FCC Penalty Charge - False Name

Discussion in 'Fares Advice & Policy' started by tired.traveler, 28 Nov 2010.

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  1. blacknight

    blacknight Member

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    The "rule" may state treat as if no ticket is held but differing TOC's policies vary on enforcement of the rule, certainly the well known state operated franchise policy will excess ticket if passenger as misplaced their railcard.
    Reason for not excessing is maybe lack of training of staff & cost of issuing a mobile ticket issuing machine to every RPI when cost of a yellow jacket & a book of UFN is by far the cheaper option.
     
  2. Ferret

    Ferret Established Member

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    No, the reason *for* excessing is a lack of training of staff. The relevant conditions on this are quite clear - under normal circumstances, no Y-P on the train equals new ticket.
     
  3. DaveNewcastle

    DaveNewcastle Established Member Fares Advisor

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    Just to be quite clear, my enquiry about the option of Excessing a discounted ticket (when the supporting Railcard was not presented) was a general enquiry about all and any Railcard, not just a YPR.
    (I don't think the OP has clarified which RailCard (s)he holds either).
     
  4. Ferret

    Ferret Established Member

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    Yeah, I understood your post Dave! I should say that the same applies to DSB, SNR, FAM etc!
     
  5. jon0844

    jon0844 Veteran Member

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    I don't believe anyone should excess as it encourages fraud by people trying it on. I think my system that everyone is made to buy a new ticket, on the basis that it does not discriminate between the innocent and the fraudster, is fair.

    The honest person, who made the mistake in the first place and is therefore liable to be treated as if they had no ticket, now has a means of getting some (or all) of the money back later - depending on whether there's an admin fee or not (I'd suggest there is a fee, or else you could just ask someone with a railcard to get refunds for you).

    The person trying it on now has to pretend that they forgot it and pay the new price, on the basis they're going to be fine if they appeal within 28 days, but know that they're screwed.

    The TM/RPI no longer needs to care who is telling the truth, and can just treat everyone the same (which is polite, but firm, not rude, arrogant and condescending). This also means there's no need for anyone to be embarrassed, as you'll know you're telling the truth and the TM/RPI has no reason to doubt you - they won't care.

    The T&Cs for the railcard could explain how to make such a claim, with a note to say that you can only do x times in any year. Your railcard number should be logged to prevent multiple claims. If this is possible, you could then remove the admin fee as it stops one person acting to do multiple refunds for friends and family who will try it on all the time.

    Any system must look at how people will seek to abuse it, and I accept that staff must assume everyone is trying it on - as so many people are. However, I have no doubt that you can then create systems to make it as easy as possible to help those who made an innocent mistake once or twice.
     
  6. Stigy

    Stigy Established Member

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    Yes the TOC earns easy money out of PFs, of course they do, but it does deter people from boarding trains without tickets. As I say to everybody, PFs are not meant for fare evaders. They are prosecuted, simple as that. Most times a TOC goes to court they win, so the cost of prosecuting people shouldn't really come in to it. If there's any doubt that they'll lose a case, chances are they won't even bother prosecuting and will settle out of court. Bear in mind the type of case they're ever likely to lose, will be with somebody that's certainly got the means to settle administratively!

    As I said, how does one diferentiate between what's a genuine mistake and what's not? I've seen and reported all sorts of people for fare avasion, alot of whom wouldn't cough to their intent initially. Genuine mistake or not, an offence has been committed, and the PF is better than a report to the prosecutions team, surely? Yes you can sell a ticket until the cows come home, but most people know the score, and if they don't use the train too often, then the dreaded 'D' word can always be used, can it not?
     
  7. Ferret

    Ferret Established Member

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    It's a laudable idea Jon - but too much cost for the TOCs in terms of admin. Of course, the sensible solution would be for people to just bring their railcards............
     
  8. 90019

    90019 Established Member

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    So you agree that they are not there for evaders but merely to penalise people who have made a mistake?
     
  9. jon0844

    jon0844 Veteran Member

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    Indeed, but this is why I suggested an admin fee. We all know admin fees more than cover the actual cost, so it's actually another form of revenue.

    Of course remembering the card is the best solution, but I can accept that there are people who genuinely forget. Now, they must then buy a full price ticket (and if they realise they forgot before buying a ticket, there's no excuse at all) but isn't it a good idea (even if just from a PR perspective) to help the passenger out?

    It may well be that some people won't bother to claim, but that will then have been their choice.

    All in all, it becomes a win for the railway and actually helps the industry in the long run. I'd even go as far to say that railway staff would face less abuse, as a lot of people probably kick off because they're trying to save face after having been caught. If they're treated on the basis that there is an easy way to claim, the evader can't really argue much more - without making it obvious they're lying. So they'll probably shut up and accept - and hide the fact that they know they can't claim.

    I do wish that more TOCs would stop issuing PFs because they're easy and refer more people to court. If they nearly always win, why wouldn't they do this? Some people happily pay a PF when caught once in a blue moon, but a criminal record could be a far more effective deterrent.
     
  10. Ferret

    Ferret Established Member

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    What would the Admin fee be though - and how would you get all the TOCs to cooperate?

    In which case, they must face the consequences - as clearly laid down in the CoC etc. If I turn up at Heathrow sans passport, there's no 'I made a genuine mistake, please let me travel' is there?!

    Quite. The one that really winds me up is the one regarding an adult travelling on a child ticket - apparently this gets you a PF! Whaaaaat?! Anyone caught doing that is guilty of blatant fare evasion and can expect to be mentioned in a TIR as far as I'm concerned.
     
  11. scotsman

    scotsman Established Member

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    I agree! Doing 79mph because you didn't notice the speedo is still illegal!
    Ignorance of the law is no excuse, I'm afraid.
     
  12. jon0844

    jon0844 Veteran Member

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    Wouldn't every TOC want to do this? Wouldn't ATOC make this happen anyway (or else, how would anything get done on the railway)? If there's a £10 fee, that's probably a fair bit of profit for the TOC - and most of the work needs to be done by the person making the claim. Seems like a win win situation, especially if it helps make things easier for the guards/revenue staff.

    I think a passport is a bit different. The passport is needed in its own right, not to support a ticket.

    That's stupid. People trying it on with a child ticket should definitely be going to court.
     
  13. scrapy

    scrapy Established Member

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    Surely this could be open to abuse as all the railcard holder has to do is send in the ticket of an accompanying passenger (non railcard holder) a few times and they would make back he cost of their railcard.
     
  14. Stigy

    Stigy Established Member

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    PFs aren't there for fare evaders, that's what prosecutions are for. PFs are there to keep minor ticket irregularities out of court. It's the same as PNDs (Penalty Notice for Disorder) and FPNs (Fixed Penalty Notice). They serve to keep minor breaches of certain laws out of court. Do they make TOCs and/or local Government money? Yes, but they also free up court time.

    I've seen fare evaders issued PFs time and time again, and it makes me cringe. Why, when the RPA/I calls up IRCAS and is given a string of previous PFs, don't the report the facts? Because it's far easier to issue another PF probably.

    Indeed, ignorance is no defence! ;)
     
  15. jon0844

    jon0844 Veteran Member

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    Each railcard has a number doesn't it, or even the photocard number? I'd impose a limit of 1 or 2 claims per year for that railcard/ID.

    I could technically do the same thing myself; buy a ticket for my wife when she's travelling with me on a season ticket. Then at the end of the day, I go and claim a refund for the ticket on the basis that I'd bought it for myself, having forgot my ticekt that day. Therefore, I believe there's an admin fee on that and/or a limit to the number of times I can do this.
     
  16. cuccir

    cuccir Established Member

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    Jon's idea clearly isn't a full thought-through, tested policy - it's an idea on a message-board! - so there are bound to be "what if's", but the principal is sound. A railcard can be forgotten, dropped en route, can slip down a hole in a bag, left on a ticketing machine etc. Under current rules it is right that people are given PFs for not having them - ignorance or making a mistake is not an excuse, but it is distinct from deliberate fare evasion - but introducing a more flexible system which allows those who make mistakes to be less out of pocket (I'd agree with the admin fee to try and make sure that people do take their railcards with them) as well as easing the situation for staff on the ground would be a good thing from both a PR point of view and, I'd wager, for staff morale too.
     
  17. Ferret

    Ferret Established Member

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    You have to cover wages, paper, postage etc etc. 10 quid doesn;t go very far these days.....

    Same concept though isn't it? A Y-P ticket without a railcard is useless, just as is a plane ticket to New York without a passport!

    Absolutely. A well known young Welsh photographer would do well not to try that one again.......

    It's a tough one for us to prove, if somebody maintains they are 15, then what can we do? But if we are lucky enough to have BTP about, or they're dumb enough to have a driving license at the top of their wallet then the words 'bang to rights' spring to mind!;)
     
  18. jon0844

    jon0844 Veteran Member

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    That's a very good point. It is possible to lose your ticket in a bag or coat (if you have lots of pockets and for some silly reason use a different one to what you normally use) and find it later.

    My idea is only based on existing rules for other tickets/situations, and actually saves a TOC time as there's now a set procedure (with the onus on the passenger to do the work) than having people writing in to make complaints and the need for goodwill gestures, or not, as the case may be.
     
  19. Stigy

    Stigy Established Member

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    I usually trick them in to telling me the truth somehow, and even if the don't cough the truth, a quick call to IRCAS usually finds that the person has had a few PFs, all with different dates of births! Problem is, BTP, or any other Police force, can either only check the electorol role like IRCAS do (although the Police seem to be more up to date...), or the PNC, which would show up as 'no trace' unless they suspect has been arrested or is known to Police in some other way. Also, if they've been arrested, it'll only show their last known address, which coulkd be several years old. If they're known, you could at least get their correct age I suppose, but that's only if they're known.
     
  20. scotsman

    scotsman Established Member

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    This reminds me of the bizarre story of a mate of mine going to school on the train one morning. At the time, this guy was 15, he opened his wallet to show his photocard to go with his child season. That was when the Conductor noticed the driving license in his wallet (a fake ID for booze purchasing as it happens). "What's that?" he was asked, "Oh, it's a fake" "Fair enough"

    Confused?
     
  21. Ferret

    Ferret Established Member

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    Like it! One of my colleagues was telling me yesterday about a dope who asked for a child ticket and then asked 'can I pay by credit card?', short silence while she realised what she'd just said, and then 'oops, I'm so blonde'.

    'No, you're so stupid' came the reply........!:lol:
     
  22. Flamingo

    Flamingo Established Member

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    My favourite was the guy who lost his wallet (in South Wales), came to collect it when it was handed in & PA put out.
    Guard: "Here's your wallet sir, can I see your ticket"
    Pax; "It's in the wallet"
    Guard: "That's a child ticket Sir, and according to your Driving Licence in your wallet with it, you are 18"
    pax: "I've no money"
    Guard: "Wrong, there's a £20 note in the wallet as well".
     
  23. blacknight

    blacknight Member

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    Ay & a shed load of Bad press when some granny on a day out to London is robbed of her weekly pension cos her memory is bit bad & she as forgot her railcard, remember only open fare can be issued onboard.
    Harsh penalty is seen to not proportional to "crime" & therefore unenforceable.
    Main reason TOC favours penalty fare is oftern £20 charge is worth alot more dosh to TOC than excessing a cheapo day return.
     
  24. scotsman

    scotsman Established Member

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    Hence the PF concept

    £20 or 2xthe full fare; whichever is greater
     
  25. MikeWh

    MikeWh Established Member Senior Fares Advisor

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    To make a claim you would have to have both the railcard discounted ticket and the newly issued full price ticket. If they really wanted to make the system work they could print a special code like MRC (missing rail card).
     
  26. jon0844

    jon0844 Veteran Member

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    Yes, and the passenger would have to gather all the bits themselves - i.e. the railcard, photo ID, the old ticket, the new ticket etc.

    The work for the TOC would be minimal. If the passenger couldn't produce everything required, there would be no claim to make. Simple.
     
  27. Tom B

    Tom B Established Member

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    Of course, 70something granny OAP forgets railcard and is fined = a sympathetic article in the local paper about how nasty the railways are. 21 y/o male forgets railcard and is fined = assumed to be some yob trying to get away without paying, ought to be locked up and throw away the key!
     
  28. Flamingo

    Flamingo Established Member

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    Here's an idea. How about when a passenger get's a Railcard Discount on a ticket, they have to carry the railcard with them to show with the ticket to prove they are entitled to the discount. To discourage abuse, if the railcard can't be produced then a new ticket has to be purchased.

    To avoid any misunderstanding, get the passenger to sign something to say that they agree to this condition and understand it, when they are sold the railcard.

    This system would have the advantage to the TOC of being easy and cost efficient to administer, along with having the advantage of being simple and easy for the passenger to understand. No ralicard = new ticket.

    If any passengers feel that it is unfair, then they don't get a railcard and just buy undiscounted tickets. Simple.

    Does anybody think it's worth proposing to ATOC, instead of the present complicated system that is so unfair and difficult to understand? :roll:
     
  29. jon0844

    jon0844 Veteran Member

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    If my system was not to be implemented, I suppose you could just make sure that EVERYONE without exception is told that they failed to show a valid railcard and must pay for an entirely new ticket. And we'd still get all the letters in the paper about that poor 70 year old granny, and the Daily Mail would go mad and use it to slag off the whole industry. But, that would have to be the way it worked - with no goodwill gestures given to people who 'look honest', as that's open to all sorts of abuse (on both sides).

    You could perhaps get a TVM to request the railcard number and have it printed on the ticket. If you didn't have the railcard, you'd not be able to get a discounted ticket in the first place. But, that does mean having a database of valid numbers - and if they're sequential then it's pointless given you could enter anything.

    Failing that, a TVM would make you accept an on-screen warning message that you MUST have your railcard with you or the ticket would be invalid and you'd be liable to a penalty/new ticket. Once accepted, the ticket would be printed with a code somewhere on it to show it was accepted (but, if it wasn't, the TVM would have been unable to issue the ticket).

    The same would apply to ticket extensions, which could then be issued, on the basis that failing to produce the original ticket would instantly open you to prosecution. The authorisation at the TVM would make it near impossible to argue that you weren't aware.

    The industry needs to start playing fair, and with so many T&Cs that are relied on but almost impossible to find out (if you're Joe Public) then TVMs could easily be upgraded to make them clear to every individual.
     
  30. Greenback

    Greenback Emeritus Moderator

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    Inconsistency is a problem. To be fair, more conductors now ask to see railcards than used to be the case, but there is still an element of luck in how people who have forgotten, or lost, their railcard are treated, as has been shown by earlier posts.

    I'd still like to know why a refund scheme is OK for season ticket holders but not for railcard holders. The latter will presumably travel less regularly than the former, so will be more likely to misplace their railcard?
     
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