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Hi,

 

I have an annual season ticket zone 1-2.

I recently moved to Catford and

 

yesterday I was stopped by an inspector.

I produced my ticket but this is zone 3.

 

He then asked me where I was travelling from and where I lived.

I have money on my oyster to pay for the difference.

But then he asked me where I had travelled from in the morning.

I said I had forgotten to tap in the morning as I was running for the train.

He then cautioned me.

 

I have been living in England for a few years but I don't understand what that means exactly?

Seems this a legal term with consequences... He did not identify himself,

 

I asked him if he would not fine me for the journey.

He said he was cautioning me and reporting me to the company: First Capital Connect.

He asked if I understood that I was free not to answer but that not answering would be taken the wrong way in a court of law. I was totally surprised and mesmerised.

Should I not get a fine, a penalty?

 

He asked for the details and was trying to check if my details were correct of where I lived although it seems he wasn't able to check He was asking if someone else lived with me?

What does that matter?

 

What is a caution exactly?

Can they still opt for a penalty or will I more likely get prosecuted?

 

Shouldn't there be some more precise information being given?

I asked what was going to happen and what this meant and he said "the company will decide"

Surely this is not the correct way?

 

I was travelling on my own so I have no witnesses. I did admit to not having tapped in in the morning but he was just assuming I wouldn't pay.

 

Shouldn't there be some good will?

 

Can they check past journeys to make a case against me?

 

Thanks for any help and comments

 

PSF

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Hi,

 

I have an annual season ticket zone 1-2.

I recently moved to Catford and

 

yesterday I was stopped by an inspector.

I produced my ticket but this is zone 3.

 

He then asked me where I was travelling from and where I lived.

I have money on my oyster to pay for the difference.

But then he asked me where I had travelled from in the morning.

I said I had forgotten to tap in the morning as I was running for the train.

He then cautioned me.

 

I have been living in England for a few years but I don't understand what that means exactly?

Seems this a legal term with consequences... He did not identify himself,

 

I asked him if he would not fine me for the journey.

He said he was cautioning me and reporting me to the company: First Capital Connect.

He asked if I understood that I was free not to answer but that not answering would be taken the wrong way in a court of law. I was totally surprised and mesmerised.

Should I not get a fine, a penalty?

 

He asked for the details and was trying to check if my details were correct of where I lived although it seems he wasn't able to check He was asking if someone else lived with me?

What does that matter?

 

What is a caution exactly?

Can they still opt for a penalty or will I more likely get prosecuted?

 

Shouldn't there be some more precise information being given?

I asked what was going to happen and what this meant and he said "the company will decide"

Surely this is not the correct way?

 

I was travelling on my own so I have no witnesses. I did admit to not having tapped in in the morning but he was just assuming I wouldn't pay.

 

Shouldn't there be some good will?

 

Can they check past journeys to make a case against me?

 

Thanks for any help and comments

 

PSF

 

The "caution" was likely a PACE caution to allow your replies to be admissible in court in any subsequent court case.

 

If he felt there was any chance you deliberately avoided paying your fare prior to travelling, he shouldn't offer you a penalty fare, but instead would make a report to the Train Operating Company (TOC), who could consider prosecuting you. So, it is "the correct way".

The first part of their "goodwill" is if (in a penalty fare area) the on-train staff believe there to be no deliberate intent, where they can offer a penalty fare. Based on what you have described I'm not surprised the staff member decided to make a report instead.

 

The second part of their "goodwill" is that you can ask the TOC to accept an alternative to prosecuting you (& should do so with your reply to their letter!), but can't make them not prosecute.

 

The fact that you said you had failed to tap in in the morning, and then were in Zone 3 on a 1-2 ticket will have made him suspect this wasn't a "one-off" mistake, added to the fact that if you said you lived in Catford, and were travelling to/from Catford, that this was not likely a "one-off" : Catford is in Zone 3.

Even if you had only just moved there it is your responsibility to ensure your season ticket covers your travel.

 

The TOC will likely write to you, asking for your version of events.

You should await their letter, and post here when you receive it, noting what they are considering proceeding under.

 

It is likely that they will consider prosecuting you, either under S5 of the Regulation of Railways Act 1889 (if you deliberately evaded your fare), or under Railway Bylaw 17 or 18 (that you entered a train without a valid ticket) -

a) by not tapping in, and / or

b) by being in Zone 3 with a Zone 1-2 ticket.

 

You mention that you have lived in England a few years. Do you require a visa / leave to remain (if not an EU citizen).

If so, this may impact on the consequence for you of a prosecution.

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Hi BazzaS,

 

 

thanks so much for your advice, I will wait to see what comes in the mail and I will then ask again for advice.

 

 

Sometimes we make stupid decisions and I really regret it but having a criminal record seems way out of proportion. I really hope they accept not to prosecute, I am an EU citizen but this is just horrible, getting a criminal record :(

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Hi BazzaS,

 

 

thanks so much for your advice, I will wait to see what comes in the mail and I will then ask again for advice.

 

 

Sometimes we make stupid decisions and I really regret it but having a criminal record seems way out of proportion. I really hope they accept not to prosecute, I am an EU citizen but this is just horrible, getting a criminal record :(

 

Your first step (once you have the letter, not before!) is to see if they will agree an alternative to prosecution.

 

I don;t doubt they could succeed with the Bylaw prosecution based on what you have said.

From what I've seen on CAG : A Byelaw prosecution is for a "non-recordable" offence ; it wouldn't show on a basic or standard disclosure, only an enhanced disclosure.

 

It has been a criminal offence since 1889 to deliberate evade your fare, and a Bylaw offence (though not for as long!) to not have a valid ticket, even if they can't prove deliberate intent.

 

Why is a criminal record "way out of proportion"?. The TOC must decide to prosecute (so, discretion can be applied), and the on-train staff also have discretion regarding if to make a report. Thus prosecution usually follows when it seems there is a deliberate (or decidely negligent) evasion of fares, rather than a "one-off" mistake, which can often be filtered out at the on-train or 'reply to letter' stages.

 

Fare evasion is considered by the TOC's to be the major crime of dishonesty on the railways, so it is often in the public interest to prosecute, unless they feel discretion should be applied.

 

You knew you had a Zone 1-2 ticket. You knew you had moved to Catford. You hadn't tapped in in the morning. I don't say this to castigate you, but rather to point out why the TOC might conclude you weren't that bothered about paying your fare, not once, but at least twice in the same day.

 

Do you feel it is "out of proportion" to prosecute you (and just you), or any "first time detected" traveller with no valid ticket?. Surely an approach of "get let off the first time":

a) removes discretion, as a blanket policy, rather than allowing the TOC discretion each time, and

b) only works for "first time detected", which for the inveterate fare dodger would rarely be "first time dodging".

 

For you, how many times had you travelled and not tapped in / paid the Zone 3 fare?.

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thanks very much. I will wait for the letter and ask for help then, it doesn't matter what I think of the law

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thanks very much. I will wait for the letter and ask for help then, it doesn't matter what I think of the law

 

Except it may influence your reply .......

 

I wouldn't suggest being critical of the member of staff on train, the TOC, or the law in your reply ..... Especially if you are aiming for an alternative to prosecution!

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But just clarify, please, is it not true that with a season ticket holder can go beyond their zone provided you pay the difference? (ie, touch in and out?) I did have money on my oyster to cover the journey cost, which I told the officer.

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But just clarify, please, is it not true that with a season ticket holder can go beyond their zone provided you pay the difference? (ie, touch in and out?) I did have money on my oyster to cover the journey cost, which I told the officer.

 

You can pay the extra, but should pay it before travelling.

There is no "travel first, pay later" option (unless you tap in, which opens you up to a maximum fare unless you reduce that by tapping out)

 

Having money on the Oyster but not touching in is the same as having money in your wallet but not buying a ticket - it doesn't show you intended to pay.

 

Even though there is no right to a "start travelling and then buy your ticket" option (save there being no ticket facilities available or the specific defences under Bylaw 18), the on-train staff are more likely to be lenient if approached by a traveller saying "I need to buy a ticket" than if the problem only comes to light during a ticket check.

 

If someone holds a Z1-2 pass and needs to travel into Z3, they can buy an extension before travelling, or approach the on train staff BEFORE Zone 3.

 

Approaching a staff member in Zone 3 with a Z1-2 pass still leaves you open to a penalty fare (or report if they suspect fare evasion), but that (you going to them!) is still less likely to lead to a report than them coming upon you and finding you with no valid ticket.

 

Did the staff member ask "would you have paid if I hadn't had stopped you" or equivalent? And if so, how did you reply?

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