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Couple Busted for Ticketless Travel by BTP Cambridgeshire ...with a Twist

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Silver Cobra

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While checking Thameslink's 'On Track' app around 1:30pm today, I spotted a tweet by British Transport Police Cambridgeshire referring to an incident of vandalism to a TVM at Cambridge station. Intrigued by this, I paid a visit to their Twitter page, and spotted an even more interesting series of tweets, starting with the following:

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CAMBRIDGE: Officers attended the station this morning to assist with a ticket dispute. The matter was dealt with by way of penalty fare
https://twitter.com/BTPCambs/status/611114444312195072

Nothing too out of the ordinary, but the next two tweets however:

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Rather surprisingly our informant were a couple who had no valid ticket and had jumped the wall of the station. They stated @btp should 1/2 issue them with a travel warrant to get them home. This is not the way it works, especially if you choose to jump over the wall! 2/2

https://twitter.com/BTPCambs/status/611115110267023360
https://twitter.com/BTPCambs/status/611118300697858048

Whoops :oops: Maybe it would've worked if they hadn't been spotted jumping over the station wall before approaching the BTP. Nevertheless, that's rather brazen of them to try to use the BTP to get a free ride home. Glad that they got themselves a penalty fare for their troubles ;)
 
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yorkie

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It seems that people caught deliberately evading payment in penalty fare areas often get let off with a penalty fare, which is just a higher than normal fare of £20 or double the single fare, is not a fine, and anyone being charged a penalty fare is not being accused of any wrongdoing other than making a mistake.

Yet people who had no intention of evading payment on Northern, are sometimes asked to pay £80+ to keep the matter out of court.

Something aint right!

Also I don't think they meant "informant"! :lol: Perhaps they meant "miscreants"?!
 

northwichcat

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Personally I think a penalty fare should be for what are obviously deliberate attempts to avoid paying the correct fare.

Handing out penalty fares because someone genuinely doesn't realise they can't travel on a 09:29 departure with an off-peak ticket with a B1 restriction but can with a different ticket with a B2 restriction, is the way to put people off travelling by train. Yes explain the difference in restriction codes and charge them an excess to the correct fare but don't give them a fine on top of that.
 

Greenback

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Penalty fares were originally introduced as a deterrent to people who would only pay when challenged to do so. It's arguable how effective they have been at meeting this objective, but if people were only charged an excess to what they should have paid originally, what incentive is there for them to pay the correct fare in the first place?

While there are certainly flaws in the system, and definitely areas where the way PF's are issued can be improved, in my view deliberate attempts to avoid payment should lead to consideration for prosecution.
 

Flamingo

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While there are certainly flaws in the system, and definitely areas where the way PF's are issued can be improved, in my view deliberate attempts to avoid payment should lead to consideration for prosecution.

Unfortunately, the thought processes bu BTP usually go along the lines of
"We considered prosecuting, but it was too much hassle, so we gave them a warning and let them walk away"...
 

najaB

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Handing out penalty fares because someone genuinely doesn't realise they can't travel on a 09:29 departure with an off-peak ticket with a B1 restriction but can with a different ticket with a B2 restriction, is the way to put people off travelling by train. Yes explain the difference in restriction codes and charge them an excess to the correct fare but don't give them a fine on top of that.
Unless I'm reading this
Penalty Fares Rules said:
An authorised collector must not charge a penalty fare to a person whose ticket is not valid only because of a published restriction, as described in condition 12 of the National Rail Conditions of Carriage.
wrong, you wouldn't be charged a Penalty Fare in your example?
 

gray1404

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My understanding too is that a PF should not be charged if a passengers ticket would otherwise have been valid, if not for the time of day.

I notice on Merseyrail the default is to issue a PF under most circumstances if the RPI get on and someone is found without a ticket, even if a passenger is clearly evading payment and had no intention whatsoever of paying.
 

yorkie

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Personally I think a penalty fare should be for what are obviously deliberate attempts to avoid paying the correct fare.
How can charging a fare be appropriate charge for someone who is clearly deliberately evading the fare by climbing over a barrier?
Handing out penalty fares because someone genuinely doesn't realise they can't travel on a 09:29 departure with an off-peak ticket with a B1 restriction but can with a different ticket with a B2 restriction, is the way to put people off travelling by train. Yes explain the difference in restriction codes and charge them an excess to the correct fare but don't give them a fine on top of that.
A Penalty Fare is not a fine, but I agree with you that a person who travels on a time restricted ticket at an invalid time is only liable to pay the appropriate excess (for example from Off Peak Day to Off Peak, or Anytime Day) and nothing more than that. But, more importantly, not only do I agree with you, but so do the Penalty Fare Regulations/Rules.
 

Fare-Cop

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I agree with you that a person who travels on a time restricted ticket at an invalid time is only liable to pay the appropriate excess (for example from Off Peak Day to Off Peak, or Anytime Day) and nothing more than that. But, more importantly, not only do I agree with you, but so do the Penalty Fare Regulations/Rules.

I agree that if this is purely a one-off oversight, then a traveller should only be expected to pay the appropriate additional fare, but what a blanket response does not address is the minority of travellers who book cheaper, off-peak tickets in advance, knowing that the ticket will operate an automatic barrier, with the intention of using them to travel during restricted times and thus wilfully avoiding the correct fare due unless spotted.

Sadly, there is a sector of society that seems to believe that if a restriction is put in place, they have a duty to find ways around it.

It's not a huge problem, but sufficiently widespread to generate a good many reports and the skill for the good inspector is correctly identifying the ones that are doing this deliberately.

Properly operated barriers with automatic software updates would help
 

bb21

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I agree that if this is purely a one-off oversight, then a traveller should only be expected to pay the appropriate additional fare, but what a blanket response does not address is the minority of travellers who book cheaper, off-peak tickets in advance, knowing that the ticket will operate an automatic barrier, with the intention of using them to travel during restricted times and thus wilfully avoiding the correct fare due unless spotted.

That may well fall under the RoRA, but it definitely is not a Penalty Fare matter.
 

Antman

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Unfortunately, the thought processes bu BTP usually go along the lines of
"We considered prosecuting, but it was too much hassle, so we gave them a warning and let them walk away"...

It seems these days that the police in general (not just BTP) deem it to be too much hassle to prosecute people for all manner of offences:cry:
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
I agree that if this is purely a one-off oversight, then a traveller should only be expected to pay the appropriate additional fare, but what a blanket response does not address is the minority of travellers who book cheaper, off-peak tickets in advance, knowing that the ticket will operate an automatic barrier, with the intention of using them to travel during restricted times and thus wilfully avoiding the correct fare due unless spotted.

Sadly, there is a sector of society that seems to believe that if a restriction is put in place, they have a duty to find ways around it.

It's not a huge problem, but sufficiently widespread to generate a good many reports and the skill for the good inspector is correctly identifying the ones that are doing this deliberately.

Properly operated barriers with automatic software updates would help

Even barriers are not foolproof, I recently saw four 'chav types' exiting Bromley South recently, one opened the barrier with his oyster and held it open for his three accomplices:oops:
 

Fare-Cop

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That may well fall under the RoRA, but it definitely is not a Penalty Fare matter.

Exactly, and so similar to the opening post of this thread

RRA 5(5)(3) makes clear if anyone travels or attempts to travel without having previously paid.....and with intent to avoid payment......etc...

Jumping over a wall / gate is clearly not a Penalty Fare matter.....possibly an RRA offence if intent to travel without paying can be proved, but more likely a Byelaw offence if it were to be pursued at all.

I'm intrigued as to the reason given on the PF and who issued it. Is the Police officer also an Authorised Person?
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Even barriers are not foolproof, I recently saw four 'chav types' exiting Bromley South recently, one opened the barrier with his oyster and held it open for his three accomplices:oops:


Absolutely right, but marginally better than no controls at all for the majority of the time
 
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Solent&Wessex

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Penalty fares were originally introduced as a deterrent to people who would only pay when challenged to do so. It's arguable how effective they have been at meeting this objective, but if people were only charged an excess to what they should have paid originally, what incentive is there for them to pay the correct fare in the first place?

While there are certainly flaws in the system, and definitely areas where the way PF's are issued can be improved, in my view deliberate attempts to avoid payment should lead to consideration for prosecution.

One of the problems with Penalty Fares is that they are NOT a deterrent to the people who only pay when challenged (or really anybody else for that matter) - principally because they are so cheap. When introduced in 1989 (?) they were £10. Now, some 25 years later it is only £20. In most cases the penalty fare will be that £20, and not "twice the single fare" as you will, in most cases get caught a) at a station barrier where nobody can prove the station from whence you came, and hence you get the flat £20; or b) you get caught between two stations where "twice the single fare" is similar or less than £20 anyway.

I recall the BBC Midlands Today clip earlier this year when London Midland tried to clamp down on Cross City Line fare evasion and at least 1 chap openly said on camera that he never pays as it is cheaper to just pay the £20 on the odd occasion that the inspectors are ever seen.

It could be argued that to discourage real fare evasion what you need is two levels of penalty fare.

Tier 1 is for what everyone here terms "genuine mistakes" - no railcard for example. This would be something simple such as enforcing the NRCoC - pay a full fare ticket again or £20, whichever is greater.

Tier 2 at a higher level would be for people who have no ticket when they have had the chance to pay for one. This would be higher, perhaps at the Manchester Metrolink level of £80 - £100.
 

najaB

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Tier 1 is for what everyone here terms "genuine mistakes" - no railcard for example. This would be something simple such as enforcing the NRCoC - pay a full fare ticket again or £20, whichever is greater.

Tier 2 at a higher level would be for people who have no ticket when they have had the chance to pay for one. This would be higher, perhaps at the Manchester Metrolink level of £80 - £100.
I don't know if you saw this thread?
 

Flamingo

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PF's are only a realistic deterrent if there is a realistic chance they are going to be enforced...
 

Fare-Cop

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One of the problems with Penalty Fares is that they are NOT a deterrent to the people who only pay when challenged (or really anybody else for that matter) - principally because they are so cheap. When introduced in 1989 (?) they were £10. Now, some 25 years later it is only £20. In most cases the penalty fare will be that £20, and not "twice the single fare" as you will, in most cases get caught a) at a station barrier where nobody can prove the station from whence you came, and hence you get the flat £20; or b) you get caught between two stations where "twice the single fare" is similar or less than £20 anyway.

I recall the BBC Midlands Today clip earlier this year when London Midland tried to clamp down on Cross City Line fare evasion and at least 1 chap openly said on camera that he never pays as it is cheaper to just pay the £20 on the odd occasion that the inspectors are ever seen.

It could be argued that to discourage real fare evasion what you need is two levels of penalty fare.

Tier 1 is for what everyone here terms "genuine mistakes" - no railcard for example. This would be something simple such as enforcing the NRCoC - pay a full fare ticket again or £20, whichever is greater.

Tier 2 at a higher level would be for people who have no ticket when they have had the chance to pay for one. This would be higher, perhaps at the Manchester Metrolink level of £80 - £100.

I agree,

I was an NSE RPI well before the introduction of PFs and we could all see even back then, that although better than nothing, combined with barrier gates that protect only the minimum fare to the next stop and for dealing with ticketless travel on short-hop commuter journeys, PFs were nothing more than a sticking-plaster on a growing boil.

Combine your two-tier PFs with robust prosecution of intentional fare evasion cases and have a crack at lancing it!!
 

NSEFAN

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Being pragmatic, a penalty fare was probably easier and more profitable for the company than a prosecution, even if this is an abuse of the PF system.
 

Solent&Wessex

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I don't know if you saw this thread?

I did at the time, but had forgotten about it. There seems no further developments 1 year on.

Having said that there was talk of a revised NRCoC being published soon (it got raised in the "get cash instead of travel vouchers" discussion), so something could appear at the same time?
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Being pragmatic, a penalty fare was probably easier and more profitable for the company than a prosecution, even if this is an abuse of the PF system.

Which is probably why we hear about them getting used so often when they probably ought not to be.
 

Flamingo

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Penalty Fares are, in practice, used as a method to dispose of fare evasion offences rather than going through the hassle and time of going to court. This is in the same way that Fixed Penalty Notices and Police Cautions are used (and have much the same deterrent effect - the hard-core offenders view them as no more than an occupational hazard).

Is there any alternative that does not require an investment of time or money? And without these, it is not going to work. At least Northerns £80 goes some way towards covering the costs involved.
 

35B

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PF's are only a realistic deterrent if there is a realistic chance they are going to be enforced...
Criminal sanctions are only realistic deterrents if there is a realistic chance offenders will be (a) caught and (b) be pursued.
 

furlong

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Penalty Fares are, in practice, used as a method to dispose of fare evasion offences rather than going through the hassle and time of going to court.

Good to hear this is still working as anticipated during the Parliamentary debates:

One of the social benefits of this Bill is that it will take most ticketless travel outside the scope of the criminal law and will free the hard-pressed magistrates' courts to deal with other serious business.
 

jon0844

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Clearly people think it worth taking the risk, and I am a firm believer in increasing the PF rate - or having two tiers as mentioned. But at the same time, sometimes a prosecution is the only course of action.

Last week on an all-stations train to Moorgate, a lone RPI started doing checks around New Barnet and the second person he got to had an Oyster with a bus and tram season on it, and claimed he thought he was on a tram! After arguing, and being quite aggressive, he was told to get off at the next station.

He didn't, and the RPI came back and once again said he didn't have a valid ticket and to get off. He didn't. He was asked if he had any means to pay for a ticket and he said no.

It continued until the guy said he'd get off at the next stop (Alexandra Palace) and did so, turning around to say 'Ha, this was my stop anyway' as cocky as you like.

The RPI then moved on to another lady who had a Z1-2 season on Oyster and was told she was outside the zones and hadn't touched in. She said she didn't know (know what, that you touch in or that you're beyond zone 2?), and was told that it was up to her to know. She then went all apologetic and said she'd never realised despite travelling up from south London regularly.

She was then taken off the train at Finsbury Park and given a penalty fare. I assume she knew damn well not to touch in/out and get charged for being beyond zone 2.

I am not sure why the first guy was let off entirely, and the second got just a PF for what seemed like clear fare evasion. The sort of thing that with an admission of regular travel got a banker landed with a very hefty settlement!

What surprises me is that in both cases, the RPI asked questions that saw each person make admissions that should lead to different action. One with no money, the other making regular trips.
 
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furlong

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Clearly people think it worth taking the risk, and I am a firm believer in increasing the PF rate

An increase is long-overdue, but I can imagine why this might be easier said than done.

I am not sure why the first guy was let off entirely

and the second got just a PF for what seemed like clear fare evasion

Issuing a PF on the spot offers a quick and simple (and perfectly correct) way to deal with the matter in hand and does not preclude the subsequent examination of Oyster card records in the safety of an office later with a view to taking further action if appropriate. Both might, or might not, receive letters asking them to explain their travel records.
 
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Antman

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Clearly people think it worth taking the risk, and I am a firm believer in increasing the PF rate - or having two tiers as mentioned. But at the same time, sometimes a prosecution is the only course of action.

Last week on an all-stations train to Moorgate, a lone RPI started doing checks around New Barnet and the second person he got to had an Oyster with a bus and tram season on it, and claimed he thought he was on a tram! After arguing, and being quite aggressive, he was told to get off at the next station.

He didn't, and the RPI came back and once again said he didn't have a valid ticket and to get off. He didn't. He was asked if he had any means to pay for a ticket and he said no.

It continued until the guy said he'd get off at the next stop (Alexandra Palace) and did so, turning around to say 'Ha, this was my stop anyway' as cocky as you like.

The RPI then moved on to another lady who had a Z1-2 season on Oyster and was told she was outside the zones and hadn't touched in. She said she didn't know (know what, that you touch in or that you're beyond zone 2?), and was told that it was up to her to know. She then went all apologetic and said she'd never realised despite travelling up from south London regularly.

She was then taken off the train at Finsbury Park and given a penalty fare. I assume she knew damn well not to touch in/out and get charged for being beyond zone 2.

I am not sure why the first guy was let off entirely, and the second got just a PF for what seemed like clear fare evasion. The sort of thing that with an admission of regular travel got a banker landed with a very hefty settlement!

What surprises me is that in both cases, the RPI asked questions that saw each person make admissions that should lead to different action. One with no money, the other making regular trips.

He thought the train was a tram? I haven't heard that one before:D

Quite possibly Ally Pally wasn't his stop and he was just saying that to save face but I have seen similar arguments on many occasions with people claiming they didn't know that they had to validate their oyster before boarding etc etc
 
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LexyBoy

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Even barriers are not foolproof, I recently saw four 'chav types' exiting Bromley South recently, one opened the barrier with his oyster and held it open for his three accomplices:oops:

Someone was very obviously trying to double up behind people entering at Reading the other day, which the gateline assistant clearly saw and had words with, to which said scrote got aggressive so BTP was called over. The BTP officer did indeed get rid of him, but basically just told him to go over to the other gateline!

Surely with BTP presence it would be better to let him through, follow him onto a train and then nobble him. This was the middle of the day so not too many drunken brawls to take up their time.
 

Flamingo

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Someone was very obviously trying to double up behind people entering at Reading the other day, which the gateline assistant clearly saw and had words with, to which said scrote got aggressive so BTP was called over. The BTP officer did indeed get rid of him, but basically just told him to go over to the other gateline!

Surely with BTP presence it would be better to let him through, follow him onto a train and then nobble him. This was the middle of the day so not too many drunken brawls to take up their time.

It's called crime prevention...
 
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