Nil-paid Penalty Fares

Status
Not open for further replies.

lyndhurst25

Member
Joined
26 Nov 2010
Messages
1,101
Regarding "nil paid penalty fares" and keeping the other thread on-topic as requested......

What I am wanting to know is are nil-paid PFs issued at the discretion of the ticket inspector or does the passenger have the right to demand one if issued with a PF?

I never liked giving them (Nil-paid Penalty Fares) 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.
RJ, how do you mean that they don't take them seriously? Is it that they never pay the PF or that they go on to "re-offend" in the future?
 
Sponsor Post - registered members do not see these adverts; click here to register, or click here to log in
R

RailUK Forums

island

Veteran Member
Joined
30 Dec 2010
Messages
11,181
Location
0036
They are only available at the discretion of the Authorised Collector. The Authorised Collector is supposed to apply the discretion towards children, vulnerable passengers, and season ticket holders who say they have forgotten their ticket. The passenger has no automatic right to a nil-paid PF, for reasons which hopefully are obvious.
 

RJ

Established Member
Joined
25 Jun 2005
Messages
7,593
Location
Rail replacement bus cab
Regarding "nil paid penalty fares" and keeping the other thread on-topic as requested......

What I am wanting to know is are nil-paid PFs issued at the discretion of the ticket inspector or does the passenger have the right to demand one if issued with a PF?



RJ, how do you mean that they don't take them seriously? Is it that they never pay the PF or that they go on to "re-offend" in the future?
The entire concept of Penalty Fares is built upon discretion. There is no obligation for a member of revenue protection staff to offer a Penalty Fare, especially if they feel that the fare is at risk. Consequently, the passenger has no right to demand a nil-paid Penalty Fare. You also have to consider what rights a passenger even has if they're in a situation where they're liable to be issued with a Penalty Fare.

People who don't take paying their fare seriously, certainly won't take nil-paid PFs seriously. Any such person would have been quite unlucky to meet me, because I bluntly offered them the option of paying at least the Anytime Single fare or being reported for prosecution.

I'm all for passenger rights, but that doesn't extend to those who don't make enough effort to fulfill their responsibilities. When it comes to fares, I pay mine, so everybody else should be paying theirs :p
 
Last edited:

lyndhurst25

Member
Joined
26 Nov 2010
Messages
1,101
Thanks.

And those claiming to be season ticket-holders who "forgot" their ticket, got a nil-paid PF and are subsequently found out never to have had a season ticket get prosecuted, I would have thought?

Am I right in thinking that the full £20 PF doesn't have to be paid on the spot if the passenger doesn't have enough money to do so? Just a "deposit" with the balance payable at a later date? I suppose that this is open to abuse but then again not everyone carries round £20 cash or a card.
 

barrykas

Established Member
Joined
19 Sep 2006
Messages
1,579
Am I right in thinking that the full £20 PF doesn't have to be paid on the spot if the passenger doesn't have enough money to do so? Just a "deposit" with the balance payable at a later date? I suppose that this is open to abuse but then again not everyone carries round £20 cash or a card.
Officially, the minimum payable is the undiscounted Single fare for the journey in question, with the balance payable within 21 days.

That's fine for something like High Wycombe to Gerrards Cross, where the Anytime Day Single is £5.10, but do Kidderminster to Marylebone and it's £61.50.

And remember that £20 is the minimum for an NR Penalty Fare...It can be twice the Single if that's more, so in the Kidderminster example, it'd be a £123.00 PF!

Cheers,

Barry
 

RJ

Established Member
Joined
25 Jun 2005
Messages
7,593
Location
Rail replacement bus cab
Thanks.

And those claiming to be season ticket-holders who "forgot" their ticket, got a nil-paid PF and are subsequently found out never to have had a season ticket get prosecuted, I would have thought?

Am I right in thinking that the full £20 PF doesn't have to be paid on the spot if the passenger doesn't have enough money to do so? Just a "deposit" with the balance payable at a later date? I suppose that this is open to abuse but then again not everyone carries round £20 cash or a card.
All correct.

I worked in mysterious ways. It was only the fare evaders (blatant and covert,) liars and those with the wrong attitude I persisted with charging or reporting. Anyone who accepted responsibility for their mistake and was willing to pay up, I'd let them off with the cheapest available ticket, or the excess up to such a ticket. No need to be unpleasant to those who are not out to swindle the company.

Some RP staff are arrogant bullies though, seen them in action and it doesn't impress me.
 

lyndhurst25

Member
Joined
26 Nov 2010
Messages
1,101
All correct.

I worked in mysterious ways. It was only the fare evaders (blatant and covert,) liars and those with the wrong attitude I persisted with charging or reporting. Anyone who accepted responsibility for their mistake and was willing to pay up, I'd let them off with the cheapest available ticket, or the excess up to such a ticket. No need to be unpleasant to those who are not out to swindle the company.

Some RP staff are arrogant bullies though, seen them in action and it doesn't impress me.
RJ's approach seems fair and sensible. It's a pity that all ticket inspectors aren't issued with guidelines to do the same. Or perhaps the management at some TOCs would think that his policy is too lenient?

Am I right in thinking that, if offered a PF, that the best option is ALWAYS to accept and and least partially pay it there and then, even if you think that it has been wrongly issued? It can always be appealed later on.

Quite a few posters who come to this forum seeking advice regarding intended prosecutions seem to be at first offered a PF, rightly or wrongly feel that they shouldn't be being "fined" and refuse to pay, often thinking that they will be given a chance to pay the PF by post if the case against them is proven. They then find out that they are in fact being considered for prosecution and that the opportunity to pay just a PF has gone.
 

GadgetMan

Member
Joined
9 Jan 2012
Messages
892
Quite a few posters who come to this forum seeking advice regarding intended prosecutions seem to be at first offered a PF, rightly or wrongly feel that they shouldn't be being "fined" and refuse to pay, often thinking that they will be given a chance to pay the PF by post if the case against them is proven. They then find out that they are in fact being considered for prosecution and that the opportunity to pay just a PF has gone.
Some passengers talk themselves into more trouble than is necessary. I've lost count on how often someone will refuse to pay a excess of under £5 and instead arrogantly accept a Unpaid Fares Notice for the full Anytime Single Fare muttering something along the lines of "There's no way I'm paying it" or even go along with having their ticket withdrawn for TIR purposes after being advised that there is a good chance either/both of these processes will cost a hell of a lot more than paying the excess, both financially and hassle wise.

It all comes down to people assuming that the TOCs are bluffing and there is no way they would go through the effort/expense of chasing a passenger for money owed. And then the letter from IRCAS/TOC's prosecution department drops on the doormat.
 

ng1980

Member
Joined
4 Nov 2011
Messages
81
The entire concept of Penalty Fares is built upon discretion. There is no obligation for a member of revenue protection staff to offer a Penalty Fare
It was only the fare evaders (blatant and covert,) liars and those with the wrong attitude I persisted with charging or reporting. Anyone who accepted responsibility for their mistake and was willing to pay up, I'd let them off with the cheapest available ticket, or the excess up to such a ticket. No need to be unpleasant to those who are not out to swindle the company.

Some RP staff are arrogant bullies though, seen them in action and it doesn't impress me.
Really happy to hear this. Thank you, RJ! It is really infuriating to read about people have been stung for making honest mistakes. We all make mistakes, and people on this forum are much more knowledgable about fares than the average person. I would hate to think of my family being penalty fared or fined because they made an honest mistake and it must leave a really bad impression when it happens to visitors to the UK.

(I am aware that a penalty fare is not officially blame or guilt, but is based on the facts of being unable to present a ticket - I do not need to be told again, thank you! :roll: )
 

SussexMan

Member
Joined
23 Oct 2010
Messages
430
A number of people have posted about being offered a Penalty Fare but not having enough money to pay and then getting threatened with prosecution.

It certainly seems unjust if people have a ticket which they thought was valid, are given/offered a penalty fare, but have insufficient money to pay the penalty fare and then getting a letter threatening prosecution. The deciding factor between a penalty (with no blame attached) or a conviction should not come down to having money on you. I understand that if they have no ticket and no money, that can tell a different story.

Perhaps there should be signs up at stations "Always carry sufficient money with you to be able to pay a Penalty Fare in case you have misunderstood the complicated ticketing arrangements of our railways". :D
 

lyndhurst25

Member
Joined
26 Nov 2010
Messages
1,101
A number of people have posted about being offered a Penalty Fare but not having enough money to pay and then getting threatened with prosecution.

It certainly seems unjust if people have a ticket which they thought was valid, are given/offered a penalty fare, but have insufficient money to pay the penalty fare and then getting a letter threatening prosecution. The deciding factor between a penalty (with no blame attached) or a conviction should not come down to having money on you. I understand that if they have no ticket and no money, that can tell a different story.

Perhaps there should be signs up at stations "Always carry sufficient money with you to be able to pay a Penalty Fare in case you have misunderstood the complicated ticketing arrangements of our railways". :D
FCC's website says -

"What if I am unable to pay the full amount of the Penalty Fare on the spot?
If you do not have the full amount, then you will be allowed to make a part payment. You are required by law to provide your full name and address at this time. You then have 21 days to pay the remaining amount of the Penalty Fare."

I was presuming that if you accepted the PF then the ability to part-pay was a "right". Is this so or is part-payment also at the discretion of the ticket inspector?
 
Joined
29 Aug 2010
Messages
696
Going back to B.R. days a forgotton season ticket was a simple affair. The passenger bought a ticket and claimed a refund at the office where the season ticket was issued. This was allowed a maximum of three times during the duration of the annual season ticket.
No arguing, no letters to the Daily Wail, win-win on both sides.
 

island

Veteran Member
Joined
30 Dec 2010
Messages
11,181
Location
0036
You are entitled to make a part-payment of any amount greater than or equal to the SDS/SOS fare for the journey made.
 

lyndhurst25

Member
Joined
26 Nov 2010
Messages
1,101
You are entitled to make a part-payment of any amount greater than or equal to the SDS/SOS fare for the journey made.
Seems sensible.

Are ticket inspectors, on issuing a PF, obliged to tell the passenger that part-payment is an option or is this only volunteered if the passenger claims "I haven't got enough money"?
 

Mojo

Forum Staff
Staff Member
Administrator
Joined
7 Aug 2005
Messages
17,978
Location
0035
Going back to B.R. days a forgotton season ticket was a simple affair. The passenger bought a ticket and claimed a refund at the office where the season ticket was issued. This was allowed a maximum of three times during the duration of the annual season ticket.
No arguing, no letters to the Daily Wail, win-win on both sides.
This is still exactly the case (although you can only claim twice), so I'm not sure what point you're trying to make here? http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/times_fares/season_tickets/season_ticket_conditions.html
 

lyndhurst25

Member
Joined
26 Nov 2010
Messages
1,101
The reason I'm asking these questions about the procedure for issuing and payment of PFs is that I have read stories of passengers who are offered a PF, which for various reasons isn't paid there and then, and the whole thing ends up being escalated to a prosecution. I imagine that some of these escalations could be avoided if there was better explanation of a passenger's rights, responsibilities and likely outcomes when the PF was issued.


SCENARIO 1.

RPI "Tickets please!... I'm afraid you can't use that ticket on this train. You see it says GRT ANG TRNS ONLY? That means "Greater Anglia trains only" and means that you can only use it on the white Greater Anglia trains that go to Liverpool Street, not the purple FCC ones that go to Kings Cross"

Passenger "But I it says "London" on it and the man on the platform told me that this was the London train."

RPI "Sorry, but I'm still going to have to charge you. You aren't allowed to use that ticket on this train. The Penalty Fare is £42.40 but if you haven't got enough money you can just pay the price of a new ticket for £21.20 and they'll send you a bill for the rest. If you think that I'm being unfair then you can appeal when you get the bill and, if that's the case, you will get a refund."

Passenger "Listen, it's not my fault. The man on the platform said it was OK"

RPI "If you don't pay anything now then it'll go to the Prosecutions Department and you could end up going to Court for traveling without a valid ticket and end up having to pay a big fine. If I were you I'd pay the Penalty Fare now and appeal if you think that you are being treated unfairly."

Passenger "OK then. Doesn't look like I've got much choice. I've only got £25 in my wallet. I'll pay the price of a new ticket"

RPI "OK. I'll need your name and address to send the bill for the rest of the money to. I've got to tell you that you that it's criminal offence to give false details and that anyone who does could end up with a criminal record."


SCENARIO 2.

RPI "Tickets please!... I'm afraid you can't use that ticket on this train. You see it says GRT ANG TRNS ONLY. This train is operated by First Capital Connect."

Passenger "But I it says "London" on it and the man on the platform told me that this was the London train."

RPI "Sorry, but I'm still going to have to charge you. You aren't allowed to use that ticket on this train. The Penalty Fare is £42.40."

Passenger "Listen, it's not my fault. The man on the platform said it was OK"

RPI "The Penalty Fare is £42.40 are you going to pay it now or not?"

Passenger fumbles through near-empty wallet "No I'm not"

RPI "OK. I'll need your name and address then and you'll be hearing from our Revenue Protection Department" ... and the passenger gets a prosecution letter in the post.


I'd hope what happens in practice is more like 1 than 2, but in some cases we've heard about it isn't always.

Maybe someone should write a brief summary of what a passenger's best course of action is if issued with a Penalty Fare? Moneysavingexpert.com have done a similar thing for parking fines - a small card that can be downloaded, printed out and kept in your car. I found this article from the Evening Standard (2009) but it's hardly brief and I haven't checked that what is says is 100% correct.
www.standard.co.uk/news/10-ways-to-avoid-penalty-fares-on-trains-6762684.html
Any volunteers?
 

RPI

Member
Joined
6 Dec 2010
Messages
937
I cant speak for why FCC don't do nil paid but we are always told to either issue nil paid or full paid, but NEVER part paid, and here's why, if a customer part pays a PF to the amount of the full single then they cannot be reported for prosecution under railway byelaws or RRA as they have paid the fare, with a part paid PF the only way the TOC can chase up the outstanding debt is via the county (civil) court and no TOC has ever done this yet! There is a loophole and that is that the TOC can cancel the PF and refund the part payment but any magistrate would frown upon this.
 

lyndhurst25

Member
Joined
26 Nov 2010
Messages
1,101
I cant speak for why FCC don't do nil paid but we are always told to either issue nil paid or full paid, but NEVER part paid, and here's why, if a customer part pays a PF to the amount of the full single then they cannot be reported for prosecution under railway byelaws or RRA as they have paid the fare, with a part paid PF the only way the TOC can chase up the outstanding debt is via the county (civil) court and no TOC has ever done this yet! There is a loophole and that is that the TOC can cancel the PF and refund the part payment but any magistrate would frown upon this.
I find that policy quite worrying. Do you mind me asking which TOC you work for? Even FFC's website says that part payment of a PF should be accepted.

www.firstcapitalconnect.co.uk/tickets-and-fares/peak-tickets/penalty-fares/
"What if I am unable to pay the full amount of the Penalty Fare on the spot?
If you do not have the full amount, then you will be allowed to make a part payment. You are required by law to provide your full name and address at this time. You then have 21 days to pay the remaining amount of the Penalty Fare.
"
 

michael769

Established Member
Joined
9 Oct 2005
Messages
2,006
I find that policy quite worrying. Do you mind me asking which TOC you work for
It is also a very odd policy as PFs are only supposed to be issued where the ToC's representative recognises that an innocent mistake has been made and thus that a prosecution would be either impossible or inappropriate.

In situations where it would be appropriate to prosecute I would argue that it is not appropriate to be issuing a PF, unless a decision has been made not to proceed with a prosecution.

It is, in my view, immoral to seek to create a situation where the criminal justice system (or the threat therof) is begin used to pursue civil debts - and it is no wonder that magistrates would be reluctant to allow the courts to support such behavior.
 

Stigy

Established Member
Joined
6 Nov 2009
Messages
3,866
It is, in my view, immoral to seek to create a situation where the criminal justice system (or the threat therof) is begin used to pursue civil debts - and it is no wonder that magistrates would be reluctant to allow the courts to support such behavior.
RJ's point was that it would only be possible to pursue through the County Court if Part payment was made, should the remainder go unpaid, as the fare itself has been paid. If Nil-Paid, then the PF would be cancelled and the original Byelaw charged at the Magistrates' Court if unpaid, therefore making the matter criminal.
 

RPI

Member
Joined
6 Dec 2010
Messages
937
I find that policy quite worrying. Do you mind me asking which TOC you work for? Even FFC's website says that part payment of a PF should be accepted.

www.firstcapitalconnect.co.uk/tickets-and-fares/peak-tickets/penalty-fares/
"What if I am unable to pay the full amount of the Penalty Fare on the spot?
If you do not have the full amount, then you will be allowed to make a part payment. You are required by law to provide your full name and address at this time. You then have 21 days to pay the remaining amount of the Penalty Fare.
"
Whats worrying? the TOC i work for allow us to issue nil paid PF's OR Full paid PF's? that is in line with the PF rules, the PF rules allow the authorised collector to insist that a part payment is made this basically can be used to prove that the customer hasd the means to pay at least the fare, if the customer cannot pay the amount of the SDS up front then its an MG11.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.

Top