Carnet ticket - likely prosecution?

Discussion in 'Disputes & Prosecutions' started by abds660, 28 Apr 2015.

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  1. abds660

    abds660 New Member

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    Hi everyone,

    I travelled the other day from Hitchin to Kings Cross on a carnet ticket. I wrote the date on at home quickly and shoved the pen in my coat pocket as I was in a rush. The ticket passed through the barrier and I got on the train. The ticket inspector came round checking tickets and I started searching for my ticket. Whilst he was dealing with another person, I found my ticket and then I gave this to the ticket inspector. My coat was folded up next to me with the pen I had used earlier to write my ticket poking out. The inspector then said I wrote the date on whilst his back was turned to which I replied that I did not.

    The ticket inspector then smudged the ink on the ticket so that it wiped off. I refused to pay a penalty fine and so he took down details and interviewed me under caution. He asked if I wrote the date on when his back was turned, I said I didn't. He asked if I tried to avoid paying the fare, I said I didn't. He asked something about the pen being next to me and I had just used it to write the date on, I said I didn't.

    I then added as my final comments that if I was trying to avoid paying the fare, then why would I have passed my ticket through the barrier at Hitchin station. I also added that when my ticket was given to him, there was a date on it, and that it was easy to wipe dates off carnet tickets regardless of when the date was written on due to the type of paper and texture of the ticket is made from.

    I was told it would take a week to hear something but I could send off anything else I wished to add in the mean time. I was perfectly polite to him as I actually found the incident quite amusing, considering how annoyed he looked!

    I'm not quite sure how to proceed with this - I've seen posts about 'forensic inspections' of tickets and even if the date was wiped off, it would've left an indent with the correct date that I put down before I boarded. Surely this is just a case of my word against his? I don't know if I should send off something else before I get anything in the post from them or if I should wait? What are my options and peoples thoughts?
     
  2. Ediswan

    Ediswan Member

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    You might like to label the pen in question and set it to one side. If it came to a question of how quickly its ink dries on a carnet ticket, having the actual pen could be useful. If you do write in, maybe state the type of pen ?

    The idea that having a ticket and a pen in the same pocket is strong evidence does seem rather bizzare.
     
  3. bb21

    bb21 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    The whole story sounds bizarre.

    What type of pen did you use? Do you know whether your pen made much indentation when you wrote the date in? I would be surprised even if the date were rubbed off (quite strange by itself) there were no indentation marks.

    The accusation is just bizarre, simply bizarre. I hope you got the RPI's name.
     
  4. furlong

    furlong Established Member

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    I think this boils down to the definition of "permanent ink" (which you agreed to use). While I can see no requirement for the ink to be dry before the ticket is deemed validated, the time taken for it to dry and the actual length of time since you wrote on the ticket (before boarding the train) could be relevant, and so you might want to test this on an old ticket with a similar pen. Keep the actual pen somewhere safe and don't use it in case you need to produce it to assist any defence.
     
  5. DaleCooper

    DaleCooper Established Member

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    Is it not possible that the inspector has come across people doing just this? That might explain their behaviour.
     
  6. bb21

    bb21 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    It is possible, but to make such an allegation without any evidence for it specifically wrt the matter in hand is unprofessional imo.
     
  7. furlong

    furlong Established Member

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    They might try a line of argument that you did not use "permanent ink", or that the fact it could be smudged so easily proves you did not complete it before boarding (as required), then argue that either of those would mean your ticket was not validated, which in turn would mean it should not count as valid.
     
  8. cjmillsnun

    cjmillsnun Established Member

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    Carnet tickets need to be done away with. RPIs seem to punish travellers with impunity.
     
  9. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    That or they need to provide stamping machines at stations so there can be no arguments. It's done on the cheap, and that causes issues.

    In reality, ITSO will (eventually) solve that.
     
  10. Failed Unit

    Failed Unit Established Member

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    Couldn't it be proved that it had gone through the barriers anyway? Therefore you can't reuse it. I use permanent ink on cardnets, never stays on. Perhaps they should provide then pen as a normally write the date front and back to avoid this. (Back only end it still isn't validated)
     
  11. DaveNewcastle

    DaveNewcastle Established Member Fares Advisor

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    I'm going to assume that the ticket was retained by the inspector.
    If that is correct, then it is very likely that an assessment will be made on the basis of the Inspector's report as to whether it is an incident worth investigating further. I guess that you will shortly recieve a letter confirming this, and inviting your version of the events surrounding the ticket.

    It is possible that the ticket, the Inspector's report and your reply will lead to the matter being dropped; Equally, it is possible that the Evidence will lead to it being pursued as an apparent fraudulent abuse of the ticket. If that is the course followed, it will be likely to trigger a forensic analysis of the ticket.

    If it is the latter course, and teh evidence looks convincing to the standard of 'beyond reasonable doubt', then the Company is going to assess its losses based on the amount of the fares that you might reasonably have been assumed to have avoided, plus their costs in investigating the matter. This amount will be the costs claimed in a Criminal Prosecution against you if it succeeds. If it is thought that this really was a one-off or first-time low-value attempt at fare evasion, then it would probably be Prosecuted under Section 5 of the 1889 Regulation of Railways Act. But if it is thought that it is part of a sustained and persistent ongoing abuse of railway tickets, then it would probably be prosecuted under the 2006 Fraud Act.

    You probably know already which of these scenarios correspond most closely with the facts, so with that knowledge, you should be able to predict which of outcomes is most likely to follow.

    It should be possible to give you more specific and helpful advice when it becomes clearer what actually has been going on, and perhaps most importantly, what the Railway Company's Revenue Investigations team beleive has been going on.

    At present, you will just have to wait (unless there is any more you can tell us in the meantime).
     
    Last edited: 28 Apr 2015
  12. 6Gman

    6Gman Established Member

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    If carrying a pen on a train is going to be deemed suspicious it's bad news for trainspotters! :D

    Seriously, this does seem a very curious allegation for the RPI to pursue.
     
  13. Flamingo

    Flamingo Established Member

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    I would wonder what the CCTV might show, if the RPI pulled it...
     
  14. RJ

    RJ Established Member

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    I don't think they should be done away with. They're useful for people like me, who don't always commute in enough days a week to justify a season ticket and also travel off peak. There are a few people who aren't able to ensure they fill out the boxes clearly prior to travel each time - all it means is it isn't the right product for them.
     
  15. WelshBluebird

    WelshBluebird Established Member

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    I do think we will see paper carnet tickets replaced by electronic versions much more quickly than standard paper tickets are replaced anyway. Certainly this option is already available for some ToC's (and for some bus companies too).
     
  16. DelayRepay

    DelayRepay Member

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    First Capital Connect used to provide pens on request. GoVia do not provide pens, they tell you to purchase a Sharpie marker. The problem is, even if you buy one of these pens, it's not the normal type of pen you'd carry so there's a good chance you will forget it. When I forgot mine at St Pancras, I asked an RPI if I could borrow a pen to date my ticket before passing through the barrier. They only had a bog-standard biro which did not do the job well!
     
  17. LexyBoy

    LexyBoy Established Member Fares Advisor

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  18. furlong

    furlong Established Member

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    Really? Carnets have to be "validated" in "permanent ink" before "boarding the train".

    No "permanent ink" available - no prosecution.

    <D
     
  19. RJ

    RJ Established Member

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    I'm sure a ticket office or member of staff will be quite happy to lend a pen that works, or do it on the passenger's behalf. Ticket inspectors have been marking tickets with a Biro for years, yet when it comes to validating carnets, they suddenly stop working!

    They're not ideal but not impossible to work with either, unless you're trying to carve the date through the paper.
     
    Last edited: 29 Apr 2015
  20. DelayRepay

    DelayRepay Member

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    The problem I find with using a biro is that the ink doesn't stick, so you go over it a couple of times, then it looks like you've tried to alter the date. Also it can be difficult if you don't have a flat surface to write against.

    The standard orange ticket stock is the problem and it would be better if these particular tickets could be printed on a different type of paper.
     
  21. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    Or just have a set of stamp-type gripping irons on a chain at the station so you could use those to mark them.
     
  22. Fare-Cop

    Fare-Cop Member

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    These are already being trialled and the identified problem of those dishonest travellers, who attempt fare evasion by trying to save the value and use the M-ticket again on another day is exactly the same as not validating, or re-using paper carnets.

    A comparatively high number of users on the trial have been found to validate their ticket only on sight of an RPI and ticket check taking place, not before joining the train as required by the T&Cs accepted at time of purchase and railway Byelaws

    It is is of course very much easier to detect the offence with the electronic version stored on a mobile as the validation time is electronically recorded.
     
  23. 35B

    35B Member

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    Out of interest, what sort of proportion is "comparatively high"? Are we talking about sub-1%, over 50%, or something else altogether?
     
  24. WelshBluebird

    WelshBluebird Established Member

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    And the fact it is easier to detect is exactly the point I was trying to make. With pen / stamp based carnet tickets, it is difficult to prove when the date was written. With electronic ones, it is saved when the ticket is activated and if that time was after the train departed the starting station then they should be treated as trying to break the rules.
     
  25. Clip

    Clip Established Member

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    Yet oddly enough Ive got a ticket in me pocket from the weekend which had biro written on it and it hasn't smudged nor come off when I have just wiped my finger over it....

    Im sure I have lots of others the same too..

    So for balance - why is it that Carnets don't seem to like biro yet normal tickets do?
     
  26. Fare-Cop

    Fare-Cop Member

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    Nationally, the of average ticketless travel is generally reckoned to be in the order of 2% or less

    I am reliably informed that more than 2% of those checked have been found not to have validated these tickets before travelling or sighting a check taking place.
     
  27. 35B

    35B Member

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    Thank you, a useful clarification.
     
  28. Dent

    Dent Member

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    Mobile-based tickets don't sound like a good solution at all.

    A much better solution would be to load the tickets onto a smartcard that automatically activates one each time it is tapped on an entry barrier or a standalone validator at the origin station.
     
  29. Failed Unit

    Failed Unit Established Member

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    I would love that. scotrail have the technology but won't use it! As long as we have a way of invalidating if you don't travel because of disruption. Saying that electronic tickets should help prove heavy delays etc.
     
  30. b0b

    b0b Established Member

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    presumably the first thing that should be investigated is the content of the mag stripe on the back. If, as the OP claims, it went through the barrier at Hitchin that day, that will be recorded on the magstripe and that should be the end of it!
     
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