Can I really pay on the train if the only option is card payment?

Discussion in 'Disputes & Prosecutions' started by py_megapixel, 3 Dec 2019 at 16:07.

  1. py_megapixel

    py_megapixel Member

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    I fairly regularly make short journeys in the Northern penalty fare zone, purchasing my ticket before making a journey. Depending on the journey, the ticket price is rarely much more than around £5.

    Several stations local to me have just acquired Northern ticket machines, but they only accept cards. In addition, the ticket offices appear to be sticking to their scheduled opening hours less reliably.

    While I have a card, I prefer not to use it for very small transactions to avoid large amounts of clutter on my statement, I've had issues with the machine rejecting my card, and I don't always carry a card with me.

    I know the general consensus on here is that if you don't have a payment card, you can pay on the train, although I can't find anything referencing this in the NRCoT. But, if I do have my card on me, is there an obligation for me to use it to buy the ticket beforehand, or can I still use cash on the train? I'm rather worried that at some point I will be issued a penalty fare for this, and it sounds like it would be awfully complicated to attempt to appeal it, so I'd rather avoid it in the first place.
     
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  3. Harpers Tate

    Harpers Tate Established Member

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    I believe that Northern's machines will do the following:
    Work through the process as if you are buying the required ticket. When it comes to payment - the machine will offer you a non-card option (whatever phrase they use) which, if selected, will cause the issue of a (free) "Permit To Travel" voucher (ticket). You should always obtain one of these; presenting it to the conductor (etc) will render you eligible for a penalty-free onboard (or failing that, at destination) ticket purchase.
     
  4. MikeWh

    MikeWh Established Member Senior Fares Advisor

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    There are a number of good reasons why you may not be able to use a card which you happen to have on you. As long as you offer cash at the time you are able to buy the ticket then they can't really say you've done wrong.
     
  5. hkstudent

    hkstudent Member

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  6. paddington

    paddington Member

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    Has anyone ever seen a Northern guard get fussy about not having a "promise to pay" when trying to pay on board with cash?

    In my travels around the north this summer, I saw only one person present a PtP to the guard, out of probably a hundred or more people who boarded the train and paid only when challenged - and roughly half of these paid by card despite the presence of the card-accepting TVMs.
     
  7. 100andthirty

    100andthirty Member

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    How is an ordinary punter expected to know this when confronted with a ticket machine that obviously doesn't have means to atm cash. Are there very clear and prominent notices describing exactly how to do this?
     
  8. 30907

    30907 Established Member

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    There are notices. The home screen on the new Northern ticket machines gives Promise to Pay as an option before you get to any specific details.
     
  9. gray1404

    gray1404 Established Member

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    It does not matter if you have a card on you or not. What matters here is the customers chosen method of payment. It is your choice. So if you choose to pay with cash and the ticket machine does not accept cash, then you are entitled to pay on board with cash (of course if there is an open ticket office then you must use that). I would also advise obtaining a promise to pay notice if possible in these circumstances.
     
  10. geoffk

    geoffk Established Member

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    One of the TVMs at Todmorden rejected both my cards late on Sunday night and I was eventually timed out. the other one was stuck part was through a transaction. I got a PtP. The conductor/guard didn't retain this when I paid in cash, and there was no need to tell him about my cards being rejected. There's nothing wrong with them by the way as I've used them since.
     
  11. cuccir

    cuccir Established Member

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    You can, but I wouldn't want to promise that at some point you won't get hassle for not buying with your card. For peace of mind I'd either use a card or an app to buy tickets personally in this situation: but you don't have to if you want to use cash.
     
  12. joke2711

    joke2711 Member

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    I now choose to pay by cash for my standard commute as I do a lot of travel for work and it makes the expense claim form filling easier if I keep all work transactions on my card.

    Each day I get a "Promise to Pay" at Rainford Station and IF the guard appears then pay cash on the train. I then transfer to Merseyrail where the Guards have always accepted them. I just explain that there was no Guard selling tickets on the Northern train and they happily tell me to purchase a ticket at destination. At some point I will run into revenue protection at Liverpool Central when transferring between Northern and Wirral lines and it will be interesting to see their approach. The last time I did encounter a revenue check, I was travelling on work tickets so had actually purchased on my card.
     
  13. Flying Snail

    Flying Snail Member

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    There is no compulsion to volunteer that you have a card on you and railway staff have no powers of search so this seems to be mainly a problem of people worrying too much about nothing.

    If the originating station has cash purchasing facilities use them, if it only has permit to travel/promise to pay use that, if none then offer cash at the first opportunity on-board, at changing station IF you have time or at destination.

    If confronted by revenue protection staff or questioned about not having a ticket give a correct journey and state the lack of cash purchasing facilities, do not lie but do not offer any extraneous irrelevant information such as having a card on you that you do not wish to or cannot use.
     
  14. Dhassell

    Dhassell Member

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    Had this argument with a FTS rail replacement coordinator earlier in the year who tried to refuse me travel on a coach because I wanted to pay with cash and the TVM provided was card only, and the ticket office was not yet open (with it being 6am in the morning and the ticket office opening at 06:10, 5 minutes after the bus was planned to depart). I gave up arguing with him after he told me to give him the cash and he would pay using his own personal card :rolleyes:. I of course refused, and he walked off after comment of "Well, your not travelling them". I went and found GWR staff who put me straight on the coach to the displeasure of the coordinator...
     
  15. MikeWh

    MikeWh Established Member Senior Fares Advisor

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    Maybe, but if I open my wallet to get cash out it is likely that my array of bank/credit/lotalty cards is going to be seen.
     
  16. Intermodal

    Intermodal Member

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    There is no obligation to pay by card if you wish to pay with cash instead and have cash ready. I would think that simply stating that you wish to pay with cash on this occasion should be more than enough of a satisfactory answer to any guard even if you did have a whole rucksack full of cards.
     
  17. MikeWh

    MikeWh Established Member Senior Fares Advisor

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    I'm in agreement. My response was to the post stating that railstaff have no power of search, merely pointing out that often they'll only need moderate observational skills.
     
  18. hkstudent

    hkstudent Member

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    You always have to right to pay in legal tender despite other forms of payment exist.
    But, if TVM only accept cash but you only have card; then you actually can't travel, right?
     
  19. 35B

    35B Member

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    It's not a question of legal tender, as that has a much more restrictive definition that isn't applicable to ticket machine purchases.
     
  20. Haywain

    Haywain Established Member

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    As 35B states, that is cobblers. Traders can define the form in which they will accept payment and are under no obligation to accept any particular denomination or combination of coins and/or notes.
     
  21. Intermodal

    Intermodal Member

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    The railway has decided to accept either (as stated in the NRCoT) cash or card and therefore has an obligation to do so as the NRCoT forms a contract with the passenger.

    Legal tender does not come into it at all at the point of purchase. If you use your logic if the TVM is broken and cannot accept cash or card so no purchase facilities exist then nobody can travel.
     
  22. Western Sunset

    Western Sunset Member

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    Try paying in cash on a London bus..........
     
  23. scrapy

    scrapy Established Member

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    That's only when settling a debt, not making a purchase.
     
  24. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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  25. island

    island Established Member

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    Failing to use a card-only TVM when you have a card that you are perfectly capable of using (personal card, have plenty of funds on, know the PIN to, etc.) and instead proposing to pay in cash may tend to indicate an intention to "pay only when challenged" which could, in theory at least, lead to a prosecution under the Regulation of Railways Act.

    No precedent has been set regarding this, nor, to my knowledge, whether a byelaw prosecution could succeed in those circumstances.

    In practice, of course, 99 times out of 100 guards will be more than happy to sell you a ticket and leave both parties to get on with their respective days.
     
  26. MikeWh

    MikeWh Established Member Senior Fares Advisor

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    I'm sorry but this is absolute rubbish. You are not obliged to disclose the amount of funds available or whether you know the PIN, and an attempt to find out either of those things by a TOC would be a serious breach of data protection and/or financial regulations, as I'm sure you are more than aware. National Rail TOCs accept payment in cash, full stop, and the decision to use cash or not is entirely the passengers.
    Quite possibly because it is rubbish and no precedent could be set because no court would entertain the matter.
     
  27. island

    island Established Member

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    If it were proven that the passenger had no impediment to using his or her card and just felt like paying cash – which might be established in a number of ways, such as through questioning – then it is entirely possible that an RRA prosecution might ensue. Of course savvy passengers won’t give them that evidence. But not all passengers read this forum or are experts on railway law.

    Dismissing points as “absolute rubbish” because you disagree with them is beneath you, Mike.
     
    Last edited: 7 Dec 2019 at 08:17
  28. cactustwirly

    cactustwirly Established Member

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    No it couldn't, as the ToC would have to prove the intent, and paying by cash for a rail fare definitely isn't intent to avoid a rail fare.
     
  29. Puffing Devil

    Puffing Devil Established Member

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    I was just about to post the same thing then got summoned away from the computer You may get past a Magistrate's court, I very much doubt it would pass a Crown Court judge's attention on appeal or a review by case stated.

    You would need a specific direction compelling the use of cards to make a prosecution stick. We've seen that with Oyster and London Buses, it may not be so long in the future that a card of some sort is required.
     

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