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Cautioned for not having Train ticket

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Hi,

I have received a letter from "First Capital Connect" concerning my 16 year old son. Apparently he boarded a train without a ticket. The letter is addressed to me, as the parent/or guardian. It states that normally they would prosecute, however, in this instance they are prepared to accept a 35.00, the outstanding fare plus a huge admin fee. They have also mentioned that failure to pay this may well affect my credit rating.

 

Might it be possible for you to scan and paste the letter (omitting personal info, of course)?

 

My first thoughts are that as you are not named in person, even if it were legal, how would they be able to make a link to your credit file?

 

They can prosecute, but a conviction will only occur if they have proved intent. It may be that your son lost his money, or could have lost his ticket, or just had no money, but intended to pay once he got home and got a cheque from you.

 

I know that railways have a big problem in this country with the number of unpaid journeys that happen. Nevertheless, they still have to use the law as it stands. Immediate incarceration for travellers without a ticket would do much to eradicate ticket less travel, but that is not the law.


On some things I am very knowledgeable, on other things I am stupid. Trouble is, sometimes I discover that the former is the latter or vice versa, and I don't know this until later - maybe even much later. Read anything I write with the above in mind.

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When stopped by penalty fare inspectors in the past, I used to simply say nothing to them and get off at the next station, as they have no powers of detention and cannot physically restrain you unless there is a police prescence..

 

I just walked away from them up the platform!! I did this on a number of occasions and they can't do a thing about it..

 

However, that was a few years ago and wouldn't even consider boarding a train without a ticket nowadays.

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Hi, Thank you for your comments, I have posted letter below:-

Picture010.jpg


Woolwich won in court/default removed Barclaycard Settled Halifax settled

Capital 1Settled GE Money Settled

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Hmm. As I thought. It's just a frightener letter.

 

I would be tempted to find out from your son what journey he undertook and the fare due, get a postal order for that amount and get him to write in saying "This is the fare for my journey on xx yy 2007 from aaaa to bbbbb."

 

I doubt they can even consider prosecution: your son is under the age of 18 so they cannot interview under caution without an appropriate adult present. Therefore they cannot have established intent.

 

They cannot prosecute you as you are not responsible.

  • Haha 1

On some things I am very knowledgeable, on other things I am stupid. Trouble is, sometimes I discover that the former is the latter or vice versa, and I don't know this until later - maybe even much later. Read anything I write with the above in mind.

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Think I will get him to do that, seems like a good idea. He has to take resposibility! Thanks for your advice.


Woolwich won in court/default removed Barclaycard Settled Halifax settled

Capital 1Settled GE Money Settled

Egg Settled-court action re.default 4th hearing!

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hi there reduk.

 

sorry for the reply being so late but thought i'd just put in my penny's worth! i don't work for Southern but i do work in the ticket office for a very well known train company. our customer charter states that our customers shall not wait more than 5 mins peak and 3 mins off peak in a queue to buy tickets for immediate travel, although there is nothing to tell us what we should do if customers are queuing longer than this and there are no extra staff!!! most guards are very reasonable if you approach them before you board the train and ask to buy on board. it's hugely annoying and you wouldn't believe how rude some people are but the bet thing to do is ask for a comments form, the station managers name and send a letter in about it. we told all our customers to do this and have managed to get an extra part time member of staff at busy afternoon times x

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Hi All,

Yasmin - your posts reagrding your son were on my mind last night. I was pondering over how the train company invovled could threaten your credit rating, when the letter is not specifically written to you?! The letter mentioned the parent/guardian didnt it? So if you follow the advice from EsioTrot, you could send a letter paying the fare only and not sign in your name just as "the parent/guardian". I feel that a £35.00 admin fee is extortionate, similar to bank charges in fact! Also, was it definitely your son i.e. did he admit it? or did someone else use his name/address to avoid their own fine?

Hi KTPnut, thank you I appreciate the mail which you have sent. Interesting time scales, very quick turn around if its only 5 mins!! Our station now is fully staffed at all times (even weekends) so I am now always happy with the service! I did write a letter, and I am sure others did too!

The guard issue was one that to this day I still can't quite fathom. I honestly thought that the ticket inspector who approached me would have been able to issue me with a ticket for my journey, but he steadfastly refused, and would only issue a penalty notice. he said that he would be able to accept an on the spot £20 fine however he couldnt accept money for a valid ticket (cost - nearly £20). Any how, I am still waiting for them to send me the proof that I did not intend to purchase a ticket, as my statement clearly said that i did make several attempts to purchase one, but could not due to a) massive queue which would mean i do not catch train and b) through 2 x ticket machines which could only accept the correct money or any other card other than electron.

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Hi reduk054,

 

Thank you for your response. I am still pondering as to how I should reply to this letter. I too think it is a ridiculous amount. The adult fare is 10.40, so that leaves quite a large admin. fee!

My son, tells me, he tried to pay the inspector, and he wouldn't accept the fare. I think I will just post the fare with a copy of the letter and see what happens.

I will be interested to see the outcome of yours..

It is just so irritating. I was out with a friend yesterday, and the parking ticket machine was out of order. There was a note on it , telling drivers not to worry, just put a note on your windscreen. It seemed to be official. Anyway, needless to say when we returned, she had a ticket!! She just wished she'd taken a photo of it on her phone. Needless to say she will oppose it, it's just all so stressful.....


Woolwich won in court/default removed Barclaycard Settled Halifax settled

Capital 1Settled GE Money Settled

Egg Settled-court action re.default 4th hearing!

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Hi again Yasmin, I think that to send the fare along with a covering letter explaining the intent to pay however that the inspector refused payments would suffice on one hand, but on the other if you send them something in writing, will the train company then hound you for their admin. fee?! I do not know what I would do in your situation. Can the CAB help?

Maybe Esio Trot can help with a mail on this one!

And the parking ticket fiasco you have also mentioned, I always worry about signs on ticket machines, I am sure that your friend was not the only one to receive an unfair ticket and therefore hopefully the owners of the car park, or the ticket company will have plenty of complaint letters and that all of the tickets issues can be revoked !!!

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I was cautioned on the train about 3 weeks ago, The ticket office was shut ....yet it shouldn't of been when you look at the opening times and the machine on the station was only taking card payments....on top of that the train was due to leave at 18 minutes past the hour and actually left at 10 minutes past a whole 8 minutes before its time.....

Our station doesn't have a Permit to Travel machine so when the ticket man on the train asked for my ticket and I explained he said it wasn't his fault and charged me an extra 40p and gave me a warning.....

As far as I know this is a problem with South West Trains and has recently been highlighted on the news, as its happening to many people and not all the stations have more than 1 ticket machine..hence ppl queing for over half an hr to gain a ticket and missing trains to work. I would e-mail the company and put a complaint in because sometimes they are not aware of the situation on smaller stations ....

At the end of the day it would be different if the ticket man asked you to pay and you said no its not that you were refusing you had the monies, I just think they are overlooking what is a huge problem that they have created.

Good luck I know how you feel

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Hi reduk054,

 

Thank you for your response. I am still pondering as to how I should reply to this letter. I too think it is a ridiculous amount. The adult fare is 10.40, so that leaves quite a large admin. fee!

My son, tells me, he tried to pay the inspector, and he wouldn't accept the fare. I think I will just post the fare with a copy of the letter and see what happens.

 

It is your son that they claim was fare evading. If it were me I would get a postal order (so they don't have your name which they would if you sent a cheque) for the fare involved and get your son to send it in with a covering letter like I suggested. DO NOT WRITE YOURSELF - you are not personally involved - they don't even have your name.

 

Once the fare is paid, then the administration fee is non-enforceable as far as I understand it. Like private parking tickets - you have not entered into any contract to be liable for the extra on top. Once they have the fare money they are not at a loss.


On some things I am very knowledgeable, on other things I am stupid. Trouble is, sometimes I discover that the former is the latter or vice versa, and I don't know this until later - maybe even much later. Read anything I write with the above in mind.

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Thanks E.T. Yes that makes sense....Will get him to do that over the w. end.


Woolwich won in court/default removed Barclaycard Settled Halifax settled

Capital 1Settled GE Money Settled

Egg Settled-court action re.default 4th hearing!

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Esio, great advice for Yasmin, your input to this posting has been invaluable, thank you, i have learned a lot from you, and really only to question the train companies about preying on the "soft" targets, i.e. people who are more likely to pay their fines, rather than just disappear!

Thanks again, Yasmin - good luck!

Red

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This thread is a great read, thanks for everyones input.

 

I am in a similar situation myself, regular travelcard holder, but forgot to renew it when it ran out. Was 'caught' by the transport police and 'cautioned'. He said that if I did it again I would go straight to court. I paid the £20 penalty fare there and then, and was on my way, after he gave me the usual spiel about how its just not worth doing it again.

 

My question is, since I paid the £20 penalty there and then - can I expect anything further from the train company? Can they come back and demand more money or take me to court?

 

Thanks.

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I have no direct experience of this situation (on trains) but I believe the payment of the Penalty is an acceptance and settlement of any outstanding debt to the firm. Attempting to prosecute further would be a gross injustice.

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Hi,

I have a similar situation and now it has been brought to my attention I am quite worried.

 

I traveled through london on my oystercard, and was assured by friends that I could use pre-pay to get to romford and that it would have been accepted. rail stations in outer london do, some dont. this didnt.

 

Instead of walking through the gates, like an idiot, I went to an attendant and asked where the oyster scanners were. he said I couldnt use oyster. I offered to pay the fare, and he told me I would have to pay the fine. At the time I was incensed that I would be penalised for a simple mistake - had i gotten off two stations earlier it would have been no problem. I paid whatever I had in my pocket, 80p I think, and waited for my parents to receive the ticket, as their address is more stable than mine.

 

They never recieved anything, so i presumed that they guy had realised what an idiot he was being and dropped the matter. Now however, I am slightly paranoid that my parents have lost the letter and that a problem is building up behind my back....

also, I need to get a CRB check - would this show?

 

thanks,

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Hi there,

I was looking at this thread with some fascination since some 5 years ago, I was stopped by a "revenue inspector" without a ticket. I won't bore you with the details of the whys and wherefores, but I was issued with a court summons off the back of this. I learnt some very interesting facts about this process which I would like to share which with you, although I appreciate that it might be too late for some:

1) firstly, prosecution for fare evasion is independent of a penalty fare. If you look at some train companies websites they will fully admit that penalty fares are there to boost their revenues. This means that if you pay a penalty, the rail company can still seek a criminal prosecution if they believe you are guilty of fare evasion;

2) a penalty fare, by a private rail company is a CIVIL DEBT. If the rail company threatens you with a criminal prosecution if you do not settle a civil debt (verbally if you have a witness or in writing) the rail operator could be accused of "obtaining property by threats" which is a criminal offence under the 1968 Theft Act. You can refuse to pay a penalty fare and all the operator can do is come after you for the cival debt, but cannot prosecute. If you plan to refuse verbally make sure that you have a witness to show that you were invited to pay a penalty and you refused.

3) if you were in the unfortunate position that I was in, in that you are facing prosecution, the prosecution must prove "mens rea" - guilty mind. That is, they must prove that you willfully, deceitfully and intentionally set out to defraud the railway. This is extremely hard to prove in most circumstances - so if you are ever at risk, do not do anything that might be regarded as incriminating. In HM courts, they need to prove your guilt, you do not need to prove your innocence.

4) fare evasion is a railway by-law so it is not an arrestable (nor I believe recordable) offence. However, it is an arrestable offence to refuse to give your name and address (or to give false information). If you do find yourself under caution (and RPI must caution you) then I recommend giving your name and address and nothing else. You will also be asked to sign something - I believe that you can refuse without recourse.

For whomever was asking about the CRB check: if you are successfully prosecuted then you will have a criminal record for a dishonesty crime which will obviously show up. If you don't yet know if they will prosecute (the court summons took 7 months to come through for me) I don't believe that it will appear, since it is a non-recordable offence. However, pending prosecutions usually do appear, so I am not certain about this.

Incidentally when the private prosecution company (oh yes, the CPS are really not interested in this sort of petty misdemeanor) realised that I was fighting this all the way, they dropped the prosecution - they just want easy targets to boost their statistics.

As a final note, I want to be clear that I am not encouraging fare evasion, I believe that it is a fairly serious measure of social disorder. But I was an innocent commuter who was facing a disproportionate reaction with serious personal consequences from an over-zealous train company. Their website proudly boasts how many successful prosecutions they had achieved but they don't seem to realise is all they are doing is slapping criminal records on law-abidding citizens who are doing their best to get through each day. The real fare evaders, the repeat offenders who assault RPIs and blatantly ignore penalty fare notices etc, I assume are still at large.

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If a penalty fare is a civil matter and not covered by Transport Law, then I assume it's covered by the same Contract Law which covers bank charges; i.e. it is a penalty for breach of contract and cannot be legally enforced in any way. This being the case, they could chase me as much as they liked; I still wouldn't pay it! Does anyone know if any other Law covers this and provides for a lawful penalty? Or is it simply a contractural penalty which they're "winging" to see how much they can get?

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Penalty fares ARE covered by the Transport Act 2000. If you have any problems you need to refer to the bylaws of the TOC that issued you with the PF. See the following links..

 

Link for the Penalty Fares Rules

 

http://www.dft.gov.uk/pgr/rail/legislation/pf/penaltyfaresrules

 

Example Of Railway By Laws

 

1263RailwayBylaws.pdf

 

hope these help

 

 

 

t-star


FOR THE BENEFIT OF OUR FRIENDS IN THE NSA USING THE PRISM SYSTEM. HELLO FROM THE UK.

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You mean of the circumstances of why they attempted to prosecute me for fare evasion? I have outlined the details below, although if you are concerned about them coming after you, I wouldn't be. They might if you were a repeat offender (if you had been caught 10 times for example) but the prosecutions don't appear to be originating from the BTP but from private prosecutions. Although, having said this, the tfl is not a private operator so the policies might differ slightly.

 

I was travelling regularly on a 5mins commuter route on the DLR where I would buy a ticket each way for £1 at a machine since a travelcard was unavailable for that route/zones. A blockade had been set up at the station where I disembarked complete with BTP. I was unable to find my ticket for that journey, although I had a handbag full of tickets for journeys on previous days and weeks so it took me some time to identify that I couldn't find the ticket, getting more and more flustered. They took details, ID read me my rights etc. That happened in September. I received a letter from them in November asking for mitigating circumstances before they forwarded my details to the prosecution team. I duly responded explaining that I had bought a ticket but had lost it, and that I could evidence that I was a regular user of that route who always bought a ticket (I had about a months worth of them in my handbag). I didn't hear anything further until April when I received a court summons a day after the date of the hearing. I immediately called the court and asked what had happened given that I hadn't even been aware of the summons. They said that it would be rearranged since they hadn't heard from me (automatic guilty if I missed the next one). I then sought legal advice. I spoke to a few solicitors who were completely disinterested and said that there was no defence and that I would be better sending in a guilty plea by post. I didn't want to do that since I was totally innocent, my career might be impaired by such a record and furthermore I thought that it was a completely disproportionate "punishment" for a £1 fare issue with someone who had no previous history of fare dodging.

 

Anyway, I sought advice from a corporate lawyer friend of mine. He spoke to a few friends and learnt that a similar thing had happened to the wife of one of his colleagues. Her circumstances were slightly different in that she hadn't been able to buy a ticket before she boarded, had tried to find the guard on board but had a child in a pushchair and had been unsuccessful. Anyway both she and her husband were lawyers (barristers I think); they put their thinking caps on and wrote to the prosecution team saying that they were aware that they had to prove guilty mind, that she would be entering a not guilty plea and this was the defence that they would be offering (i think it was just as I wrote above, unable to buy ticket, tried to find guard on board but limited by young child and pushchair). They dropped their case against her.

 

I did something very similar: explained that I would be entering a not guilty plea, that my defence would be that I had bought a ticket but misplaced it and asked for them to provide CCTV footage of a 15 minute interval of the exact machine where I had bought the ticket.

 

I hadn't heard back from them and turned up for court for the second hearing. I was greated by some guy on the prosecution after I checked in with the clerk that they would drop the case if I agreed to pay a £10 admin fee, which of course I agreed to.

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Great, thanks for the insight. Really inspirational for all those who are facing a prosecution.

 

Yeah that's what I was thinking concerning the penalty fare. I understand that its possible for a prosecution to be brought, although it seems very unlikely. The revenue inspectors seem to be working in a strange way where some regular inspectors issue penalty fares only, and big teams sweep large areas at a time prosecuting everyone who doesnt have the correct ticket with no exceptions (such as all the 80p TFL prosecutions recently).

 

Its a very strange way of working...

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If one uses a solicitor in a Magistrate's Court and one is Acquitted, can one ask for one's costs?

Edited by Movingon
embarrassing grammatical mistake

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Because fare evasion is a non-arrestable offence, you are not entitled to free legal advice / defence, as you would be for pretty much any other crime.

 

I believe that you could put in a claim for the recovery of your legal costs if you were acquitted. It doesn't guarantee that the judge would award them though.

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