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Innocent Bus Passenger

Unfair Penalty fare issued on Bus, Right for 2nd appeal?

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Hi All,

 

When boarding my usual bus journey back from work last week, I tapped my Oyster on the Oyster card machine,

it did not respond so I tried again (I had swiped correctly, with card flat against it).

 

Prior to this, a lady in front of me had swiped her card several times and it also did not work for her

- No beeps, Green or Red signals, so she went to sit down.

 

I took her experience into account after I had tried swiping my card and informed the bus driver that the machine did not work

(either she froze the machine or the machine was coincidently unresponsive for us both), he did not respond so I went to sit down (The lady and I was not stopped).

 

About 15 minutes into my journey, a bus inspector got on, my Oyster was swiped and she informed me that my card had not been registered,

I explained the incident to her and she took down my name and was asking for my address.

 

Half way through her note-taking, I questioned whether she was issuing me with a fine.

She said "No" and that it is just for "Back office checks" to see whether there is a fault with my card or the Oyster machine.

I did not argue and was cooperative as I knew I was not guilty of any intentions to skip a bus fare,

though I did ask whether we could check my card there and then (with every intention to pay my usual bus fare).

 

She told me not to worry and that she would check with the bus driver.

Suddenly , one of her colleagues came up to her and said they had to leave the bus at the next stop,

she quickly said "Respond to the website within 21 days or you will get a fine" and handed me a folded leaflet with the website on and left.

 

I opened up the leaflet to find a Penalty fare inside.

 

I felt cheated as she had issued me a fare without me knowing and left the bus without checking with the bus driver as promised.

I went downstairs to the bus driver and questioned him, telling him that he did not reply when I told him that the machine did not work.

 

To this, he got defensive (I assume as he did not want to take responsibility) and said "No, no, no! I would have told you if your card had not swiped!

You people do not swipe your card properly and this is what happens!"

 

I angrily took down the bus details and went home to make a direct complaint to TFL and tried contacting IRCAS on the telephone.

 

The number given on the IRCAS leaflet was an automated line, being frustrated not being able to get through to a real person,

I decided to complain to TFL online through their CCTV and Bus Complaints links, requesting CCTV footage of the incident.

I appealed to IRCAS and received a letter to say that my appeal has been turned down.

 

This is the reason I was given:

 

" When traveling on the bus, you must touch your Oyster card flat on the card reader on boarding the bus. It is your responsibility to touch in correctly and to check for the green light and single beep to ensure that your Oyster card has been validated. Failure to touch in correctly may result in the issue of a Penalty Fare."

 

1. I did touch my card correctly and swiped it twice to be sure.

2. It didn't work for the lady in front of me so I don't believe that we were both not accurate in our swipes.

3. I informed the bus driver who did not respond.

4. The bus inspector slyly issued me the penalty fare and mislead me with information.

 

Anyone experience this kind of lousy service?

 

The bus driver does not take notice of his passengers and the bus inspector saw me as an easy target just to fill her quota.

I'm not exactly a trouble-maker but wanted to question the bus driver.

I do not believe that I should be forced to pay the fine with a invalid reason that they had given me.

It seems like they did not investigate the incident throughly and just sent me a letter of rejection.

 

I have not heard back from TFL, anyone know how long (if they do) they take to get back to you?

Do I have a leg to stand on if I appeal again?

 

Please help!

Edited by Innocent Bus Passenger

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moved to the transport forum

 

dx


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

 

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i would think they will be able to tell the machine WAS faulty

 

await any letter

 

dx


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

 

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Thank you for 'moving to transport forum'. Newbie here.:roll:

 

I have already received a penalty fare notice prior to my response from IRCAS and today, a turned down appeal letter.

 

I have 14 days to pay the £40 but I believe their accusations are incorrect and unfair so feel hard done by to just pay up!

 

You mean await letter from TFL?

 

The machine did work for some people, unfortunately when I and the lady in front of me swiped, it did not work

- besides if they investigated throughly they will have noticed in that 6 or so seconds, the machine was unresponsive as there was plenty of people getting on that day.

 

Their reason for rejecting my appeal is not supported with any evidence that I had not swiped correctly.

Just that I had to wait for green light and hear a beep?

Which I didn't and informed the bus driver.

So is that not a fault of the bus driver/bus inspector in their unprofessional manner in dealing with the situation? When requesting that the staff be investigated on their work ethics, IRCAS responded by saying that:

 

"As an independent Appeals Service we are unable to investigate complaints about service and delivery or the behavior of a member of staff."

 

So the main points/evidence to take into consideration for my appeal seems invalid to them.

 

The Penalty fare ticket states that if not paid in within 21 days, will have to pay increased fare of £80!!

 

I have 11 days now (from rejected appeal) left until the fine is due for the £40.

 

Is it worth me putting in a 2nd appeal?

 

As this time it will be through post and may delay me (First appeal online).

 

 

Will they allow sufficient time for me to put in a 2nd appeal?

Edited by Innocent Bus Passenger

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their are many users here that work in the industry

and some tht work in prosecutions.

 

i'm sure once your thread has been seen here now

you will get the correct advise

 

however, just bear-in-mind it is the W/END

so might not be till monday at the earliest.

 

dx


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

 

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Ok, thank you for your advice and if anyone can help with professional advice, please do! As it is causing me a little stress! :-(

Edited by Innocent Bus Passenger

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The whole thing doesn't sound right, surely if everyone else bar the other lady had managed to swipe their Oyster then the reader must have been working, best you can do is pay the £40 and try a second appeal if they will let you, I do find it very hard to believe that the inspector didn't tell you that you were being issued with a PF at the time.


Views expressed in this forum by me are my own personal opinion and you take it on face value! I make any comments to the best of my knowledge but you take my advice at your own risk.

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I have no idea why the incident occurred at the particular time me and the lady got on and have not been standing there long enough to notice whether it worked for the majority of others. I stated that I and the lady as the incident occurred at the time and TFL could check whether there was a delay in swipes at the time provided. I am a regular bus passenger on that very bus and use it on a daily basis, to and from work. The inspector did not inform me that she was issuing me a PF hence why would I question her when she started taking down my details? I have never been in a situation like that so assumed what she was saying was true (back office checks etc). I would never have thought that she would have issued my ticket on a sly and why would she lie???! Very unprofessional isn't it? Why would she hide the ticket in the leaflet and held onto it and only handed it over when she hurried off? I will put in a second appeal as I don't believe that I was fairly judged either? If someone committed a crime, shouldn't there be supported evidence to show as accused? If I was guilty, why would I find the time of day to stress or spend so much time trying to appeal? I have requested that they look at CCTV to prove my innocence but clearly they did not investigate this.

Edited by Innocent Bus Passenger

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Hang on : you informed the driver that the machine didn't work, but when they "did nothing" you went and sat down?.

 

The Penalty Fare is for failing to show, on demand, a ticket.

For train penalty fares there is a defence of being given "authorisation to travel without a ticket" by a member of staff.

 

1) there is no such defence for a bus penalty fare

2) how do you know the bus driver heard you? If you are trying to claim they gave you permission : why did you not wait until they responded to you : you have stated that you were aware your card hadn't swiped!

 

On strict interpretation of the PF rules, you are liable.

I can see why you feel unfairly treated but you knew your card hadn't swiped and didn't offer to pay / get any response from the driver before sitting down.

 

You have had sensible advice to make a 2nd stage appeal / if need be pay within time and issue a 3rd stage appeal.

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If someone committed a crime, shouldn't there be supported evidence to show as accused? If I was guilty, why would I find the time of day to stress or spend so much time trying to appeal? I have requested that they look at CCTV to prove my innocence but clearly they did not investigate this.

 

There is evidence : they'll have a statement from the inspector that they asked you to show a ticket and you didn't.

 

If "spending time on an appeal" showed innocence, thus all appeals should be allowed, then : applying that logic : no one need ever pay a PFN - just appeal, and the appeal must be valid! What a daft suggestion "allow my appeal not because it has grounds to make it valid, but because I'm spending time on it"

 

You need to appeal using grounds that they can consider / will recognise, and if you can back those up with comments regarding "fairness" are more likely to succeed.

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I am not suggesting me spending time on appeals clears my innocence but clearly stating that I did not intentionally skip the bus fare and if i did, I would not be spending time on appeals. The lady in front of me swiped her card several times and it did not work so she went to sit down without saying anything - the bus driver did not stop her. I swiped my card twice and it did not work so told the bus driver but he did not acknowledge me or the lady in front of me who just walked on. I am trying to explain the mere fact that the bus driver was not paying attention - even before I left the bus questioning him didn't seem to want to know. By requesting CCTV footage shows that I attempted to swipe and even the problems the lady had with the Oyster machine. It could even show my mouth moving or if they record voices will defiantly evident the fact that I told the bus driver that the machine was not working. I did wait for a response from bus driver but he did not seemed focused in his role. What would one do in this situation? Bus drivers in the past would say "Go". The bus inspector tested my Oyster and I handed it over with no hesitation as I believed that I did not intentionally skip a fare while explaining my situation. What I do not agree with is the way she handled the situation. If she made it clear that I will get a penalty fare for "not having a valid ticket" then I would gladly accept. But that is not the case, on the PF it states offence no. 4 = Non-validated -Pre-pay. She said "Only if you don't contact IRCAS within 21 days that you will have to pay a fine". So really, her information was mis-leading.

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I am not suggesting me spending time on appeals clears my innocence but clearly stating that I did not intentionally skip the bus fare and if i did, I would not be spending time on appeals. The lady in front of me swiped her card several times and it did not work so she went to sit down without saying anything - the bus driver did not stop her. I swiped my card twice and it did not work so told the bus driver but he did not acknowledge me or the lady in front of me who just walked on. I am trying to explain the mere fact that the bus driver was not paying attention - even before I left the bus questioning him didn't seem to want to know. By requesting CCTV footage shows that I attempted to swipe and even the problems the lady had with the Oyster machine. It could even show my mouth moving or if they record voices will defiantly evident the fact that I told the bus driver that the machine was not working. I did wait for a response from bus driver but he did not seemed focused in his role. What would one do in this situation? Bus drivers in the past would say "Go". The bus inspector tested my Oyster and I handed it over with no hesitation as I believed that I did not intentionally skip a fare while explaining my situation. What I do not agree with is the way she handled the situation. If she made it clear that I will get a penalty fare for "not having a valid ticket" then I would gladly accept. But that is not the case, on the PF it states offence no. 4 = Non-validated -Pre-pay. She said "Only if you don't contact IRCAS within 21 days that you will have to pay a fine". So really, her information was mis-leading.

 

Which restates what you have said before : yet (as I alluded to before) may not be actual grounds for a mandatory (rather than discretionary) successful appeal.

 

Be sure to state in your appeal (if you really feel it strengthens your case) what you have posted above of "What I do not agree with is the way she handled the situation. If she made it clear that I will get a penalty fare for "not having a valid ticket" then I would gladly accept". This invites them to say "we are telling you so now, so cough up!"

 

You ask "what would one do in this situation?"

I'd wait for a response from the bus driver, ask if they needed to reboot the Oyster touchpad, or otherwise seek a response so that I wasn't sitting down without a validated ticket.

 

How would you answer were they to ask : whose responsibility is it to have a validated ticket?

 

Again, the way to win an appeal is first and foremost using their rules, regs, and guidelines : building on those the "fairness" aspect

Edited by BazzaS

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You ask "what would one do in this situation?"

I'd wait for a response from the bus driver, ask if they needed to reboot the Oyster touchpad, or otherwise seek a response so that I wasn't sitting down without a validated ticket.

 

 

 

Thank you for your advice. To be honest, at the time I really didn't know what to do other than tell the driver that "It's not working" and wait for response but not getting anything back. By saying that I'd "gladly accept" is if I'd just boarded a bus and intentionally not swiped my card - not saying this is what I intend to include in my appeal, I acknowledge the fact that this will not be in my favour, it's my beliefs that I would drop my concerns and move on.

Edited by Innocent Bus Passenger

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Hi there,

 

I wanted to know, if this ever got resolved in the end?

I recently too, got issued with a penalty fare on the way back from Heathrow Airport.

 

Just like you – there was no communication of issuing me a penalty fare, instead I was asked for my name and address so they can “check a software related issue”. However they never gave me any documentation, detailing a penalty fare. But 1 week later, I received a letter saying it was regarding a “Penalty fare” that was “recently issued to me”.

 

I’m currently in the middle of an appeals process – the problem with ICRS is, though they are independent. TFL pay them a lot of money to ensure that the “appeals” are looked at from a third party and to ensure TFL standards are met – therefore resulting in a very low successful appeal rate.

 

I have used TFL for over 15 years, and never once had been issued a penalty. It was clearly a miscommunication and MISINFORMATION on their side. My point I’m trying to get across to them, was there was no on the spot indication of any penalty being issued. If the inspector has just clearly communicated that I will likely get a fine, or they are issuing me one – that would be easy to accept.

 

Why are they misleading and deceiving customers? In order to issue you a penalty, they are taking a very confusing, deceptive and false approach.

 

The current process- on the train at least is;

 

1) Conductor asks for you to present a ticket, if this is unavailable – you are given the opportunity to explain why.

2) The Conductor will ask if you can purchase a ticket now? This is likely to be at a full price.

3) If you are unable to purchase a ticket – the conductor will either ISSUE you a fine on the spot (explaining his/her reason why) – and if you have any issues, you can always appeal online. Or he/she will communicate to you – that they are issuing you a fine, and you will receive this in the post in the next few days.

 

TFL conductors are taking a different approach and it’s incorrect.

 

Reading your situation – Personally no, it’s not your responsibility to ensure the machine is working. You swiped – and clearly the machine did not read this. You are not a software specialist, therefore this should not be your responsibility. Also – This most likely could have been a technical glitch, which could have easily been looked over, however they are portraying you had no intent to pay. Yet, they never gave you the opportunity to.

 

My likely advice would be- to pay the £40.00 fine (purely because, TFL are somehow linked to our credit reference agencies). Once paid – continue to appeal, if it gets accepted you will be refunded.

 

 

*Sigh*

Edited by rihanna

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Reading your situation – Personally no, it’s not your responsibility to ensure the machine is working. You swiped – and clearly the machine did not read this. You are not a software specialist, therefore this should not be your responsibility. Also – This most likely could have been a technical glitch, which could have easily been looked over, however they are portraying you had no intent to pay. Yet, they never gave you the opportunity to.

 

My likely advice would be- to pay the £40.00 fine (purely because, TFL are somehow linked to our credit reference agencies). Once paid – continue to appeal, if it gets accepted you will be refunded.

 

Next time- you are caught in an unfair situation, give out a false name and address. My husband used to be an idiot in his younger days, and always got caught with the INTENT of not paying. He always gave false information – and god knows where that fine was sent.

 

If they can give false information – so can you. Though it's wrong and I probably wouldn't. But you get my drift.

 

*Sigh*

 

2 bits of bad advice there, I'm afraid.

 

The first is "Personally no, it’s not your responsibility to ensure the machine is working", as it is your responsibility to ensure that your Oyster swipes properly. If it doesn't, then no, it isn't your responsibility to ensure the machine is working, but that is far from the whole story, as it is STILL your responsibility to report it to the driver / staff and not just sit down!.

 

The second is "Next time- you are caught in an unfair situation, give out a false name and address.". Not just because this site doesn't allow posts advocating breaking the law, but because these days it is trivially easy for revenue staff to check, and if caught in the lie, what would have been a penalty fare (and potentially an appealable one, but still, at worst, a civil matter) risks becoming a criminal offence.

 

You might be happy to risk it, but others may not realise the escalation from a civil to a criminal matter by following your advice.

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To add to what Bazza has said, CAG does not condone dishonesty.

 

Giving false details is a separate offence and could easily compound a bad situation.

 

HB


Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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I'm a bus driver.

 

Sounds to me that the driver is one of the 'can't be bothered' gang.

 

I would write to the bus operator explaining what happenend, explaining that you have been issued a penalty fare because the driver did not do his job properly.

 

When the inspector got on, the driver should have said something along the lines of, 'the wayfarer has been playing up and there are a few passengers who tried to touch in but could'nt'.


All I ask is to be treated fairly and lawfully.

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style="text-align:center;"> Please note that this topic has not had any new posts for the last 1872 days.

If you are trying to post a different story then you should start your own new thread. Posting on this thread is likely to mean that you won't get the help and advice that you need.

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