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Fined £110 for accidentally getting on wrong train which didn't stop at my stop by South Western Railway **RESOLVED **


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I recently travelled from Walton-on-Thames to London. I intended to get off at Vauxhall, and had bought a £5.65 ticket to do so. On an earlier journey to Walton-on-Thames, I had gone from Vauxhall directly and assumed that the same train terminating at Waterloo would get me back to my intended route. 

 

I did not realise that I needed to make a change in order to get back to Vauxhall, until we went past this station and I ended up at Waterloo. A ticket person stopped me there, and said I would be sent a fine for going to the wrong station and was incredibly rude suggesting it was stupid of me to not check where I was going, despite the fact that I was clearly distressed and crying by this point. 

 

I've now been sent a fine made up of £8.90 fare avoided (not sure how this works since the ticket was not that expensive) and also £100 'operational and administrative costs' which seems excessive.

 

The letter says I can pay the fine or email to request a court hearing, and may have the Court's costs added to the fine. Not sure what to do as I don't want to risk paying more extortionate admin costs but I also feel this is incredibly unfair for what's clearly a genuine mistake. 

 

Thoughts?

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Hi.  Welcome to CAG.

 

My first thought is how on earth you could have a problem getting off at London station B instead of London station A, as generally the fare is the same from a station outside of London to any station within London.

 

Indeed a quick search comes up with: Walton-on-Thames > Vauxhall £8.90; Walton-on-Thames > Waterloo £8.90.

 

So where does the £5.65 ticket come from?  Perhaps this is the problem?

 

 

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This was my confusion too but their argument was that it was still illegal to get to the wrong station.
 

I think it was cheaper because I had a railcard and Trainline automatically did the split ticket thing that makes it cheaper!

 

Having checked some more, I was meant to switch at Wimbledon. The anytime day single from Wimbledon to Vauxhall is 95p cheaper than the one to Waterloo 😭

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Well I've just tried to book on Southern Railways site Walton-on-Thames > Vauxhall, and the ticket in the basket is called Walton-on-Thames > London Terminals, so I think you have been incredibly unlucky.

 

Thanks for clearing up the railcard issue.

 

Did Southern Railway send you any letter inviting you to argue your case before they jumped in with both feet and demanded the £110?

 

 

We could do with some help from you.

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Thanks for checking that out!

 

Nope this was the first I heard from them, and it was a little over 2 months since the incident occurred. Apparently they have to prove you intentionally had the wrong ticket… not sure how they could prove otherwise, but worried about risking it with the whole court thing. 

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9 minutes ago, shouldireallypaythis said:

Apparently they have to prove you intentionally had the wrong ticket

Sadly not true.  Due to being a previous state monopoly the law makes this a "strict liability" offence - your ticket isn't valid, that's it, automatically guilty.

 

That said, all is not lost.

 

We had a case some time back where someone living & working in London had been sent by their employer to a different location which they presumed was within the Oyster card area.  But it wasn't, it was just outside.  So after being stopped they got all these threats of terrible court action and huge payments - although, er, the Oyster penalty fare they had automatically got was more than the correct fare they would have paid, which made it obvious they weren't fiddling.

 

In the end they wrote a polite but firm letter and had to pay 20 quid or something.

 

I'm knackered now but suggest we try this strategy of challenging the £110 tomorrow.  Have Southern given you any deadline to cough up?

 

 

We could do with some help from you.

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can you scan up the letter to one mass PDF

read upload carefully please

 

dx

 

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  • fkofilee changed the title to Fined £110 for accidentally getting on wrong train which didn't stop at my stop by South Western Railway
Posted (edited)

The vast majority of threads on this part of the forum are from fare dodgers who were caught and are trying to avoid a criminal conviction.

 

Your case is very different as there was no fare dodging whatsoever.  As it's the weekend there's plenty of time to get opinions from regulars who have a lot more experience than me here.  Plus as you came here immediately after receiving the letter we have time to challenge the prosecution team.  I would suggest something polite but assertive such as -

 

Dear South West Railway,

 

Ref. XXXXX

 

I was most disappointed to receive your letter of 25 May regarding what happened in London Waterloo station on 22 March with your decision to offer me the choice of paying nearly £110 or of having to appear in a criminal court.

 

I note you have done this without first asking for my side of the story, unlike other similar companies such as Transport for London.

 

On that day I had taken the train from Walton-on-Thames to London Vauxhall, purchasing the correct ticket.  I boarded the train to London Waterloo, intending to get off at Vauxhall.  Unfortunately, although the majority of the Waterloo services stop at Vauxhall, the train I took did not.

 

Now I obviously realise that fare dodging is a serious problem for SWR and presumably ticket inspectors hear all sorts of tall tales from fare dodgers.  However, the ticket inspector who I approached to ask for help said I would be sent a fine for going to the wrong station and was incredibly rude suggesting it was stupid of me to not check where I was going, despite the fact that I was clearly distressed and crying by this point. 

 

I would like you to consider two things.  Firstly, if you search for trains from Walton-on-Thames to Vauxhall on the SWR site, two of the three trains every hour to Waterloo on Sundays stop at Vauxhall, so mine was an easy mistake to make.

 

Secondly, the cost of a ticket from Walton-on-Thames to Vauxhall is exactly the same as the cost of a ticket from Walton-on-Thames to Waterloo, so it is obvious I was not fare dodging.  I had a ticket for the correct fare!  Indeed, if you purchase a ticket from Walton-on-Thames to Vauxhall on the site at a certain point the ticket morphs into Walton-on-Thames > London Terminals showing SWR are not bothered which central London station you alight at.

 

Does a banal mistake with no fare dodging involved which did not deprive SWR of a single penny in lost income really merit payment of nearly £110 or an appearance in criminal court?  The words hammer, nut and crack spring to mind.

 

I would respectfully ask you to reconsider such a drastic decision in my case.

 

Yours, 

Edited by FTMDave
Updated
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Posted (edited)

Caution : before you send that letter I think you need to clarify:


SWR are talking about a £8.90 fare avoided, and you’ve stated a fare of £5.65

 

I think you’ll need to get that clear before you state in your letter “which did not deprive SWR of a single penny in lost income”, else they may reject what you are saying as factually incorrect.

 

Did the member of staff at the gateline offer you a Penalty Fare? (They aren’t obliged to, but might have!) 

Edited by BazzaS
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Ah yes I will make sure to clarify that.

 

Having thought about it more I realised I actually approached the man to ask for help - because I knew I’d made a mistake and that was why I couldn’t get out. Easily could have just tapped my contactless and got away with a lower fee!

 

I wasn’t offered a penalty fare - I asked if I could just buy a ticket for the whole journey and he said that would be illegal too since I’d already done the journey. 

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I know this is going back on the thread a bit and things may have changed with the rules but did you try to settle this on the train at all?

 

HB

Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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26-30 railcard

 

Realised my last response didn’t send - I didn’t try to settle it on the train, hadn’t seen any guards and I only realised my mistake as we went through Vauxhall which is 3 mins from Waterloo.

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Bazza was absolutely right to double check.

 

However, Sundays, adult travelling with a 26-30 railcard:

   Walton-on-Thames > Vauxhall, £5.85;

   Walton-on-Thames > Waterloo, £5.85.

 

The same price.

 

That includes the one service an hour where you have to change.

 

Unless any of the regulars object, get your letter off tomorrow.  I've added a little bit in red.

We could do with some help from you.

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Great! Is it worth highlighting that the fare you paid (railcard, Walton-on-Thames -> Vauxhall) is the same as the fare to Waterloo, that you only realised your mistake on the train as it passed through Vauxhall, and it is a short time from there to Waterloo, you didn't see staff on the train, to seek help from,  and then you approached the gateline staff for help.

I hope common sense prevails here with SWR.

 

I got a £10 (yes, it was that long ago!) Penalty Fare on the Underground. I had a Zone 1 ticket, and missed my stop at Euston, on the Northern Line, arriving at Camden Town. I followed the signs but it took me up an escalator to an exit only. I spoke to a member of staff, explaining, (& before I tried to exit and re-enter to go back to the southbound platform). Penalty Fare, for being in Zone 2 with a Zone 1 ticket.

I felt equally hard done by, but grudgingly paid it

a) I didn't know then what I know know, in terms of making my case on appeal

b) I needed a clear eDBS ('police check' / CRB in those days!!) for work, and didn't want to risk even a Byelaw prosecution.

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Posted (edited)

An update on this - I don't have to pay!! 

 

Such a relief and I really appreciate all of your help here - thank you very very much.

 

I hope one day someone else finds this thread and it helps them too! 

 

Email from SWR below.

.............

Thank you for your email and additional information.

 

South Western Railway has a duty, in line with all prosecution agencies, to constantly review matters and with the knowledge of your circumstances we have taken a view and have decided to close the matter.

 

However, if this were to happen again we may not take the same view.

 

Payment is no longer requested and this case is closed.

 

Many thanks.

 

Kind regards.

Edited by dx100uk
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glad we could help

 

please consider a donation to keep us here.

 

everything is free

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but sadly we have server and hosting costs.

 

dx

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

DCA's view debtors as suckers, marks and mugs

NO DCA has ANY legal powers whatsoever on ANY debt no matter what it's Type

and they

are NOT and can NEVER  be BAILIFFS. even if a debt has been to court..

If everyone stopped blindly paying DCA's Tomorrow, their industry would collapse overnight... 

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  • dx100uk changed the title to Fined £110 for accidentally getting on wrong train which didn't stop at my stop by South Western Railway **RESOLVED **

:yo:

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

DCA's view debtors as suckers, marks and mugs

NO DCA has ANY legal powers whatsoever on ANY debt no matter what it's Type

and they

are NOT and can NEVER  be BAILIFFS. even if a debt has been to court..

If everyone stopped blindly paying DCA's Tomorrow, their industry would collapse overnight... 

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