Could Penalty Fares be illegal?

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Mojo

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Thousands of people must have been caught by the Penalty Fares "scam" (my own words) since their introduction in 1994, but it could be that Penalty Fares may be illegal under the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations (1999) following a recent ruling in favour of a bank customer.

Could this also mean that they can't justify that £5 "Admin charge" when refunding non-needed tickets too?

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/6169539.stm
 
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LucaZone

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I find it rather amusing that people who breach overdraft limits, claim its unfair to be charged a penalty. Dont they realise that as soon as they enter their overdraft they arent spending their own money anymore? their spending someone elses. So they're complaining that they shouldnt be penalised for spending someone elses money!

Jokers!

I agree with Metroland, not sure how this applies to Penalty fares on trains. If you dont have a ticket, you pay a fine. Its like if you dont have a bank account but you take money from a bank. Im sure they would be upset too!
 

yorkie

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If you dont have a ticket, you pay a fine.
Penalty fares are not supposed to be "fines", that's the whole point.

And giving anyone a penalty fare because they "don't have a ticket" is rather unfair against people who board at unstaffed stations. Also, what if they DO have a ticket but the RPI considers it invalid?

It's easy to say it's simple, but it is anything but.
 

Mojo

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I've spoken to someone about this, and the validity of PFs has already been questioned a few months ago, I can't remember much about it.

If the TOCs thought that someone was actually fare evading, then they'd take you to court, and make you pay a fine (PFs are not a fine - as Yorkie said), but to do that, you have to prove intent that they intended not to pay - a case last week, someone did a journey one stop outside of the Zone on their Travelcard, they approached a member of staff to pay the correct fare - ended up with a PF, but they intended to pay the correct fare.

With the railways, the penalty charges are covered under railway by-laws
Yes, but the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations (1999) can act retrospectively on the Railways Act 1993 (as amended by the Transport Act 2000) and The Railways (Penalty Fares) Regulations 1994 can't it?

The Banks got into hot water for ‘excessive’ charges, the monies are supposed to be relative to the costs incurred on the banks. It was rules that the banks were ‘profiteering.’
I'm sure it doesn't cost the railways £20 to carry someone without a ticket, and it has been asked whether they are making excessive money from these schemes.

http://www.penaltyfared.com/
 

O L Leigh

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Banks and railways are not the same thing.

If you travel without a ticket you have benefitted from a service for which you have not paid. It's exactly the same getting your hair cut and running out of the barber's shop without paying. Under law, this is counted as theft. You would expect, if you were the barber, to have the law come down on your side and for it to provide you with restitution.

Now, as someone has said, buying your ticket to travel by train is your contract with the railway. Without this, you have no contract and, I would have thought, would fall outside of the ambit of the Consumer Contracts Regulations. If you're caught without a valid ticket for no good reason, then that's tough and you don't really have any cause for complaint.

Where I do agree is that the details of the contract into which you enter are not generally known, even by many railway employees. They are certainly available, however.

one TN
 

metrocammel

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If the TOCs thought that someone was actually fare evading, then they'd take you to court, and make you pay a fine (PFs are not a fine - as Yorkie said), but to do that, you have to prove intent that they intended not to pay - a case last week, someone did a journey one stop outside of the Zone on their Travelcard, they approached a member of staff to pay the correct fare - ended up with a PF, but they intended to pay the correct fare.


http://www.penaltyfared.com/
Most TOC's give RPI's 5% commission for every PF issued, so it is no surprise that they are keen to give them out, even if the passenger is inadvertantly invalid, and sincerely want to rectify that problem (as in Mojo's example). I know on the Manchester Metrolink, PF's are handed out for fun (and on Metrolink it a graded "standard fare", which actually increases (to £80 afaik) if you are a persistent offender) but every morning at Man Vic Metrolink, there are loads of "jobsworths" giving out PF's for the smallest of reasons: ie, my mate had a concessionary season (as he has a GMPTE student pass), but he had forgotten the conc. card... and got a PF, which he refused to pay (as he had the pass at home)- even after the event when he proved he has a valid student conc card, they were not interested, and increased the penalty (to £40 afaik) , which eventually he grudgingly paid... but it is obviously a way of boosting revenue in some cases, rather than reducing loss of revenue.....
Also, on another note, there are lots of old signs still at Birmingham New Street that say max PF is £10 - could you quote one of these signs, and instist on only paying £10?? (I almost got a PF at Brum once, as the stupid jobsworth didn't know what a Coast & Peaks was.... and furthermore didn't have the first idea that they are valid to Tamworth via Birmingham on days when there is no service on the Trent Valley..... eventually I argued my case, and insisted they contact a manager - but apparently there were non around- so I phoned ATOC from my mobile, and put the idiot (who didn't speak much English anyway) onto them, who then told him he was in the wrong ;).... Just proves you have to stand your ground with people like that.
 

Mojo

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On Metrolink, they aren't Penalty Fares in the same sense the ones on the Railways, LU & London Buses are. Many operators call it the "Standard fare," which is effectively a way of them charging people without it going to court (Ie: you can board this bus and pay the driver the discounted fare £1.20, or if we catch you, you can pay £20.)

If you travel without a ticket you have benefitted from a service for which you have not paid. It's exactly the same getting your hair cut and running out of the barber's shop without paying. Under law, this is counted as theft. You would expect, if you were the barber, to have the law come down on your side and for it to provide you with restitution.
Obtaining Services By Deception, Making Off Without Payment (Theft Act 1978) [1], Breach of Regulation of Railways Act 1889 [2] or even fraud [3] are possible criminal convictions (that I can think of) that could be given to a 'Fare dodger' and those 'Fare dodgers' rightly so [4] should be convicted of the appropriate offence. However, Penalty Fares can be seen as a method of making money from those who intended to pay. After all - if you can, why not go for a harsher penalty than £20/twice the fare.

[1] This was introduced 10 yr after the original offence of "Theft," as that required someone to permenantly deprive another of their belongings (my words) - but as soon as petrol is taken from a pump to your car, it becomes yours, so people were filling up, not paying & driving off, & couldn't be convivted of Theft!

[2]
Regulation of Railways Act 1889

Section 5(1)

Every passenger by a railway shall, on request by an officer or servant of a
railway company, either produce, and if so requested deliver up, a ticket
showing that his fare is paid or pay his fare for the place whence he
started, or give the officer or servant his name and address; and in the
case of default shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine not
exceeding (level 2 on the standard scale).
[3] No statutory definition of this exists, and the complexness of this would make it hard to prove

[4] Depends on situation IMO, especially for Intercity journeys with such high fares for essential journeys
 

yorkie

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If you were to do away with the penalty fare scheme, I’d be interested to know what you would replace it with,
Well up here it doesn't need to be replaced because - sensibly - it does not exist. I'd replace it with guards/revenue staff.

A good place to look for busy suburban services would be SPT, we went around on Daytrippers last Summer and I've never known such regular ticket checks. Also importantly, the staff were friendly (not "desperate"), but they were keen to ensure everyone had a ticket and also I experienced no vandalism, no sign of vandalism and was greatly impressed with the whole set-up compared to the faceless operation in the SouthEast where it seems that everyone is assumed to be a criminal unless they can prove otherwise. :|

I bet fare evasion and vandalism must be far, far lower in the SPT area than the (former) NSE area, despite some of the places served being less than desirable.

I was not at all impressed with Nexus, and the reason they have so many problems is a complete lack of staff - I can hardly remember seeing any staff on the whole system (apart from the drivers!)

If you travel without a ticket you have benefitted from a service for which you have not paid. It's exactly the same getting your hair cut and running out of the barber's shop without paying. Under law, this is counted as theft. You would expect, if you were the barber, to have the law come down on your side and for it to provide you with restitution.
But what about the people who offer to pay (such as in Mojo's example - more info on uk.railway) and are then penalised? That is not theft, and surely no-one is suggesting it is. PFs are not a punishment for "theft".

Now, as someone has said, buying your ticket to travel by train is your contract with the railway. Without this, you have no contract and, I would have thought, would fall outside of the ambit of the Consumer Contracts Regulations. If you're caught without a valid ticket for no good reason, then that's tough and you don't really have any cause for complaint.
Oh it sounds so simple. But what about the times when guards claim a ticket is invalid, when it actually is valid, or when the customer was told it would be valid? It's really not that simple sometimes.
Where I do agree is that the details of the contract into which you enter are not generally known, even by many railway employees. They are certainly available, however.

one TN
Not always available, and even if they are, a small minority of staff refuse to look them up and try to get penalty fares out of people who are valid. I've seen it happen.

On Metrolink, they aren't Penalty Fares in the same sense the ones on the Railways, LU & London Buses are. Many operators call it the "Standard fare," which is effectively a way of them charging people without it going to court (Ie: you can board this bus and pay the driver the discounted fare £1.20, or if we catch you, you can pay £20.)
FarceGroup try this tactic. But surely re-naming "Penalty" to "Standard" doesn't (legally) allow the bus companies to avoid all the procedures the rail industry has to go through to implement and manage the penalty fares system?!
 

O L Leigh

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But what about the people who offer to pay (such as in Mojo's example - more info on uk.railway) and are then penalised? That is not theft, and surely no-one is suggesting it is. PFs are not a punishment for "theft".
That needs to be looked at on a case-by-case basis.

I've neither the time nor patience to go wading through uk.railway to find the details of this particular case, but revenue staff need to make a decision. For example, they will need to consider where the person travelled from and what facilities were available for them to purchase their ticket before boarding. There may be some leeway if they've come from an unstaffed station with just the single ticket machine, but an awful lot less if they've just walked past an open ticket office and ticket and "permit to travel" machines in order to board the train.

As for not PF-ing people offering to pay, that also requires discretion to be acted upon. I'm sure there are people who are genuinely in a tricky spot for whom a PF would not be appropriate. However, others may be persistent offenders and never buy a ticket to travel but gamely offer to pay every time they are caught. Why would you not PF them?

Oh it sounds so simple. But what about the times when guards claim a ticket is invalid, when it actually is valid, or when the customer was told it would be valid? It's really not that simple sometimes.

Not always available, and even if they are, a small minority of staff refuse to look them up and try to get penalty fares out of people who are valid. I've seen it happen.
Instead of trying to argue the matter on the spot, send all the details in later in the form of a written complaint and get the TOC's customer services team in on the act. They can arbitrate on whether or not a ticket was valid, and if it turns out that the PF was wrongly issued, get them to refund it.

Either way, I've said before (elsewhere, most likely) that I believe the ticketing systems should be simplified. Unfortunately, all these special offers to get bums on seats has made the situation a total nightmare for punters and staff alike. However, it doesn't mean that the PF system is wrong. There is a large proportion of the public that regularly travels without a ticket, and have even come to rely on it, and these people need to understand that their actions will bring a consequence.

Bringing back guards and barrier staff is only part of the answer, as these folk will still have to deal with the same problems that revenue staff have now. There will still be people who cry "foul...!!" each time they get a PF.

one TN
 

yorkie

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There is a large proportion of the public that regularly travels without a ticket, and have even come to rely on it, and these people need to understand that their actions will bring a consequence.

Bringing back guards and barrier staff is only part of the answer, as these folk will still have to deal with the same problems that revenue staff have now. There will still be people who cry "foul...!!" each time they get a PF.

one TN
I agree it's a problem in some areas, but I really do believe the SPT method of having dedicated revenue staff on every train massively deters ticketless travel and vandalism.

It may be that, initially, such staff may encounter the same problems as now, but it won't last long as people realise that they simply aren't going to get away with it 9 times out of 10.

The NSE-style method of having no sign of staff 9 out of 10 journeys then someone PFing everyone in sight with a dodgy ticket on the basis that "they must do it every day" is flawed, and the SPT approach is far, far better IMO.
 

theblackwatch

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The NSE-style method of having no sign of staff 9 out of 10 journeys then someone PFing everyone in sight with a dodgy ticket on the basis that "they must do it every day" is flawed, and the SPT approach is far, far better IMO.
I am sure a good proportion of people who are issued with a PF do, in fact, do it every day, or - if not - pretty frequently. If somone makes, for example, a journey which should cost £8 a day without a ticket each day, and is caught once a week and charged the penalty fare of £20, they have still 'saved' £20 a week. I too have travelled around the Strathclyde network and have been pretty impressed with the 'gripping' on there - staff are often round before the next stop is reached. Makes a change from other TOC's who don't even seem to be able to cope with selling tickets to a 2-coach train of passengers on a paytrain route of 18 miles!
 

Tom C

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Most TOC's give RPI's 5% commission for every PF issued
Where did you get that from??

First Capital Connect don't, Southern don't, South West Trains don't, one don't, C2C don't, Thameslink didn't, WAGN didn't and First Great Eastern didn't. I don't know about Silverlink, Central etc etc

GUARDS are usually paid 5% commission to encourage them to work the train but giving RPI's commission encourages them to issue PFN's and any (if there are indeed any) TOC's that do it then they are a fool to themselves.

If the TOCs thought that someone was actually fare evading, then they'd take you to court, and make you pay a fine (PFs are not a fine - as Yorkie said), but to do that, you have to prove intent that they intended not to pay - a case last week, someone did a journey one stop outside of the Zone on their Travelcard, they approached a member of staff to pay the correct fare - ended up with a PF, but they intended to pay the correct fare.
It clearly says on the warning notice that you must have a valid ticket for your ENTIRE journey before you board the train otherwise you are liable to a Penalty Fare.

For example: You board a train at Kings Cross Tlk, you are going to Radlett and you have a Zone 1-2 travelcard so you should buy an extention from Boundary Zone 2 to Radlett but you just get on the train because the gates at Kings Cross would let you through, you have the money to buy the ticket but you didn't because you were running for the train.

You are now an inspector

You are surrounded by people who all have correct tickets, people who have taken the time to get to the booking office and buy a ticket.

Would you issue this person a Penalty Fare or sell him an extention?

The facts are that Kings Cross has a booking office with 2 windows, a booth next to the tunnel from the Underground which is usually staffed during the peaks but if it isn't the main booking office it at the top of the stairs (via moving staircase) and Inspectors on the barrier who would sell you a ticket if you actually asked. Radlett is a station without barriers and no revenue staff however there is a booking office. Do you know that this person would go to the window at Radlett and get his extention? Do you know this person? Ask yourself if YOU would go to the window and buy an extention knowing that you have finished your journey and you are now leaving the station. Now ask yourself is it your fault or the train companies fault that this person was late for his train?

Remember it is YOUR responsibility to have the correct ticket for your journey. In some cases as Yorkie keeps saying the inspector is incorrect or the information you have been given is incorrect, so let him/her report you to the company and at the end of the day if you are right then he or she will be made to look a fool.

We all know people that use anyway they can to avoid paying fares, should you subsidise them?

At the end of the day the penalty fares system was set up to encourage people to get tickets before getting on the train and whilst I totally disagree with DOO railways and the lack of permenant on train staff thats the way it is.

If an inspector believes that you are delibrately avoiding fare then the PFN would be disregarded and you would be reported to the company using a MG11 statement, then it is down to the company and ultimately the local JP's to decide whether you should be punished or not.

Also should point out that you DO NOT have to pay the full wack on the spot. You can pay the fare that you should have paid (FULL SDS) from A-B then you have 21 days to either pay the remainder or appeal against the penalty fare to the IPFAS (Independant Penalty Fares Appeal Service) who look at all cases on a one by one basis and then they decide whether you should be reimbursed. Also even if you pay the full amount you can still appeal against the penalty fare using the same system within 21 days of issue.

The NSE-style method of having no sign of staff 9 out of 10 journeys then someone PFing everyone in sight with a dodgy ticket on the basis that "they must do it every day" is flawed, and the SPT approach is far, far better IMO.
If they do it every day then they should be reported with a MG11 as it is long term fraud which goes out of the scope of the PFN so not quite sure what you mean.

ie, my mate had a concessionary season (as he has a GMPTE student pass), but he had forgotten the conc. card... and got a PF, which he refused to pay (as he had the pass at home)- even after the event when he proved he has a valid student conc card, they were not interested, and increased the penalty
This comes under "no supporting document"

If you have a ticket which uses a discount then it must be carried on every journey, if not then the ticket is invalid and you are liable to a penalty fare. Some TOC's have a Fail to Carry system whereby the matter will be reported to the company however you are given 14 days to submit a copy of your ticket and no further action will be taken however I don't know how far that stretches across the country however most do it down here.

and these people need to understand that their actions will bring a consequence.
100% correct
 

metrocammel

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Where did you get that from??

First Capital Connect don't, Southern don't, South West Trains don't, one don't, C2C don't, Thameslink didn't, WAGN didn't and First Great Eastern didn't. I don't know about Silverlink, Central etc etc

The few RPI's Northern (west) have, definately get a commission, and I was under the impression Southern's RPI's did as well. Also Metrolinks "RPI's" get some sort of commission (Im not sure what exactly) for issuing "standard fares".
 

Tom C

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The few RPI's Northern (west) have, definately get a commission, and I was under the impression Southern's RPI's did as well. Also Metrolinks "RPI's" get some sort of commission (Im not sure what exactly) for issuing "standard fares".
Obviously this is something set up by Serco however I can say that Southern don't although Southern conductors get 5% and First Capital Connect inspectors (me included) work on Southern trains as part of the old partnership between Thameslink and Southern and can say that I certainly take no commission from Southern or First.

Also forgot to mention that "off route" tickets (on FCC at least) are no longer grounds for a PFN and the excess fare will be charged, can't say about other operators though.
 

Nick W

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It clearly says on the warning notice that you must have a valid ticket for your ENTIRE journey before you board the train otherwise you are liable to a Penalty Fare.

For example: You board a train at Kings Cross Tlk, you are going to Radlett and you have a Zone 1-2 travelcard so you should buy an extention from Boundary Zone 2 to Radlett but you just get on the train because the gates at Kings Cross would let you through, you have the money to buy the ticket but you didn't because you were running for the train.

You are now an inspector

You are surrounded by people who all have correct tickets, people who have taken the time to get to the booking office and buy a ticket.

Would you issue this person a Penalty Fare or sell him an extention?
The person has a zone 1-2 travelcard. This would suggest that he has already paid on the railway, and is already supplying money. The person is likely to be employed, therefore pays many taxes and should therefore be entitled fair use ro a public service to which he contributes. Futhermore, since there is no reason to assume that the person is trying to obtain service illegally, is it thus wrong morally to issue a penalty fare.

We do not know why he was late. We can't assume it is his fault, since it could have been to do with public transport. But as he was running, he clearly has reason for not wanting to catch a later train. It is possible that he intended to buy from the ticket office, but has been delayed. Therefore we cannot assume that he couldn't be bothered to spend time at the ticket office. Perhaps he was unlucky compared to the others who had taken time and queued. It is highly likely to be wrong to state that that he should be issued a penalty fare just because others have valid tickets and he does not.

The person is travelling using the railway, an environmentally friendly form of travel, which the government encourages. It would thus be against transport policy to penalise the person for this choice, as this would lead him to distrust the railway and use other means of transport for time-sensitive journeys.

The person must be satisfied with using the railway, unless he had no other choice. It can therefore be believed that he will continue to provide money for the railway while he remains satisfied, and is likely to provide in his lifetime, an amount of money far in excess of £20. Therefore there is economic reasoning not to issue him a penalty since it might cause him to use the railway less, or encourage other people not to use it.

I would therefore question him briefly, encourage him to buy a ticket next time, warning him of less reasonable employees, and sell him the excess. I would then ask him if he wanted to buy any tickets for the future there and then to save him having to queue in future.

However don't listen to me, I am just an idealist who wants to maximise railway use and encourage a polite and mature relationship between passengers and staff in which both individuals are fair and reasonable rather than both sides wanting to obtain the most money or pay the least money. The railway should set a precedent to play fair.


We all know people that use anyway they can to avoid paying fares, should you subsidise them?
The taxpayer already subsidises all people traveling. Both the taxpayer and the farepayer subsidies the shareholders, and the bonuses to rich managers.

At the end of the day the penalty fares system was set up to encourage people to get tickets before getting on the train and whilst I totally disagree with DOO railways and the lack of permenant on train staff thats the way it is.
Are there not far better ways of doing this, such as ensuring everyone gets served within 3 minutes at a ticket office, or is offered a 20% discount? If queues beome too big, people could be diverted onto the train and one gripper at the barriers could sell on the train.
 

yorkie

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Also forgot to mention that "off route" tickets (on FCC at least) are no longer grounds for a PFN and the excess fare will be charged, can't say about other operators though.
That's the sort of thing that should be the case universally. Sadly it appears not to be the case on all TOCs as someone was (incorrectly) PF'd on a Wolves-London ticket via Oxford (which of course is valid).
Remember it is YOUR responsibility to have the correct ticket for your journey.
Not having a go at you, but that's a cop-out by the rail industry for "If the ticket office makes a mistake, we're going to make you look like a criminal by giving you something that is a fine in all but name" I can't think of any other industry that does this.

At the end of the day the penalty fares system was set up to encourage people to get tickets before getting on the train and whilst I totally disagree with DOO railways and the lack of permenant on train staff thats the way it is.
But it needn't be the way it is, and it isn't the case in most of the country.

The way I see it, is when I go to London it seems like you are entering a "you are to be treated like a criminal unless you can prove innocence " zone, where no-one checks tickets apart from once a blue moon where the slightest mistake by the passenger could lead to a fine in all but name.

I once lost my wallet, including my debit card about £80 on the tube, fortunately my tube ticket and rail ticket to York was not in it, but my railcard was. Should my loss have been made to be £100+? I went on Hull Trains and explained the situation and the guard was alright with it.
 

Tom C

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The person has a zone 1-2 travelcard. This would suggest that he has already paid on the railway, and is already supplying money. The person is likely to be employed, therefore pays many taxes and should therefore be entitled fair use ro a public service to which he contributes. Futhermore, since there is no reason to assume that the person is trying to obtain service illegally, is it thus wrong morally to issue a penalty fare.
As has been said many times, the penalty fare system is not there to deal with passengers travelling "illegally" and it is not there to judge anyone for being a criminal, although it seems as if people judge it to be just that which saddens me so your "moral" arguement is complete rubbish. If a passenger is travelling "illegally" then the inspector will make a report and it is down to the company to decide whether to take it further and then down to the local authorites to make a judgement.

A penalty fare is issued because you do not have a valid ticket and it really is as simple as that.

We do not know why he was late. We can't assume it is his fault, since it could have been to do with public transport. But as he was running, he clearly has reason for not wanting to catch a later train. It is possible that he intended to buy from the ticket office, but has been delayed. Therefore we cannot assume that he couldn't be bothered to spend time at the ticket office. Perhaps he was unlucky compared to the others who had taken time and queued. It is highly likely to be wrong to state that that he should be issued a penalty fare just because others have valid tickets and he does not.
It is not the business of the inspector to enquire as to why the person is late and to be perfectly honest it is mostly irrelevant. If it has something to do with delays on a previous trip then that will be taken into account although 90% of the time it is down to people running for a train when there is one FIVE minutes behind.

A lot of passengers who travel day in day out have complained that companies are not proactive enough with on train presence and ticket checking on trains. If someone waits 10 minutes in a ticket queue, buys a ticket, gets on the train and then sees a passenger being issued with an extention despite having adequate opportunity to buy one it encourages the passenger to do the same and before you continue on with "you don't know they will" it happens very regularly and to effectively protect revenue it should be nipped in the bud.

Bear in mind that if everyone bought tickets we would not be here.

I would therefore question him briefly, encourage him to buy a ticket next time, warning him of less reasonable employees, and sell him the excess. I would then ask him if he wanted to buy any tickets for the future there and then to save him having to queue in future.
And do you know something?

Thats exactly what I generally do!

The problem is, people take the **** and it rarely makes a difference I have regularly sold tickets (and not just standard fares I might add!) when it is a stone cold Penalty Fare and seen the person the very next day, on the very same train.

However don't listen to me, I am just an idealist who wants to maximise railway use and encourage a polite and mature relationship between passengers and staff in which both individuals are fair and reasonable rather than both sides wanting to obtain the most money or pay the least money. The railway should set a precedent to play fair.
We all try to encourage a polite and mature relationship, I don't want to knock people for £20 and those that do have a screw loose and yes I know they exist.

You have a very blue sky attitude which is commendable however in the real world people just arn't as true and honest as you would like to make out. The gentlemen I refered to was a passenger I dealt with the other day, he had been warned TWICE before and was now doing it for the THIRD time just because he spent a little to much time in the local drinking establishment (his words, not mine!)

You see Nick the world isn't quite as black and white as you would like being a Idealist so I encourage you or any other doubters to come out on a shift one day and make a few snap decisions and then come on here and post their findings.

Are there not far better ways of doing this, such as ensuring everyone gets served within 3 minutes at a ticket office, or is offered a 20% discount? If queues beome too big, people could be diverted onto the train and one gripper at the barriers could sell on the train.
So you encourage a mature relationship between staff and passenger then you go and use the term "gripper"???

Station buildings are often not capable of having more windows and most have self service machines and the inspectors will sell you a ticket providing they are not dealing with someone. Also passengers can help themselves, they can buy new week, month and even day tickets in advance when the windows are quiet like when they pass through the station in the evening.

"If the ticket office makes a mistake, we're going to make you look like a criminal by giving you something that is a fine in all but name"
As I said Yorkie let the inspector make a fool of himself if it is a mistake by a ticket office. Also to slightly defend railway staff, people do make mistakes sometimes.

But it needn't be the way it is, and it isn't the case in most of the country.

The way I see it, is when I go to London it seems like you are entering a "you are to be treated like a criminal unless you can prove innocence " zone, where no-one checks tickets apart from once a blue moon where the slightest mistake by the passenger could lead to a fine in all but name.

I once lost my wallet, including my debit card about £80 on the tube, fortunately my tube ticket and rail ticket to York was not in it, but my railcard was. Should my loss have been made to be £100+? I went on Hull Trains and explained the situation and the guard was alright with it.
The point is Inspectors are human beings and some of us do have a heart. People like to make out that we are just interested in making money. Please bear in mind we are paid whether we get 100 PFN's or 1 and despite the rather harsh nature of Nicks rant I do actually agree with most of what he says. If you came on my train and said you had lost your wallet I would give offer you my phone to cancel your credit cards and help you in anyway I can before I even bother asking you for a ticket.

We are not all the bastards that you make us out to be.
 

compsci

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Are all stations where penalty fares apply have to have a sign stating that you are not entering a penalty fare zone above the barriers/door/etc? Between the doors at Cambridge there is a poster explaining that in penalty fare zones you could get one if you don't have a valid ticket, but it doesn't actually say what the status of Cambridge is.
 

Nick W

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As has been said many times, the penalty fare system is not there to deal with passengers travelling "illegally" and it is not there to judge anyone for being a criminal, although it seems as if people judge it to be just that which saddens me so your "moral" arguement is complete rubbish.
Nope I believe it's there to make money from easy targets.

If a passenger is travelling "illegally" then the inspector will make a report and it is down to the company to decide whether to take it further and then down to the local authorites to make a judgement.
Seems fair, but if the passenger isn't travling illegally, why not just sell a full price fare.

A penalty fare is issued because you do not have a valid ticket and it really is as simple as that.
Trouble is there's no simple reason for that occurance.

It is not the business of the inspector to enquire as to why the person is late and to be perfectly honest it is mostly irrelevant. If it has something to do with delays on a previous trip then that will be taken into account although 90% of the time it is down to people running for a train when there is one FIVE minutes behind.

A lot of passengers who travel day in day out have complained that companies are not proactive enough with on train presence and ticket checking on trains. If someone waits 10 minutes in a ticket queue, buys a ticket, gets on the train and then sees a passenger being issued with an extention despite having adequate opportunity to buy one it encourages the passenger to do the same and before you continue on with "you don't know they will" it happens very regularly and to effectively protect revenue it should be nipped in the bud.
Which is why it's a good thing that you often charge the full fare then give a strong warning.

Bear in mind that if everyone bought tickets we would not be here.
If all ticket offices were staffed well or all trains had guards, that could well be the case.

And do you know something?

Thats exactly what I generally do!
Which is very good, and shows that you don't really see the need in a penalty fare.

The problem is, people take the **** and it rarely makes a difference I have regularly sold tickets (and not just standard fares I might add!) when it is a stone cold Penalty Fare and seen the person the very next day, on the very same train.
Which means that the person is travelling illegally and therefore the penalty fare is not the correct course of action as you have pointed out.

We all try to encourage a polite and mature relationship, I don't want to knock people for £20 and those that do have a screw loose and yes I know they exist.
In which case it would be fine for you just to sell the full fare.

You have a very blue sky attitude which is commendable however in the real world people just arn't as true and honest as you would like to make out. The gentlemen I refered to was a passenger I dealt with the other day, he had been warned TWICE before and was now doing it for the THIRD time just because he spent a little to much time in the local drinking establishment (his words, not mine!)
It's true for both sides it seems. Some railway staff lie as well unfortunately. Perhaps you could do him a favour and pass what he said on so that he can have alcholic support.

You see Nick the world isn't quite as black and white as you would like being a Idealist so I encourage you or any other doubters to come out on a shift one day and make a few snap decisions and then come on here and post their findings.
I wouldn't mind doing that. Most of the trains I travel on tend to have guards, and although it's now a penalty area, i've not seen a penalty given out.

So you encourage a mature relationship between staff and passenger then you go and use the term "gripper"???
I'm sorry if you find that nickname offensive, and I only use it for RPIs since guards do more than ticketing. It it not meant to be offensive; neither are the terms punter, bobby and trolly dolly.

Station buildings are often not capable of having more windows and most have self service machines and the inspectors will sell you a ticket providing they are not dealing with someone. Also passengers can help themselves, they can buy new week, month and even day tickets in advance when the windows are quiet like when they pass through the station in the evening.
I often buy tickets for trips in the evening for that reason. I just feel that many people want to get home, or only decide at the las tminute to travel.

When I was getting tickets daily, sometimes there were just more queues than normal. The first time I missed the train as a result, a dispatcher said next time I should just get on the train, and explain to the guard, or if need be the staff on the barriers at Colchester. Perhaps, London works differently as yorkie suggested.

As I said Yorkie let the inspector make a fool of himself if it is a mistake by a ticket office. Also to slightly defend railway staff, people do make mistakes sometimes.
Very true, and no one, railway staff or passengers should receive penalties for this in my opnion.

The point is Inspectors are human beings and some of us do have a heart. People like to make out that we are just interested in making money. Please bear in mind we are paid whether we get 100 PFN's or 1 and despite the rather harsh nature of Nicks rant I do actually agree with most of what he says. If you came on my train and said you had lost your wallet I would give offer you my phone to cancel your credit cards and help you in anyway I can before I even bother asking you for a ticket.

We are not all the bastards that you make us out to be.
I agree, and personally I am glad that it seems like you are not a supporter of penalty fares yourself. I wonder if all your collegues share the same views.
 

Mojo

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IMO Penalty Fares aren't a deterrant. What might be a deterrant, would be posters advertising the possible £1000 fine (a /real/ fine) and a possible 3 Mth in prison. Red tape should be removed so it's quick to take the details of suspected faredodgers for prosecution. When 'one' took over, and when the PF was still £10, I was speaking to a PFI, saying how I've never ever seen them on the line before (Southend Vic line) & asked if they report for prosecution. He said it's rare "because [the TOC] doesn't get any of the money."
 

Tom C

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Nope I believe it's there to make money from easy targets.
Well thats your opinion although I can't quite work out why people who fail to buy tickets are now suddenly easy targets.

Seems fair, but if the passenger isn't travling illegally, why not just sell a full price fare.
This is where local knowledge comes in a bit handy you see.

Radlett has no barriers and just a ticket office.

If that passenger had not been stopped by an inspector on the train then we come back to the arguement of whether he would pay at the end. If not then that fare would have been avoided which is just what the railway needs.

By issuing a PFN it usually deters people from trying it, not everyone of course but then there will be other days.

Trouble is there's no simple reason for that occurance
However a simple "why didn't you buy a ticket at XXX" usually solves that mystery and if its something to do with connections it can be taken into account. If it has something to do with peoples "I can't be bothered to queue" attitude then that will also be dealt with.

If all ticket offices were staffed well or all trains had guards, that could well be the case.
Thats extreamly naive and quite surprising actually.

So all ticket offices are manned which is great but it doesn't mean people are going to actually use it now does it?

Im all for guards but on South West Trains guards do what a guard does and a RPI does what he is ment to and it works very well.

Also what use is a guard on a busy suburban service which stops every 3 minutes with 8 coaches full of people?

Do you think he will get out of the first coach and do you think that people will cotton on to that

Perhaps you could do him a favour and pass what he said on so that he can have alcholic support.
Who said he was an alcaholic?

People can have a few drinks without needed the AA clinic.

Also don't you think thats just a bit out of the boundarys of a RPI.

See how easy it is to make presumptions.

In which case it would be fine for you just to sell the full fare.
Again thats so naive. Life isn't black and white no matter how much you think you know about the railway. Each person is different and will be dealt with thus so having some railway experience will quickly change that opinion

All of the FCC network is a PF zone.
Bayford was outside the PF network with First took over although there were plans to upgrade the ticket issuing facilities and it would fall under the PF banner.

He said it's rare "because [the TOC] doesn't get any of the money."
Again that statement is completely wrong.

You are given a fine, costs and compensation if you are found guilty in a court. The costs and compensation go to the TOC.
 

Mojo

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I'm only going by what he said to me, and why he said they don't normally send people to court. Still, I've always found compensation & costs to be a pretty small amount, normally - & they only normally publish the fine - which goes to the courts.

Red tape should be removed & it should be easier to send people to court rather than just slap a Penalty Fare on them.
 

Tom C

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I'm only going by what he said to me, and why he said they don't normally send people to court. Still, I've always found compensation & costs to be a pretty small amount, normally - & they only normally publish the fine - which goes to the courts.

Red tape should be removed & it should be easier to send people to court rather than just slap a Penalty Fare on them
To be honest I can only go on what the operators in this neck of the woods but Thameslink had a dedicated procecutions department with procecutors who are magistrates anyway so they know the law inside out. Thameslink put over 2,000 people through the courts last year and most of those were fined although as you say the level varies greatly depends on the severity and where the court is.

If all the TOC's had a simular set up they would see that putting people through the courts isn't such a chore and would see much better results.
 
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