forgot to activate mobile ticket- encountered revenue protection inspectors

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lowej3

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Dear forum
I am writing for advice after seeing how supportive an informative you have been to other posters.

I was travelling my normal route this morning from Aber-Heath High Level. Both stations are managed by Arriva Trains Wales. I normally pay with a mobile multiflex ticket which are bought as a set of 6 return journeys. These tickets should be activated (before) on boarding

On arrival at Heath High Level, which is unstaffed, I was greeted with a host of income protection inspectors. To my disbelief I realized I hand not activated my mobile ticket. I thought I'd best do so to account for my error. The inspector of course spotted this as activation of the ticket is time-stamped. I explained this was an honest mistake. It was not my day as I also forgot my wallet so no lunch for me!

In hindsight I should have approached an inspector and explained my error before activating the ticket to show I wasn't deliberately meaning to deceive them. In any case they collected my details and a narrative of the circumstances.

I am now awaiting a letter from Arriva which I assume from what the inspectors said will give me right to reply and explain their intentions. I am aware from reading other posts about the possibilities going forward (settlements, court proceedings etc), however I would welcome some advice on how to handle my response.

Thanks for your help
 
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Paule23

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I think you already know the answers here. Lookin at it from the TOCs point of view, your actions appeared highly suspicious and indicative of someone who only activates their ticket if they think they will get inspected.

At this stage all you can really do is await their letter, then reply with your version of events. They have enough for a strict liability offence of not having a valid ticket, so I would encourage you to go for a settlement in your reply.
 

najaB

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On arrival at Heath High Level, which is unstaffed, I was greeted with a host of income protection inspectors. To my disbelief I realized I hand not activated my mobile ticket. I thought I'd best do so to account for my error. The inspector of course spotted this as activation of the ticket is time-stamped. I explained this was an honest mistake.
What would have happened if the RPIs hadn't been there? Would you have activated the ticket anyway before leaving the station? What would have happened if, later in the day, you realised that you hadn't activated it - would you have activated it and not used it to travel, or thought "Not a bad day after all, I didn't get lunch but I got an extra ticket."?
I am now awaiting a letter from Arriva which I assume from what the inspectors said will give me right to reply and explain their intentions. I am aware from reading other posts about the possibilities going forward (settlements, court proceedings etc), however I would welcome some advice on how to handle my response.
To cut-and-paste from a previous post:
najaB said:
This letter will be your opportunity to try to convince ATW that this case isn't worth taking to court. Your letter should show them four things:

1. That you understand that you should have activated your ticket before boarding.
2. That you appreciate that ticketless travel costs them (and by extension all passengers) money.
3. That you are sorry that they have incurred additional costs in dealing with the matter.
4. That you will never do it again.

On receipt of your letter they will choose from four options:

1. Drop the matter with no further action taken.
2. Request an interview or further information before taking further action.
3. Agree to settle the matter for payment of the outstanding fare (with or without additional costs).
4. Determine that there are no mitigating factors and proceed with a prosecution
I suspect that given the nature of the offence - it's basically the same as carnet abuse - that option 2 is most likely, though they may go for option 3 if your letter of response is sufficiently contrite.
 

455driver

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you say this is a regular commute, can you show a number of activated tickets over a number of consecutive days or are there gaps between activations?

Although it doesn't change the fact that you travelled without a valid ticket it could be used in mitigation (if consecutive) or prosecution evidence (if there are gaps).
 

lowej3

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Thanks all for your candid advice

I do travel regularly, however not always frequently enough to benefit from a season ticket (weekly, monthly or otherwise). The mobile tickets often reflect the best value for money for my frequency of travel which is why I use them- although I shall now be revising this option given the other things which can happen (phone running out of battery for example, not happened to me yet).

I shall await the letter.
 

Delta558

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Not in any way suggesting that this is a deliberate action on your part, but from working routes into Cardiff I can confidently say that during 'peak hours' well over half the mobile tickets I encounter are not activated until I ask to check the ticket; I regularly hear "I've got a ticket, mate", then explain that I'm checking as well as selling and watch the ticket being activated.

If you're going to enter into discusions with the company, it would be useful for you to have a clear purchase / activation history to combat the problems mentioned above.

Regarding battery life, well, that's up to you - I can understand a phone running out of battery on a long distance journey (West Wales to Manchester, for example) but knowing that the terms of use clearly state that your phone must have sufficient charge to be able to show the ticket through your entire journey, if you've run out of juice on the local Valleys network I have little sympathy (sorry:lol:)
 

najaB

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Regarding battery life, well, that's up to you - I can understand a phone running out of battery on a long distance journey (West Wales to Manchester, for example) but knowing that the terms of use clearly state that your phone must have sufficient charge to be able to show the ticket through your entire journey, if you've run out of juice on the local Valleys network I have little sympathy (sorry:lol:)
Of course, once activated the ticket remains activated even if the phone is turned off. That's one way for a passenger to save battery if they are concerned that their charge won't last.
 

Delta558

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Of course, once activated the ticket remains activated even if the phone is turned off. That's one way for a passenger to save battery if they are concerned that their charge won't last.

Exacxtly, and as long as the phone can be turned on it doesn't cause a problem. I was just wondering why somebody whose journey is likely to be an hour or so at the most is expressing concern about the potential problems caused by a battery running out! If you're making savings on your tickets by buying the mobile ones, is it that much of a hardship to make sure your phone has a reasonable charge?
 

headshot119

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Exacxtly, and as long as the phone can be turned on it doesn't cause a problem. I was just wondering why somebody whose journey is likely to be an hour or so at the most is expressing concern about the potential problems caused by a battery running out! If you're making savings on your tickets by buying the mobile ones, is it that much of a hardship to make sure your phone has a reasonable charge?

It is if you've been using your phone all day and haven't been able to charge it before leaving work in the evening.

You say you wouldn't sympathise with someone running out of battery on the Valleys network, an hour (ish) from Merthyr or Rhymney into Cardiff in the morning, 8 hours in work, then an hour back. A lot of smart phones could struggle with that.

Of course portable chargers are available, but not everyone has one.
 

stuartyoung

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I think you already know the answers here. Lookin at it from the TOCs point of view, your actions appeared highly suspicious and indicative of someone who only activates their ticket if they think they will get inspected.

At this stage all you can really do is await their letter, then reply with your version of events. They have enough for a strict liability offence of not having a valid ticket, so I would encourage you to go for a settlement in your reply.
a careful considered response is essential without admitting any guilt, before giving a response.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
but from working routes into Cardiff

apologies to interject here, I would like to compliment all the staff I have encountered in Wales, friendly, informative, helpful and damn right decent.

ex. boarding a train at Pyle station (without ticketing facilities), asking for a single to Stevenage, paying on my Electron card, he suggested I get a return for 10p extra (or something close to that). total about £55 to the best of my recollection.
 

BestWestern

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It is if you've been using your phone all day and haven't been able to charge it before leaving work in the evening.

You say you wouldn't sympathise with someone running out of battery on the Valleys network, an hour (ish) from Merthyr or Rhymney into Cardiff in the morning, 8 hours in work, then an hour back. A lot of smart phones could struggle with that.

Of course portable chargers are available, but not everyone has one.

Well then the traveller needs to buy paper tickets, as they are unable to use the mobile ticketing technology. Their problem, I'm afraid.

As much as m-ticketing is a welcome step into the future, passengers using the technology need to take responsibility for their own travel arrangements and ensure that their 'device' is in working order when it is required, taking whatever steps are required to fulfil that obligation. Much like those who fail to take care of their paper ticket and then get most indignant when told that actually no, it isn't 'okay because I have my credit card receipt', I fear that we are likely to see a new generation of rail passengers who feel that it isn't their issue if their battery has run out/the reception isn't very good/their screen is smashed to buggery and is completely unreadable, etc etc, and the railway should be expected to just take their word for it that they've paid for their journey.

Anyhow, a little off topic!
 
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stuartyoung

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Well then the traveller needs to buy paper tickets, as they are unable to use the mobile ticketing technology. Their problem, I'm afraid.

As much as m-ticketing is a welcome step into the future, passengers using the technology need to take responsibility for their own travel arrangements and ensure that their 'device' is in working order when it is required, taking whatever steps are required to fulfil that obligation. Much like those who fail to take care of their paper ticket and then get most indignant when told that actually no, it isn't 'okay because I have my credit card receipt', I fear that we are likely to see a new generation of rail passengers who feel that it isn't their issue if their battery has run out/the reception isn't very good/their screen is smashed to buggery and is completely unreadable, etc etc, and the railway should be expected to just take their word for it that they've paid for their journey.

Anyhow, a little off topic!


The frontline staff should not be put in the position in the first instance. I have seen on a local bus recently, usb ports every other seat, should trains have these if they are doing this kind of ticket? If it is a one off situation, it should be accepted that it maybe a genuine error and with the discretion of the conductor/inspector, perhaps say, i will let you off this time, but if I catch you in this situation again, then the book will be thrown at you (still can be improved in correct terminology). when you have persistent offenders, then you can have the evidence built up over a period to virtually guarantee a conviction if neccessary. This would help with staff on the same trains on a regular basis.
 

Clip

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It is if you've been using your phone all day and haven't been able to charge it before leaving work in the evening.

You say you wouldn't sympathise with someone running out of battery on the Valleys network, an hour (ish) from Merthyr or Rhymney into Cardiff in the morning, 8 hours in work, then an hour back. A lot of smart phones could struggle with that.

Of course portable chargers are available, but not everyone has one.

Well they could charge them at work before they leave, its a novel idea I admit but its an idea. Or they could buy a portable charger. Its not the railways fault if you don't have charge on your phone.

ex. boarding a train at Pyle station (without ticketing facilities), asking for a single to Stevenage, paying on my Electron card, he suggested I get a return for 10p extra (or something close to that). total about £55 to the best of my recollection.

Odd that how those cards will not work on an avantix machine which you found out in your other thread. You need to be more consistent because this looks even worse for you.

The frontline staff should not be put in the position in the first instance. I have seen on a local bus recently, usb ports every other seat, should trains have these if they are doing this kind of ticket? If it is a one off situation, it should be accepted that it maybe a genuine error and with the discretion of the conductor/inspector, perhaps say, i will let you off this time, but if I catch you in this situation again, then the book will be thrown at you (still can be improved in correct terminology). when you have persistent offenders, then you can have the evidence built up over a period to virtually guarantee a conviction if neccessary. This would help with staff on the same trains on a regular basis.

Newer trains do have charging points on the =for plugs but not everyone will carry them around with them. Again its not the railways fault if you cannot use the medium you want to have your ticket on. its pretty straight forward here and whilst discretion should be applied in certain cases im afraid with m tickets and powered down phones then no it shouldn't.
 

Llanigraham

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The frontline staff should not be put in the position in the first instance. I have seen on a local bus recently, usb ports every other seat, should trains have these if they are doing this kind of ticket? If it is a one off situation, it should be accepted that it maybe a genuine error and with the discretion of the conductor/inspector, perhaps say, i will let you off this time, but if I catch you in this situation again, then the book will be thrown at you (still can be improved in correct terminology). when you have persistent offenders, then you can have the evidence built up over a period to virtually guarantee a conviction if neccessary. This would help with staff on the same trains on a regular basis.

And how will standing passengers on a crowded Valleys Lines train charge their phone?
 

Agent_c

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Buy a battery case for about £20 to protect you from it happening again.
 

Tetchytyke

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I was just wondering why somebody whose journey is likely to be an hour or so at the most is expressing concern about the potential problems caused by a battery running out!

I didn't see it as panicking, more just an observation that m-tickets are reliant on a mobile phone having correct charge or otherwise not developing a technical fault. You don't get a Blue Screen of Death on a paper ticket.
 

rs101

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I didn't see it as panicking, more just an observation that m-tickets are reliant on a mobile phone having correct charge or otherwise not developing a technical fault. You don't get a Blue Screen of Death on a paper ticket.

But I can spill my coffee over my Sony Z5 with m-ticket and it still works.. Paper ticket doesn't survive the same treatment...
 

LexyBoy

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Paper ticket doesn't survive the same treatment...

Hmm. I just poured boiling water straight from a kettle over a rail ticket, and it was still legible (just). I doubt that a coffee spill would render a ticket unusable.
 

gray1404

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I can see how this a genuiene mistake. We all make them and forgetting to activate a ticket is one such case. The TOCs don't seem to show discretion now when it comes to their third party contractors. How they are allowed to use them rather then do revenue protection direction is beyond me.
 

Clip

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I can see how this a genuiene mistake. We all make them and forgetting to activate a ticket is one such case. The TOCs don't seem to show discretion now when it comes to their third party contractors. How they are allowed to use them rather then do revenue protection direction is beyond me.

So you're saying that because people cant comply with the terms and conditions of a ticket and not have their phones charged we should show discretion so they can use it again and again?
 
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jon0844

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When you enter the railway, you surely check you have your ticket, railcard etc? If not, it's a good habit to get into.

That would include activating a ticket, either a mobile one or writing on a paper carnet.

Gates do help stop anyone making a genuine mistake (like leaving a season at home) but even regulars should be checking.

Anyway, I don't buy the argument that people could forget. I'd say the vast majority of people in that situation would be chancers who use forgetfulness as an excuse because there is no other defence.
 

najaB

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I can see how this a genuiene mistake. We all make them and forgetting to activate a ticket is one such case.
You can see how forgetting to activate a mobile ticket could be a mistake. Others can see how 'forgetting' to activate a mobile ticket could be an excuse.

And therein lies the problem.
 

Greenback

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I can see how this a genuiene mistake. We all make them and forgetting to activate a ticket is one such case. The TOCs don't seem to show discretion now when it comes to their third party contractors. How they are allowed to use them rather then do revenue protection direction is beyond me.

Sometimes, genuine mistakes have financial, or other consequences. We can't really expect others to always mitigate these on our behalf. When you add in the fact that at least some genuine mistakes aren't even that at all, they are deliberate attempts to abuse the system that only become mistakes when the person involved gets caught out, then perhaps it's understandable why discretion is not always applied.

There are thousands of instances of discretion applied all over the network every day. Given how difficult it can be to tell the genuine people form those playing a game, I don't find it surprising at all that sometimes a TOC and its staff choose to go by the book.
 

185

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Massive issue at another company, with the recent introduction of it's mobile ticketing. The timestamp is, as far as I'm concerned, good enough indication of a person purchasing a ticket within the last few moments. The android clock at the screen-top will match the time on the ticket if the person has literally just bought it.

Surprisingly, the company has stated "During the introductory period of this digital ticket, even if staff suspect a customer is buying a ticket, you must not TIR them, as this could just be the result of a technical glitch."

Cue most inspectors breaking into disbelief and hysterics. People behind desks eh? :P
 

najaB

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Surprisingly, the company has stated "During the introductory period of this digital ticket, even if staff suspect a customer is buying a ticket, you must not TIR them, as this could just be the result of a technical glitch."

Cue most inspectors breaking into disbelief and hysterics. People behind desks eh? :P
They probably want to avoid scaring people off using them - all it would take is a couple of Facebook posts about the "Jobsworth ticket man." I remind you that people like this are able to post on the Interwebs.
 

185

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They probably want to avoid scaring people off using them - all it would take is a couple of Facebook posts about the "Jobsworth ticket man." I remind you that people like this are able to post on the Interwebs.

I disagree, that company is making a fortune off them, and these account for around 15-20% of tickets in the peak hour. The trick (so I'm told) on very busy trains is to ensure people further down the train can hear that you are checking tickets so the 30 second wait to load the app ticket up has already happened by the time staff reach the passenger.

That said, all falls apart for the one with headphones. <(
 
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najaB

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I disagree, that company is making a fortune off them, and these account for around 15-20% of tickets in the peak hour.
Ah, okay. I got mislead by the "introductory period" in the comms from HQ.
 

lowej3

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Hello

I know from reading other threads that members of the forum value hearing about the outcome of these investigations.

In this instance I was offered an administrative settlement after submitting a letter of mitigation, with a serious (and heeded) warning against travelling without a valid ticket in the future.
 

Greenback

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Thanks for coming back and letting us know the outcome. It's very helpful in advising any others who might find themselves in a similar position in the future.
 
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