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Conductor Assured, LM Penalty Fare - ** OVERTURNED **


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Hi,

 

I was travelling from Redditch station at midday today but arrived as the train had arrived (left packing slightly late ended up running to the station) i asked at the counter whether it was possible for me to buy a ticket on the train, was referred to the conductor as it was his decision. He was making his final announcements so i waited on the platform until he had finished and then asked him. His reply was it would cost £3-4 more than the ticket machine but I could if i couldn't wait for the next train (Every half hour from the station would have made me late for my coach). So I thanked him and got on, for him not to appear during the journey at all (I was sat money in hand waiting to purchase my ticket on the first carriage next to his compartment).

 

As i got to Birmingham New Street I proceeded to the barriers where i told the man checking tickets upon exit I had no ticket. He called over a ticket officer who proceeded to tap on a board while giving me a lecture about it. I explained multiple times and offered to pay the cost of my ticket to get this sorted quickly as I had to leave for my coach (another 15 minute walk to the station). He proceeded to ask for my details, telling me i was receiving a penalty fare, which i gave and asked him how long it would take which he replied with 'However long it takes'. Very Useful!

 

As he took his time slowly copying out my details onto the form I asked him to please hurry up as I could not miss this coach (To Portsmouth where i'm at uni, I had the funds for my ticket on the train no money for one back or another coach booking!). His response was that 'You should stop acting aggressive or I will call the traffic police and have you arrested!' I told him very sternly that this was ridiculous and I had offered multiple times to pay for my ticket after assurances from the conductor of the train in question, i suggested phoning/radioing through (however they communicate) to which he just replied No and threatened me that I was close to breaking ticket evasion laws and as such could be liable for a £1500 fine and 3 months imprisonment.

 

Safe to say I asked him to hurry up once more (to another lecture of let me do my job and i can be as quick as you like, as he reads every sentence describing my details etc) I took the notice and then had to run to the coach station so I wasn't late.

 

My question is where do I stand in terms of an appeal, there is CCTV of the Redditch platform which will show me speaking to the conductor before boarding, do I have any legal grounds to appeal this as I clearly stated that i was willing to pay yet this was waved away by the officer (He took none of the payment of the £20 penalty fare not even the cost of my single although offered)

 

Thanks

A very confused Smiley!

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Unfortunately, despite the assurance you say you were given by the conductor, the fact is that you travelled in a penalty fare zone without a ticket, and hence received a penalty fare in accordance with the rules. The ticket office man is off the hook because he warned you that it would be at the conductor's discretion, and he obviously used his discretion to sit in the cab, avoiding passengers.

 

The best you could do would probably be to pay the penalty fare under protest (send by recorded delivery) and complain at the same time to the train company in question.

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The Conductor let you travel without first buying a ticket, so you done nothing wrong in boarding the train without first buying your ticket, but to be honest, if he didn't come to find you, you should have gone up to him again, as the current state of affairs would seem unrealistic to the RPI on the barriers and with any appeals body.

 

Maybe you assumed the Conductor meant that you could buy at your destination at an additional 3 or £4? Who knows. I suggest you appeal the PFN, but wouldn't hold my breath.

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I agree with Stigy here, I'm afraid that your inaction after boarding the train might be your downfall.

 

As has so often been pointed out, there is always an 'attitude test' that is subconciously applied by both parties in these situations and whilst no member of staff should act with aggression, rudely or unprofessionally, the same does apply to us all of course.

 

Having not made any further effort to pay the fare after the initial query, arriving at the station exit barrier and saying words to the effect that "The chap on the train said it was OK to pay him, but I didn't do so", the barrier staff will wonder why you are now seemingly attempting to leave the station without having obtained a valid travel ticket. It is up to the traveller who knows that a fare is due to seek out the earliest opportunity to pay and if that means approaching staff to do so then that is what should be done.

 

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I suspect that because of your pressing need to make an onward journey, perhaps you became somewhat impatient whilst the necessary identity details were recorded and checks were made.

 

If this resulted in you demanding that staff 'Hurry it up!', or words to that effect, maybe this would also encourage the barrier staff to disbelieve your story.

 

Put yourself in the position of the revenue inspector for a second. You are faced with someone who is a bit pushy, demanding you get a move on, claims that the booking office said s/he could ask the conductor if s/he could pay on train, claims that the conductor said it was OK, but cannot show any evidence that s/he has paid the conductor and is now in a tearing hurry to leave the station having not yet paid anything.

 

The foregoing will be the basis of the revenue staff report if asked by the appeals service.

 

You should by all means appeal the notice, but I too fear it will be rejected. A carefully worded letter might be successful, especially if you can get a note from the Booking Office clerk who you say said that it would be up to the conductor, better still a note to that effect from the conductor himself, but I fear that is very unlikely.

Edited by Old-CodJA
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Hi there, thanks for the replies.

 

The conductor actually exited the train to speak to me and personally reassure me and then stayed in his cabin part at the end of the train (I was sat next to it waiting (staff only signs, i respect their usage because they probably are busy)) the entire journey (around 40 minutes half the length of the whole journey that train takes on that line when also passing stations such as the University train station so it's not as if the train is an empty train)

 

To buy a ticket in new street station after would only be possible once passing the barriers as they check tickets in and out before allowing people near the platforms so i had no chance once at the station to purchase my ticket before approaching the barriers which is where i hold my grievance for no ability to purchase a ticket other than from the conductor.

 

I have wrote a letter so far and am ready to send it, however was wondering whether adding a copy of my booking references etc for my coach would help as those will show the times to help with my case of frustration as i had to leave. I hold a personal problem with the revenue officer for being an absolute jobsworth and physically slowing down everything from his speech to his writing once i'd asked him to hurry up as it seems he intended to make me late so I can already tell he'll write a report completely against me. I know i was impatient and got rather frustrated, but i feel in my case i had every right to when I have been pretty much sandbagged by them.

 

20 years using London Midland trains generally prebooked, the one time i'm in a hurry i get treated like a criminal! It frustrates me that their staff can show such divided natures, and almost seem to cooperate to cause these fines.

 

It is difficult for me to get a note from the booking office clerk because it is 130 miles away from portsmouth and was only home for the weekend and next the middle of december especially when the staff in their change, however i'll speak to my friend and family see if they can go down and see what they can do.

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Hi there, thanks for the replies.

 

The conductor actually exited the train to speak to me and personally reassure me and then stayed in his cabin part at the end of the train (I was sat next to it waiting (staff only signs, i respect their usage because they probably are busy)) the entire journey (around 40 minutes half the length of the whole journey that train takes on that line when also passing stations such as the University train station so it's not as if the train is an empty train)

 

To buy a ticket in new street station after would only be possible once passing the barriers as they check tickets in and out before allowing people near the platforms so i had no chance once at the station to purchase my ticket before approaching the barriers which is where i hold my grievance for no ability to purchase a ticket other than from the conductor.

 

I have wrote a letter so far and am ready to send it, however was wondering whether adding a copy of my booking references etc for my coach would help as those will show the times to help with my case of frustration as i had to leave. I hold a personal problem with the revenue officer for being an absolute jobsworth and physically slowing down everything from his speech to his writing once i'd asked him to hurry up as it seems he intended to make me late so I can already tell he'll write a report completely against me. I know i was impatient and got rather frustrated, but i feel in my case i had every right to when I have been pretty much sandbagged by them.

 

20 years using London Midland trains generally prebooked, the one time i'm in a hurry i get treated like a criminal! It frustrates me that their staff can show such divided natures, and almost seem to cooperate to cause these fines.

 

It is difficult for me to get a note from the booking office clerk because it is 130 miles away from portsmouth and was only home for the weekend and next the middle of december especially when the staff in their change, however i'll speak to my friend and family see if they can go down and see what they can do.

 

 

'Staff Only' signs mean only staff may enter, it is clear that there is nothing to stop a traveller knocking on a door to seek the attention of a staff member. It is obvious that this was not the driver's cabin, which should not be disturbed because s/he would be at the other end of the train.

 

I know Birmingham New Street station intimately and the 'fares to declare & pay desk', located at the station for travellers who have boarded at stations where there were genuinely no pre-purchase facilities, is reached before a traveller gets to the exit barrier line. It is clearly visible on the right hand side as you come off the exit from platforms.

 

Where exactly were you when you were questioned?

 

If you headed out of the barrier line without first going to the 'fares to declare & pay' desk and were then questioned by an RPI at the exit you could have very easily been charged with attempted fare evasion and given the current policies, I am surprised that only a penalty fare notice was issued.

Edited by Old-CodJA
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I'll have to apologise for my complete ignorance of there being a fares to pay desk as i've said i've never had to use it as i usually have my ticket. I was talking about the general ticketing desks on the other side of the barrier exits which is where i was stopped.

 

I also said at the barrier I was happy to pay but was referred straight to a revenue officer thanks for the helpful staff there too (just sat checking tickets at each barrier)

 

To reiterate my point, had i known there was a way to pay, or had been referred to said desk, i would have had no problem (as i said i offered to pay my ticket to the barrier staff and revenue officer) which is where i cannot understand why i was not simply referred to said desk to pay.

Edited by smiley3577
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I'll have to apologise for my complete ignorance of there being a fares to pay desk as i've said i've never had to use it as i usually have my ticket. I was talking about the general ticketing desks on the other side of the barrier exits which is where i was stopped.

 

I also said at the barrier I was happy to pay but was referred straight to a revenue officer thanks for the helpful staff there too (just sat checking tickets at each barrier)

 

To reiterate my point, had i known there was a way to pay, or had been referred to said desk, i would have had no problem, which is where i cannot understand why i was not simply referred to said desk to pay.

 

 

This will have been because you made to exit the barrier line without going to that desk. It is immediately next to the barrier line, but on the platform exit side.

 

On any 36 minute journey from Redditch to Birmingham New Street the train makes 8 station stops at each of which, the conductor/guard has to check the train/platform doors therefore being visible and giving ample opportunities to call his attention and pay the fare due.

 

I hope that it doesn't surprise you that the 'helpful' staff that you refer to at each barrier as 'just sat there checking tickets', are actually deployed to do exactly that.

 

Like I said earlier, by all means make an appeal, but I hope that you can see how the assessment may well go.

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Surely when i said to him 'I have no ticket the conductor was meant to sell my ticket but never appeared on the train although i'm happy to pay' He could say just over there right?

 

I wasn't saying Just checking tickets in a derogatory way, i meant as in not an revenue officer, you seemed to originally post as if i had been stopped directly by the revenue officer in question.

 

I understand there may be a lot of points against me, however i will still appeal this as i feel there could have been a much simpler way of dealing with this situation from their staff, rather than their bag and tag as many as possible way currrently

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Surely when i said to him 'I have no ticket the conductor was meant to sell my ticket but never appeared on the train although i'm happy to pay' He could say just over there right?

 

I wasn't saying Just checking tickets in a derogatory way, i meant as in not an revenue officer, you seemed to originally post as if i had been stopped directly by the revenue officer in question.

 

I understand there may be a lot of points against me, however i will still appeal this as i feel there could have been a much simpler way of dealing with this situation from their staff, rather than their bag and tag as many as possible way currrently

 

 

I have said all along that you should appeal, but am trying to ensure that you are fully aware of all the considerations.

 

It is the travellers responsibility to seek the opportunity to pay. An appeal court judgment in the case of Corbyn (1978) often referred to in these discussions made this clear.

 

It is not the conductor / guard's general responsibility to walk through the train seeking out travellers who have not paid although I accept that you say this conductor was aware that at least one passenger needed to pay. Those staff are primarily employed for safety of train purposes, but when Revenue Inspectors are deployed to go through checking for travellers without tickets it will be with the general intention of reporting offenders.

 

When attempting to pass out of the barrier and failing to present a ticket for verification of validity contrary to National Railway Byelaw 18.2 at Birmingham New Street exit, you would have been referred to a revenue inspector for report, or at the discretion of that inspector, the issue of a Penalty Fare Notice.

 

It does appear to me that the inspector may have been a little more understanding than you give credit for. He could have made out a report for prosecution, but instead issued the Penalty Notice allowing you the opportunity of appeal to an independent body within 21 days. Please remember, these staff don't write the rules and they are instructed by local management

 

I still think you should appeal, but attempting to put all the blame for this wholly with staff isn't going to win too many friends in my long experience. A polite apology and full explanation of the circumstances might succeed, but just pointing the finger is unlikely to achieve a benefit for you in my view.

Edited by Old-CodJA
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Thanks for showing me some of the laws that may be used, you have enlightened me to the struggle i'm going to face!

 

I'll send my appeal tomorrow morning (The PO Box is in Portsmouth so shouldn't have any problems with delays being sent from Portsmouth too) and await their decision. However you never answered whether adding my bookings for my coach would help my case?

 

Thanks for all the help and I'll try to let you know of the outcome.

 

Smiley

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All I can say is that I am no expert on public transport. And you have the benefit of an expert who is investing a lot of time and energy in to your thread.

 

But the last (in fact only) time I got on a train without being able to work the ticket machine, I walked up and down the train to find the guy to buy a ticket from before I took a seat.

 

I don't want to appear supercilious - I am not. I want you to think about how your conduct may look to a third party observer. You effectively made NO effort to purchase a ticket on the train, other than to hold your money in your hand.

 

You then walked through the arrival station completely oblivious to the next method to pay. Without asking anyone.

 

Sorry, but to a 3rd party reviewing the facts of this, I don't think they would see you as having made any effort to pay at all.

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I will say that my ignorance to there being a fares to pay desk does count against me yes. However the first members of staff I noticed were the barrier staff. Hence why I spoke to them first as I'm not comfortable asking random people on a very busy station when as i said previously, was in a rush myself.

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Thanks for showing me some of the laws that may be used, you have enlightened me to the struggle i'm going to face!

 

I'll send my appeal tomorrow morning (The PO Box is in Portsmouth so shouldn't have any problems with delays being sent from Portsmouth too) and await their decision. However you never answered whether adding my bookings for my coach would help my case?

 

Thanks for all the help and I'll try to let you know of the outcome.

 

Smiley

 

In honesty, the answer to whether your coach booking has any relevence is very little and for practical purposes I would say none.

 

I'm really sorry if this offends, but the rail company cannot run it's revenue protection policy based on what a traveller might wish to do when they leave the railway.

 

You may well say that you told the conductor words to the effect that "you need to get a move on because I have a pre-booked coach to catch" and of course, this becomes 'your word and his', but it is 'after the event'. It does not alter the liability.

 

The determination of whether the appeal is upheld or not will be primarily concerned with 'did the traveller meet their liability to hold a valid ticket' and 'did the rail company provide the appropriate ticket purchase facilities'

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I will say that my ignorance to there being a fares to pay desk does count against me yes. However the first members of staff I noticed were the barrier staff. Hence why I spoke to them first as I'm not comfortable asking random people on a very busy station when as i said previously, was in a rush myself.

 

 

The appeals assessor will know that all the staff were in uniform and the desk is less than 15 feet from, but before the barrier line on the trains side

 

I think that the thing that goes against you most was after your claim that he said it was OK to do so, your failure to approach the conductor on train and pay him the fare.

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Your rush is entirely your responsibility. None of the rail staff had any hand in your alarm clock, ability to pack and get to the station in good time.

 

To use that in your appeal would be folly in my opinion.

 

I would stick to:

A profuse apology for your mistake.

The conductor not appearing to enable you to make payment.

The first professional you approached at the arrival station to find out how to pay prosecuted you before pointing out the proper procedure to make payment.

And at all times you had the money and intention to pay.

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No offence taken, I meant it as part of my case of frustration and impatience if that's how they see my willingness to exit quickly as part of my liability or even as far as attempted ticket evasion. Not as part of the whole inability to buy a ticket.

 

Everytime I've taken the train the conductor leaves his cabin and proceeds with rounds which is where I made an effort in my eyes to sit within the first compartment ready. I didn't feel comfortable knocking on a staff area door in case, as would be the case for not making rounds, they were busy. I know it may be classed against me but i'll still appeal.

 

Thanks for the advice Bandit, that's exactly how my case is. And how I acted. My frustration comes from staff being unable to see past a small mistake and actually assist me in paying. Not being penalty happy and throwing me to an officer rather than helping me rectify the mistake.

Edited by smiley3577
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Sorry I was editing my previous post when your two posts were made.

 

Bandit the only points I think they will disagree with is the OPs claim of 'the conductor not appearing to enable you to make payment' and the staff didn't refer the OP to the fares to pay desk.

 

That desk is for people who were genuinely unable to get a ticket, but there were pre-purchase facilities available to the OP, who arrived late for a train. National Conditons of Rail Carriage make clear this isn't an acceptable excuse. It's up to the traveller to make time.

 

There are no non-stop trains from Redditch to Birmingham New St and the fact that the conductor has to make themselves visible to check the doors at intermediate stops every 4 or 5 minutes will allow the appeals staff to negate that claim too.

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Sorry I was editing my previous post when your two posts were made.

 

Bandit the only points I think they will disagree with is the OPs claim of 'the conductor not appearing to enable you to make payment' and the staff didn't refer the OP to the fares to pay desk.

 

That desk is for people who were genuinely unable to get a ticket, but there were pre-purchase facilities available to the OP, who arrived late for a train. National Conditons of Rail Carriage make clear this isn't an acceptable excuse. It's up to the traveller to make time.

 

There are no non-stop trains from Redditch to Birmingham New St and the fact that the conductor has to make themselves visible to check the doors at intermediate stops every 4 or 5 minutes will allow the appeals staff to negate that claim too.

OK. If I read your post right then, you have whittled my advice down to:

A profuse apology for your mistake.
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OK. If I read your post right then, you have whittled my advice down to:

 

A profuse apology for your mistake

 

'...and I always had the means and intention to pay.

 

I am sorry that I did not approach staff on train to pay, but I genuinely thought he would recall our conversation when he said I could pay on board and that he would come to me.

 

I understand that I should have approached him before leaving the train, I am sorry that I failed to do so, but this was not done with dishonest intent.'

 

 

That's about the long & short of it so far as I can see

Edited by Old-CodJA
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Just to update you guys on this.

 

This is an excerpt from my appeal reply

 

I understand from your appeal that permission was given by rail staff to buy a ticket on the train or at the

destination station. On this occasion I accept that misinformation was given. However, for future journeys please

be advised that tickets must be bought before travel commences, where the facility to buy a ticket has been

provided.

With that in mind, I am pleased to inform you that your appeal has been successful. There is, however, a fare

due of £4.80 for the journey in line with the National Rail Conditions of Carriage [/Quote]

 

As such i'd like to personally thank you Old-CodJA as the edits I made from your advice in my eyes is what helped me overturn this Penalty Fare.

 

Thanks

Smiley

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