

dx

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

DCA's view debtors as suckers, marks and mugs

NO DCA has ANY legal powers whatsoever on ANY debt no matter what it's Type

and they

are NOT and can NEVER  be BAILIFFS. even if a debt has been to court..

If everyone stopped blindly paying DCA's Tomorrow, their industry would collapse overnight... 

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Share on other sites

The first thing is that although I wholly agree that, as a passenger, it is my responsibility to seek out a member of staff on the train; at times this is completely impractical. Anyone who has travelled on the Southport to Manchester Airport service in the morning at peak time will know exactly what I mean. The sheer volume of passengers makes buying a ticket on the train at certain times an unrealistic feat.

 

I agree, but if you were to alight from a busy train after boarding at a station where there were no ticket facilities and approach the train staff to pay either on arrival at your destination, or on the platform before reaching the barrier, then you would have complied with your obligation and no offence would be evident.

 

Another issue I am slightly confused by is that; if I had travelled 20 miles in the opposite direction and used Merseyrail services and had been found to be travelling without a valid ticket, I would have received a Penalty Fare which would have been paid and nothing more would be said on the matter.

 

Not true I'm afraid. Where evidence exists to show INTENT to avoid a fare, a penalty fare notice would not be issued. As your original post makes clear, you made off without payment and were then caught by an RPO. Intent became evident at that point.

 

If the Regulation of Railways Act 1889 says that anyone found to be travelling without a valid ticket is subject to conviction and therefore a criminal record, how can TOC's have different policies on the matter? In my opinion a criminal offence is a criminal offence and should be treated uniformly.

 

Travelling without a ticket does not ALWAYS indicate an intention not to pay. The first part of your journey without a ticket was legitimate because the embarking station had no facilities, it was when you decided to make off without paying at your destination that the offence was commissioned.

 

Another thing I find debateable is that people's future careers/travelling ambitions can potentially come down to your ability to write a letter and whether or not the prosecutions manager is having a good day or not.

 

Again, not true. The rail company does not have to give anyone an opportunity to avoid a conviction in these circumstances, but, IF you write and ask, they may consider it. It is always worth asking.

 

Again, these ideas are reflective of my own opinions. As you can probably tell I have been quite affected by the matter and I certainly didn't envisage myself writing this on Christmas Eve but like I say, it is a lesson learned. Anyway thanks for reading and Merry Christmas to all on the forum!

 

I hope that my clarification has helped further, thank you for your earlier comments

 

Merry Christmas.

Edited by Old-CodJA
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  • 1 month later...

Just to keep you updated, I replied with a letter of apology to Northern and today, I received a fixed penalty notice today of £80 + the outstanding fare. Upon paying the penalty I will no longer be liable to conviction and the matter will be concluded. I am relieved that on this occasion, I have been given the opportunity to settle the matter out of court.

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Just to keep you updated, I replied with a letter of apology to Northern and today, I received a fixed penalty notice today of £80 + the outstanding fare. Upon paying the penalty I will no longer be liable to conviction and the matter will be concluded. I am relieved that on this occasion, I have been given the opportunity to settle the matter out of court.

 

Just received my letter today :-( any chance you could post the letter you sent to them please.

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  • 7 months later...

no!

 

templated/copied letters will get you nowhere

 

each case is diff

 

 

dx

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

DCA's view debtors as suckers, marks and mugs

NO DCA has ANY legal powers whatsoever on ANY debt no matter what it's Type

and they

are NOT and can NEVER  be BAILIFFS. even if a debt has been to court..

If everyone stopped blindly paying DCA's Tomorrow, their industry would collapse overnight... 

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