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Fare Evasion TfL Insufficient Funds on Oyster Card

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i got the letter today informing me that tfl intend to prosecute and i can either plead guilty and not come to court , plead not guilty and come to court or plead not guilty and attend a trial. They have charged me with the following:


On (date), you did enter a compulsory ticket area without having with you a valid ticket. Contrary to byelaw 17 (1) of the Transport for London Railway Byelaws Made under Paragraph 26 of schedule 11 to the greater london authority act 1999 and confirmed under section 67 of the transport Act 1962.



The situation was that when i tapped my oyster card at a station without a ticket barrier, I didn't realise the red light flashed and the sound played differently, and I rushed onto the waiting train. I arrived at my destination and I realised I had insufficient funds on my oyster card when I was unable to exit.


It was a genuine mistake, with no deliberate intent to evade the fares, but TfL are still intending to prosecute. I'm a regular commuter and a university student, with a pristine oyster card history, so I am worried about what to do now.


Any help or guidance, or sharing of experiences will be greatly appreciated.

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I imagine you've already had the letter from TfL asking for your side of the story. What did you tell them please?



Illegitimi non carborundum




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Hi, I will copy and paste the exact email I sent to them:


Dear Sir/Madam,


I am writing in reply to the letter I received today regarding my journey on Wednesday 13th June 2018. I was advised by the TfL officer at ____ to write this to explain my situation.


I travelled on the 10:55am train from ___ to ___ on 13/06/18. I was in a rush to board the train, and hence I quickly tapped my Oyster card and continued, but since the station is open, without barriers, there was nothing to alert me that my Oyster card did not have enough money on it, except the different sound, which I did not hear in my haste. I have not travelled in a while via TfL services because I was away from the country due to a family death, hence I had no idea there was not enough money on my Oyster card.


When I arrived at ___ and tried to exit via the barriers, I was unable to, and through the TfL officer I found out that my card did not have enough money on it. She understood my genuine mistake and told me to email in response to the letter immediately, hence this explanation.


I have never committed any offence like this as you may be able to check on my record, and this mistake was truly honest- I had no criminal intention. I would humbly request you not to take legal action in this situation, as I have learnt from my mistake and sincerely apologise for the offence.


I am not aware of what happens next in this scenario, but I would be happy to settle this matter by TfL withdrawing the train fare from my account, if that is at all possible.


I appreciate your understanding, and thank you in advance. I look forward to your reply.


Yours sincerely,



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You needed to grovel and point out what actual harm a criminal record will do to ruin your life and the life of others down the line.


Offer to pay the equivalent monetary sums of a fine and any admin costs to avoid a record


You can settle out of court even on the day


Sadly youve not addressed any of these things


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