Fined after falling asleep

Discussion in 'Disputes & Prosecutions' started by doug3fr3sh, 21 Apr 2014.

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  1. doug3fr3sh

    doug3fr3sh New Member

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    Hi Guys,

    Any help of this would be much appreciated, just looking to get some info to see if I could appeal a fine I received in the post.

    First I'll explain what happened. I was travelling from Waterloo to Surbiton on a 1-6 travelcard the morning after the night before, fell asleep and wound up in Guilford. I switched platforms to go back to Surbiton without buying another ticket. At this point I was on the waiting train to go back when the inspector came through and asked to see my ticket. I explained that I only had a travelcard as I had fallen asleep trying to get to Surbiton, I was on a Surbiton bound train so would have thought this seemed believable. So the guy took me off the train and started taking all of my details. He never really explained what the outcome of all of this would be, as I was half asleep I didn't argue and just gave all of my details. After taking all of my details he asked if I had money to buy a ticket so I said yes and went and bought one.

    I understand I was travelling without a ticket but would have thought a bit of leniency would be appropriate given the circumstances and that I wasn't trying to gain anything by it.

    Fast forward a couple of weeks and I have a letter asking for £80 or risk prosecution etc. I probably intend to reply rejecting the fine. I just wanted to check what my chances were going down this route.

    Also shouldn't the guy have offered me a £20 penalty fare on the spot? I would have been fine with paying that. The guy seemed very keen to issue fines and when I got back on the next train seemed to be fining a guy who was waiting on the platform? All a bit odd.

    Anyway any advice would be much appreciated.
     
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  3. yorkie

    yorkie Forum Staff Staff Member Administrator

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    Do you have more information about what you've been issued?

    A ticket inspector can issue a Penalty Fare, but as you say that would be £20 (or double the fare, if higher). A Penalty Fare is a charge when a passenger makes a mistake (in certain circumstances) and there is no accusation of fare evasion.

    A ticket inspector cannot issue a fine though.

    A ticket inspector can, however, note details for the Prosecutions department to decide what action to take.

    Is it a demand for payment to keep the matter out of court? This would be an out of court settlement but some operators choose to call it a term like a "penalty charge". Has this been described as a fine? Only a court can issue a fine.

    More details at RailUK Fares & Ticketing Guide - Section 10 - Disputes
     
  4. tony6499

    tony6499 Member

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    You travelled without a ticket so you have no defence, falling asleep and missing your stop is no excuse.
     
  5. Chapeltom

    Chapeltom Established Member

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    With all due respect, you would expect leniency to be granted in this circumstance. I have fallen asleep on the commute twice and I'm sure I'm not the only one to have done so. I explained to the guard, at the terminus what had happened (only 15 min journey) and that was accepted. Although I do not reside in a penalty fare area, I could have been charged for the journey I didn't intend to make. The embarrassment/hour added onto my day was bad enough.


     
  6. yorkie

    yorkie Forum Staff Staff Member Administrator

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    No defence against what? I'm not sure how this is helpful?
     
  7. island

    island Established Member

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    When you arrived at a station beyond which your ticket was valid, why didn't you go to the ticket office to buy a ticket or ask for permission to be taken back?
     
  8. tony6499

    tony6499 Member

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    No defence for travelling without a valid ticket, falling asleep and missing your stop does not give you permission to travel without a ticket
     
  9. bb21

    bb21 Forum Staff Staff Member Global Moderator

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    It does not, however the railway industry is normally happy to accommodate people who accidentally get overcarried.

    The OP's mistake as I see it is not seeking out the assistance of station staff at Guildford.
     
  10. Muzer

    Muzer Established Member

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    When I fell asleep on a train (admittedly when I was still a child), the guard endorsed my ticket. This is probably what the OP is missing here - if the guard had thought to do this, he wouldn't have a problem. As said, rail staff are usually quite accommodating, but this inspector probably thought you were trying it on as they had no evidence that you actually fell asleep (unlike the guard). Not that this helps your situation.
     
  11. tony6499

    tony6499 Member

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    So he should just pay the fine and be done with it as he is in the wrong and no point tempting the matter to escalate
     
  12. 34D

    34D Established Member

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    Do you still have this ticket, please?
     
  13. doug3fr3sh

    doug3fr3sh New Member

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    Thanks for all of your feedback, much appreciated.

    Sorry for not being clearer, it was a demand for £80 to keep it out of court. It doesn't actually call it a fine.

    I'll probably end up just paying it to save the hassle but I can't see that they would really prosecute me over this if I write back explaining the situation.

    I possibly do still have it but would have to check. I paid on card so should have proof of purchase.

    I agree but do you think £80+the cost of the ticket is a reasonable punishment for that? I think there should be some chance at a bit of mitigation at least.
     
  14. cuccir

    cuccir Established Member

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    By travelling beyond the validity of the ticket, you have breached Railway Byelaw 18. This is a strict liability offence, that means, it doesn't matter what your intent was. If Southern Trains attempted to prosecute you under this legislation, then they would likely be successful, and you would likely end up with a fine which is higher than the £80 (though not a criminal record).

    My advice therefore, if you can afford it, would be to apologise and pay the £80. Although a little harsh, in that sleeping through a stop is a fairly common event for which people are usually excused, Southern are also perfectly within their rights to take this further and prosecute if they wish.
     
  15. tony6499

    tony6499 Member

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    If you pay it then that is the end of the matter and a lesson learnt, if you had seen a member of staff and explained what had happened and had your ticket endorsed then you may have had a chance of mitigation.
     
  16. Chrisgr31

    Chrisgr31 Established Member

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    Whilst it may be a strict offence, and whilst it might have been the correct procedure to see help from the Guard/Station Staff I suspect in reality most people who miss their station because they are asleep get off at the next stop, and immediately catch a train back to where they wanted to be without speaking to any staff.

    They are unlikely to have time to talk to the Guard on the train they are on, due to their need to get off and go back to where they want to be, and for the same reason don't want to talk to staff at staion gates etc. This is particularly important if its a late train so there is a danger of missing the last train back, or if one is under the influence of alcohol and therefore not thinking straight.

    Does Guildford have automatic barriers? As if it does it rather raises the question as to how inspector thought he got on the platform without a ticket in the first place. I must admit I would be reluctant to pay £80 for the priviledge of accidentially going beyond where I wanted to be.

    The other night I got off the last train to Uckfield from london at Crowborough, and 2 slightly worse for wear gentleman also alighted who I didn't recognise. Whilst I wouldn't say I know all regular travellers by sight I know many. It quickly became apparent why I didn't regonise them, because it turned out they had meant to get off at Sanderstead, 45 minutes up the track.

    They were last seen trying to get a taxi back which as it was after Midnight was pobablygoing to cost well in excess of £100, in those circumstances you wouldnt want to have to pay another £80 each on top. Mind you no idea what happened to them because aas I left they had called every taxi number in Crowborough, and none were answering their phones!
     
  17. Be3G

    Be3G Established Member

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    Whilst this doesn't affect the point you're making, I will just mention that we're discussing South West Trains here (who may or may not have a different attitude towards fare evaders than Southern, I don't know).

    Yep.
     
  18. 455driver

    455driver Veteran Member

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    Guildford does have ticket barriers but they are easily got around as the overbridge is classed as a public right of way. So get a bridge pass, board the train you want and throw the bridge pass away, I have found loads on the platforms and trains!
     
  19. plastictaffy

    plastictaffy Member

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    A little bit of discretion on the behalf of the RPI would have been good. I've had plenty of people that have overtravelled - as I see it, they've already been put out by being somewhere they didn't want to be, at a time they didn't want to be there, so there's nothing to be gained by PF'ing them. I know it doesn't help the OP, but that's just an observation.
     
  20. Flamingo

    Flamingo Established Member

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    It's amazing the number of people I have to wake who don't have tickets, though. I often wonder if the stress caused by knowing one doesn't have a ticket causes some kind of narcolepsy?
     
  21. 185143

    185143 Established Member

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    Are RPIs told to wake people when you are checking tickets? I know I have fallen asleep on trains before and the guard has asked me for a ticket later in the journey and , with only checking exceptionally few others I was lead to assume that I had been left and checked later.
     
  22. Fare-Cop

    Fare-Cop Member

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    When I was trained many years ago it was a recognised thing to be taught how to wake someone without causing upset. After all, the traveller could have been taken ill or worse.

    As an example, one mildly humorous incident that springs to mind involved the days when TTIs / RPIs often worked in twos and a gent on a London bound train who appeared to be in deep sleep.

    I hadn't been in the job long and was working with a long experienced inspector who was a revelation for some of us. He was attempting to 'wake' said gent without success and I had checked the rest of the carriage so said 'Do you want me to try M........? He was standing very close to the gent and my colleague replied firmly 'No, get a message to control to get the Police at the next stop. I think this chap is either very ill or dead'

    The resurrection & recovery was instant. Unfortunately the gent had neither ticket or means to pay.
     
  23. michael769

    michael769 Established Member

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    Many years ago (BR days) my dad was sitting near a gent whom the guard could not wake.

    Upon arrival at the next station the police boarded and asked passengers to leave from the other end of the carriage, as an ambulance crew boarded. Turns out the gent wasn't asleep :(

    Somehow I doubt they ever did get to check if he had a ticket.
     
  24. abbo1234

    abbo1234 Member

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    I fell asleep after a heavy session a couple or so years ago.I was travelling to Chorley from Blackpool north on a Northern rail to Buxton.I got a nudge off the guard to show my ticket.He studied it with a smug smile in his face and said"where you going lad",Chorley i replied.He laughed and said"we went through Chorley nearly an hour ago".We was at Heaton Chapel.He let me off at Stockport and made sure i got on another train back which was already in the station free of charge.A very nice man,beyond the call of duty.He even signed my ticket in case i had any problems further down the line.
     
  25. Flamingo

    Flamingo Established Member

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    It's always worth checking if everybody on the train is breathing at least once a journey :D

    My usual line after three or four attempts to waken a passenger is to say in a loud voice "If you don't open your eyes, I'm going to have to check your pulse". The only occasion that didn't work I said to the others around "Can somebody get the buffet host", and did a proper assessment of levels of consciousness. I got as far as testing for a response to painful stimuli before the male woke up - they tried to claim assault, I countered with fare evasion, the surrounding passengers sided with me, (they were disappointed at him waking up as they were all getting involved by offering to ring for ambulances, assist with putting him in the recovery position, etc), and in the end he bought his ticket. <D
     
  26. plastictaffy

    plastictaffy Member

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    That's brilliant, that is. Cheered me right up.:D
     
  27. 34D

    34D Established Member

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    We British love a crisis!

    How did you test for painful stimuli?
     
  28. bb21

    bb21 Forum Staff Staff Member Global Moderator

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    I can show you at a forum meal next time. :lol:
     
  29. Temple

    Temple Established Member

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    I've seen some fairly humorous ones, like those mentioned above. I was rudely awaken once by an inspector that, afterwards, seemed like they were having a bad day so I didn't say anything. He woke me up by punching/hitting the back of my chair to make noise and jolt me. I wasn't exactly pleased to be woken up in such a manner, nearly had a panic attack, but I understand the need to check tickets.
     
  30. Engineer

    Engineer Member

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    To avoid this problem move house to Windsor, then when you fall asleep on the train the considerate SWT staff at Windsor & Eton Riverside wake you up, before the train returns to Waterloo or locked up for the night .
     
  31. Juniper Driver

    Juniper Driver Established Member

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    Yeah I think the phrase it "covering yourself".Seeking advice from railway/barrier/guard staff.Easy to criticise the OPs mistake but I guess an easy mistake to make.
     
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