Help please - over travelled

Discussion in 'Disputes & Prosecutions' started by 5632#, 19 May 2017.

  1. 5632#

    5632# New Member

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    Good morning,

    May I have your help please?

    I'm autistic.

    I use trains infrequently.

    Yesterday morning, I purchased a return ticket from Newton-le-Willows to Manchester. On my return journey, I missed getting off at NLW. The train was very busy and the doors had closed before I had realised and gathered myself.
    I did not panic as luckily the next station is Earlestown, 1 minute away, and I could arrange to be picked up from there.

    However, revenue officers were at Earlestown, and they took my details for over-travelling by one stop.

    I did not intend to do this. It was a very bad mistake and I am very sorry.

    Could anyone please tell me what will happen? I'm quite worried and upset.

    Many thanks for your advice.
     
  2. najaB

    najaB Veteran Member

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    Hi. Try not to get too worried: as you said it was a simple mistake, easily done.

    It's unlikely that you'll be prosecuted for this - I'm guessing it was a Northern service? They are less likely to prosecute than other TOCs. Generally, if you're not known to them (meaning you've never been in trouble before) they will either issue a sternly written letter or at worse a £80 penalty notice (note it's neither a fine nor a penalty fare).
     
  3. 5632#

    5632# New Member

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    Hello.

    Thank you, that's useful to know.

    And yes, the train company was Arriva Trains Wales, but the revenue officer said this is between myself and 'Northern'.

    Thanks again.

    K
     
  4. gray1404

    gray1404 Established Member

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    This is an easy mistake to make, moreover if you have a condition like Autism and are in a crowded environment or unfamiliar place. I believe the correct thing for the staff to have done would have been to exercise some level of care towards the disabled passenger and perhaps assisted him in putting him on the next service back to Newton le Willows.

    There does appear to be a fare difference of either 70p or 90p depending on the type of ticket held (and assuming no railcard was used). Even if difference was 0p your ticket was no longer valid for further travel upon arrival at Newton le Willows . Assuming that you live in Newton le Willows (or another part of Merseyside), do you have a disabled concessionary travel pass, which locally would be issued by Merseytravel and entitles you to free travel on all rail services within Merseyside i.e. that would have covered you for the extra stop taken?

    I am not such if Northern will write to you to ask for your side of events first of if they are inclined to write directly to those who have not come up on their radar before offering them an out of court settlement of £80 (plus the fare which should have been paid).

    If they do write to you asking for the £80 plus the fare I would pay it right away. At the same time of enclosing the cheque (one for the £80 and anther for the fare) you could enclose evidence and details of mitigation and see if they decide not to cash it. However, if they do then there is nothing stopping you writing to customer services afterward in the hope of some good will gesture given the circumstances.

    If they do write asking for your side of events then I would respond with an apology for your mistake (this is the most important bit). I would explain the circumstances on the day and that you suffer from Autism and, more importantly, how this effected you at the time. I would keep it short and to the point. I would enclose a supporting letter from a doctor or support worker confirming your diagnosis and briefly, how it effects you when travelling by train. I would also enclose a cheque at that point for the difference in the fare too.
     
    Last edited: 19 May 2017
  5. najaB

    najaB Veteran Member

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    This presumes that the staff were aware of the OPs autism.
     
  6. gray1404

    gray1404 Established Member

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    Or even bother to try to pick up on signs that the OP either have been vulnerable.
     
  7. AlterEgo

    AlterEgo Established Member

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    I don't think there's any suggestion the staff are at fault here. The OP is, as they admitted.
     
  8. Darandio

    Darandio Established Member

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    There aren't always obvious signs. I think you are asking a bit much of the staff here.
     
  9. gray1404

    gray1404 Established Member

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    Sadly it isn't always obvious, you are right. I think it is asking too much of the staff as it is highly unlikely they would be the best suited (or trained) to pick up on such signs. Other industry's are better at this then the railway. However, if the OP made them aware of it (or they were say using a travel document that might have indicated such) then that is a different matter.

    I do want to stay on topic though and keep this relevant to advising the OP (which is what most of my first post here was focused on).
     
    Last edited: 19 May 2017
  10. 5632#

    5632# New Member

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    Hi again,

    I'm grateful for your time and empathy, thank you.

    To clarify, my autism is well hidden, and it's not something I disclose - I did not process that I should tell the Revenue Inspector as I was focussed on digesting the magnitude of the problem/ trouble I was in. I only mentioned it here because it is relevant to why I missed my stop. Also, I do not have a disabled pass.

    I had an anytime ticket, and I was travelling on the 5.50pm from Piccadilly, so I think this would be the higher fare, 90p.

    Your advice on what course of action I should follow has been very reassuring, thank you. I have a letter to confirm the autism diagnosis that I shall send with my response.

    Thank you once again.

    K
     
  11. najaB

    najaB Veteran Member

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    Since it's Northern that are dealing with it, I don't think you have much to worry about. While their revenue staff can be a bit trigger-happy in reporting people, their prosecutions team generally don't take matters to court if you engage with them.
     
  12. gray1404

    gray1404 Established Member

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    You are most welcome. I hope you have been reassured by the advise given here. Please also understand that many people make the simple mistake you made every singe day across the network, so it is not just you. Try not to worry about the it when it plays over in your mind try to think about something else.

    You just need to wait for the letter to arrive. There is nothing we can do now until then. This could take anything from a few weeks to a few months or anything in between depending on how busy they are. If you have a support worker it is a good idea to tell them what has happened too (or perhaps a parent, close friend or partner) so that they can help you later on.

    When the letter does arrive post back in this thread exactly what the letter says and I and others will be along to help you with your response in more detail. We will also happily proof read any replies for you and help you with what to say. It is important to act within any specified time frame so do post back here as soon as you receive it.

    Also, if you think of anything else in the mean time that you want to ask, feel free to do so. I do hope this has put you at ease a bit!
     
  13. Fare-Cop

    Fare-Cop Member

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    I am sorry that the OP is autistic, but I think that fact is a distraction in this case. That is not to suggest that any debilitating condition shouldn't be considered where relevant, but in the case of genuinely accidentally over-travelling by one stop the important point is the accidental, or unintentional nature of the matter.

    Any traveller at all who has genuinely been accidentally over-carried past the point to which they had paid by one local stop and really did not want to be there, they should be permitted to travel back to their original intended destination by the next available service without any form of penalty whatsoever.

    I always advise RPIs or other RP staff that they should endorse the ticket to say 'Please pass back to destination, over carried' and their name / number and the time.

    If the traveller chooses to leave the railway at the station they have arrived at, 1 local stop past their genuinely intended destination, they have changed their destination through negligence and the worst that they should face is to be charged the excess fare to make their original ticket valid. In the OPs case as has already been said, either 70p or 90p depending on the ticket held.

    Only if there is clear evidence of a deliberate act confirming an intent to avoid a fare should any form of report ever be considered.

    For the OP, from your post it seems perfectly clear to me that you should not be unduly penalised in this case.
     
    Last edited: 19 May 2017
  14. Trackman

    Trackman Member

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    Absolutely spot on.

    this is a case for 'common sense', I hope it prevails.
     
  15. unlevel42

    unlevel42 Member

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    A disability bus ENCTS pass can be very helpful to those with autism.


    Although it does not generally provide for free or discounted travel on the railway, in some areas it does eg for South Yorkshire, Merseyside, G.Manchester residents.

    The ENCTS pass might also help to support a situation reported in the OP although I strongly suggest that a "autism" information card could be very useful in similar situations including shopping, borders, stop and search ...

    The criteria for a successful a ENCTS application is met by people with a diagnosis for autism. If an application has failed in the past, apply again as the it is very common for the local authority to follow 'out of date' guidelines which refer to a previous disability act. Often an appeal is necessary. Rail Disability passes have very different criteria.
     
    Last edited: 24 May 2017

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