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Hi CAG;

 

I've been holding out on posting here since the incident as I have been checking other topics, but now I would like to ask for advice.

 

I traveled on South West Trains on March 20th from Poole to Holton Heath (HH is unmanned and no barrier). I got to Poole train station and boarded without a ticket. I had previously purchased tickets a number of times on the actual SW train and have never been warned for doing so. Of course I have used ticket machines on platforms before, but that today was not one of those occasions.

 

The train was quiet, so I sat down and took out my wallet to prepare to pay. The train started moving and around halfway through the journey, two people entered my carriage. The inspector came up to my seat. I had my money already out at this point. I said to him "One single to Holton Heath please" and offered the money. They both sat down and then started asking me my personal information. I was confused and nervous, but cooperated fully. They both got off at the next station. One of them was asking me the questions, the other was my replies. I remember he said to me "Where would you have purchased your ticket if we had not come?". I was in a state of shock with the money still in my hand. I said "I wouldn't have been able to, but I was not intending to fare dodge". The thought had never crossed my mind. I have always been prompted for a ticket whenever I have traveled on SWT. I used to be a railcard holder for three years, and since the incident I have paid over £100 for train tickets.

 

They let me leave after I had signed the page and they said that I might or might not hear back from them. It has since been two weeks and no letter yet although of course the bank holiday does not count as working days.

 

I told my parents and they have been worried. I called up SWT shortly after the incident and the man said "If this is your first offence, you will just get a warning letter, just please try and get your ticket before you board". My mother has also emailed them, but they have not replied yet. Additionally, on my last train journey I told one of the conductors on the train what had happened and asked him what will likely happen. He said "you are likely to get a fixed penalty notice in the post plus the fare, do not worry about getting a criminal record".

 

After reading these topics, I am now much the wiser - I just wish ticket people on the train would have told me the consequences. I thought I was abiding by the rules just fine. I have since purchased tickets online and through platform ticket machines.

 

A criminal record would be devastating to me. I am on anti-depressants and I had tried taking my life earlier this year. In an effort to turn my life around, I hope to teach English in Japan this summer and prosecution would stop me from doing so.

 

I realise I have done wrong, on several accounts. I expect criticism and the worst case scenario, for it seems my life feeds off of misery.

 

I will update when I receive the letter for court summons.

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Hello and welcome to CAG.

 

We're not here to criticise and I hope people will be tactful.

 

There isn't very much you can do until the letter from SWT arrives I'm afraid and as you know, once it arrives the guys will be able to advise you.

 

I think the problem could be that you are meant to be able to show a valid ticket when asked and you couldn't at the time. And there is a well known court case where the passenger was only going to pay his fare if asked, I think the name might be Corbin. This could be the reason for their question to you.

 

It's hard for us to guess what may happen, but please believe that you will move on from this and be OK.

 

Hopefully the forum guys will be along later with thoughts for you.

 

My best, HB


Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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I'm assuming that you are under 18? Any tickets that were previously issued by the SWT conductors should carry a warning on the back of the ticket in red writing warning that if an Inspector had been checking tickets then you would be issued a Penalty Fare, there are also warning signs at the stations.

If you are under 18 then it would seem that the Inspector has completed a Travel Irregularity Report (TIR) which means they will write to you or your parents requesting the fare plus an admin fee (£35 with FGW, not sure about SWT), as long as that is paid then that will be the end of the matter.


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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RPI is spot on, however I had assumed that you are over 18 years of age, perhaps you can clarify that point for us.

 

You have clearly read the information about traveller responsibilities, so I'm not going to repeat all of that at this stage.

 

If you are over 18, that will be the most likely reason that your mother has not received a reply. The company cannot discuss any matter with any third party who was not present at the time of the alleged offence if that third party is not a qualified lawyer representing the person reported, but I wouldn't worry about that at present.

 

It can take up to 6 weeks or so to get a letter at busy times. If or when you do receive correspondence, come back and let us know exactly what it says.

 

FGW staff were right to say if it's a first offence then you may well find it is dealt with without more serious action, so wait and see if you get a letter and don't worry too much at this stage.

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Just a quick update (posting during work hours) - letter received this morning from South West Trains, £80 fine was issued. So to those who are worried about fare evasion - two things:

1. Do not worry about court action at first. I know it is case by case, but it appears fines are the first penalty. At least for South West Trains anyway.

2. Please buy a ticket from the conductor on the train asap if not before, like others have said. I am not the right person to give this advice, but I made this mistake not because I had intentions to evade, but because I was not aware of the rules.

 

Thanks goes to the regulars on the forum and sorry that I cannot reply to the posts above.

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Just a quick update (posting during work hours) - letter received this morning from South West Trains, £80 fine was issued. So to those who are worried about fare evasion - two things:

1. Do not worry about court action at first. I know it is case by case, but it appears fines are the first penalty. At least for South West Trains anyway.

2. Please buy a ticket from the conductor on the train asap if not before, like others have said. I am not the right person to give this advice, but I made this mistake not because I had intentions to evade, but because I was not aware of the rules.

 

Thanks goes to the regulars on the forum and sorry that I cannot reply to the posts above.

 

I find it is more productive to start with the worst case scenario (i.e. court), and work backwards. Less chance of getting hopes dashed or getting a shock later on...

 

But otherwise, I'm glad you've got a result you seem happy with.

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