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Bought Wrong Train Ticket, Thameslink Notice of Intention to prosecute


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Hi All

first I want to thank the forum for the great advice you provide, as seen in multiple threads, your effort is much appreciated.

I received a Notice of Intention to Prosecute from Thameslink for traveling without a valid ticket dated 11 Oct 2023, and I hope you can provide some valuable advice on how I can proceed, please.

On August 15 I was traveling to Luton airport to catch a flight, and when the Inspector reached out to me (at St Alban City) I handed them my ticket to scan, it appeared that my ticket did not cover my whole Journey which started in Nunhead. The ticket covered only Harpenden to Luton Airport Parkway (Harpenden was the stop coming up).

I  panicked and rather than being honest I tried to cover up and wasn't fully compliant while giving my details, I was under the influence and could not think straight, the inspector understandably was not happy about it and instead of just issuing me a fine, decided to pass it on to Prosecution services to review for possible fraud, I felt so embarrassed of my actions on the day.

I have never been to Harpenden, but the day prior to my flight I was looking to buy Second Hands headphones from Facebook marketplace advertised for collection in Harpenden which conveniently happens to be on the way to Luton I checked the times using the train app from Nunhead to Harpenden and Harpenden to Luton to see if I will have the time to collect them on the way and It wasn't possible as there was a chance I could arrive late for my flight.

In the evening I booked my flight using the app, and I suspect I selected the wrong station in error as I did have a bit to drink that night. I'm horrified at my mistake, scared, embarrassed, and petrified at the prospect of a criminal conviction and having a record that will 100% impact my chances for work and travel.

I'm a Father of 2 and the only breadwinner not only to my kids but also my disabled brother, I have never been on the wrong side of the law, but since lockdown, my personal and professional life spiraled downward. I picked up a drinking habit that ruined my life, as my mental health continued to worsen and I recently lost my job, so at the moment I feel like I'm in a deep hole and struggling to get out

This is a major wake-up call, as I should have sought professional help before but I never did, now I'm facing the prospect of ruining my and my family's immediate future because of my stupidity.

 

I'm hopeful there is a chance that this can be settled out of court as I can't afford a lawyer with my current work situation, cost of living, mortgage etc

I'm desperate for a chance to turn my life around and right my wrongs and hope it doesn't get any worse not just for me but for those who depend on me firstly.

 

Many thanks for your help and advise

 

I can upload the letter if required and provide any details required

 

Kind regards

 

 

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Hello, welcome to CAG. 

Yes, please post up the letter as a pdf file so we can see what they said. Make sure you take out details like your name and address but leave in dates and times. 

You don't need a lawyer, we can help you with the letter.

HB

Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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To clarify, was not that "the inspector was not happy"; instead, he clearly felt he had no choice. Look at it this way. You admitted to travelling from Nunhead to St Albans City - a journey of about 15 stops and an hour in duration without a ticket. You did have a ticket, however, for the last stop of the journey - the cheapest tick available -  necessary to exit at Parkway. Also: what does "wasn't fully compliant while giving my details" mean? Did you give a different name, or address? Or just didn't answer? You see, multiple offences under the bylaws appear to have been committed and, frankly, the inspector would probably have found themselves in hot water had they merely issued a penalty notice. It is important that you recognise exactly where things went wrong on the day, as acceptance and understanding of this will be important to your response to Thameslink.

To clarify, was not that "the inspector was not happy"; instead, he clearly felt he had no choice.

Look at it this way. You admitted to travelling from Nunhead to St Albans City - a journey of about 15 stops and an hour in duration without a ticket.

You did have a ticket, however, for the last stop of the journey - the cheapest tick available -  necessary to exit at Parkway. Also: what does "wasn't fully compliant while giving my details" mean? Did you give a different name, or address? Or just didn't answer?

You see, multiple offences under the bylaws appear to have been committed and, frankly, the inspector would probably have found themselves in hot water had they merely issued a penalty notice.

It is important that you recognise exactly where things went wrong on the day, as acceptance and understanding of this will be important to your response to Thameslink.

Edited by BankFodder
Restructured to make for accessibility
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Hi @honeybee13 and @Grotesque thanks for the response

see attached a copy of the letter

 

Thanks I initially in the panic and confusion I gave the incorrect details (name address and where my journey started) but later-on provided all the details they needed. I fully acknowledge my mistakes and should have been honest from the start, I really don't know what hit me, and I regret this immensely.

NIP.pdf

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Thanks. First things first, don't panic. That's a scary long list of potential consequences, but a) it's a simple statement of fact, and b) they must tell you all possibilities. However, you will be very much towards the bottom of that list. They also deal with people who, e.g. fake annual gold cards, and you should not worry yourself that you are anywhere near that category! Yes, a fare has been evaded; yes, you unnecessarily complicated things further, but a carefully written appeal should persuade them that it is not in their interests to prosecute. Be mindful that this will not come for free. But also note that they effectively encourage recipients to attempt mitigation by mentioning it as a possibility.

Thanks. First things first, don't panic.

That's a scary long list of potential consequences, but a) it's a simple statement of fact, and b) they must tell you all possibilities. However, you will be very much towards the bottom of that list.

They also deal with people who, e.g. fake annual gold cards, and you should not worry yourself that you are anywhere near that category!

Yes, a fare has been evaded; yes, you unnecessarily complicated things further, but a carefully written appeal should persuade them that it is not in their interests to prosecute.

Be mindful that this will not come for free. But also note that they effectively encourage recipients to attempt mitigation by mentioning it as a possibility.

(HB got in first, I see, much more succintly!)

Edited by BankFodder
Restructured to make for accessibility
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Hi HB, Grotesque and All

Good morning

See below the 1st draft for my response...

Dear Govia Thameslink Team,

Firstly, I want to thank you for giving me the opportunity to explain my actions relating to the incident that took place on August 16.

I wold like to sincerely apologise to Govia Thameslink and all the members of staff concerned for the time and administration costs my actions have caused.

I understand now the large scale of revenue losses that Train companies face as a result of fare evasion and how unacceptable it is.

On the day i boarded the train under the belief i have the correct ticket for my Journey, but to my shock, I only realised I had the wrong ticket when Inspector checked it. 

Prior to booking my ticket, i was evaluin the option of making a stop in Harpenden in order to collect a Pair f headphones i intended to buy from Facebook Market place, but changed my mind as this will not have left me much time to make my flight. I made a mistake of booking the train tickets late at night while intoxicated and did not pay attention that i selected the incorrect station in the app.

My actions are Inexcusable and I am extremely regretful for my mistake. Reflecting back on my actions, I feel ashamed, extremely stressed and anxious, and unable to sleep at night.

Whilst this is no excuse, since the lockdown my life has changed for the worst, I came out of it with a drinking habit that slowly ruined my life, and losing my job the start of August made things worse, especially at times of spiralling costs of living and Interest rate, I now face a serious risk of losing my home if I don't turn my life around.

As the sole breadwinner, my kids and disabled brother depend on me financially, therefore, if this matter were to escalate further to court, it would certainly compromise my employment which requires a high level of Integrity. A criminal conviction will definitely impact my future in my career and will be devastating to my family and myself and will further complicate my mental health.

I have always been on the right side of the law and never had any kind of trouble, and I guarantee that this will not happen again as I have learned a big lesson and so I vow that I will not do this again and ensure i check my tickets prior to boarding the trains to ensure my ticket covers the whole of my journey.

Whilst my words above do not serve as an excuse, I take full responsibility for my actions and I truly hope that it’s possible to understand how a criminal prosecution would be detrimental to my family and myself.

Furthermore, I am keen to resolve this matter as quickly and smoothly as possible without the need for court action if possible; I am willing to pay the outstanding fare and any administrative costs incurred by Govia Thameslink in dealing with this matter.

Once again, I would like to express my wholehearted apologies for the inconvenience caused to the staff and assure them that it will not happen again. I hope/pray that you will consider my request to settle this matter out of court and avoid any further escalation.

 

Many thanks for your understanding

 

Kindest Regards

Appreciate your feedback and thanks again

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I think that's a bit too long. I would also take out the paragraph about shopping and being intoxicated, it waffles.

And the paragraph about lockdown and turning to drink, they don't need a sob story and have heard it all before.

I personally wouldn't say I was willing to pay Govia, I would ask if they would allow me to pay the outstanding fare and their admin expenses.

Proof read what you've said and make sure you have I insted of i in a few places.

Can I ask why you didn't notice you had the wrong ticket the next day, for instance? Presumably you didn't take the flight and train the day after you booked?

Please post up the second draft for us.

HB

Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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Thanks @honeybee13 will make the changes mentioned.

I should have checked it 100% but didn't, my station is barrierless so that did not help either but still, it was on me to ensure I had the correct ticket

sorry @honeybee13 didn't understand this part " Presumably you didn't take the flight and train the day after you booked?" ...I did take the train and the flight the next day

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Honeybee has it right as ever. Keep it short and simple is always the best way.

As it stands, the letter is unnecessarily too long: yours is >550 words, I've knocked >200 off.

As she says, the material about shopping, booze and covid can all go. That's absolutely no disrespect to you! - but prosecutors are a cynical bunch, and I'm afraid they will very much have heard every COVID-related excuse going. 

The important thing is to persuade them - that, make them feel - that they do not need to prosecute you, their business will not financially suffer, and future incidents have been avoided in the bargain.

From their position, that's a job done well for the sake of a couple of letters, and from yours, it avoids everything you want to avoid.

I think your main area of weakness is if they really want to know how you travelled ticketless for so long without realising it, but you might have that covered under general forgetfulness. Good luck!

(Also, put your letter through a spell checker, then it looks more serious.)

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Many thanks @honeybee13& @Grotesque for the advice 

I have made some changes, see the draft below 

I feel that I need to mention my job loss and the impact it's having on my family, but can remove it if you think it's waffles... 

 

Thank you again

 

Dear Govia thameslink Team,

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to explain my actions relating to the incident that took place on August 16.

I would like to sincerely apologise to Govia Thameslink and all members of staff for the time and administration costs my actions have caused.

I understand now the large scale of revenue losses that Train companies face as a result of fare evasion and how unacceptable it is.

On the day, I boarded the train under the belief I had the correct ticket for my Journey, but to my shock, I only realised I had the wrong ticket when the Inspector checked it.

My actions are inexcusable and I am extremely regretful for my mistake. Reflecting back on my actions, I feel ashamed, extremely stressed and anxious, and unable to sleep at night.

I’m the sole breadwinner and recently lost my job, my kids and a disabled brother depend on me financially, therefore, if this matter were to escalate further to court, a criminal conviction would certainly compromise my search for employment, impact my future, will be devastating to my family and myself and will further complicate my mental health.

I have always been on the right side of the law and never had any kind of trouble, I guarantee that this will not happen again as I have learnt a big lesson and so I vow that I will not do this again and ensure I check my ticket cover the whole of my journey prior to boarding a train.

Whilst my words above do not serve as an excuse, I take full responsibility for my actions and I truly hope that it's possible to understand how a criminal prosecution would be detrimental to my family and myself.

Furthermore, I am keen to resolve this matter as quickly and smoothly as possible without the need for court action if possible; I beg if you would allow me to pay the outstanding fare and any administrative costs incurred by Govia Thameslink in dealing with this matter.

Once again, I would like to express my wholehearted apologies for the inconvenience caused to the staff and assure that it will not happen again. I hope/pray that you will consider my request to settle this matter out of court and avoid any further escalation.

Many thanks for your understanding

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An Annual Season ticket can offer a gold card. You dont have one of those. 

But what can cover you is a Network Railcard for £30 a year 

 

WWW.NETWORK-RAILCARD.CO.UK

Save up to a third on leisure travel within London and the South East with a Network Railcard. Only £30 a year - Buy it here.

 

It is very good and I have renewed mine every year Ive had it. 

Even during Covid... I could get a TFL Travelcard with Thameslink journey into London for £10 on a weekend. 

 

Be careful with how you go back to them - I saw on Railforums that some GTR ticket investigations have been going back through a past history. 

 

London_South_East_Network_Railcard_map_May2022.pdf

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