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Accidentally used expired train ticket - very worried

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PF9099

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Hello

I recently travelled from Manchester Picadilly to Leeds for a friend's birthday night out. I bought a return ticket at around 7pm on a Friday for around £20, and got the train to Leeds intending to get a train back at around 2 or 3am as I had nowhere to stay in Leeds. I asked at the ticket office if my return ticket would be valid at 3am on Saturday morning and they advised me that it would be. I ended up staying out much later than anticipated and being separated from my friends in Leeds. I went to Leeds train station at around 7am after being out all night and went through the barriers to the platform. My return ticket allowed me access through the barriers, so I didn't give it a second thought that the ticket may be invalid. I got on a train to Manchester Picadilly at around 8am.

My ticket was not checked on the train. All the while I genuinely believed my ticket was valid. It's stupid looking back but at the time I had just gone on a heavy night out and had not slept so was not with it at all. If my ticket had been checked on the train, I'm sure the conductor would have told me that it was invalid and I would have immediately bought a valid ticket, as well as paying any penalty fine on the spot.

I got off the train at Picadilly and showed my ticket to the guy standing at the end of the platform entrance to the station, still thinking my ticket was valid. He then called someone over who took my details, confiscated my ticket, and made write my signature on a note-pad. I immediately realised that the ticket must've expired as it was the next day now, explained that I thought the ticket was valid and was not trying to fare dodge and offered to buy a new ticket, but was not given the opportunity to do so. He then said a letter would be sent to me shortly, but did not say what would happen.

I am now really worried that I may get a huge fine and/or a court summons. I appreciate that my excuse (that I had not slept and lost track of the time on my night out) is a poor one, but this is the first time anything like this has happened and I was more than willing to buy a new ticket and pay any reasonable penalty on the spot. I am worried that the guy who took my details thought that I was just trying it on with my expired ticket and that I may get a criminal record as a result of a very stupid mistake.

Thank you in advance any responses to this - very much appreciated.
 
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cjmillsnun

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You will likely get a letter in a few weeks asking for your version of events. Be honest, concise and apologetic. If you are lucky, you will be offered an out of court settlement. It won't be cheap, but chalk it up to experience and learn from it.
 

najaB

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I am now really worried that I may get a huge fine and/or a court summons. I appreciate that my excuse (that I had not slept and lost track of the time on my night out) is a poor one, but this is the first time anything like this has happened and I was more than willing to buy a new ticket and pay any reasonable penalty on the spot. I am worried that the guy who took my details thought that I was just trying it on with my expired ticket and that I may get a criminal record as a result of a very stupid mistake.
Based on what you've written, I suggest that neither a huge fine, nor a criminal record are likely outcomes. As cjmillsnun wrote above, you will likely be invited to give your side of the story after which the TOC will concerned will decide if to prosecute or not.

If your letter acknowledges your mistake, shows that you accept responsibility for it and apologies for the hassle caused I think it more likely than not that you will be able to settle the matter without involving the Courts.
 

najaB

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I'd expect an £80 Penalty Fake. If so, pay it and that will be that.
For the benefit of PF9099 since you may not be familiar with the term. Northern Rail operate a scheme whereby they dispose of most minor ticketing irregularities by means of a fixed £80 payment.

Some people call them 'penalty fakes' because they work like Penalty Fares, but aren't governed by the penalty fares rules.
 

bb21

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Yes, we need to bear in mind that new members may not be familiar with some alternative names we have developed.
 

PF9099

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Thank you for your replies.

I cannot believe it but I have just found a valid one-way ticket from Leeds to Manchester Stations purchased on Saturday morning in my jacket pocket. I must have bought this at Leeds station and then presented the wrong ticket (the day-return from Friday) to the ticket officer at Picadilly Station. Ridiculously stupid of me not to have realised this at the time, I know. I had been up all night and drinking heavily, and I still have no recollection of buying a ticket.

What should I do now? Should I try calling Northern Rail and explaining that I had/have a valid ticket? Should I go back to Picadilly station and try talking to someone there? Or should I wait for the letter to come through and reply to that, sending my valid ticket in the process?

I understand that this is a strange situation and that I have been a total idiot, so your replies with advice etc are really appreciated.

Thanks
 

Romilly

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I have sympathy for your bad luck in that case.

Being realistic, though, you will struggle to convince a "seen it all before" prosecuting office that the ticket you have now found wasn't a travelling companion's ticket that happened not to get clipped/stamped en route. Even if you paid by card, the fact that you can show proof of payment doesn't mean that you were buying the ticket for yourself.

The basic byelaw offence of not showing a valid ticket on request will still apply, so in replying in due course to the letter that you'll receive there's no point in trying to argue that you weren't in the wrong, but I can't see that it will hurt to enclose the ticket you've now found and comment that it shows that you didn't intend to evade the fare and therefore points to this being a case that doesn't need to go court.
 

DaveNewcastle

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I don't have much to add to Romilly's analysis, particularly this point:
The basic byelaw offence of not showing a valid ticket on request will still apply, so in replying in due course to the letter that you'll receive . . . . .
I mention this only to assure you, as I see a lack of other responses in agreement

I also agree with the advice to simply wait until you receive further communication. While some passengers have been able to accelerate their resolution by phoning promptly, but others doing so have not only failed to reach a resolution, but have increased the costs incurred when the matter finally does reach a conclusion.

I see no reason to doubt that an Out-of-Court settlement can be achieved in this matter. It is Northern Rail's policy, custom and practice to prefer a settlement to prosecution.
 

N228PF

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Out of curiosity, did the RPI, upon seeing your expired ticket, ask if you had another that was valid?
 

PF9099

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I have sympathy for your bad luck in that case.

Being realistic, though, you will struggle to convince a "seen it all before" prosecuting office that the ticket you have now found wasn't a travelling companion's ticket that happened not to get clipped/stamped en route. Even if you paid by card, the fact that you can show proof of payment doesn't mean that you were buying the ticket for yourself.

The basic byelaw offence of not showing a valid ticket on request will still apply, so in replying in due course to the letter that you'll receive there's no point in trying to argue that you weren't in the wrong, but I can't see that it will hurt to enclose the ticket you've now found and comment that it shows that you didn't intend to evade the fare and therefore points to this being a case that doesn't need to go court.

I don't have much to add to Romilly's analysis, particularly this point:I mention this only to assure you, as I see a lack of other responses in agreement

I also agree with the advice to simply wait until you receive further communication. While some passengers have been able to accelerate their resolution by phoning promptly, but others doing so have not only failed to reach a resolution, but have increased the costs incurred when the matter finally does reach a conclusion.

I see no reason to doubt that an Out-of-Court settlement can be achieved in this matter. It is Northern Rail's policy, custom and practice to prefer a settlement to prosecution.

Thank you for the responses.

I will wait until I have received the letter and then draft a response giving my version of events, accepting that I was in the wrong for not producing a valid ticket, and ensuring that I will never make the same mistake again. When I have received the letter, would it be ok to post my draft response on this thread so people can give me advice as to whether it is worded ok/saying the right thing?

Also, I'm in two minds about whether I should enclose my valid ticket along with my response to the letter. On the one hand, the prosecution team might think I was trying it on by using a friend's ticket or something and it could backfire, but on the other, I'm thinking that I should stick to the truth, explain that I was disorientated after being awake all night and drinking, and emphasise that I am not trying to detract from the fact that I was still completely in the wrong in not producing a valid ticket when prompted. I checked my bank statement and did not pay for the ticket by card, although it seems that wouldn't make a difference either way.

I'm just hoping for a not-too-hefty fine. An £80 penalty fake would be a good outcome in my mind.

Out of curiosity, did the RPI, upon seeing your expired ticket, ask if you had another that was valid?

As far as I recall, he did not ask this. He began by showing me some form of ID which I barely glanced at, and then told me he would take my details, asking if I had any form of ID. I handed him my drivers' licence, and he took my name and address down from this. I asked if it was possible for me to buy a ticket now, and he simply said 'no'. I don't recall him asking me any questions relating to my travel or my ticket; all he asked was whether my address on my drivers' licence was correct, to which I replied 'yes'. He then got me to sign in a tiny notebook - I was not shown what, if anything, he had written in the notebook himself. I recall trying to explain that I had wanted to get the train back at 3am but had ended up staying out in Leeds much later than I thought I would, but he did not respond to this or ask any questions. After I'd signed the notebook, I asked what would happen and he simply said I'd be receiving a letter shortly.
 

cjmillsnun

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I would refrain from sending the ticket. Just take this one on the chin.
 

trentside

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Thank you for the responses.

I will wait until I have received the letter and then draft a response giving my version of events, accepting that I was in the wrong for not producing a valid ticket, and ensuring that I will never make the same mistake again. When I have received the letter, would it be ok to post my draft response on this thread so people can give me advice as to whether it is worded ok/saying the right thing?

Also, I'm in two minds about whether I should enclose my valid ticket along with my response to the letter. On the one hand, the prosecution team might think I was trying it on by using a friend's ticket or something and it could backfire, but on the other, I'm thinking that I should stick to the truth, explain that I was disorientated after being awake all night and drinking, and emphasise that I am not trying to detract from the fact that I was still completely in the wrong in not producing a valid ticket when prompted. I checked my bank statement and did not pay for the ticket by card, although it seems that wouldn't make a difference either way.

There's an easy way to check how you paid for the ticket. If you look next to the price there will be a letter. M indicates it was paid for with cash, X is for a card payment and W is for a warrant or voucher transaction. If you've not seen it on your statement then I'd expect it will be a cash payment.

Like others I'd be in two minds about enclosing it. The fact you don't remember buying it means you cannot be absolutely certain that you did. A frank explanation may work in your favour, but ultimately it's up to you.
 
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