Help - Notice of intention to prosecute

Status
Not open for further replies.

sudjules

Member
Joined
25 Jul 2012
Messages
8
Hello,

I was wondering if anyone is able to help. I travelled down to London on the 3rd of June from Cambridge. The que for tickets was half way out the door so I used one of the machines to by a ticket. I was then asked to show my ticket to a ticket inspector who then informed me I didn’t have a valid ticket. Apparently the ticket I had brought was not valid for the line I was on.
I was unable at the time to pay any kind of penalty fair and also disputed that I was fair “dodding” rather that I had made a mistake. The guard cautioned me and took a statement and said someone would be in contact with me with regards to this.

Today, over a month after the incident, I have received a letter of “intention to prosecute”. I have received nothing before this and was under the impression I would be sent a letter detailing the need to pay a penalty fair. I have 14 days to respond but am understandably not happy.

Any advice? Does anyone know where I can get a copy of their policy and procedures for this kind of situation? I'm not happy that it has taken them over a month to contact me and that the first thing I get is a notice to prosecute. I also have issues with the way the initial situation was handled - I had to ask the guard to provide me with ID.... I'm sure that doesn't meet with their procedures.

Many thanks,
 
Sponsor Post - registered members do not see these adverts; click here to register, or click here to log in
R

RailUK Forums

oversteer

Member
Joined
26 Jan 2011
Messages
710
Hello sudjules, welcome to the forum.

What ticket did you buy?
Do you still have this ticket?
What journey did you attempt to make, Cambridge-London, on which train company?
What does the intention to prosecute letter say ?
 

LexyBoy

Established Member
Fares Advisor
Joined
23 Jan 2009
Messages
4,468
Location
North of the rivers
Welcome to the forum.

There are many similar threads on the forum, which I suggest you read to familiarise yourself with your situation. There's also a current thread with a member who found themselves in the same situation as you, but in their case paid the Penalty Fare.

FCC are notoriously heavy handed and use the strict railway Byelaws to full effect. Unfortunately as you were unable to present a valid ticket (and didn't pay the Penalty Fare), you were in breach of Byelaw 18. This offence doesn't require FCC to show that you intended to evade the fare - simply not showing a valid ticket when asked is all. It's most likely that FCC will be prosecuting under the Byelaws - in which case the worst outcome is a fine; you will not recieve a criminal record (unless you don't pay the fine).

I'll leave it to others to comment on whether you should appeal or attempt to settle out of court. This does seem like very harsh treatment for a genuine mistake. Personally I'd not pin too much on FCC's policies/passenger charter - they can say what they like in these but it doesn't hold any water legally. And judging by how they handle cases like this, FCC clearly don't give a stuff about their public image.
 

scrapy

Established Member
Joined
15 Dec 2008
Messages
1,342
If you were simply 'off route' I do not believe you can be charged a penalty fare, and your ticket should have been excessed to the lowest priced ticket available for immediate travel at the time via that route (with you paying any difference).

Are you sure it was a penalty fare you were asked to pay and not an excess?

If it was a penalty fare I'd have doubts whether it is issued correctly, and all authorised penalty fare collectors must carry and show on request identification.
 
Last edited:

LexyBoy

Established Member
Fares Advisor
Joined
23 Jan 2009
Messages
4,468
Location
North of the rivers
If you were simply 'off route' I do not believe you can be charged a penalty fare, and your ticket should have been excessed to the lowest priced ticket available for immediate travel at the time via that route (with you paying any difference).

Are you sure it was a penalty fare you were asked to pay and not an excess?

If it was a penalty fare I'd have doubts whether it is issued correctly, and all authorised penalty fare collectors must carry snd show on request identification.
Unfortunately a Route: Grt Ang Trns Only ticket being used on FCC is not "off route", despite being used on a permitted route which happens to be forbidden due to a ticket restriction. TOC-specific fares were introduced post-privatisation (obviously) and as such don't have any of the protected rights that accompany pre-privatisation fares.

If the fare were Route: Via Bishops Stortford then an excess fare would be due as you say (which would probably only be a couple of quid in this case).

I am strongly against this and believe that TOC-specific fares should be treated the same as geographically routed tickets. However, that's not the case now.
 

Ferret

Established Member
Joined
22 Jan 2009
Messages
4,105
Hello,

I was wondering if anyone is able to help. I travelled down to London on the 3rd of June from Cambridge. The que for tickets was half way out the door so I used one of the machines to by a ticket. I was then asked to show my ticket to a ticket inspector who then informed me I didn’t have a valid ticket. Apparently the ticket I had brought was not valid for the line I was on.
I was unable at the time to pay any kind of penalty fair and also disputed that I was fair “dodding” rather that I had made a mistake. The guard cautioned me and took a statement and said someone would be in contact with me with regards to this.

Today, over a month after the incident, I have received a letter of “intention to prosecute”. I have received nothing before this and was under the impression I would be sent a letter detailing the need to pay a penalty fair. I have 14 days to respond but am understandably not happy.

Any advice? Does anyone know where I can get a copy of their policy and procedures for this kind of situation? I'm not happy that it has taken them over a month to contact me and that the first thing I get is a notice to prosecute. I also have issues with the way the initial situation was handled - I had to ask the guard to provide me with ID.... I'm sure that doesn't meet with their procedures.

Many thanks,
Hello. I'd like to know a little more here - it's not a route I'm necessarily familiar with.

Can you remember what it said on your ticket? Did it specify a route, or restrict you to a train company (this information would be on the bottom of the ticket)? Alternatively, how much did it cost you, and I'll see if I can work out what's happened from that?

Did the inspector attempt to issue a penalty fare which you declined to accept?
 

sudjules

Member
Joined
25 Jul 2012
Messages
8
Hi Everyone,

The wording of the letter is entering a train for the purpose of travelling without a ticket entitling travel

I boarded a train to Kings Cross with a ticket that was only valid to Liverpool street. Unfortunately I don't have the ticket any more as they were taken off me but it said London on it - not Liverpool Street. However I think the fact that I paid £12.55 for my ticket when I could have brought the correct ticket for £10.55 clearly shows this was an innocent mistake.

A Statement was taken from me on the train as I was unable to pay the penalty fair. I had money on me for my day out and the ticket I had brought but not for a penalty fair. I was under the impression they would contact me with regards to the penalty fair - I did however make it clear I felt it was a very heavy handed response to the situation and that a penalty fair was unjust.

I have received nothing until this letter today - 8 weeks after the event.
 

RJ

Established Member
Joined
25 Jun 2005
Messages
7,589
Location
Rail replacement bus cab
If you were simply 'off route' I do not believe you can be charged a penalty fare, and your ticket should have been excessed to the lowest priced ticket available for immediate travel at the time via that route (with you paying any difference).

Are you sure it was a penalty fare you were asked to pay and not an excess?

If it was a penalty fare I'd have doubts whether it is issued correctly, and all authorised penalty fare collectors must carry and show on request identification.
There are only two walkup ticket types available between Cambridge and London Terminals. Greater Anglia only and Any Permitted.
 

lyndhurst25

Member
Joined
26 Nov 2010
Messages
1,100
Welcome to the forum.

There are many similar threads on the forum, which I suggest you read to familiarise yourself with your situation. There's also a current thread with a member who found themselves in the same situation as you, but in their case paid the Penalty Fare.

FCC are notoriously heavy handed and use the strict railway Byelaws to full effect.
Note how LexyBoy just knew that it was FCC (rather than Grater Anglia) doing the prosecuting without the OP having to say so!!!
 

LexyBoy

Established Member
Fares Advisor
Joined
23 Jan 2009
Messages
4,468
Location
North of the rivers
Note how LexyBoy just knew that it was FCC (rather than Grater Anglia) doing the prosecuting without the OP having to say so!!!
Apparently the ticket I had brought was not valid for the line I was on.
There are no tickets which would not be valid on GA services from Cambridge to London - as RJ says there are only "Any Permitted" and "GA Only" fares. The only TOCs which could conceivably be used from Cambridge are FCC, GA, EC and XC, and only FCC and GA operate Penalty Fares.
 

lyndhurst25

Member
Joined
26 Nov 2010
Messages
1,100
I boarded a train to Kings Cross with a ticket that was only valid to Liverpool street. Unfortunately I don't have the ticket any more as they were taken off me but it said London on it - not Liverpool Street.
See my posts in the other thread suggesting that the tickets should be labeled either London Terminals or Liverpool Street to help passengers board the correct train at Cambridge.
www.railforums.co.uk/showthread.php?t=68966
 
Last edited:

Ferret

Established Member
Joined
22 Jan 2009
Messages
4,105
Is there any reason why FCC will not do nil paid Penalty Fares?

To the OP - you'd have been better paying the penalty fare when offered, as unfortunately you were travelling without a valid ticket for the journey you were making. As far as I can see, it looks like they wish to prosecute you under byelaw 18 rather than section 5 of the Regulation of Railways Act. Byelaw 18 requires you to show a valid ticket on demand, and is what's called a strict liability offence so there is no need to prove intent, just that you failed to show a valid ticket when asked to do so. Of course, they have proof of that because they retained the invalid ticket!

As in many previous threads, you'll note that it is possible to avoid the matter going to Court by settling the matter with the Prosecutions department before it gets that far. I think the same will apply here, although I agree a threat of prosecution over what in effect was a mistake seems a little heavy handed.
 

nedchester

Established Member
Joined
28 May 2008
Messages
1,368
FCC using the 'system' as a cash cow again I see. Whilst they are "technically" in the right the number of these incidents cropping up is, to me, rather disturbing.

They do not allow for the occasional passenger who makes a genuine mistake.

Very poor.
 

RJ

Established Member
Joined
25 Jun 2005
Messages
7,589
Location
Rail replacement bus cab
Is there any reason why FCC will not do nil paid Penalty Fares?
I never liked giving them to people, because they don't tend to take them seriously. Over the last few weeks, I've started withdrawing people's tickets and even had a few Freedom Passes off people that were misusing them. Unfortunately, people that don't learn the hard way tend tend to continue with their bad habits when it comes to paying the correct fare.

Bear in mind that we very rarely hear about discretion being used by a TOC. This is because the passenger would have done something wrong to get that discretion. People don't tend to like admitting they were in the wrong so those cases go unpublicised.
 

Greenback

Emeritus Moderator
Joined
9 Aug 2009
Messages
15,370
Location
Llanelli
Yes, please keep the posts relevant to the OP, though I am reluctant to give advice without knowing more about the situation, such as what the letter says exactly.
 

sudjules

Member
Joined
25 Jul 2012
Messages
8
Hi Everyone,

Am I not able to still pay the penalty fare? I thought when I didn't pay on the train that I would be sent something asking me to pay the penalty fare - not a notice of prosecution! It was not made clear to me on the train this would be the outcome.

People are also referring to different acts - how come FCC haven't had to put the act in the letter they have sent me?

Just noticed they have my name wrong on the letter - will this make any difference legally?
 

cuccir

Established Member
Joined
18 Nov 2009
Messages
3,360
No, you now cannot pay the penalty fare. I also wouldn't get my hopes pinned on the name being wrong - this can easily be changed and is not going to invalidate anything.

It's very very disappointing to see this being pushed to a prosecution. I cannot imagine many other TOCs - perhaps no others - prosecuting for this. Sudjules (probably) purchased a £12.50 Off Peak Day Single valid with Greater Anglia Trains only, instead of a £10.50 Super-Off Peak Day Single. These tickets are vary similarly priced and very similarly named. The fact that the ticket purchased was more expensive shows no intent to fare dodge.

That says, by the law, FCC are correct - the bylaw under which they want to prosecute you requires only that you don't have a valid ticket (intentions are irrelevant). Some would argue (with some reason) that it's your responsibility to chose the correct ticket.

You have two courses of action open to you. I imagine that FCC would accept an out of court settlement if you wrote to them apologetically, offering to cover costs and to compensate. The alternative would be to let them prosecute and accept the fine - there should be no criminal record, so long as you pay the fine.

Of course you could complain about this, either to a watchdog such as Passenger Focus (or the London equivalent), or straight to the media, - TOCs have in the past been embarassed into not prosecuting passengers who have broken terms and conditions (I'm thinking of the professor at Darlington case, although this was a refund for an extra ticket purchased rather than a dropped prosecution, and a different issue). BUT before doing so I'd reiterate that FCC are, legally, in the right and that the simplest thing would be to offer to settle out of court. That said - and someone can correct me if I'm wrong - but the worst that can happen here is a successful prosecution, and a court-imposed fine (with no criminal record)?
 

Monty

Established Member
Joined
12 Jun 2012
Messages
2,244
Hi Everyone,

Am I not able to still pay the penalty fare? I thought when I didn't pay on the train that I would be sent something asking me to pay the penalty fare - not a notice of prosecution! It was not made clear to me on the train this would be the outcome.

People are also referring to different acts - how come FCC haven't had to put the act in the letter they have sent me?

Just noticed they have my name wrong on the letter - will this make any difference legally?
If you were given a penalty fare then you should have a small notice with your details (including the journey you made) written on the notice given to you. You then have 21 days to pay the penalty fare or appeal against it, the company will not send you any correspondence until after the 21 days has passed. Were you issued any such notice?

Otherwise it seems likely the inspector has decided to write a Ticket Irregularity Report (TIR), and FCC have decided there enough evidence to report you for Byelaw 18 offence (not showing a vaild ticket on demand). No idea why they or not mentioning the specific legel definitions of the alleged offence (though it is worth mentioning you are not being prosecuted under any act of parliment, but the railway byelaws).

Regardless, if this is the case you will be unable to pay the penalty fare as it seems you were not issued one to begin with, I like Ferret am quite puzzled why FCC do not seem to issue nil paid PFNs.

When you write your reply try to be as truthful as you can and be apologetic for not buying the correct ticket, but do make it clear to them it was a mistake and it was not your intention to avoid your fare, I agree with Ferret and think the threat of prosecution is a little over the top.
 

sudjules

Member
Joined
25 Jul 2012
Messages
8
Hi Monty,

I was given a small slip of paper with a ref number on it that was torn from the bottom of the slip of paper that my details were taken down on. I was under the impression that this would be used to send me a letter asking for payment. I'm understanding now this was not the case by the sounds of it.

Most, most unhappy about this. Not only are they going wildly over the top (in my personal opinion) for an honest mistake. By the sounds of it what I was lead to believe by the inspector on the day is not actually correct and I assume I will end up with an even bigger charge. Totally crazy :(

Thanks to everyone for all your advice and helping me understand the situation.
 

Monty

Established Member
Joined
12 Jun 2012
Messages
2,244
Hi Monty,

I was given a small slip of paper with a ref number on it that was torn from the bottom of the slip of paper that my details were taken down on. I was under the impression that this would be used to send me a letter asking for payment. I'm understanding now this was not the case by the sounds of it.

Most, most unhappy about this. Not only are they going wildly over the top (in my personal opinion) for an honest mistake. By the sounds of it what I was lead to believe by the inspector on the day is not actually correct and I assume I will end up with an even bigger charge. Totally crazy :(

Thanks to everyone for all your advice and helping me understand the situation.
What does the slip of paper say exactly Sudjules? Does it say Penalty Fare? if it does not my guess is the inspector has written a TIR instead.
 

sudjules

Member
Joined
25 Jul 2012
Messages
8
No doesn't say penalty fair.

Has were I travelled from and am going to the time and the date. Also has a ref number which links to what it was torn off.

It was really not made clear to me on the train that not being able to pay the penalty right then would lead to me being prosecuted. I was totally under the impression that the details taken down were being used to send me the penalty notice.

So, so cross - but doesn't look like there is much I can do.
 

Monty

Established Member
Joined
12 Jun 2012
Messages
2,244
Okay, a couple more questions, did you have enough money on you, when challenged to pay for a new ticket from Cambridge to Kings Cross? It is £21.20 for an anytime single according to national rails website. And were you checked on the train or at Kings Cross?
 

sudjules

Member
Joined
25 Jul 2012
Messages
8
Hi Monty,

I was on the train when challenged. I was asked if I was able to pay the penalty then and I told them I wasn't as I only had enough money for what I had planed for the day. Hence being under the impression I was giving my details for the penalty fair to be sent to me to pay at a later date.

At no point was I made aware this wouldn't be the case.
 

GadgetMan

Member
Joined
9 Jan 2012
Messages
892
I boarded a train to Kings Cross with a ticket that was only valid to Liverpool street. Unfortunately I don't have the ticket any more as they were taken off me but it said London on it - not Liverpool Street. However I think the fact that I paid £12.55 for my ticket when I could have brought the correct ticket for £10.55 clearly shows this was an innocent mistake.
As a Guard, I will quite happily report someone I believe to be fiddling the railway out of money for prosecution.

But in instances like this where the passenger has paid more for an 'invalid' ticket than the correct one it is obvious that the passenger had made a satisfactory attempt to do the right thing before boarding but got caught out by their lack of knowledge, and as such I would hope any Railway Revenue Department would think the same and be willing to drop the case with the payment of the Anytime Single Fare due for that journey. Although my opinion means nothing, I don't even see the need for a substantial payment for an out of court settlement. You have my sympathy.
 

Monty

Established Member
Joined
12 Jun 2012
Messages
2,244
Hi Monty,

I was on the train when challenged. I was asked if I was able to pay the penalty then and I told them I wasn't as I only had enough money for what I had planed for the day. Hence being under the impression I was giving my details for the penalty fair to be sent to me to pay at a later date.

At no point was I made aware this wouldn't be the case.
More questions I'm afraid Sudjules sorry! How much was the penalty fare going to be? And forget about what you had planned for the day, if you really had to would you have been able to pay for another valid ticket? Also did the inspector mention anything about "This is no longer a penalty fare matter" or "I will be reporting the facts of the matter?" Anything similiar to that? Did you sign his notes in his notebook?
 

sudjules

Member
Joined
25 Jul 2012
Messages
8
I have no idea any more how much it was, it was 2 months ago. I want to say £40 but I don't really have a clue and am not sure why the figure springs to mind.

If they had told me that not being able to pay then would mean being prosecuted I probably could have managed to pay - it would have lead to an awkward situation once in London though.

I was not made aware it was no longer a penalty fare matter but yes I did sign what he had written - just assumed it was part of the prosess for validating I was who I said I was. lived where I said I lived and getting my response to the situation noted.

It has become clear as I have unpicked this tonight it was very far from a penalty fare situation. But as someone who doesn't get on trains regularly without a "valid" ticket and get questioned by ticket inspectors I wasn't aware - expensive lesson learned I guess!
 
Last edited:

BestWestern

Established Member
Joined
6 Feb 2011
Messages
6,736
As a Guard, I will quite happily report someone I believe to be fiddling the railway out of money for prosecution.

But in instances like this where the passenger has paid more for an 'invalid' ticket than the correct one it is obvious that the passenger had made a satisfactory attempt to do the right thing before boarding but got caught out by their lack of knowledge, and as such I would hope any Railway Revenue Department would think the same and be willing to drop the case with the payment of the Anytime Single Fare due for that journey. Although my opinion means nothing, I don't even see the need for a substantial payment for an out of court settlement. You have my sympathy.
I agree. If the OP is correct regarding holding an invalid but more expensive ticket for their full journey, then this is utterly disgusting and deserves as much negative publicity as can be raised. It makes me very thankful that I don't work for such an operator, as I think I would have serious issues doing my job if I did.

To the OP, I have to say that if it were me I would be sending emails to a number of papers to see if any of them are interested in picking up the story. The Metro or Evening Standard might be good starting points. If you do find success, contact the TOC and tell them in no uncertain terms that they are bang out of order, and see if they might be willing to behave in a more reasonable manner when the possibility of press coverage is raised; "Passenger prosecuted for paying too much" or similar would make a good headline.

Whilst the TOC might be technically in the right, cases like this really need to go to Court and be fought every inch of the way if passengers are ever to get fair treatment when they have made a genuine mistake.

Very best of luck with your case! Keep us posted ;)
 
Status
Not open for further replies.

Top