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xwave101

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Afternoon all,

This has obviously been covered many a time on this forum but I just want to see what I can expect to be slammed with so I can make sure finances are in order to take the hit.

Got stung today by the second conductor (the first never asked) because my railcard was out of date, exp May 2020. There was a GWR prosecution officer on board and he looked at my previous journeys on my trainline app. I have 4 return journeys that were discounted for a railcard when it was actually expired. The total sum comes to about £145. This is my first offence and I've had years of my railcard being valid. Im not a fare dodger it was an honest mistake (I thought my railcard lasted 3 years). He said because of covid there wont be an interview but my details will be passed on to the GWR prosecution team who will decide how to proceed.

I know honest mistake or not the prosecution officer has a job to do and it is my responsibility to make sure my railcard is valid. I would just like to know what am I likely to be hit with? Ill be paying the fine whatever it maybe as I can not go to court and risk having a criminal record with my job.

Any input would be appreciated.
Thanks all
 
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221129

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can not go to court and risk having a criminal record with my job.
That may not be a choice you get to make. If they can prove this has been a regular thing then they may well be more inclined to go straight to court.

However, GWR are normally pretty happy to settle for the fares avoided plus between £80-£200 to cover costs.
 

Haywain

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In short, you will likely be hit with the sum of the fares due plus administrative costs of around £100 to £150. GWR are noted to be a company who settle out of court with those who engage with them. For now, you will have to wait until you receive a letter from them and at that point you can send a reply offering your apologies and offering to settle. You may have to wait several weeks for a letter to arrive.
 

WesternLancer

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Afternoon all,

This has obviously been covered many a time on this forum but I just want to see what I can expect to be slammed with so I can make sure finances are in order to take the hit.

Got stung today by the second conductor (the first never asked) because my railcard was out of date, exp May 2020. There was a GWR prosecution officer on board and he looked at my previous journeys on my trainline app. I have 4 return journeys that were discounted for a railcard when it was actually expired. The total sum comes to about £145. This is my first offence and I've had years of my railcard being valid. Im not a fare dodger it was an honest mistake (I thought my railcard lasted 3 years). He said because of covid there wont be an interview but my details will be passed on to the GWR prosecution team who will decide how to proceed.

I know honest mistake or not the prosecution officer has a job to do and it is my responsibility to make sure my railcard is valid. I would just like to know what am I likely to be hit with? Ill be paying the fine whatever it maybe as I can not go to court and risk having a criminal record with my job.

Any input would be appreciated.
Thanks all
Get your Railcard renewed now as shows good will - be open with them about the fares bought in error and offer to put things right when you reply to them, explaining it was an honest mistake in your response to their letter. Hopefully you gave correct address and they wrote it down correctly as this will avoid it unintentionally progressing to court action.
 

xwave101

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Would like to thank you all for your inputs. I purchased a new railcard about 10mins after my bollocking so hopefully that will help as you guys say. I was completely honest and thinking back I was actually quite pleasant to him, I believe there was even a chuckle! Will put £500 aside for the impending fine though. There would be no chance of an incorrect name or address as he took it off my driving licence. Any discrepancy there would be their issue.

Thanks again and will update on here to see what the result is :)
 

Hadders

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Welcome tot he forum.

You will receive a letter from GWR (or a railway investigation company acting on their behalf) which will probably take a few weeks to arrive saying that they have received a report, are considering prosecuting you and asking for your version of events. It is important that you engage with and reply to this letter. You might want to include the following in your reply:

- That you are sorry for what has happened
- What you have learned from the incident
- That you are keen to settle the matter without the need for court action
- Offer to pay the outstanding fare and the train company's administrative costs in dealing with the matter

Make sure your reply is short and concise, don't give a sob story - they've heard it all before. Most train companies are usually prepared to offer an administrative (commonly known as an out of court settlement) for people who engage with the process and who haven't come to their attention before. There is no guarantee of this, they are within their rights to prosecute.
 

RPI

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Welcome tot he forum.

You will receive a letter from GWR (or a railway investigation company acting on their behalf) which will probably take a few weeks to arrive saying that they have received a report, are considering prosecuting you and asking for your version of events. It is important that you engage with and reply to this letter. You might want to include the following in your reply:

- That you are sorry for what has happened
- What you have learned from the incident
- That you are keen to settle the matter without the need for court action
- Offer to pay the outstanding fare and the train company's administrative costs in dealing with the matter

Make sure your reply is short and concise, don't give a sob story - they've heard it all before. Most train companies are usually prepared to offer an administrative (commonly known as an out of court settlement) for people who engage with the process and who haven't come to their attention before. There is no guarantee of this, they are within their rights to prosecute.
Just to add, with GWR it will be their own in house prosecutions team from Reading, they don't use any investigations company or third party.
 
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jumble

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Afternoon all,

This has obviously been covered many a time on this forum but I just want to see what I can expect to be slammed with so I can make sure finances are in order to take the hit.

Got stung today by the second conductor (the first never asked) because my railcard was out of date, exp May 2020. There was a GWR prosecution officer on board and he looked at my previous journeys on my trainline app. I have 4 return journeys that were discounted for a railcard when it was actually expired. The total sum comes to about £145. This is my first offence and I've had years of my railcard being valid. Im not a fare dodger it was an honest mistake (I thought my railcard lasted 3 years). He said because of covid there wont be an interview but my details will be passed on to the GWR prosecution team who will decide how to proceed.

I know honest mistake or not the prosecution officer has a job to do and it is my responsibility to make sure my railcard is valid. I would just like to know what am I likely to be hit with? Ill be paying the fine whatever it maybe as I can not go to court and risk having a criminal record with my job.

Any input would be appreciated.
Thanks all
You may take some comfort from GWR prosecutions policy that the matter may very well have a favourable outcome

We’ll do our best to settle out of court.
Prosecution can have serious consequences on your personal
and professional life. So, if you don’t pay your fare, we will do
everything we can to avoid taking you to court.
We’ll probably send you an offer to settle out of court – usually
asking you to pay an amount to cover your fare and our costs.
 

Tallguy

Member
Joined
3 Mar 2011
Messages
232
Afternoon all,

This has obviously been covered many a time on this forum but I just want to see what I can expect to be slammed with so I can make sure finances are in order to take the hit.

Got stung today by the second conductor (the first never asked) because my railcard was out of date, exp May 2020. There was a GWR prosecution officer on board and he looked at my previous journeys on my trainline app. I have 4 return journeys that were discounted for a railcard when it was actually expired. The total sum comes to about £145. This is my first offence and I've had years of my railcard being valid. Im not a fare dodger it was an honest mistake (I thought my railcard lasted 3 years). He said because of covid there wont be an interview but my details will be passed on to the GWR prosecution team who will decide how to proceed.

I know honest mistake or not the prosecution officer has a job to do and it is my responsibility to make sure my railcard is valid. I would just like to know what am I likely to be hit with? Ill be paying the fine whatever it maybe as I can not go to court and risk having a criminal record with my job.

Any input would be appreciated.
Thanks all
In my limited experience whilst showing your driving licence to prove your address wasn’t required, it should go towards showing you are genuine and help avoiding court. I take it you offered to show the ticket inspector your travel history on your app and again whilst this revealed additional offences, your openness and engagement should go in your favour. Make sure you engage with GWR when the letter arrives.
 

Master29

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I think you might need to drop the "honest mistake part" as 10 months usage since expiry might not be looked upon as such. Best stick with "made a mistake" and leave it at that.
 

xwave101

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Ok so as promised I'd come back and tell you the result. They, GWR, sent a letter which stated they intend to take me to court. They said I do have the option to supply evidence that they've basically got it wrong. BUT they are giving an offer to settle and pay an out of court fine of... £661. I thought this was pretty steep considering the journeys (savings) I made comes to about 1/5 of that fine. Anyway, I paid it over the phone and they confirmed case closed. Just for those interested, they give me 21 days to pay and if I failed to do so the fine would increase to £840. The offer then expires a few weeks after and court proceedings start. I now have 4 reminders set of when my railcard expires! :lol::lol:

So if anyone here finds themselves in the same bind as me with GWR. Just pay the fine and move on.

Thanks to everyone else for your help.
 

Fawkes Cat

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Thanks for letting us know. I think your approach of paying up and moving on is a good one - and as you told us, you have already bought a new railcard to avoid the matter happening again.

I appreciate that this will be no comfort to you, but a couple of useful points that we can draw for anyone else in a similar position are that
- with GWR the process is currently taking two to three months from original offence to conclusion
- out of court settlements may have an admin fee of around £500 (total settlement £661 less (per posting #1) unpaid fares of around £145). This is higher than we normally see, and I would speculate (but do not know) that it may relate to (again per post #1) there being maybe four journeys where no valid railcard was held.
 

AlbertBeale

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Ok so as promised I'd come back and tell you the result. They, GWR, sent a letter which stated they intend to take me to court. They said I do have the option to supply evidence that they've basically got it wrong. BUT they are giving an offer to settle and pay an out of court fine of... £661. I thought this was pretty steep considering the journeys (savings) I made comes to about 1/5 of that fine. Anyway, I paid it over the phone and they confirmed case closed. Just for those interested, they give me 21 days to pay and if I failed to do so the fine would increase to £840. The offer then expires a few weeks after and court proceedings start. I now have 4 reminders set of when my railcard expires! :lol::lol:

So if anyone here finds themselves in the same bind as me with GWR. Just pay the fine and move on.

Thanks to everyone else for your help.

Just to avoid future confusion (or not) - that wasn't an "out-of-court fine"; fines are issued by a court as a common way of dealing with a verdict (or admission) of guilt when someone has been charged with a criminal offence. This was a payment to the railway company to avoid a court case, where a fine might have been levied. (The fine might of course have been less than your settlement payment, but you'd have had a criminal conviction as well, which you don't have in this case.)
 

jumble

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737
Ok so as promised I'd come back and tell you the result. They, GWR, sent a letter which stated they intend to take me to court. They said I do have the option to supply evidence that they've basically got it wrong. BUT they are giving an offer to settle and pay an out of court fine of... £661. I thought this was pretty steep considering the journeys (savings) I made comes to about 1/5 of that fine. Anyway, I paid it over the phone and they confirmed case closed. Just for those interested, they give me 21 days to pay and if I failed to do so the fine would increase to £840. The offer then expires a few weeks after and court proceedings start. I now have 4 reminders set of when my railcard expires! :lol::lol:

So if anyone here finds themselves in the same bind as me with GWR. Just pay the fine and move on.

Thanks to everyone else for your help.

Ok so as promised I'd come back and tell you the result. They, GWR, sent a letter which stated they intend to take me to court. They said I do have the option to supply evidence that they've basically got it wrong. BUT they are giving an offer to settle and pay an out of court fine of... £661. I thought this was pretty steep considering the journeys (savings) I made comes to about 1/5 of that fine. Anyway, I paid it over the phone and they confirmed case closed. Just for those interested, they give me 21 days to pay and if I failed to do so the fine would increase to £840. The offer then expires a few weeks after and court proceedings start. I now have 4 reminders set of when my railcard expires! :lol::lol:

So if anyone here finds themselves in the same bind as me with GWR. Just pay the fine and move on.

Thanks to everyone else for your help.

To be fair they do not know if those journeys are the only ones you made, so maybe they suspect that you made many more in the 10 month period
I doubt the fine would have been this large if you were 2 weeks out of date
 

Haywain

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I thought this was pretty steep considering the journeys (savings) I made comes to about 1/5 of that
But perhaps you have to take into account the fact that the T&Cs of the railcard state that if you cannot present a valid railcard you should be treated as though no ticket were held, and therefore liable to a new full-price ticket. On that basis the amount owing was 3 times what you 'saved'.
 

xwave101

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Thanks again for your responses.

I find it frustrating that the system has no leeway at all and perhaps should treat cases on a more individual, case by case basis. I can easily prove that I’ve consistently held a valid railcard for the last 8 years and never had any issues with the law, not even a speeding ticket. There is no need to come down so hard on me for a stupid mistake when I can clearly prove I'm not a fare dodger.

I understand that there are people out there who really do take the biscuit. Racking up thousands in losses for the rail companies, and I completely agree that the book should be thrown at them. But in my case I still think the sum was on the harsh side, given there has been a pandemic too that shut all travel down for the majority of the last year, and my railcard validity hasn't exactly been a priority.

As some of you have said, it looks like of the £661 I was fined, about £150 of that was for the full price tickets. The rest is the slap (punch) on the wrist for not having a valid railcard.

Anyway, I’m aimlessly ranting. I hope this thread gives someone some comfort that the world wont end if you get caught short, your wallet may just be a little lighter though! Haha. Don't argue, pay your fine.

Thanks again all,
Stay safe.
 
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RPI

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GWR may have looked at your trainline or other retailers account history and worked out all fares due since your railcard expired, id hazard a guess that the fares you've been charged would be the anytime singles for all journeys you've made minus what you've actually paid.
 

talldave

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This is at least the second active thread regarding the Trainline app and Railcards, so maybe all is not well. When adding a Railcard in the app, doesn’t it ask for the expiry date so that it can automatically stop applying it after that date? That would seem to be the most basic of minimum functionality for such a feature?
 

RPI

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This is at least the second active thread regarding the Trainline app and Railcards, so maybe all is not well. When adding a Railcard in the app, doesn’t it ask for the expiry date so that it can automatically stop applying it after that date? That would seem to be the most basic of minimum functionality for such a feature?
I've noticed lately (from inspecting tickets rather than using the app myself) that you can now add you digital railcard into your trainline account. When the ticket is displayed there is an icon on the top right of the ticket that says "show railcard", its incorporated into the "my account" section of the trainline app
 

jon0844

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This is at least the second active thread regarding the Trainline app and Railcards, so maybe all is not well. When adding a Railcard in the app, doesn’t it ask for the expiry date so that it can automatically stop applying it after that date? That would seem to be the most basic of minimum functionality for such a feature?

Maybe you can pay an additional 50p service charge for it to check the expiration date of your railcard!

I agree though, Trainline - and indeed the TOCs and other ticket sellers - could quite easily allow for you to store expiry dates for railcards (and if you don't have an associated one, pop up a window to warn you that you will need a particular railcard, in date, and to carry it with you for the ticket to be valid).

If Trainline was sensible, they'd use this feature to link through to the railcard site to sell digital railcards, and the industry might give a small kickback for selling a railcard via its platform.

[Edit: It seems Trainline does allow you to buy a railcard through its app, so maybe it would be wise for it to keep track of the expiry date to facilitate renewals through the app]
 
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WesternLancer

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Thanks again for your responses.

I find it frustrating that the system has no leeway at all and perhaps should treat cases on a more individual, case by case basis. I can easily prove that I’ve consistently held a valid railcard for the last 8 years and never had any issues with the law, not even a speeding ticket. There is no need to come down so hard on me for a stupid mistake when I can clearly prove I'm not a fare dodger.

I understand that there are people out there who really do take the biscuit. Racking up thousands in losses for the rail companies, and I completely agree that the book should be thrown at them. But in my case I still think the sum was on the harsh side, given there has been a pandemic too that shut all travel down for the majority of the last year, and my railcard validity hasn't exactly been a priority.

As some of you have said, it looks like of the £661 I was fined, about £150 of that was for the full price tickets. The rest is the slap (punch) on the wrist for not having a valid railcard.

Anyway, I’m aimlessly ranting. I hope this thread gives someone some comfort that the world wont end if you get caught short, your wallet may just be a little lighter though! Haha. Don't argue, pay your fine.

Thanks again all,
Stay safe.
Yes, quite agree with your 1st para sentiment - the problem is that it requires increased decision making discretion and processes to implement a system like that, including implement it consistently and dare I say 'fairly' - the beneficial outcome being better customer service / repeat business. Far cheaper to just apply the same sort of penalty to all.

Sadly this is just another of the poor outcomes of the structure of privatised rail and government intervention model created in the UK since John Major's priavtisation, in my view. Wrongly aligned incentives ref customer service, increasing levels of subsidy that the govt does not wish to pay (even pre covid) - but this is all a bit off topic!
 

Haywain

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I can easily prove that I’ve consistently held a valid railcard for the last 8 years
Unfortunately, it's the 10 months after that which GWR were concerned with.
when I can clearly prove I'm not a fare dodger.
You need to look at this from the other side. GWR could clearly prove you are a fare dodger - 10 months of use past the expiry of your railcard shows intent. In law, intent is judged by actions and words, not thoughts, and buying discounted tickets demonstrates that intent. I think there would also be a reasonable argument that in the course of 10 months most people might at some point wonder when they will need to renew their railcard and perhaps check.
 

Snow1964

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Unfortunately, it's the 10 months after that which GWR were concerned with.

You need to look at this from the other side. GWR could clearly prove you are a fare dodger - 10 months of use past the expiry of your railcard shows intent. In law, intent is judged by actions and words, not thoughts, and buying discounted tickets demonstrates that intent. I think there would also be a reasonable argument that in the course of 10 months most people might at some point wonder when they will need to renew their railcard and perhaps check.

How can GWR prove the Op was a fare dodger for the earlier journeys, there is evidence of buying tickets, but how do they know he/she wasn’t ill or isolating and didn’t actually use the tickets.

Except of course, Op offered the tickets in the history which someone would only do if they had travelled, but they still have one journey where Op was caught
 
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Haywain

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How can GWR prove the Op was a fare dodger for the earlier journeys, there is evidence of buying tickets, but how do they know he/she wasn’t ill or isolating and didn’t actually use the tickets.
They would have no need to prove that, they have one instance that is absolutely solid. The others would rely on the inability to provide a valid and honest defence.
 

skyhigh

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They would have no need to prove that, they have one instance that is absolutely solid. The others would rely on the inability to provide a valid and honest defence.
In addition, if they were e-tickets, any scans would show they'd been used.
 

RPI

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How can GWR prove the Op was a fare dodger for the earlier journeys, there is evidence of buying tickets, but how do they know he/she wasn’t ill or isolating and didn’t actually use the tickets.

Except of course, Op offered the tickets in the history which someone would only do if they had travelled, but they still have one journey where Op was caught
Easy, if the tickets were scanned on trains or ar gatelines, it makes looking up specific cctv very easy too
 

robbeech

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Yes, quite agree with your 1st para sentiment - the problem is that it requires increased decision making discretion and processes to implement a system like that, including implement it consistently and dare I say 'fairly' - the beneficial outcome being better customer service / repeat business. Far cheaper to just apply the same sort of penalty to all.
Discretion (despite having the potential to be a benefit to passengers) can be quite a negative thing overall. I’ll use my word of the month “consistency” again. It’s key to ensuring passengers get the message that fare evasion (which this case is, even if unintentionally, sorry) will not be tolerated.

This has to be backed up by consistency in knowledge of the rules too though.

Do we think part of the problem is personal revenue for staff? Maybe a little OT, maybe worthy of a new thread.
 
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