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Almost two weeks ago (Sunday 18th) I was travelling from Aylesbury to Marylebone

a ticket inspector came round,

when I gave him my ticket realised I had left my 16-25 railcard at home.

I was annoyed at myself and tried my best not to take it out on him as I knew it was my fault

(although I did hope a bit of discretion might have been used),

 

 

I asked what the fine was and if I had to pay the difference between 16-25 and full fare or more, and said do I pay now.

He just said no (didn't really answer my question but I didn't really have the desire for a long conversation with him)

and that I would get a letter in the post and would have to pay the fine within 21 days.

 

He took my details and my ticket and wrote on a blank ticket something like "invalid ticket, to Marylebone, please let through" with a reference, and gave that to me and nothing else.

When I got to Marylebone I handed this ticket over to get out of the barriers and thought nothing more of it.

 

Today, I received a letter demanding £50.35.

Now a ticket from Aylesbury to Marylebone is around £15, the 16-25 was around a tenner.

It says "this sum represents the fare and an administration charge of £45" and demands I pay within 14 days.

 

I feel this is very unfair - maybe charging me only the £5.35 difference is generous of them but a £45 admin fee seems a joke given I offered to pay at the time and that I had underpaid by a fiver.

 

Is there something wrong here?

I feel like they are being very hard on me given I have no history of anything and wanted to pay at the time

- I feel as though the ticket inspector may have done me over here

- I didn't even get a receipt of the fine at the time or anything though so I don't know if I have any evidence.

 

Any advice?

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Hello there.

 

I can't find Chiltern's terms and conditions, but I assume you have seen them or been referred to them. I imagine it says something like this from the national rail site:

 

You must carry your Railcard with you on your journey and when asked by rail staff, you must show a valid ticket and valid Railcard. If you fail to do so, the Train Companies reserve the right to charge you the full price Standard Single fare for your journey as if no ticket was purchased before starting the journey and in some cases a Penalty Fare.

 

HB

Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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Yeah I know that but it says on their website:

 

Q. When do Penalty Fares apply?

A. If you board a Chiltern Railways train without a valid ticket for your

entire journey (from a station where ticket-buying facilities are

available) you are liable to pay a Penalty Fare. You will also have to

pay the full undiscounted fare for the rest of your journey. Penalty

Fares regulations apply on all our services. The Penalty Fare is £20

or twice the appropriate full single fare to the next station stop,

whichever is the greater. If, for any reason, a penalty fare is not

issued when you have had an opportunity to buy a ticket before

boarding the train, our Authorised Collectors will charge you the

full Single or Return fare for your journey. Railcards or other

discounts do not apply.

 

No mention of a £45 admin fee?

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It's a bitter pill to swallow I know, but the conductor should have issued you with a new ticket AT FULL COST, then this £20 fine is sent out later for you to pay.

 

It may be that as he didn't issue you a new ticket that this is why the fine is this amount?

Who ever heard of someone getting a job at the Jobcentre? The unemployed are sent there as penance for their sins, not to help them find work!

 

 

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This is interesting

 

The Terms & Conditions relating to Railcards are very clear and are a National condition.

 

Honeybee's extract is absolutely correct. You must carry your Railcard with you on your journey and when asked by rail staff, you must show a valid ticket and valid Railcard. If you fail to do so, the Train Companies reserve the right to charge you the full price Standard Single fare for your journey as if no ticket was purchased before starting the journey and in some cases a Penalty Fare.

 

It is normal practice for rail staff who are carrying out their duties properly in these circumstances to ask the traveller to pay the full standard single fare as 'if no ticket were held' in accordance with the National Railcard conditions.

 

If, and I stress 'if' the staff member then also imposes the additional discretionary penalty of a penalty fare, that would have been from the point where you started your journey, to the next stop of the train and in this case would have been twice the standard single fare = £30, so with the £15 single, that amounts to less than the total you have been asked to pay.

 

In my view it is harsh to charge both the full single fare AND the penalty fare because there is also the £10 paid for the original ticket, but the rules do allow it

 

If you do have a valid Railcard covering the date of travel, I would write to Chiltern explaining this and if they do not concede that this 'looks like profiteering' and perhaps amend their demand, this may be a case where Transport Focus might be of assistance

 

If it transpires that your Railcard was out of date, my 'advice' would not be the same

 

It seems that Chiltern have recently adopted a policy of going for the maximum they can get in every case. Witness the matter of Dr Barnett (the Barrister recently in the press). Chiltern claimed an assessed loss of £20,000 although the Court were persuaded by his advocate that this was not appropriate and awarded Chiltern less than £6000. Still a big hit, still a conviction and a loss of status affecting his livelihood of course.

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