£100 tram fare - metrolink help!

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NAM_killer

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Hi all,

Earlier today I made the honest mistake of boarding a metrolink tram from Manchester piccadilly going to Bury. I was unaware that you need to purchase tickets beforehand and was not told by the ticketmaster at the main train station when I asked how to get to Bury.

The tram was there as I walked down the stairs so I hopped on without hesitation and when I got off, I was informed by a ticket inspector at Bury that I have a £100 fine. He listened to my story and he said that I need to appeal it.

I should add I have never been on a tram where you have to pay first before. I was under the impression that you could pay on the tram or at the other end.

I am just wondering what the best course of action is and what I might need to state in my appeal.

Thanks in advance!

NAM
 
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transportphoto

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I'm afraid ignorance isn't usually a defence. If I were you I'd be paying £50 pounds within fourteen days rather than appealing it as your chances aren't high, you'd be paying the full £100. I'm afraid its the way it is.

I haven't had a proper look around Piccadilly metrolink station for a while but I should imagine it is made pretty clear that you must buy your tickets from the vending machines there before travel, like it is at other stations.

TP
 

NAM_killer

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I'm afraid ignorance isn't usually a defence. If I were you I'd be paying £50 pounds within fourteen days rather than appealing it as your chances aren't high, you'd be paying the full £100. I'm afraid its the way it is.

I haven't had a proper look around Piccadilly metrolink station for a while but I should imagine it is made pretty clear that you must buy your tickets from the vending machines there before travel, like it is at other stations.

TP
I was afraid of that, although when I asked him what the chances were of them being OK with it, he said that I have a pretty good chance.

I'm thinking he probably just said that to palm me off though...

I only bring it up because on trams in Sheffield you can pay once you have boarded and on trains around here you can pay before/onboard/after the journey.

Paying before the journey is a new concept to me, especially how the only station from Piccadilly to Bury to actually have ticket inspectors is Bury station. Very strange.

So if I appeal and it gets denied, it gets bumped straight up to £100 even if I can pay before the 14 day grace period is up?
 

VTPreston_Tez

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@TP There are 2 which have the same colour as the wall behind it so I can understand how they are hard to see. As I use "Piccadilly Low-Level" as I call it, it is always packed out and is all one colour, so even spotting the M5000s can be tough sometimes!

@OP I recommend you pay the fine as soon as possible. £100 is a big amount to pay so get it done with the £50 ASAP.
 

transportphoto

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I have travelled a whole day on the Manchester Metrolink covering every branch line and not once come across a ticket inspector and other days you can see them - its just the way it is.

Its the same as with on the national network, if there are previsions at your origin station enabling you to purchase a ticket then you must. Some unstaffed stations around the country (including the ones you mention in Sheffield) have no facility to purchase tickets, so they are sold on board.

Sheffield Supertram operates a different policy, buy on board, they have not installed ticket purchasing prior to boarding and have a member of staff around to check and sell tickets. Thats the way they work, but thats not how Metrolink work.

It is against metrolink bye laws to board a tram with out a valid ticket, if they wish to take you to prosecution you could be facing a fine not exceeding level 3 on the standard
scale (as defined in Section 37 of the Criminal Justice Act 1982).

Take it as a very expensive lesson learn't. You walked past ticket machines and straight onto a tram. In the future, where ever you are, where ever you are off to, purchase a ticket at the first available opportunity unless it is advertised other wise.

TP
 

aformeruser

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I was unaware that you need to purchase tickets beforehand
What area is the address you've given them in? If it's in Sheffield and there wasn't an obvious poster informing you to buy before you board at Piccadilly then you've got more of a case then if you're from Manchester.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
You walked past ticket machines and straight onto a tram. In the future, where ever you are, where ever you are off to, purchase a ticket at the first available opportunity unless it is advertised other wise.
In all honesty if you enter the Metrolink platform at Piccadilly from the direction of the heavy rail platforms the machines aren't that easy to spot.
 

WillPS

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If you have time, I'd send a letter explaining your circumstances ASAP first class recorded, state your case, perhaps even enclose a cheque for the correct fare, be apologetic and just make clear that you're not going to do it again.

They're unlikely to respond within 14 days, so I'd also send a cheque for £50 to arrive before the deadline, state on the cheque/covering letter or both that you are paying under protest.
 

NAM_killer

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Thanks all for your replies/information!

Yeah the ticket machines are not obvious at all, they are to the right on a wall behind the way you are facing when you arrive on the platform so if you do what I did and board immediately (if you don't have time and/or are unaware you have to pay beforehand) then you will not see them unless you stop, look around for some reason and then board.

Like I said the ticketmaster did not offer for me to purchase a ticket from him and did not state that I had to buy a ticket beforehand.

WillPS, I think the safest route is the one you have described. From the sounds of it, they are the kind of company that would see the cheque and pay no attention to the note but it is worth a shot anyway!

Again, thank-you all for your advice, it is much appreciated!
 

Wath Yard

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I only bring it up because on trams in Sheffield you can pay once you have boarded and on trains around here you can pay before/onboard/after the journey.

Paying before the journey is a new concept to me, especially how the only station from Piccadilly to Bury to actually have ticket inspectors is Bury station. Very strange.
Just out of interest where are you from? I don't know how paying before travelling can be an alien concept to anybody and also know of no public transport system in this country where you would expect to pay after you have arrived at your destination.
 

table38

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...also know of no public transport system in this country where you would expect to pay after you have arrived at your destination.
Try Flowery Field to Manchester, where you normally have to queue and pay the G4S guys on Platform 2 because the guard didn't make it down the whole train :)
 

table38

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Surely you'd just walk over the footbridge and avoid them? :P
How could you possibly suggest such a thing! I imagine that would attract an army of G4S security guards chasing me down the station approach :)

Like all good citizens, I always pay at my first opportunity, which is sometimes a 10 minute queue at the end of the platform.
 

Wath Yard

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Try Flowery Field to Manchester, where you normally have to queue and pay the G4S guys on Platform 2 because the guard didn't make it down the whole train :)
But in that case I assume you haven't walked past, and noticed, a ticket machine at your origin.
 

hairyhandedfool

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....I was unaware that you need to purchase tickets beforehand and was not told by the ticketmaster at the main train station when I asked how to get to Bury....
Railway ticket offices can't sell tram only tickets, they can't assume you don't know you have to buy a ticket before travelling on the tram and unless you tell them, they can't know that you don't know. They also know there are signs (even if you didn't see them) to say you need to buy a ticket before boarding (they should be on the trams also).

I can't see an appeal being successful and I would advise paying up.
 

ANorthernGuard

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Indeed, missed that. However, what if you hold only cash or a rail travel voucher?
Then guard or rentacop.. I mean G4s and durin g rush hour we don't have a hope of getting down to the front and most of us do try, but with g4s everywhere blooming where we don't see thw point as some of us are losing hundreds in commision each month to some of those clowns (some are decent.. Just not many)


--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Indeed, missed that. However, what if you hold only cash or a rail travel voucher?


 

WestCoast

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There are signs warning passengers about the policy at every stop, but they're quite easy to miss if you're not looking for them.

Metrolink has always been strictly buy before boarding only, whereas the Supertram in Sheffield started with this policy, but then later removed ticket machines and employed conductors.

I wouldn't expect Metrolink to be overly sympathetic to this case. The staff at Manchester Victoria are employed by Northern Rail or one of their contractors and only deal with the National Rail side of things.

Uniquely, you can buy through rail tickets to Metrolink destinations from NR stations, which reflects the system's heritage as partly former suburban rail lines.
 
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neilmc

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Really sorry you got caught on the one journey you've made but the fact is a lot of people chance it and travel ticketless on the Metrolink deliberately, especially on short trips, so the fine has to be pretty large to offset the losses.

Manchester Metrolink was the first modern urban tram system in the UK and the system of buying tickets before boarding appears to be pretty universal on the continent's tram systems, even though other UK cities have since decided to employ conductors.
 

table38

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Then guard or rentacop.. I mean G4s and durin g rush hour we don't have a hope of getting down to the front and most of us do try, but with g4s everywhere blooming where we don't see thw point as some of us are losing hundreds in commision each month to some of those clowns (some are decent.. Just not many)
On one occasion, the guard joined G4S at the end of the platform and helped reduce the queue with his advantix!
 

ANorthernGuard

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On one occasion, the guard joined G4S at the end of the platform and helped reduce the queue with his advantix!
Yep I have been known to help..the thing is some guards hammer revenue, sonme don't I try and have a happy medium but back on topic.. I thought it was common knowledge that if metrolink catch you they will fine you, regardless of not knowing the rules

 

WestCoast

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I thought it was common knowledge that if metrolink catch you they will fine you, regardless of not knowing the rules
For locals and regular users, it's very common knowledge yes. However, the OP is from Sheffield, where the system on the Supertram is pay onboard only.

I have seen the Metrolink inspectors in action and they tend to work in groups. I believe they're directly employed, not G4S or anything like that.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Manchester Metrolink was the first modern urban tram system in the UK and the system of buying tickets before boarding appears to be pretty universal on the continent's tram systems, even though other UK cities have since decided to employ conductors.
Yes, it is quite universal on the continent's many tram networks, although Amsterdam is a major exception as it reintroduced seated conductors on the network in the '90s. Most UK tram networks (4/6 by my reckoning) have roving conductors.
 
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aformeruser

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Manchester Metrolink was the first modern urban tram system in the UK and the system of buying tickets before boarding appears to be pretty universal on the continent's tram systems, even though other UK cities have since decided to employ conductors.
Some continental systems have ticket machines actually on the trams next to the doors.

The advantage of ticket machines over conductors on the continent is it's easier to get a machine that can deal with requests in different languages than a person.
 

martinsh

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Some continental systems have ticket machines actually on the trams next to the doors.

The advantage of ticket machines over conductors on the continent is it's easier to get a machine that can deal with requests in different languages than a person.
In Riga (Latvia), they changed from the old Soviet system of buy before travel and validate "kompost" on board in the mid 1990s to conductor operation (because of fare evasion).

Gradually they changed back again (first trams, then trolleybuses, and finally buses), but you could always buy from the driver (at a premium rate - 10p more per journey).

In 2009 an e-ticket system was introduced, with machines selling a range of tickets at many city centre stops.

Last year new trams were introduced (Skoda T15) where it isn't possible to access the driver, so in those ticket machines have been added, but these only sell single tickets.
 

Ferret

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For locals and regular users, it's very common knowledge yes. However, the OP is from Sheffield, where the system on the Supertram is pay onboard only.
Alas, in law, this has no real effect on the outcome. The law applies equally to all, whether from Manchester, Sheffield or Maidstone. So, being unlucky enough to be caught without a ticket equals an expensive day out I'm afraid.

 

aformeruser

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Alas, in law, this has no real effect on the outcome. The law applies equally to all, whether from Manchester, Sheffield or Maidstone. So, being unlucky enough to be caught without a ticket equals an expensive day out I'm afraid.
The OP hasn't said they come from Sheffield, only that they are familiar with the Supertram system of paying on board. I asked what area do they come from but they haven't responded.

With car parking fines many companies and councils have lost legal claims for unpaid charges based on either poor notices or notices being obstructed. You can't legally fine people if signs informing people of fines aren't clearly displayed.
 

Ferret

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The OP hasn't said they come from Sheffield, only that they are familiar with the Supertram system of paying on board. I asked what area do they come from but they haven't responded.

With car parking fines many companies and councils have lost legal claims for unpaid charges based on either poor notices or notices being obstructed. You can't legally fine people if signs informing people of fines aren't clearly displayed.
I think they are displayed on every tram though, so if I'm right about that, I can't see how that line of argument can be successful.


 
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