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Caught using father's discounted Oyster card - ** SETTLED **


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Hi, I have read other threads in this section of the forum and found the feedback by senior members to be very positive so I was hoping if you would please help advise me on my case.

 

At the end of June, I was on the bus when I was found using my father's discounted Oyster card by the ticketing inspector. Up until this point I was unaware that I had accidentally picked up my father's Oyster card until the ticketing inspector had asked me "Do you have the photocard for this pass? These passes are not transferable?" and I replied "It's my dad's" knowingly at that point I had picked up the wrong one. He took my name and address down and told me that he would be submitting a report to the Transport for London Prosecutions Team for their consideration. I replied "OK".

 

Days later I received a letter from TfL regarding that day's situation and offered me to make comments. I explained apologetically about the situation and explained that this was the first time and usually me and my father kept our Oyster cards in the same place above the shoe rack by the front door and promised that this mistake would never happen again by keeping our cards in separate places. Another letter arrived days later requesting the serial number of the Oyster card I had intended to use (i.e. my own card) which I gave in my reply. TfL then said I had insufficient funds on my Oyster card that day and that it was invalid for my journey. (However, if I did have my own one I wouldn't be able to get on the bus anyway with insufficient funds so I would have got off the bus to top-up :|)

 

I now have been summoned to the Magistrates's Court for my "alleged offence" of "Being a passenger on a Public Service Vehicle operated on behalf of London Bus services Limited being used for the carriage of passengers at separate fares, did use in relation to the journey you were taking a ticket which had been issued for use by another person on terms that it is not transferable..".

 

In response to this I have sent a settlement proposal to the person who authorised this charge at TfL explaining the situation again in the most apologetic way possible and asking to settle out of court. I sent the letter on the 13th Sept and have not since received a reply. The court appearance is on the 25th of Sept and by then I would have returned to university so I guess my only choices are that I plead guilty by post and accept the penalty fine and criminal conviction on my record (which I do not want as it will hinder my chances of future employment) or to continue waiting for a reply to my settlement proposal. What would be the best way to approach this situation?

 

I thank you in advance for taking the time to read this thread and any responses will be greatly appreciated!

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What is a discounted Oyster card?

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What is a discounted Oyster card?

 

One that allows you to pay half the price of a normal bus fare. You are also required to carry a photocard with you to prove you are eligible of using the discounted Oyster card.

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"Being a passenger on a Public Service Vehicle operated on behalf of London Bus services Limited being used for the carriage of passengers at separate fares, did use in relation to the journey you were taking a ticket which had been issued for use by another person on terms that it is not transferable.."

 

So you were a passenger on a bus in London, and used a ticket belonging to somebody else, whilst such ticket was not permitted to be used by you. I wonder how it came into your possession? Does your father know it's missing?

 

I think a "guilty" at the first opportunity plea is your best course of action, however, attend court, don't do it by post. You can offer your apologies to the court and TfL and may see a reduced sentence. It will be a fine of around £300-£500 fine, £100-£150 costs and a £15 victim surcharge.

 

The reality of the situation is that you deliberately took your fathers pass because your own Oyster card had no funds on it and you didn't want to/couldn't pay to top it up again. You were subsequently caught and dug a deeper hole when your defence of "wrong oyster card used" was investigated and fell apart when they realised you couldn't have paid anyway.

 

 

(Although it is immaterial to this thread, but why is it discounted? Railcard etc?)

Edited by firstclassx
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Thanks for the reply. The thing is that I did not knowingly use my father's Oyster card and it was purely accidental that I picked up the wrong one. Would I still plead guilty in that sense?

 

"Intent" is not relevant, sorry.

 

You would plead guilty, but I strongly advise you do so in person, rather than by post.

 

Intentional evasion for this could be a different offence, along the lines of possessing an article for the use in a Fraud.

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This is just a quick update to everyone who has been reading this thread.

 

Just to let you all know I have managed to settle this case out of court with TfL with a settlement payment of £250. To anyone who is in a similar predicament as I was, I would definitely recommend the first course of action to be writing a letter to the TfL prosecutor as soon as possible explaining your mistake as apologetically as you can and request to settle out of court. It is important to be honest about the incident and about your feelings to encourage compassion from the other side especially if you believe that you are not guilty of the alleged offence. Turning up to court and pleading guilty is not always the answer to everything, there are certainly better ways to consider when dealing with a situation like this and this is one of them.

 

I hope that helps. All the best!

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To anyone who is in a similar predicament as I was, I would definitely recommend the first course of action to be writing a letter to the TfL prosecutor as soon as possible explaining your mistake as apologetically as you can and request to settle out of court. It is important to be honest about the incident and about your feelings to encourage compassion from the other side especially if you believe that you are not guilty of the alleged offence.

 

This is good advice, but the important thing here is to CHECK what offence you have been charged with. If it is a strict liability matter you will have very little chance to avoid conviction, although this is not a recordable criminal offence. Making an offer to the company to 'pay their reasonably incurred costs in order to dispose of the matter without Court action' might be a good idea

 

Turning up to court and pleading guilty is not always the answer to everything, there are certainly better ways to consider when dealing with a situation like this and this is one of them.

 

If you have been charged with the more serious 'intent to avoid a fare' and you genuinely do not believe that you are guilty, this is a matter for which a criminal conviction might be recorded. I suggest that in these circumstances, before taking any action you should seek the opinion of a qualified criminal lawyer who is familiar with the Court at which you are summonsed to appear.

 

To the OP, well done on achieving a satisfactory result from your point of view.

Edited by Old-CodJA
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