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Old 16th September 2012, 00:18   #1
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Default RailUK Fares & Ticketing Guide - Section 10 - Disputes

Section 10 - Disputes

Contents

Last edited by IanXC; 20th October 2012 at 18:07.
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Old 16th September 2012, 00:18   #2
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10.1 Introduction to Ticketing Disputes

This section explains the various outcomes which can arise from a passenger not holding a ticket, or holding an invalid ticket, whilst on a train (when boarding at a station with ticket purchasing facilities) or in certain circumstances on a station.

A passenger who is not able to pay the required fare can be issued with an Unpaid Fares Notice, this then allows them to pay for their travel at a later date. If a ticket is found to be invalid and an issuing error, by a Ticket Office or website is suspected, a Travel Irregularity Report can be issued to ensure the problem is investigated, whilst allowing the passenger to complete their journey.

Should the staff member dealing with a passenger consider the situation to be an honest mistake, in a Penalty Fare area when certain conditions are met, a passenger is liable to pay a penalty for certain infringements. Outside such areas, the 'penalty' is usually limited to being required to purchase an Anytime fare, regardless of the time or travel plans intended.

A member of Train Company staff also has the option of reporting a passenger for prosecution. There are a number of Acts of Parliament specifically controlling travel by train, the vast majority of criminal prosections are, however, conducted under the Regulation of Railways Act 1889. In addition the Railways have their own Byelaws which allow prosecutions to be brought without the requirement to prove intent. Our Legal section contains a full explanation of these provisions.
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Old 16th September 2012, 00:18   #3
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10.2 Unpaid Fare Notices (UPFNs)

These are used where there is no intent to avoid payment of the fare and the matter is therefore a civil debt (the passenger simply owes the railway money). They can be issued by RPIs and Conductors/Guards.

A UPFN is not a fine; it is simply a notice informing the passenger that they owe the issuing TOC the indicated sum of money (the outstanding fare). The passenger is required to give their name and address and if payment is not received within ten days they may be liable for an administration fee on top of the outstanding fare (this can vary, at CrossCountry, for example, twenty-one days is given). If the UPFN is ignored entirely the TOC may begin a criminal prosecution for fare evasion.

Whilst on the UPFN is being issued it is possible to pay part of the fare rather than leave the whole fare outstanding. In this case the UPFN will show the total fare due and the outstanding balance still to be paid.

If a season ticket holder leaves their ticket at home they may, at the discretion of railway staff, be issued a UPFN (issued either for a single or return ticket).

Last edited by ainsworth74; 9th January 2013 at 23:25. Reason: updates
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Old 16th September 2012, 00:19   #4
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10.3 Travel Irregularity Reports (TIRs)

A Travel Irregularity Report (TIR) is a document that is filled in when a ticketing irregularity requires further investigation.

When a TIR is filled in, you need to supply your name and address, and in addition your date of birth if you are under 18 years old. Please note that failure to supply your correct name and address is a criminal offence, under Section 5(3c) of the Regulation of Railways Act 1889.

A TIR is usually accompanied with evidence of the irregularity, which means it is common practice in most cases for the ticket requiring investigation to be withdrawn. If this is the case in the middle of a journey, the member of railway staff filling in the report should issue a free excess ticket to enable you to complete your journey. There is no obligation for railway staff to issue a ticket allowing more than completion of the current journey, even if the ticket withdrawn is a season ticket.

A Railcard or Photocard can only be withdrawn if fraudulent use is suspected or if it is required as evidence to prove an offence. In such a case, you must be informed as to why this action is being taken. In addition, you should be given contact details of the person who will subsequently make further contact in relation to the matter at hand.

A TIR is not an indication of criminal wrong-doing.

An MG11 report (MG11 Witness Statement) is usually filled in when there is evidence that an offence has been committed. An MG11 report can be used in court later on as evidence supporting a prosecution.
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Old 16th September 2012, 00:19   #5
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10.4 Introduction to Penalty Fares

A Penalty Fare (PF) is a higher than normal fare chargeable to a passenger who has made an error with respect to purchasing a ticket. It is not a fine.

The amount of a Penalty Fare on National Rail is the higher of £20 or double the anytime/anytime day single fare from the first penalty fares station where the passenger joined a PF train, or where the ticket held ceased to be valid, if overriding. This would include route- or TOC-specific fares if applicable to the journey made.

A passenger receiving a PF is required to make a payment on the spot of the anytime/anytime day single fare, although authorised collectors have discretion to accept a lower or nil payment and are expected to do so for vulnerable passengers and for season ticket holders who have forgotten their ticket. If the passenger does not wish to dispute the PF, they can make full payment there and then, or within 21 days. Such a full payment will normally be the end of the matter. An unpaid PF is in theory recoverable as a civil debt. In practice, however, a passenger who fails to pay a PF will normally be cancelled and the passenger prosecuted.

A Penalty Fare on London Overground (as well as DLR, London Underground, Tramlink, and London buses) is £80, discounted to £40 if paid in full within 14 days.

The Penalty Fare notice will explain how it can be paid. Normally this can be done over the phone or by cheque in the post, and in many cases it can also be paid online. Arrangements can be made to pay in cash at a station.

Last edited by island; 13th January 2013 at 14:10. Reason: amended for clarity, suggestions courtesy of cjp
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Old 16th September 2012, 00:19   #6
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10.5 List of Penalty Fare Schemes

The following operators charge Penalty Fares under the Penalty Fare Rules 2002:
  • c2c
  • Chiltern Railways
  • East Midlands Trains
  • First Capital Connect
  • First Great Western
  • Greater Anglia (including Stansted Express but not for passengers originating at Stansted Airport)
  • London Midland
  • Merseyrail
  • Southeastern
  • Southern (including Gatwick Express)
  • South West Trains
The Tyne and Wear Metro also charges Penalty Fares under these Rules.

London Overground, London Underground, the Docklands Light Railway, London buses, and Tramlink charge Penalty Fares under section 245 of the Greater London Authority Act 1999.

Last edited by island; 3rd January 2013 at 09:43.
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Old 16th September 2012, 00:19   #7
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10.6 When are you liable to pay a Penalty Fare

A passenger may be liable to pay a penalty fare if he fails to present a valid ticket for inspection when required to do so by an authorised collector when present on or leaving a penalty fares train having travelled from a penalty fares station or present in a compulsory ticket area. In this context, a ticket is not a valid ticket if not accompanied by a required Photocard, Railcard, or other supporting document.

The underlined terms are defined as follows:
  • Authorised collector: A staff member specifically trained to issue penalty fares, who must carry a photo ID identifying him as such and present it when requested
  • Penalty fares station: A station identified as a Penalty fares station in a TOC's penalty fares scheme. Generally these are identified as "all stations we serve", all stations in a geographic area except[list of unmanned halts], or similar.
  • Penalty fares train: A train identified as a Penalty fares train in a TOC's penalty fares scheme. This will often be all the TOC's trains, or all trains operating within certain geographic boundaries.
  • Compulsory ticket area: An area where it is mandatory to hold a ticket to enter. There are very few compulsory ticket areas on the network. In theory, a passenger may need to get a platform ticket to see someone off.

It should be noted that Penalty Fares on London Overground as well as DLR, London Underground, Tramlink, and London buses are issued under a completely different set of legislation, and it is normally not possible for a TOC authorised collector to issue Penalty Fares for a TfL company or vice-versa. This can be important at stations which are joint National Rail and TfL, such as Watford Junction and Stratford.

A passenger issued a Penalty Fare is obliged to give his name and address to the authorised collector. Authorised collectors will often telephone a control centre to verify the name and address given against central databases such as credit reference agencies or the electoral register. The passenger is under no obligation whatsoever to produce any identification documents, nor is he obliged to wait during a verification process.

There are quite a few exceptions which excuse a person from being liable to pay a penalty fare. These include:
  • The passenger has a ticket that is invalid only due to travelling at the wrong time of day (e.g. an off-peak ticket being used at peak times) or on a route prohibited by a geographical restriction in the route field of his ticket (e.g. including a VIA ASCOT ticket used via Slough). A passenger meeting these criteria should be charged an excess fare instead. Note that a passenger travelling on a ticket in violation of a restriction limiting the Train Operating Companies which may be used (e.g. a ticket routed SOUTHERN ONLY being used on FCC or SWT) is liable to a penalty fare.
  • The station at which the passenger joined the train had no working ticket facilities available.** Note, however, that this does not include a ticket vending machine which does not sell the specific ticket desired; in this case the passenger is obliged to purchase a ticket permitting him to commence his journey and part-exchange it for the desired ticket at the first opportunity.
  • The passenger wished to purchase a privilege-rate ticket (for staff members) and there was no staffed ticket office at his origination station.**
  • The passenger changed onto the penalty fares train during his journey, the station at which the passenger commenced their journey had no working ticket facilities available, and he had no reasonable opportunity to purchase a ticket either on that train or at an interchange station.**
  • Penalty Fares posters or notices were not displayed at the entrance to the platform from which the train the passenger used departed.*
  • A notice or an authorised person said that the passenger was, or passengers in general were, permitted to join a train without a ticket.**
  • The authorised collector who challenged the passenger is not authorised by the Train Operating Company which the passenger used.*
  • The passenger joined the train at a station which is not a Penalty Fares station.* or **
  • The train the passenger used was not designated a Penalty Fares train.*

* In this case the passenger remains liable to pay the full Anytime fare for the journey made (single, or if requested, return). No Railcard discounts are permitted.

** In this case the passenger remains liable to pay the fare for the journey made and is entitled to any discounts or off-peak fares which would have been available if they had the opportunity to purchase before commencing the journey.

It is not, however, a valid excuse that there was a long queue to use the ticket facilities at the station where your journey started. You are expected to allow enough time to purchase a ticket. Also, there is no specific exemption from a Penalty Fare where a passenger has the means to pay for a ticket but the ticket-selling facilities at the station do not accept them (e.g. card-only vending machine and the passenger wishes to pay cash, permit to travel machine and the passenger does not have any non-copper coins, machine not giving change, etc.)

In all circumstances authorised collectors are expected to use their discretion when appropriate.

A passenger is not absolutely entitled to a Penalty Fare when caught without a valid ticket. An authorised collector may decide to lodge a Travel Irregularity Report or MG11 instead.

Last edited by island; 3rd January 2013 at 09:45.
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Old 16th September 2012, 00:19   #8
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10.7 Disputing a Penalty Fare

If you wish to appeal a Penalty Fare, you can do so within 21 days by following the instructions indicated on the Penalty Fare notice you received. This normally must be done in writing (letter or sometimes email).

Appeals are mostly handled by the Independent Penalty Fare Appeals Service or Revenue Protection Support Services, operated by Southeastern. Their criteria for accepting appeals are not published. In the event an appeal is not upheld and the passenger fails to pay the Penalty Fare within the defined period, the Train Operating Company may prosecute the passenger, generally under section 18 of the Railway Bye-laws or section 5 of the Regulation of Railways Act.

It should be noted that a Train Operating Company has the right to cancel a Penalty Fare Notice (refunding any payment made in respect of the notice) and proceed to prosecution, should it wish to do so.

Last edited by island; 25th December 2012 at 16:33.
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Old 16th September 2012, 00:19   #9
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10.8 Charges that are similar to Penalty Fares

Northern issues "Failure to Pay" documents, which may or may not require a payment of £80 plus the fare when a passenger has failed to purchase a ticket before boarding. These are not Penalty Fares and their legal status is unclear.

Metrolink in Manchester issues "Standard Fares" of £100, which are also not Penalty Fares.

If you have not received a paper notice at the time of the alleged infringement, you have not been issued with a Penalty Fare and cannot use the appeal options noted above.

Last edited by island; 25th December 2012 at 15:20.
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Old 16th September 2012, 00:19   #10
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10.9 Prosecutions

Train Operating Companies have specific legislation they can use to prosecute passengers. Some common examples of offences include:
  • Travelling (or travelling over-distance) with the intention of avoiding paying the fare due (or part of the fare due)
  • Failure to produce a valid ticket
  • Failure to give name and address
  • Altering tickets
The first of these is an offence under the Regulation of Railways Act (RoRA). Merely failing to produce a ticket (no evidence of intent) is an offence under the Railway Byelaws. Failure to give name and address could come under either the RoRA or Byelaws, as appropriate. Altering tickets is also a Byelaw offence, though in serious cases it could be considered Fraud.

Offences under the Regulation of Railways Act result are recordable offences and a conviction will be disclosed if a CRB check (Standard or Enhanced) is performed.

Offences under the Railway Byelaws are not recordable offences and a conviction should not be disclosed if a CRB check (Standard or Enhanced) is performed.

For more information please see Section 8 - Legal

Last edited by yorkie; 5th January 2013 at 14:06. Reason: updated
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Old 29th December 2012, 23:44   #11
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Other sections:
  1. Ticket Types & Conditions
  2. Smart Cards
  3. Routeing
  4. Excesses, Upgrades & Supplements
  5. Multi-Journey Tickets
  6. Discounted Fares
  7. Integrated fares
  8. Legal
  9. Transactions & Compensation
  10. Disputes
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