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Stressedmess

Second fare evasion forgot to tap on bus

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Hello there, 


I've spent the day reading posts on here regarding fare evasion.

 

Most of the posts include some kind of fraud such as using someone else's pass- but I haven't seen any where a person genuinely forgot to tap in. And even moreso, I haven't seen any posts about repeat offenders. 


Since last year I've suffered from health problems including depression, anxiety and a health condition that leaves me chronically fatigued. I have poor concentration and memory. 


Going outside firstly, and then travelling on buses is something that causes me major anxiety.

I often suffer from anxiety attacks when near large groups of people. But obviously I need to get to places so I have to use public transport. 


Last year (within 6 months) I made the mistake of forgetting to tap in when getting on a bus. I didn't realise until an inspector came on and scanned my debit card. I was issued a fine via Ircas, I tried to appeal it but that was denied; I paid the £40 in the end. That gave me a good warning to be more mindful next time.

 

However, mental health is unpredictable and I made the same mistake again 2 days ago. I am in the process of moving with a deadline to be out of my old property by next week (as a single person) and to make things easier I decided to take one box at a time on the bus. Extremely stressful situation for me, especially as I suffer from fatigue and sleep deprivation.

 

A ticket inspector came on the bus, scanned my card and it turned out I hadn't scanned it. I was in a state of panic. I was told that since it's my second offence in 6 months I'll be sent a letter by TFL prosecutions and may need to appear in court. Given all the threads I've read are first time offences and even then TFL tried to prosecute, I'm certain they'll try to prosecute me. 

 

I've read as much as I can about this process, and first comes the initial letter from TFL to which I respond to within 10 days. I have not yet received that letter and I'm breaking down at the moment. This had made my mental health much worse, the thought of a criminal record makes my stomach churn. 


I haven't received the letter yet but still I want to be prepared. I'm going to go to my GP and ask for a letter describing my health condition and how it affects me. Should I ask the GP also for a supporting letter more specifically about how my health might have lead to forgetting to tap in? 


Does anyone have any other advice? I know people advise against a lawyer, but maybe a solicitor could help me with gathering medical evidence? I don't know. 

 

Thank you

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Be prepared for a long haul (and a hard time in court) if you intend to plead Not Guilty. You may secure a better outcome if you plead guilty but with strong mitigation (for which you will need the supporting medical evidence of your condition that you describe).

 

If you intend to plead Not Guilty, unless you are very confident, you will need the help of a solicitor in court (for which you will not receive Legal Aid). A good starting point may be to get an opinion from a solicitor who gives a free initial consultation. The Citizens Advice Bureau will probably be able to direct you to one.

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your offences are not deliberate and they'll understand there is not a pattern of repeated fraud or purposeful deception.

 

await the letter

you've seen I expect numerous examples of the pleading/begging for OOC settlement here already 

adapt one of those but keep it short and too the point

 

you should be ok.

 

as for last time, it wasn't a fine, it was a settlement, only if you were taken to court did you receive a fine/record.

dx

 


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

 

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10 hours ago, Man in the middle said:

Be prepared for a long haul (and a hard time in court) if you intend to plead Not Guilty. You may secure a better outcome if you plead guilty but with strong mitigation (for which you will need the supporting medical evidence of your condition that you describe).

 

If you intend to plead Not Guilty, unless you are very confident, you will need the help of a solicitor in court (for which you will not receive Legal Aid). A good starting point may be to get an opinion from a solicitor who gives a free initial consultation. The Citizens Advice Bureau will probably be able to direct you to one.

My fear is still receiving a criminal record even if I plead guilty with mitigating evidence (medical evidence). 

 

As I understand it, pleading not guilty would be impossible to get away with as it's strict liability law? 

 

I'm hoping to convince them to not take the case to court in the first place. 

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10 hours ago, dx100uk said:

your offences are not deliberate and they'll understand there is not a pattern of repeated fraud or purposeful deception.

 

await the letter

you've seen I expect numerous examples of the pleading/begging for OOC settlement here already 

adapt one of those but keep it short and too the point

 

you should be ok.

 

as for last time, it wasn't a fine, it was a settlement, only if you were taken to court did you receive a fine/record.

dx

 

Thank you for your response. I am anxiously awaiting the letter. I did use my card twice for buses the previous day before the offence, does that make my case more believable in their eyes? I have a hard time going outside, but they can see that I've used trains and buses recently. 

 

Also, do you recommend a supporting letter by GP specific to the offence? As in, my doctor could write "stressedmess has trouble concentrating, and therefore could have forgotten to tap in" for example, or do you recommend just a general letter about my health? 

 

Sorry for the long post

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It might help to get your doctor to write a supporting letter. See what other people think but  would say it would be useful if they describe how your illnesses affect your concentration. I don't know offhand how they could address the problem of forgetting twice in six months.

 

Even if this does go to court and you attend, you can speak to the prosecutor on the day and try to reach a settlement.

 

HB


Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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Thank you HB. I received the TFL letter today. 

I'm still awaiting a GP appointment to attain a supporting letter. 

 

I have written up a draft of my reply, please give me constructive advice. 

 

"Dear Sir/Madam,

 

Firstly I'd like to sincerely apologize for the offence, I accept committing an offence but I did not evade my fare with intent. I have pre-existing/ongoing medical conditions which are relevant to the incident, and including my previous offence.

 

I suffer from chronic fatigue, as well as severe depression, insomnia, social and generalized anxiety.  My fatigue started last year, and as a result I had to quit my job. I am unemployed and on Universal Credit.  My condition has worsened to the point where I have difficulty getting out of bed, moreso completing basic tasks. I am in a constant state of physical and mental exhaustion. As a result I have poor concentration and memory problems- this affects me in every part of my life. On many occasions I have walked into traffic because I was unable to concentrate on what I was doing.

 

Going outside is an extreme struggle for me; coupled with my social anxiety I am usually fatigued, disorientated and frequently in a state of panic (due to anxiety attacks) when I am outside. But as I am trying to get better and eventually rejoin the workforce, (with the advice of my GP) I try to push myself to face the challenge of going outside. My social anxiety causes me to feel panicked and disoriented when I board buses, as I feel like people are staring at me.

 

At the time of the offence I was moving home- this was extremely stressful and exacerbated my mental and physical health. I had to be moved out from my old home within 6 days; I pushed myself to the limit with getting this done as quickly as possible whilst being chronically fatigued, sleep-deprived and stressed. I attempted to transport my belongings one box at a time via bus. This was an immense struggle for me as I was exhausted, stressed and felt anxious about people looking at me. I boarded the bus carrying a heavy box with both arms and forgot to tap my card on the reader. I am very for this mistake, and I wish I had paid more attention to what I was doing.

 

The incident itself has had a disastrous effect on my mental health. The prospect of conviction has consumed my thoughts.  With my current state of depression I find it near impossible to look towards the future, and with a criminal record, I doubt I would ever mentally recover.

A criminal record would hinder my future prospects if/when my health improves and I start looking for work.  It would prevent me from visiting or working in the U.S; which is something I hope to do, despite my depression. Any ambitions towards a future of regaining my physical and mental health would be shattered if I were given a conviction.

 

I had paid for buses just the day before on the 14th, and have paid for buses and trains since the offence. To prevent this mistake ever happening again, I have made it a point to always keep my payment card in hand and board at the front of the bus (despite my anxiety), this way I am unlikely to forget to tap in. I am also in the early stages of applying for a Freedom Pass.

 

I have no previous convictions and have always been an honest person, I did not in any way intend to intentionally evade my fare. I am aware that this is my second offence within six months, and I am incredibly sorry for this. I will make sure this never happens again.

 

I plead for the chance to pay immediately for any necessary costs I owe. I am sorry for any and all inconveniences caused from this incident.

 

I have included evidence of the following: multiple statements of fitness to work, NHS appointment for a sleep study (Royal Free hospital), NHS Talking Therapy assessment summary detailing my depression, proof of Universal Credit health assessment appointment, and a supporting statement from my GP.

I have also included my travel history on both my oyster and contactless debit card.

Thank you for reading, and for giving me an opportunity to tell my story.

 

Sincerely, 

 

Xxxxx"

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If you are still needing to move boxes, and are stressed and might again forget to tap in, because of your condition:

might you be better to buy a (weekly?) travelcard, 

 

Not only will it prevent you from being caught without a ticket again, but you can amend your letter to TfL to reflect the purchase, and what you are doing to ensure you don’t have ticketless travel again.

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That's a great idea!  I'm going to buy it and add that bit in. Do you have any thoughts on the letter in general? Too long, or anything else I should add in? 

 

Thank you

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poss shorten it a bit

 

doesn't need to be more than 1 page. but its good ..

 

dx

 


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

 

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12 minutes ago, dx100uk said:

poss shorten it a bit

 

doesn't need to be more than 1 page. but its good ..

 

dx

 

Thank you dx.

I'll try to shorten bits where possible. But most I feel is relevant info. I hope whoever reads it doesn't feel like I'm waffling. 

 

I have my GP appointment within a few days where I'll ask for a supporting statement.

Going to buy a weekly pass too and add that info in. 

I'll post a second draft of my letter soon, before it's sent off. 

 

Thanks for everyone's help, you've all been really helpful. I hope there's a good ending to this. 

Edited by Stressedmess
Forgot to add something in

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Hi.

 

I would check your statement for at least one missing word and an Americanisation or two.

 

In terms of shortening the statement, I would say that there are a lot of references to depression, anxiety, exhaustion and son on. I think you could afford to condense those to make your letter one side of A4 as dx says.

 

HB


Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, honeybee13 said:

Hi.

 

I would check your statement for at least one missing word and an Americanisation or two.

 

In terms of shortening the statement, I would say that there are a lot of references to depression, anxiety, exhaustion and son on. I think you could afford to condense those to make your letter one side of A4 as dx says.

 

HB

 

I think you're right. I'll try to condense those bits and shorten it. If I can't fit all to one page, do you think that'll "lose" the reader? 

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Sorry for too many questions, but overall do you think my reasonings are good enough to be considered for an OOC settlement? 

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6 minutes ago, Stressedmess said:

 

I think you're right. I'll try to condense those bits and shorten it. If I can't fit all to one page, do you think that'll "lose" the reader? 

 

Yes, keep it to one side of A4.

 

HB


Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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4 minutes ago, Stressedmess said:

Sorry for too many questions, but overall do you think my reasonings are good enough to be considered for an OOC settlement? 

 

We don't know, sorry. We aren't transport professionals so we can only go by what we see here and the results for people who are kind enough to come back here and tell us what happened on their day in court.

 

HB


Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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pers i'd say yes..it's not deliberate nor a long term pattern of avoiding.

 

I have known a few cases similar to this , and even when it did goto court, the magistrate did not allow a criminal record to be made.

 

pretty sure you'll get an OOC out of this..= no criminal record


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

 

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I've spoken to a friend who urges me to at least speak to a solicitor (specialising in fare evasion) and have a initial consultation. I don't think it'll help though.

 

My friend also helped me to alter my letter, more details have been added and its now 2 pages long

- which I think is okay given that I have medical conditions to discuss.

I've successfully acquired medical evidence from my GP which will help me out.

My friend also advised me to not accept the offence, and keep it vague as the letter is under caution and could be used against me in court.

 

Here is a final draft that I'm sending off. Thoughts? Better than my first draft?

 

"Dear Sir/Madam,

I am writing in response to your letter dated the 16th of January 2020 where you requested a response within ten working days in regards to case number xxxxxx. I would firstly like to sincerely apologise for the incident that occurred on the 15th of January 2020, where I was made aware to be potentially committing an offence but I’d like to assure you that I did not have any intention to evade my fare.

I have pre-existing medical conditions which are relevant to the incident. I wouldn’t have at any point attempted to exit the bus at my destination without attempting to pay if I was aware that I had not already. I did offer to pay once I was made aware by the officer but was told this was not possible. Due to feeling very intimidated at the time I did not want to press the matter.

I suffer from chronic fatigue, severe depression, social anxiety and generalised anxiety.  Last year, I had to quit my job as a result of my poor health and am currently unemployed in receipt of Universal Credit.  My condition affects me to the point where I have difficulty getting out of bed, moreso completing basic tasks. I am in a constant state of physical and mental exhaustion. As a result I have poor concentration and memory problems- this affects me in every part of my life. I have walked into traffic many times because I was unable to concentrate on what I was doing.

In particular, going outside is an extreme struggle for me; I am constantly fatigued, disorientated and frequently in a state of panic (anxiety attacks). Despite this I am trying to venture outside more to aid my recovery and eventually rejoin the workforce. My social anxiety causes me to feel panicked and disoriented when I board buses, as I feel like people are staring at me.

At the time of the incident I was moving home which was extremely stressful and exacerbated my mental and physical health. I had just a few days to move and I pushed past my limits with completing this quickly. I had to transport my belongings one box at a time via bus. I immensely struggled with this as I was fatigued, sleep-deprived, stressed and felt anxious about people looking at me. I boarded carrying a heavy box with both arms and I thought I had successfully tapped in, without realising that I hadn’t. I apologise for this mistake, but I must stress that it was not intentional. In hindsight, I wish I had paid more attention to my surroundings.

The incident itself and prospect of conviction has had a disastrous effect on my mental health. A criminal record would hinder any future prospects when my health improves and I want to start looking for work.  It would prevent me from visiting or working in the U.S- which is a dream of mine, despite my current circumstances. Any ambitions of recovering my health would be shattered if I had to go through court proceedings, and even more so if I were convicted. I am doubtful that I’d mentally recover.

As can be seen from I have attached my Oyster and contactless card history as part of my evidence that I had paid for buses just the day before, and have paid for travel since.  

To prevent this mistake ever happening again I now purchase a weekly bus pass and always prepare my card in hand and board at the front of the bus, despite my anxiety. I am also applying for a Freedom Pass.

I have no previous convictions and am an honest person. I am aware that this is the second occurrence of a similar nature within six months, and I am incredibly sorry for this. I will make sure this never happens again with the steps mentioned above. My GP has provided a supporting statement to confirm my current medical conditions. I can also ask my housing officer to confirm the dates of my move if you require further supporting evidence.  

I plead for the chance to pay immediately for my unpaid journey costs and also reimburse TFL for any necessary administrative costs. I am sorry for any and all inconveniences caused by this matter. I have not at any point wanted to be someone who is contributing to TFL’s growing issue with fare evasion. I have great respect for all the staff that work on the network and aware it’s not any easy job. 

I have included evidence of the following: Fit notes, NHS Sleep study appointment, NHS Talking Therapy assessment summary, NHS iapt appointments, NHS Spine Advisory Group session appointment, Universal Credit health assessment appointment, and a supporting statement from my GP.

I have also included my travel history on both my oyster and contactless debit card.

I look forward to your response and hope this matter can be resolved amicably  by an Out Of Court Settlement without the need to go through the courts.

 

I please ask that all future correspondence is sent to be aware of  my new address noted at the top of this letter.

I am thankful for being given the opportunity to explain my circumstances.

Sincerely,

xxxx"

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tell your friend to go take a running jump

you don't need a solicitor...

 

IMHO remove the blue bits

add the red.

 

you don't need to inc travel history, they can see that on their system.

you do not need to inc anything other than a COPY of your GP letter

 


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

 

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Thank you dx100, I'll include some of those changes you suggested.

 

Regarding my vagueness about the offence, as you see I did not accept or deny it, do you think thats okay?

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SM, remember that less is more with these letters. If it goes over one side of A4 you risk the prosecutor or their staff glazing over.

 

I don't know how many fare evasion cases your friend has dealt with but we have years worth here.

 

Not that we think you need one but I've never heard of a lawyer specialising in fare evasion, I think it would be a criminal one. Old-Codja, a poster on here who is in the industry, always said that you just end up paying for the lawyer's learning curve.

 

HB


Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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If your friend is that invested in helping you, get them to post here why they think:

 

a) it is a good idea to “not accept the offence” to TfL, (is it the strict liability offence they are proceeding with?)

 

b) i) why they think a solicitor is a good idea, (see “paying for their learning curve”, above), and 

b) ii) how many (if any) “specialise in far evasion” cases ......

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I did think my friend is wrong at first, but now I am unsure.

So should I change my letter again and "accept" the offence

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We've seen letters sent from posters here that just apologise for the offence, I'm pretty sure. Wait and see what dx and Bazza think please.

 

Have you managed to trim the letter down at all?

 

HB


Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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I've trimmed it down about a 100 words.

 

The thing I find stressful is I feel like the writing that describes my condition is crucial, so I am unsure of how to trim without losing the info. 

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