Fixed Penalty Notice from Northern, can anyone advise please?

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Chris842

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Hi,

Feel really furious this morning and the below only happened half an hour ago...

I wonder if anyone can advise on what to do or what's going to happen?

This morning, I boarded a train at Hattersley station. I arrived as I heard the train approaching so I ran for it, to the platform, and got straight on it. I passed the ticket office and saw the guy doing what he always does. (hes usually sat at a table, with his back to the window, on a mobile phone). I made the quick judgement that I wont have time to get his attention, buy a ticket, and make the train. I figured I'd buy it on the train.

On the train, nobody came through to sell tickets, like they usually do. Its usually the same woman, who is friendly and has chats. Then at Manchester Piccadilly, they gave me a FTP fixed penalty notice, instead of selling me a ticket. Tried to explain I wanted to buy one on the train but they wouldn't listen.

This is my second one. I also had one in December, three and a half months ago. Back then, again, it was the same story, and I thought I'd buy one on the train or at the station. I am not a ticket dodger. I know they always have the guards at Piccadilly. Most of the time, I buy my ticket at Hattersley. There have been a couple of occasions since that day in December where this happened and I've bought my ticket on the train without a problem.

I told the guard this was my second one and he said I may get an £80 fine. Can anyone advise... is this definately going to happen?! And if it does, do I have a leg to stand on?


Feel really angry at Northern rail, I only moved to the area last October and their service has been awful. Lots of cancellations and lateness. Just yesterday, I arrived 45mins late because of a cancelled train, it makes me angry that they don't have to pay me back for that! (it has to be at least an hour late for compensation).

What also makes me angry is that this is the 3rd time I'll have been fined. Years ago, in London, I lost my oyster card somewhere on the journey and got fined £20 and the destination station.
And, also years ago, I was fined £20 by Merseyrail, again for losing my ticket. It was the return leg. I expected my return ticket to be in my wallet and didnt check for it til I was asked for it.

I'm not trying to fare dodge on purpose, and those last two times, I did pay my fare, I just didnt have the proof! This whole thing feels unfair.
I've been told I can appeal this time if I get a fine, but I think I know from those previous two times that that won't get me anywhere, seeing as the "independent" appeals board are actually run by the train companies.

Sorry if I've gone off on a tangent... I'd like to ask, am I definately going to get an £80 fine? Could it be something worse that actually happens? How long will a fine take to arrive? And can I do anything about this?

Thanks for any help / advice.

Chris
 
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crehld

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Hattersley station has a ticket office which, from your account, it appears it was open at the time. Running late and not having enough time to purchase a ticket at your origin doesn't excuse you from the legal obligation to purchase a ticket before travel where facilities are available. Your experience in December, where you say the same events happened, should have made you realise this. So to summarise, no you don't have a leg to stand on.

Anyway, from your account I'm not quite sure if you were actually given a fixed penalty notice on the ground at Manchester Piccadilly? Or did they just take your details and say they'd send you one out? Standard practice is to take details and then either send out a fixed penalty notice (usually £80 plus the fare due for your journey), or ask for your side of the story before deciding to take any further action.

Either way if you have been given a fixed penalty notice I would advise paying to dispose of the matter as soon as possible, as you are in the wrong and have broken the law. Indeed, if this is not the first time you have been picked up for travelling without a ticket then an £80 settlement is an easy option out, as evidence of multiple ticketing irregularities might convince a prosecutions team that a more serious offence of intent to avoid payment of fares under the Regulations of Railways Act has been committed.

If you are given an opportunity to put your side of the story over, consider how you might reply to this. A full and frank apology recognizing the fact your actions were against the law and wrong, along with an offer to resolve the matter through a financial settlement which covers the cost of your journey and the costs incurred by Northern for having to deal with this matter and a sincere commitment never to board a train without a valid ticket again would go a long way to avoid a prosecution of any kind. Although Northern retain the right to prosecute if they think it's worth it and as mentioned, the fact you have a history of ticketing irregularities counts against you.

While I sympathise with your dissatisfaction at Northern for cancellations and delays, this is irrelevant.
 
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Simon11

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Firstly, you have to buy a ticket before you travel. It isn't Northern's fault that you didn't arrive at the station with plenty of time to purchase a ticket and you didn't learn the lesson from last year. This will go against you.

The offence only happened today, so it is best to wait to hear back from Northern before coming to ask us for advice. They may request payment or take you to court.

As an idea to prevent this, why don't you download the Northern rail app, so if you are late and have to dash onto the train, you can buy your ticket via the app?
 

crehld

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As an idea to prevent this, why don't you download the Northern rail app, so if you are late and have to dash onto the train, you can buy your ticket via the app?

m-Tickets are not currently available from Hattersley. The ticket office (when open) represents the only option available to purchase a ticket.
 

DaveNewcastle

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. . . . at Manchester Piccadilly, they gave me a FTP fixed penalty notice, . . . .

. . . I'd like to ask, am I definately going to get an £80 fine? Could it be something worse that actually happens? How long will a fine take to arrive? And can I do anything about this?
If the notice you received is just an advisory cautionary leaflet which explains the FtP scheme, then there there is nothing more to be done.

But if the inspectors speaking with you took your contact details, and, if the notice you received is a FtP notice which offers you the opportunity of, either a) doing nothing, and letting the Company decide whether or not there are grounds to prosecute in due course, or b) disposing of the matter now, with an £80 administrative settlement, then yes, you do have to do something. You have to decide which of these two options you'd like to take.

On my quick assessment of the circumstances you describe at Hattersley, I will guess that there is a high probabiity that the Company would choose to prosecute you for your failure to present a ticket for travel when requested (or perhaps even for intentionally evading the fare). I would also guess that there is a high probability that they would succeed against any defence you might have (again, based on your quick summary of events on here).

It's your choice, so I hope my suggestions of how the odds of each outcome are looking will help you to decide.
 
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Chris842

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Anyway, from your account I'm not quite sure if you were actually given a fixed penalty notice on the ground at Manchester Piccadilly? Or did they just take your details and say they'd send you one out? Standard practice is to take details and then either send out a fixed penalty notice (usually £80 plus the fare due for your journey), or ask for your side of the story before deciding to take any further action.

Sorry, it wasn't a "fixed penalty notice" It actually says "failure to purchase". He took down my details, and gave me a slip which tells me to pay £4.20 which is the price of a single. I wanted to buy a return and he said I couldnt so that'll cost even more later for the return leg.
The slip says "If you are a recurring offender the matter will be referred for prosecution" in one part of it. Does this mean I'm in even worse trouble? It doesnt mention an £80 fine, that it was the guards said.



I never had this problem before I moved house so I dont understand why this is happening, I havent tried to con them or be a fraudster or anything. I used to travel from Stockport and it was never a problem then to buy on the train or at the destination. It later became impossible to do anyway when they added the gates last year but I sometimes bought at Stockport after travelling from Manchester to Stockport.
 

DaveNewcastle

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Sorry, it wasn't a "fixed penalty notice" It actually says "failure to purchase". He took down my details, and gave me a slip which tells me to pay £4.20 which is the price of a single. I wanted to buy a return and he said I couldnt so that'll cost even more later for the return leg.
The slip says "If you are a recurring offender the matter will be referred for prosecution" in one part of it.
That's different.
It is a cautionary advisory notice of the FtP scheme.
You are required to pay the £4.20 fare.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
. . . .I dont understand why this is happening, . . .
. . it's because you were unable to produce a valid ticket for your travel on request. It is a legal requirement (unless there are no working facilities available to do so).
 
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crehld

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Sorry, it wasn't a "fixed penalty notice" It actually says "failure to purchase". He took down my details, and gave me a slip which tells me to pay £4.20 which is the price of a single. I wanted to buy a return and he said I couldnt so that'll cost even more later for the return leg.
The slip says "If you are a recurring offender the matter will be referred for prosecution" in one part of it. Does this mean I'm in even worse trouble? It doesnt mention an £80 fine, that it was the guards said.

OK. In which case pay the amount due immediately.

I never had this problem before I moved house so I dont understand why this is happening, I havent tried to con them or be a fraudster or anything. I used to travel from Stockport and it was never a problem then to buy on the train or at the destination. It later became impossible to do anyway when they added the gates last year but I sometimes bought at Stockport after travelling from Manchester to Stockport.

It is likely to keep happening if you continue not to buy before boarding where you have the opportunity to do so. Regardless of whether you're a fraudster or not it is illegal to board a train without a valid ticket where you have had an opportunity to purchase one.

I agree that Northern's inconsistent approach to revenue protection, including the fact that staff actively encourage sales on board, does fuel the perception that it's OK to ignore an open ticket office, but for future reference it's not OK. Take this incident and the one in December as lessons learned.
 

Chris842

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Okay, I have already paid the £4.20, I did it as soon as I got into work, I'm just worried about the prosecution line in the notice. And I'm worried about a fine because I dont know if I can afford it to pay one right now. I have other bills I'm already struggling with. I've been trying to save money recently by cycling but I'm not fit enough to do it every day yet.


I do understand its a legal requirement. I just meant I didnt get why they are being so strict because they didnt used to be, I used to be able to buy at the station.
What happened in December was in my mind, but I thought I'd be okay by buying one on the train, and then I'd have a ticket when I got to the Piccadilly guards. As has been the case on a few other days since December.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
OK. In which case pay the amount due immediately.



It is likely to keep happening if you continue not to buy before boarding where you have the opportunity to do so. Regardless of whether you're a fraudster or not it is illegal to board a train without a valid ticket where you have had an opportunity to purchase one.

I agree that Northern's inconsistent approach to revenue protection, including the fact that staff actively encourage sales on board, does fuel the perception that it's OK to ignore an open ticket office, but for future reference it's not OK. Take this incident and the one in December as lessons learned.

Thank you, I have certainly learn a lesson from this. Still worried about whats going to happen though after this one.
 

najaB

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I havent tried to con them or be a fraudster or anything.
Were there facilities to purchase before boarding? Yes. Did you take advantage of them? No. It isn't the railway's fault that your time management didn't leave you enough time to purchase before boarding.

Ergo you have committed an offence.

It appears that, in this case, Northern have chosen to request no more than the fare that is still due. My advice is to pay it, and leave home a few minutes earlier in the morning in future.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
I do understand its a legal requirement. I just meant I didnt get why they are being so strict because they didnt used to be, I used to be able to buy at the station.
Because along with all TOCs they have to be better at revenue protection as costs are going up but Central Government wants to spend less. If Northern's approach is the right one is subject to debate, but there are other threads for that.
 

Llanigraham

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Okay, I have already paid the £4.20, I did it as soon as I got into work, I'm just worried about the prosecution line in the notice. And I'm worried about a fine because I dont know if I can afford it to pay one right now. I have other bills I'm already struggling with. I've been trying to save money recently by cycling but I'm not fit enough to do it every day yet.


I do understand its a legal requirement. I just meant I didnt get why they are being so strict because they didnt used to be, I used to be able to buy at the station.
What happened in December was in my mind, but I thought I'd be okay by buying one on the train, and then I'd have a ticket when I got to the Piccadilly guards. As has been the case on a few other days since December.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---


Thank you, I have certainly learn a lesson from this. Still worried about whats going to happen though after this one.

You still can buy at the station, since by your own admission the ticket office is open when you are there. The problem is that you are not leaving yourself enough time to purchase said ticket. Perhaps leaving home 10 minutes earlier would solve the matter?

If you have now paid the £4:20 I suspect that this time the matter will have been cleared up, but I would suggest you do NOT do it again.
 

ainsworth74

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As the OP has resolved their current issue and has been given the necessary advice to help guide them in future this thread is now locked.

If the OP does require any additional assitance please feel free to PM any member of the Staff Team and the thread will be unlocked for further postings.
 
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