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My 17 year old son arrived at a train station as the train was pulling in.

 

He did not use the ticket machine which is located juast outside the station as this would have meant he would miss the train.

 

He intended on purchasing a ticket from the conductor on the train.

 

When he was on the train an inspector asked to see his ticket and my son said he did not have one but was intending to purchase one on the train. The inspector then said my son had broken a law and that he would be prosecuted for doing so. He collected some information from my son and said a letter would be issued.

 

The train guard later apologised to my son because he felt the way my son had been spoken to was innaprorpriate and he was rude. He gave my son the details of how to make a complaint.

 

A complaint has been logged and a holding response has been issued by the train company.

 

Today my son received a letter from Transport Investigations Limited stating they have received a report which indicates that sufficient evidence does exist to warrant a prosecution. The file is presently with their prosecutions team who are considering whether to issue a summons.

 

They have stated that if they do not receive a written response within 14 days a summons may be issued.

 

His friend who got on the same train at the same time without a ticket has been sent a £30 fine in the post but no mention of a prosecution.

The train company is Arriva Trains.

 

Has anyone any advice that may help.

Edited by honeybee13
Putting in a bit more spacing for easier reading.
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Hello again.

 

I expect the transport guys will be along later, but I think in essence Arriva are in the right. From what I understand from reading this forum, arriving too late to buy a ticket isn't good and not seeking out someone on the train to buy a ticket from isn't good either.

 

I have a feeling though that your son's age may act in his favour, but please wait for the experts for that because I can't remember the details.

 

Hopefully the guys will give you some pointers on how to put together a letter for your son to send. Could I just ask please, was the letter addressed to him or to his parents?

 

I'm just starting this off with a few thoughts, I expect expert help will arrive soon.

 

HB

Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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It was addressed to him. I'm a bit concerned about that as effectively he could end up with a prosecution without his parents being aware, not sure if being 17 makes him a minor.

 

Transport Investigations Ltd are deemed to be authorised officers of the railway. Arriva Trains Wales sub-contracts most revenue protection duties to this company, and as part of their contract, provides the legal authorisation to identify, report & prosecute (potential) offenders.

 

Your son has committed an offence under the railway byelaws, specifically Byelaw 18(1). The maximum penalty is a £1000 fine. That said, if it ever goes to court, any fine would be around the low hundreds.

 

I don't think your complaint is helpful. It may make the situation worse if it didn't recognise the fact your son was to blame for the incident. It certainly won't prevent any prosecution action. If it was written in a way that appears aggressive or demanding, you may have made it worse.

 

The fact two people travelling together in the same circumstances and have been treated differently suggests your son may have failed the attitude test, didn't have enough money to pay for the journey, gave a false name/address etc. Someone being told they may be prosecuted can make some people rather mouthy, "jobsworth" etc.

 

You need to write a very apologetic letter to Transport Investigations Ltd stating that your son is only 17 and you have explained the consequences of his actions, and offer to pay any administrative costs incurred. (If they ask for them, they may be a lot more than £30!)

 

Your son should also write to them, in his own words, that he is apologetic and about learning from the experience. It needs to demonstrate remorse etc, and how it could affect his future career prospects.

 

You then just need to wait and see what they decide.

 

They can prosecute in court, but as he is only 17, he should be able to avoid it by writing decent apology letters and possibly paying their costs. This once.

 

I'd send it electronically (e-mail etc), if possible. Failing that, use recorded delivery so you know when/if they get your letter.

Edited by firstclassx
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Thanks for the reply.

The complaint was made as the train guard suggested he should do so as he felt the inspector was rude to my son and he said he would also send a report to his supervisor.

My son had the money and bought a ticket on the train.

In terms of the attitude test my son gave the correct details otherwise we wouldn't have received the letter.

The frustration is everyday I see people buying tickets on the train or paying at their destination station, I have done it several times this year. This is standard practice with Arrival trains, their signage says you should attempt to purchase a ticket before. It doesn't say you must.

I'll send a letter however I want to see the response from Arrival before agreeing anything.

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Thanks for the reply.

The complaint was made as the train guard suggested he should do so as he felt the inspector was rude to my son and he said he would also send a report to his supervisor.

My son had the money and bought a ticket on the train.

In terms of the attitude test my son gave the correct details otherwise we wouldn't have received the letter.

The frustration is everyday I see people buying tickets on the train or paying at their destination station, I have done it several times this year. This is standard practice with Arrival trains, their signage says you should attempt to purchase a ticket before. It doesn't say you must.

I'll send a letter however I want to see the response from Arrival before agreeing anything.

 

Hello again.

 

You've got a 14 day deadline though and could risk this becoming more serious if they don't hear anything. I don't know if you can count on the complaints people and the prosecutions lot communicating that there is a complaint, especially when prosecutions aren't done in-house.

 

Are you expecting to hear about the complaint before your deadline to write about the fare problem?

 

HB

Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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Thanks for the reply.

The complaint was made as the train guard suggested he should do so as he felt the inspector was rude to my son and he said he would also send a report to his supervisor.

My son had the money and bought a ticket on the train.

In terms of the attitude test my son gave the correct details otherwise we wouldn't have received the letter.

The frustration is everyday I see people buying tickets on the train or paying at their destination station, I have done it several times this year. This is standard practice with Arrival trains, their signage says you should attempt to purchase a ticket before. It doesn't say you must.

I'll send a letter however I want to see the response from Arrival before agreeing anything.

 

If the guard did suggest that, it is usually because he does not want any hassle from the passenger, and can just agree with them. I can almost guarantee no report would have been completed by the guard. Basically passes the problem to customer relations rather than him.

 

RevenueProtectionIMG.jpg

 

Posters like the above appear at many Arriva Trains Wales stations. Regardless, it is your legal obligation to purchase a ticket when facilities exist to do so, or you commit a criminal offence. Arriva spends around £20k-£30k installing a single ticket machine . I struggle to see why you think buying before getting on a train is optional. When you buy a ticket on board, this is because the guard is not qualified to do anything else (i.e. report for prosecution), therefore the only way to deal with you, is to sell you a ticket. However, Inspectors, like in this case, also check tickets, and WILL report you for prosecution.

 

Your complaint will not prevent a summons or prosecution, if that is what you are hoping.

 

I would strongly suggest you post a copy of your letter to Transport Investigations on this forum, because I suspect it will need some editing.

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Firstclassx has covered virtually everything perfectly well in the posts above. The only things I can add are in general terms, for instance the age of criminal responsibility in England & Wales is actually 12 years. There are guidelines in relation to dealing with young people of course and it is rare for any TOC to proceed with this kind of charge against someone so young as that, it is clearly not a very serious offence, but is an offence nonetheless. It is not impossible for these matters to end up before a Court and Magistrates recognise that people who are almost 18 should certainly know right from wrong. Your son is over 16 and the company would be right to write directly to him.

 

There is often a kind of 'cut-off' area where, if is a traveller is over 17 and a half and have been reported for an allegation of an offence, they may well face prosecution and this is more likely if they 'fail the attitude test' as firstclassx points out. Some TOCs actually have a policy of prosecuting at 17 and a half

 

Buying a ticket before you board a train is not optional. If there are facilities to get a ticket before boarding a train Byelaw 18.1 is strict liability and states that you must do so.

 

So far as I am aware, new signs at Arriva Trains Wales stations were put in during the second half of last year and have reinforced that instruction.

Edited by Old-CodJA
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