FCC Penalty Charge - False Name

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Flamingo

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I have just caught up with this topic, and most interesting it is too!

I don't think anyone is really arguing that the people that have no intention of paying the correct fare should get away with it. For what it's worth, I would prefer to have the rules strictly but failry enforced, but with a similar scheme to the one suggested by Jon so that the occasional mistake by honest and genuine passengers can be forgiven, rather than penalised.

Discretion is all very well, but as cuccir has already pointed out, it does lead to subconscious discrimination. I have seen this and been guilty of this myself, it's only human nature. It also leads to the inconsistencies that make life difficult for other members of staff who try and enforce the same rules.

Flamingo, no one is taking issue with you personally. It's good to have input from people who have tod eal with these sorts of issues every working day!
It's OK, I'm not taking it personally :D (although reading my last post, it seems that I am - I'll have to word them better).

Funny, the only thing that does push my buttons is when (usually drunks being removed from First Class) say "I'll have you fired", or "You won't have a job by the time my solicitors have finished with you". If I ever do get done for twatting someone with my Bardic, they'll probably have said that to me. :-x
 
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Greenback

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Good. I have enjoyed your posts in this and other threads, they are invariably thought provoking and honest!

If I was a judge, I'd accept your stated defence of justifiable provocation in the event you were done!
 

blacknight

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Hence the PF concept

£20 or 2xthe full fare; whichever is greater
PF concept to deter ticketless travel is fine but is forgeting your railcard whether you are 81year old granny or 18year old youth, is forgeting your railcard really ticketless travel? As part payment as been made for journey.
Many years ago we were taught to excess the ticket being held to recover discounted part of the fare being owed.
This system was fair to both passenger & train operator alike as "fine" for forgeting railcard was proportional to the "crime" something modern TOC,s seem to have forgot.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
So what exactly do posters want me as a guard to do?
1. Use discretion and excess up the ticket, allowing for what has been paid
2. Allow for human error and not charge them at all
3. Charge the full open as per the regulations in every care?

Please say either 1, 2, or 3.

No but's or maybe's.
Option 1 everytime Thank You as by doing this you are recovering debt owed to company if they then refuse that option issue PF/UFN for open single.
 
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jon0844

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There's also a difference between someone having bought a ticket in advance and then forgetting their railcard, or losing the railcard after the start of travel, than buying a discounted ticket with the knowledge that you haven't got your railcard.

If you've forgotten your railcard, or lost it before, you must pay the full price - and seek to find or get a new railcard.

The problem is that rail staff can't know the exact circumstances, and given the scope for fraud, must be consistent. Showing discretion would mean young males being treated as fare evaders, while old ladies or girls fluttering their eyelids and flirting (or, indeed, crying as I've seen done - with rapid recoveries and smirks afterwards) would be let off.
 

RJ

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Yes, but why can't someone who has mislaid their railcard then get a refund in the same way that is allowed for season ticket holders?
If you don't hold your railcard, you're not entitled to use a railcard discounted ticket. Once again a case of a simple rule being made complicated by people who've agreed to abide by it then not done so.
 

jon0844

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If you don't hold your railcard, you're not entitled to use a railcard discounted ticket. Once again a case of a simple rule being made complicated by people who've agreed to abide by it then not done so.
Precisely, but someone who has/had their railcard and then loses it in transit (or simply can't find it when they're asked to produce it) could make a subsequent claim with my idea - and not have to bother the rail staff that issue the penalty who can quickly move on. Why should the staff member need to hang around while someone checks every pocket and every orifice (!) for the ticket - when that person didn't think to treat it with more care (like money), or might simply look like someone who hopes the guard will say 'Sod it, I believe you'.

If you knew you didn't have your card, you could in theory try it on knowing you can claim later - except the admin fee and the hassle of getting everything together would probably put you off. Still, you are asked to show the railcard when buying your ticket, and if a TVM had a warning screen to remind you the ticket is ONLY valid with the railcard, then that might just put people off.

A proper solution requires a couple of things to be done, but it would hopefully stop this being an issue in the future and cost very little to implement, with the possibility of their being some additional revenue for the TOCs. A claim should be open and shut, unlike other appeals, so £10 is more than sufficient given it should take no more than a few minutes to authorise.
 

tony_mac

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but why should they bother?
isn't it simpler and more profitable for the train companies to just stick to the rules they have and charge for a new ticket?

While it might be nice, changes like that just aren't going to happen anytime soon; there is no real competition that might force change, and they are looking to save money, not be nice to customers.

If passengers don't like it then 'the bus stop is just down the road..' ;)
 

Wolfie

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but why should they bother?
isn't it simpler and more profitable for the train companies to just stick to the rules they have and charge for a new ticket?

While it might be nice, changes like that just aren't going to happen anytime soon; there is no real competition that might force change, and they are looking to save money, not be nice to customers.

If passengers don't like it then 'the bus stop is just down the road..' ;)
Tony

Absolutely - and how likely is it that that passenger would then vote for the firts party that said "too much money being spent on the railways, close then down"!<D No money for the greedy TOCs then!<(
 

jon0844

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but why should they bother?
isn't it simpler and more profitable for the train companies to just stick to the rules they have and charge for a new ticket?

While it might be nice, changes like that just aren't going to happen anytime soon; there is no real competition that might force change, and they are looking to save money, not be nice to customers.

If passengers don't like it then 'the bus stop is just down the road..' ;)
You are right (sadly), but that's still NOT the answer!

Competition should, in theory, encourage TOCs to offer the best service - but the problem is that competition on the railway often means you have to move to change the service you use!

In view of the lack of real competition, we need the Government to step up and improve things. To be fair to some companies; I think they would offer a better service if they knew everyone else had to as well.
 

Tom B

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There's also a difference between someone having bought a ticket in advance and then forgetting their railcard, or losing the railcard after the start of travel, than buying a discounted ticket with the knowledge that you haven't got your railcard.
Exactly; the attitude of some on here is classic of that I find from the transport industry - "we run to suit ourselves, and if passengers wish to travel they'll just have to fit in around what we want to do"

The problem is that rail staff can't know the exact circumstances, and given the scope for fraud, must be consistent. Showing discretion would mean young males being treated as fare evaders, while old ladies or girls fluttering their eyelids and flirting (or, indeed, crying as I've seen done - with rapid recoveries and smirks afterwards) would be let off.
I've known young ladies to boast about travelling for free by virtue of their low cut top...
 

jon0844

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I guess it's true that if you've got it, flaunt it.

Men no doubt get away with things over women in other ways so it all balances out - and the fact is, there will always be differences between different sexes, races, ages.. and that's why discretion is always going to be a problem to apply fairly.
 

PhilipW

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There is an excellent article in the current edition of 'Rail' (No 658) by Barry Doe entitled 'We're not potential criminals - we're your customers' (pages 54-55).

Well worth a read if you have a copy.

Anyone who accidentily forgets their Railcard is not a criminal and should not be treated like one by TOCs. We are all human and we all make mistakes. I am surprised by the tone of many of the replies in this thread which seem to endorse the views of TOCS that a simple human mistake means like you have to be treated like a criminal. I find this view totally apalling.

If you don't have your Railcrad with you, I think that any good customer service based
company should
a) make you pay the difference upto the full fare (not the full fare itself).
b) offer a refund if you subsequently go to a station with your Railcard.

Waitrose, Tesco, John Lewis, Marks and Spencer, etc etc. How would they treat their customers if they make a mistake.
.... like TOCs ? I think not
 

Ferret

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There is an excellent article in the current edition of 'Rail' (No 658) by Barry Doe entitled 'We're not potential criminals - we're your customers' (pages 54-55).

Well worth a read if you have a copy.

Anyone who accidentily forgets their Railcard is not a criminal and should not be treated like one by TOCs. We are all human and we all make mistakes. I am surprised by the tone of many of the replies in this thread which seem to endorse the views of TOCS that a simple human mistake means like you have to be treated like a criminal. I find this view totally apalling.

If you don't have your Railcrad with you, I think that any good customer service based
company should
a) make you pay the difference upto the full fare (not the full fare itself).
b) offer a refund if you subsequently go to a station with your Railcard.

Waitrose, Tesco, John Lewis, Marks and Spencer, etc etc. How would they treat their customers if they make a mistake.
.... like TOCs ? I think not
This is getting tiresome, and so nice to see Barry Doe yet again writing nonsense. Nobody is saying they are a criminal by forgetting their railcard. It's just that they happen to have agreed to abide by a contractual term, and then failed to do so. The contract also provides for the remedy in such an event - that contract is then frustrated and a new contract must be entered into. And let's face it, the same customer would cry foul if the TOC failed to abide by their obligations in a contract (and rightly so).

PhilipW, with all due respect, the system you've proposed is just wide open to fraud and it aint gonna happen.
 

jon0844

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A penalty fare does not make you a criminal. If you were taken to court, that would be totally different and unfair.
 

Dreadnought

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Waitrose, Tesco, John Lewis, Marks and Spencer, etc etc. How would they treat their customers if they make a mistake.
.... like TOCs ? I think not
If you accidentally didn't put items of shopping though for payment, walked out the shop and were caught, don't stores then try and have you prosecuted for shoplifting?
 

Flamingo

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The one obvious problem with the claim a refund afterwards model is how do you ensure that the refund is not being claimed by someone who is not the passenger and just happens to have a railcard?

I'm interested to know how to get around that.

Also, please don't give me the "it's good customer services, M&S don't treat their customers like that" argument.

The bottom line is that my TOC (I'm not talking for any other) spends a lot of time and money in training staff in Customer Service.

I consider part of that customer service as ensuring that all passengers have paid the correct fare for the journey they are making. It's poor customer service to make the law abiding pay more than those who decide "You have to try it on". Rail travel is a two way contract. Nobody is forced onto a train. I will stand by this statement. There are alternatives, be they bus, car, walk, or not travel at all.

Please consider, when a train is over a certain length of time late, the TOC will refund the passenger, as the railway has not complied with it's side of the bargain. If a passenger is unable to finish their journey within a certain time-scale, or because a train is unable to run within a certain time-scale or last connections are missed, then the railway will taxi the passenger at no extra charge to them, even if it means someone on a £12 Advanced ticket making a taxi journey that costs the TOC over £100. (Ryanair would just give them back the £12 and say you are on your own). These are things the railway does which it has to as part of their contract. I believe that it is right that they do.

The contract with rail-cards is that to have the discount, the rail-card has to be carried. If it is not carried, then the passenger is liable for a new ticket. That is the agreement. If anyone considers it unfair, it's easy, don't buy railcard discounted tickets.

I'll see up to a thousand plus intercity tickets every day. I'll sell maybe two dozen, of which about 10-15 may be because of ticket irregularities. I think that this goes some way to proving that the vast majority of people manage to travel on the correct ticket, despite our supposedly "complicated" system - Why is this is never mentioned by posters who say the system is unfair?
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
By the way, my personal view is that incorrect Advanced and missing rail-card tickets found on-train should be excessed up to the ticket that is valid for that train, and an automatic £10 supplement per ticket added as their "learning curve".

If a UPFN has to be issued, then for the full amount.

However, that's not the rules with them.
 

MikeWh

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This is getting tiresome, and so nice to see Barry Doe yet again writing nonsense. Nobody is saying they are a criminal by forgetting their railcard. It's just that they happen to have agreed to abide by a contractual term, and then failed to do so. The contract also provides for the remedy in such an event - that contract is then frustrated and a new contract must be entered into. And let's face it, the same customer would cry foul if the TOC failed to abide by their obligations in a contract (and rightly so).

PhilipW, with all due respect, the system you've proposed is just wide open to fraud and it aint gonna happen.
Ferret, with all due respect, Barry is recounting a story told to him by a reader whose daughter was told that "she was 'lucky' that it wasn't a penalty, and that she had committed a criminal offence". Obviously this is third hand, but can you be certain that she wasn't being dealt with by an RPI who decided to lay it on. Furthermore, the next day she went to a station and the clerk again told her she'd committed an offence.

And, rather than just dismissing the proposed system as wide open to fraud, is there no way of making it work? At risk of repeating things that have already been said, the passenger would need to take the railcard, the discounted tickets, the additional tickets (which could have a special code like MRC on them), and some form of ID to a station who would record the number of the railcard and send the details to a central office to process. The refund would only be made, by post, if the cardholder had not already received two or three previous similar refunds. The additional tickets could even be printed with the person's name which then has to match the name on the railcard. There may be some hole in this system, but I'd suggest that it isn't wide open to fraud.
 

Ferret

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Ferret, with all due respect, Barry is recounting a story told to him by a reader whose daughter was told that "she was 'lucky' that it wasn't a penalty, and that she had committed a criminal offence". Obviously this is third hand, but can you be certain that she wasn't being dealt with by an RPI who decided to lay it on. Furthermore, the next day she went to a station and the clerk again told her she'd committed an offence.
On a technicality, byelaw 18 (1) is relevant :

In any area not designated as a compulsory ticket area, no person shall enter any train for the purpose of travelling on the railway unless he has with him a valid ticket entitling him to travel.

Of course, I agree that taking that literally applying that to those circumstances is harsh.
 

MikeWh

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This is getting tiresome, and so nice to see Barry Doe yet again writing nonsense. Nobody is saying they are a criminal by forgetting their railcard. It's just that they happen to have agreed to abide by a contractual term, and then failed to do so. The contract also provides for the remedy in such an event - that contract is then frustrated and a new contract must be entered into. And let's face it, the same customer would cry foul if the TOC failed to abide by their obligations in a contract (and rightly so).

PhilipW, with all due respect, the system you've proposed is just wide open to fraud and it aint gonna happen.
On a technicality, byelaw 18 (1) is relevant :

In any area not designated as a compulsory ticket area, no person shall enter any train for the purpose of travelling on the railway unless he has with him a valid ticket entitling him to travel.

Of course, I agree that taking that literally applying that to those circumstances is harsh.
So, assuming breaking a byelaw is a criminal offence, are you saying that forgetting a railcard (or specifically travelling without one when you thought you had it with you) is a criminal offence or not? Thus, is Barry Doe really writing nonsense?
 

Ferret

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So, assuming breaking a byelaw is a criminal offence, are you saying that forgetting a railcard (or specifically travelling without one when you thought you had it with you) is a criminal offence or not? Thus, is Barry Doe really writing nonsense?
Barry Doe often writes rubbish. It's what sells a certain magazine. I say he's writing rubbish on this occasion because he is taking the 'big bad TOCs' attitude without actually even trying to see the other side of the coin. I'm of the opinion that at times, his standard of journalism is appalling (though I will concede at other times he's very good).

In answer to your other question - when was the last time a TOC prosecuted somebody for failing to have a railcard? On a technicality, you could argue it's an offence under that byelaw - it's just that I've yet to see any TOC actually put it like that. Then again, if I think about it logically, the point at which you commit the offence under byelaw 18 (1) is when you don't purchase a new ticket from the Guard when requested to do so...
 
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DaveNewcastle

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The one obvious problem with the claim a refund afterwards model is how do you ensure that the refund is not being claimed by someone who is not the passenger and just happens to have a railcard?

I'm interested to know how to get around that.
That's a good question, but in very many cases, I think there might be a satisfactory answer . . . .
Fisrtly, the refund would only be appropriate if the person applying could present:
a) the original discounted ticket, stating the journey details, the type of RailCard, the time and date of purchase (being before travel), and very possibly their name (if bought on a Credit Card account), UN-stamped/gripped;
b) the full open ticket as bought onboard for exactly the same journey, stamped/gripped
c) the Railcard (whose type and whose named holder both match the ticket in a) (if the name appeared on the ticket).

Its not fool-proof, but it does confirm most of the details which an opportunist fare-dodger trying it on after the event would be unlikely to achieve.
The only additional requirement imposed on on-board staff appears to be the reminder not to finish the journey by putting their new, second, ticket in a barrier machine which will not return it.
Does that work?
 

jon0844

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The only additional requirement imposed on on-board staff appears to be the reminder not to finish the journey by putting their new, second, ticket in a barrier machine which will not return it.
Actually, I think they'd make sure to tell staff to 'forget' to say that bit!!
 

DaveNewcastle

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. . . they'd make sure to tell staff to 'forget' to say that bit!!
Now then, let's not start this line of argument here!

There are fundamental flaws with the dual nature of 'the ticket' as both a receipt for a pre-payment in a contract and also as a permit to be conveyed by specific or unspecified train(s).
But that's an issue for another thread, (However, if this issue was properly addressed could remove a few of the other difficult situations faced by staff and passengers, including this one).
 

Wolfie

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Please consider, when a train is over a certain length of time late, the TOC will refund the passenger, as the railway has not complied with it's side of the bargain. If a passenger is unable to finish their journey within a certain time-scale, or because a train is unable to run within a certain time-scale or last connections are missed, then the railway will taxi the passenger at no extra charge to them, even if it means someone on a £12 Advanced ticket making a taxi journey that costs the TOC over £100. (Ryanair would just give them back the £12 and say you are on your own). These are things the railway does which it has to as part of their contract. I believe that it is right that they do.
My bold and italics

Utterly and completely wrong - ever heard of EC Regulation 261/2004. This is EU legislation which forces airlines to get customers to their destinations and if necessary to prvide board and lodging until they do. It is correct to say that Ryanair (and most if not all other airlines) absolutely hate this legislation but, under threat of prosecution from Europe, they lived up to it (truthfully providing as little as they could get away with) during the volcano crisis earlier this year.

TOCs only provide taxis etc because they are forced to, not out of goodwill. Do not attempt to make them much more altruistic than they are!
 

scotsman

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May I point out that if you go to a petrol station, fill your car with fuel and discover you don't have enough to pay - they issue you with the equivilant to an UPFN, they don't charge you £20 extra...
 

LexyBoy

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By the way, my personal view is that incorrect Advanced and missing rail-card tickets found on-train should be excessed up to the ticket that is valid for that train, and an automatic £10 supplement per ticket added as their "learning curve".

If a UPFN has to be issued, then for the full amount.

However, that's not the rules with them.
This sounds very sensible and is what I would like to see too. (Well, ideally the idea of paying up and claiming back, but I can't see it happening with the extra admin required). Except in urban (usually PF) areas, tickets should be checked on most journeys so the £10 penalty should be enough to stop people chancing it.

IMHO the current system of only issuing full-price SOS tickets is way too harsh, especially on leisure travellers. Imagine someone travelling London-Manchester on a discounted Saver. Their ticket cost £44, but on-board they find they don't have their railcard. So, do they pay the extra £22, or have to buy a new, non-discounted ticket at £66? No, they're fined* a massive £131. And then still have to shell out £66 for a new ticket to get back**.

* I use 'fine' as in general usage, rather than the legalistic term. Paying such a large amount for effectively no extra service would be seen as a fine by most folk.
** Since most people don't know about excessing tickets.
 

jon0844

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As another option, how about charging a fixed penalty plus a multiple of the ticket - as a separate penalty to the normal PF.

Say you get charged twice the amount of the discounted ticket, plus a fixed rate penalty on top - say £10 or £20 for failing to present the railcard. Details are taken with a view to taking further action if the passenger is caught multiple times (3 'strikes' should do it).

This could be considered fairer than charging hundreds of pounds for an open walk-on ticket... and, as with my other suggestion, TVMs should be made to emphasise the potential surcharge for not having the railcard in your possession at the time of buying a ticket (and obviously, when buying from staff, they will ask to see your card or warn you as necessary).

I still prefer my appeal/admin charge idea, but this would be easier and enable rail staff to impose a standard 'punishment' that is perhaps fairer than what we have now, some people getting let off, some being excessed and others 'ripped' off.
 

Stigy

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In answer to your other question - when was the last time a TOC prosecuted somebody for failing to have a railcard? On a technicality, you could argue it's an offence under that byelaw - it's just that I've yet to see any TOC actually put it like that. Then again, if I think about it logically, the point at which you commit the offence under byelaw 18 (1) is when you don't purchase a new ticket from the Guard when requested to do so...
Indeed, although there really should be a byelaw specific to discounted tickets in my opinion. People have been prosecuted for such an offence, quite recently. Unfortunately, it's an offence. Full stop. Although discretion can obviously be used, if reported for this offence you'd have a hard job using the defence that you had your YP card when you bought the ticket, because how many people actually check this? With some clever questioning, the RPI would probablt be able to ascertain that the passenger didn't check that they were in posessiuon of their YP card when they bought the ticket, so could quite have easily left it at home, as opposed to lost it after buying their ticket.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
May I point out that if you go to a petrol station, fill your car with fuel and discover you don't have enough to pay - they issue you with the equivilant to an UPFN, they don't charge you £20 extra...
I'd imagine it has alot to do with the type of offence. The offence of theft of the petrol only comes in to play if you drive off without paying, or without going to the counter to at least explain yourself. They only issue their equivalent of a UFN because it's a civil offence and the Police wouldn't be interested. With a UFN, if it goes unpaid then the offender is punishable under the byelaws for not getting a ticket or having a valid one, and can go to a Magistrate's Court, as it's criminal. The best they'll be able to do, if they can be bothered, is a small claims court or county court I'd imagine, as it's civil.

I guess they use the byelaws on the railway as an excuse sometimes?
 

Flamingo

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TOCs only provide taxis etc because they are forced to, not out of goodwill
That is exactly my point!

TOC's provide them as they they are contractually obliged to.

What a lot of passengers forget or ignore is that a contract is a two way thing. Too many people think that it only applies to what the TOC's are supposed to do, and go on about the "nasty rail companies" when they are forced to stick to their side of the contract, be it travel at a certain time, bring certain documentation with them, or only board or alight at certain stations.

It's a contract that is entered into willingly by a passenger who gets on a train. There are alternatives to rail travel, the fact that they might not be as convenient is neither here nor there.

ever heard of EC Regulation 261/2004. This is EU legislation which forces airlines to get customers to their destinations and if necessary to prvide board and lodging until they do.
Without getting into an argument about Ryanair (their passengers can fight their own battles, as can Michael O'Leary), the Ryanair T&C state
If your flight is cancelled or before the date of travel, is rescheduled so as to depart more than three hours before or after the original departure time then you will be entitled to a full refund of all monies paid if the alternative flight/s offered are not suitable to you and you do not travel.
 
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