Northern £20 Penalty Fare - A Lesson Learned :-)

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Karl

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I'm looking for advice please. Could you help? I made an honest mistake. Yes, honestly :)

I was issued a £20 penalty fare for travelling without a ticket from Bamber Bridge to Preston. I always buy a ticket before travelling. Always. I'm a 60 year old idiot! :)

On Tuesday I had an appointment for my first vaccine jab in Preston. I'd not been out of the house since last March. This was my first train journey for a whole year. I arrived at Bamber Bridge 5 minutes before my train departure time. Unfortunately the crossing gates were down and I was unable to access the Preston bound platform and was unable to buy a ticket from the machine. There was already an east bound train in the platform waiting to depart. Once the train had passed the gates I was ready to rush across to my platform and get my ticket and wait for my train. The gates didn't open and I waited hoping for them to open. I waited but time was ticking down. My train was now due and I was starting to panic. My train arrived into the platform, the gates raised, and Usain Bolt would have been proud of me as I set off across the tracks and up the platform and leapt onto the train as the guard was about to press two on the buzzer. Phew, I'd made it! I wasn't going to miss my jab.

Now I knew I'd boarded a train without a ticket. I was worried. I sat down and hoped to be able to buy a ticket from the guard like I've always been able to. We soon approached Lostock Hall and the guard came out. I asked him if I could buy a ticket. He said he was busy. I understood he needed to do the doors. We departed Lostock Hall and he returned to the cab. We were now nearing Preston and still no sign of seeing him. We arrived into Preston and I again asked him if I could buy a ticket. He told me he's packed his machine away and to buy a ticket from the inspectors.

Bad move :'(

I had my payment ready as I approached an inspector on the gateline to purchase a £3.40 return from Bamber Bridge to Preston please.

No.

He then introduced me to one of his colleagues who took all my details and issued me with a penalty fare ticket for £20. I tried to explain my situation but he wasn't having it.

I was gutted. I immediately bought a return ticket from the ticket office window for my return journey home after my jab.

The jab went well. I didn't even feel a thing. I was impressed by the way of the set up. Very efficient and I was glad to have finally got my first jab. Credit to the volunteers and staff at the NHS centre. Thank you for your service.

I took the train home and the guard checked my ticket on the train. I asked if I could purchase a ticket from him. He said yes.

I got home and luckily had no after effects from my jab. I rang my daughter and told her of my ordeal. She said "I told you to get an iPhone. You could have bought a ticket!". I still don't have any mobile phone 8-)

It was an experience I don't want to have again. I learnt a lesson. Turn up at Bamber Bridge 10 minutes before those gates go down!

Thanks for listening folks.

Karl.
 
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Turtle

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I'm looking for advice please. Could you help? I made an honest mistake. Yes, honestly :)

I was issued a £20 penalty fare for travelling without a ticket from Bamber Bridge to Preston. I always buy a ticket before travelling. Always. I'm a 60 year old idiot! :)

On Tuesday I had an appointment for my first vaccine jab in Preston. I'd not been out of the house since last March. This was my first train journey for a whole year. I arrived at Bamber Bridge 5 minutes before my train departure time. Unfortunately the crossing gates were down and I was unable to access the Preston bound platform and was unable to buy a ticket from the machine. There was already an east bound train in the platform waiting to depart. Once the train had passed the gates I was ready to rush across to my platform and get my ticket and wait for my train. The gates didn't open and I waited hoping for them to open. I waited but time was ticking down. My train was now due and I was starting to panic. My train arrived into the platform, the gates raised, and Usain Bolt would have been proud of me as I set off across the tracks and up the platform and leapt onto the train as the guard was about to press two on the buzzer. Phew, I'd made it! I wasn't going to miss my jab.

Now I knew I'd boarded a train without a ticket. I was worried. I sat down and hoped to be able to buy a ticket from the guard like I've always been able to. We soon approached Lostock Hall and the guard came out. I asked him if I could buy a ticket. He said he was busy. I understood he needed to do the doors. We departed Lostock Hall and he returned to the cab. We were now nearing Preston and still no sign of seeing him. We arrived into Preston and I again asked him if I could buy a ticket. He told me he's packed his machine away and to buy a ticket from the inspectors.

Bad move :'(

I had my payment ready as I approached an inspector on the gateline to purchase a £3.40 return from Bamber Bridge to Preston please.

No.

He then introduced me to one of his colleagues who took all my details and issued me with a penalty fare ticket for £20. I tried to explain my situation but he wasn't having it.

I was gutted. I immediately bought a return ticket from the ticket office window for my return journey home after my jab.

The jab went well. I didn't even feel a thing. I was impressed by the way of the set up. Very efficient and I was glad to have finally got my first jab. Credit to the volunteers and staff at the NHS centre. Thank you for your service.

I took the train home and the guard checked my ticket on the train. I asked if I could purchase a ticket from him. He said yes.

I got home and luckily had no after effects from my jab. I rang my daughter and told her of my ordeal. She said "I told you to get an iPhone. You could have bought a ticket!". I still don't have any mobile phone 8-)

It was an experience I don't want to have again. I learnt a lesson. Turn up at Bamber Bridge 10 minutes before those gates go down!

Thanks for listening folks.

Karl.
Lesson learned.
No pecuniary loss to the railway and honesty doesn't pay!
 

Bletchleyite

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Lesson learned.
No pecuniary loss to the railway and honesty doesn't pay!

This is yet another example of Northern getting away with a PF scheme (and their famed £80 settlements) despite not providing adequate facilities for ticket purchase. The MINIMUM at Penalty Fares stations should be two TVMs, one on each platform.
 

WesternLancer

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I'm looking for advice please. Could you help? I made an honest mistake. Yes, honestly :)

I was issued a £20 penalty fare for travelling without a ticket from Bamber Bridge to Preston. I always buy a ticket before travelling. Always. I'm a 60 year old idiot! :)

On Tuesday I had an appointment for my first vaccine jab in Preston. I'd not been out of the house since last March. This was my first train journey for a whole year. I arrived at Bamber Bridge 5 minutes before my train departure time. Unfortunately the crossing gates were down and I was unable to access the Preston bound platform and was unable to buy a ticket from the machine. There was already an east bound train in the platform waiting to depart. Once the train had passed the gates I was ready to rush across to my platform and get my ticket and wait for my train. The gates didn't open and I waited hoping for them to open. I waited but time was ticking down. My train was now due and I was starting to panic. My train arrived into the platform, the gates raised, and Usain Bolt would have been proud of me as I set off across the tracks and up the platform and leapt onto the train as the guard was about to press two on the buzzer. Phew, I'd made it! I wasn't going to miss my jab.

Now I knew I'd boarded a train without a ticket. I was worried. I sat down and hoped to be able to buy a ticket from the guard like I've always been able to. We soon approached Lostock Hall and the guard came out. I asked him if I could buy a ticket. He said he was busy. I understood he needed to do the doors. We departed Lostock Hall and he returned to the cab. We were now nearing Preston and still no sign of seeing him. We arrived into Preston and I again asked him if I could buy a ticket. He told me he's packed his machine away and to buy a ticket from the inspectors.

Bad move :'(

I had my payment ready as I approached an inspector on the gateline to purchase a £3.40 return from Bamber Bridge to Preston please.

No.

He then introduced me to one of his colleagues who took all my details and issued me with a penalty fare ticket for £20. I tried to explain my situation but he wasn't having it.

I was gutted. I immediately bought a return ticket from the ticket office window for my return journey home after my jab.

The jab went well. I didn't even feel a thing. I was impressed by the way of the set up. Very efficient and I was glad to have finally got my first jab. Credit to the volunteers and staff at the NHS centre. Thank you for your service.

I took the train home and the guard checked my ticket on the train. I asked if I could purchase a ticket from him. He said yes.

I got home and luckily had no after effects from my jab. I rang my daughter and told her of my ordeal. She said "I told you to get an iPhone. You could have bought a ticket!". I still don't have any mobile phone 8-)

It was an experience I don't want to have again. I learnt a lesson. Turn up at Bamber Bridge 10 minutes before those gates go down!

Thanks for listening folks.

Karl.
Bad luck - all I can say is that I reckon the £20 penalty is probably cheaper than an i-phone....

And (I find) Northern's ticket machines so hard to operate you still might have missed the train
 

yorkie

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Presumably the machine - which you could not access due to the level crossing barrier - accepts your chosen payment method?

This is where it would have been useful if you were paying by Rail Travel Voucher; Northern could not have issued a PF in that situation.
 

Mcr Warrior

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What would be the position for the OP if they only had the (correct) cash fare as a means of payment?

Does the Bamber Bridge TVM accept cash payment?
 

CHESHIRECAT

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i'd appeal that; the Conductor on the first train would hopefully verify your story

Worth a go....
 

furlong

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Obviously in the circumstances described it sounds as though no penalty fare should have been charged. Appeal on the basis that you arrived in sufficient time and paid at the first opportunity the company presented you with (e.g. 3 grounds: no facilities available at the station that it was practical for you to use; authority from guard who chose not to accept your payment and gave you alternative instructions; and special reasons considering the circumstances as a whole). Separately consider making a request for all the relevant CCTV (stations and on-train if there is any) to be retained in case they don't immediately grant your appeal and you think it would strengthen your case if you need to take the matter further (and you weren't exaggerating how early you arrived, which they might say is the only relevant fact).
 

Mcr Warrior

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Presumably the machine - which you could not access due to the level crossing barrier - accepts your chosen payment method?

This is where it would have been useful if you were paying by Rail Travel Voucher; Northern could not have issued a PF in that situation.

If not it'll be Promise to Pay, won't it? Which means the same as if it was Permit to Travel but that was on the wrong platform.

Just to further clarify, how might having held a Rail Travel Voucher have helped the OP, if otherwise they were expected to have procured a Promise to Pay voucher from the (solitary, cross platform?) TVM at Bamber Bridge?

(Assuming that the one there was indeed able to issue such things).
 

Watershed

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You have nothing to lose by appealing, so it's certainly worth a try.

Ambiguities such as these (were there "facilities in operation for the sale of a travel ticket for that passenger’s journey" in your circumstances) are why the Penalty Fare system is in need of reform.

Sadly, from the consultation they are currently running, it looks like all the DfT is interested in, is increasing the cost of a Penalty Fare and leaving the rest of the broken system untouched.
 

yorkie

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Just to further clarify, how might having held a Rail Travel Voucher have helped the OP, if otherwise they were expected to have procured a Promise to Pay voucher from the (solitary, cross platform?) TVM at Bamber Bridge?

(Assuming that the one there was indeed able to issue such things).
The Penalty Fare scheme makes no reference to a Promise to Pay, as far as I am aware?

In any case, Promise to Pay does not appear to apply to RTV as a method of payment and in any case if you are paying with an RTV there is no possibility of using a TVM anyway.

I think you are also overstating the relevance of Promise to pay.
 

Mcr Warrior

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Presumably the machine - which you could not access due to the level crossing barrier - accepts your chosen payment method?

This is where it would have been useful if you were paying by Rail Travel Voucher; Northern could not have issued a PF in that situation.
So noted, but it was your good self who raised this. :s
 

Mcr Warrior

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I don't understand what you are saying.
I'll try to explain.

You stated, upthread in post #5, that it would have been useful if the OP were paying by Rail Travel Voucher; as Northern could not have issued a PF in that situation.

So, do Northern issue PFs (penalty fares) as such?

If so, in what circumstances does holding a RTV avoid receiving a PF?

Is what the OP received (described in post #1 as a £20 penalty fare) actually a PF?!

If a 'Promise to Pay' voucher had been obtained from the Bamber Bridge TVM, prior to travel, as alluded to by @Bletchleyite in post #7 as an alternative to obtaining a Permit to Travel, then presumably the OP wouldn't have still been liable to a PF (or whatever it was they received at Preston), yes?

Genuinely interested, so that I don't ever end up in a similar position as the OP when travelling from my own local, unmanned, infrequently served, Northern station.
 

221129

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So, do Northern issue PFs (penalty fares) as such?
Yes.
If so, in what circumstances does holding a RTV avoid receiving a PF?
TVMs don't accept them, so can't use one meaning it is not an opportunity to pay.
Is what the OP received (described in post #1 as a £20 penalty fare) actually a PF?!
Sounds like it yes.
If a 'Promise to Pay' voucher had been obtained from the Bamber Bridge TVM, prior to travel, as alluded to by @Bletchleyite in post #7 as an alternative to obtaining a Permit to Travel, then presumably the OP wouldn't have still been liable to a PF (or whatever it was they received at Preston), yes?
Only if the TVM won't accept the method of payment the OP wishes to use.
 

Watershed

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So, do Northern issue PFs (penalty fares) as such?
Yes.

If so, in what circumstances does holding a RTV avoid receiving a PF?
In the circumstances where holding an RTV means you fall into one of the exceptions defined in regulation 6 of the Penalty Fares Regs:

(a)there were no facilities in operation for the sale of a travel ticket for that passenger’s journey;

(b)the requirements for the display of notices specified in regulation 8 were not satisfied;

(c)a notice was displayed indicating that the passenger was, or persons generally were, permitted to travel by or be present on the train without having a travel ticket; or

(d)the operator of the train or the station, or a person acting or purporting to act on behalf of the operator, indicated that the passenger was, or persons generally were, permitted to travel by or be present on the train without having a travel ticket.
(plus another, non-relevant exception to do with changing off a non-Penalty Fare service/station)

It is arguable that either subparagraph (a) or (d) may apply when holding an RTV. Subparagraph (b) is, in any case, likely to apply at the many stations where notices are not displayed in accordance with regulation 8.

Is what the OP received (described in post #1 as a £20 penalty fare) actually a PF?!
It sounds like it.

If a 'Promise to Pay' voucher had been obtained from the Bamber Bridge TVM, prior to travel, as alluded to by @Bletchleyite in post #7 as an alternative to obtaining a Permit to Travel, then presumably the OP wouldn't have still been liable to a PF (or whatever it was they received at Preston), yes?
Yes, a Promise to Pay Notice clearly gives authority to board the service without a ticket. However, you must 'lie' to the machine that you are paying cash for it to issue a PtPN!
 

Mcr Warrior

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So you shouldn't be attempting to pay/settle the 'Promise to Pay', on arrival at Preston, with a payment card, on the basis that it ought to have been used to obtain a ticket from the Bamber Bridge TVM prior to travel?
 

221129

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So you shouldn't be attempting to pay/settle the 'Promise to Pay', on arrival at Preston, with a payment card, on the basis that it ought to have been used to obtain a ticket from the Bamber Bridge TVM prior to travel?
Correct. If you want to pay by card and the machine accepts card then you must use the machine.
 

Mcr Warrior

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So, if an RTV is held, and is to be used to pay/part pay the fare on arrival at Preston (maybe topped up with cash for the balance and assuming that the guard hasn't collected the fare en route), should a 'Promise to Pay' notice also be obtained from the Bamber Bridge TVM to evidence having actually boarded there.

(Last question on this!) ;)
 

Watershed

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So, if an RTV is held, and is to be used to pay/part pay the fare on arrival at Preston (maybe topped up with cash for the balance and assuming that the guard hasn't collected the fare en route), should a 'Promise to Pay' notice also be obtained from the Bamber Bridge TVM to evidence having actually boarded there.

(Last question on this!) ;)
Northern say yes.

It becomes murky once you start digging down into the fine legalities of it - but I think you can't go far wrong if you do so.
 

185

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Specifically for Bamber Bridge, most hours the barriers will drop down at around :03ish then at :05 (Eastbound Colne) rolls onto the platform, departing at :06. Assuming it's on time, the gates then stay down whilst the (Westbound Preston) rolls into the station at :07, ready for an :08 departure. There's often a few stragglers running up after the gates are raised - as they've been down for some time.

So, if someone turns up at this station to use the ticket machine (which I'm assuming is ONLY ONE, on the Preston side) over 5 minutes before departure, they physically can't. At several operators, this would probably be enough to overturn a penalty fare, but not likely at Northern. I'd pay it, but certainly consider complaining.
 

yorkie

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So you shouldn't be attempting to pay/settle the 'Promise to Pay', on arrival at Preston, with a payment card, on the basis that it ought to have been used to obtain a ticket from the Bamber Bridge TVM prior to travel?
A Promise to pay is outwith the Penalty Fare legislation and is something that Northern are encouraging people to obtain if they are paying in cash. You have to agree not to use any other payment method when obtaining one.

A Promise to pay is not the same as a Permit to travel, but Northern appear to be acting in a way that suggests they want people to think they are.
 

SteveM70

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Northern’s view is that if there’s a working TVM at an unstaffed station, passengers are expected to use the machine to either purchase a ticket using a card, or get a promise to pay if they want to use some other payment method

They don’t acknowledge any other option
 

30907

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If there is only a machine on one platform, then Northern should be challenged - they have (now) managed to provide 2 at Cononley, which also has a level crossing and no footbridge, and Frizinghall (two platforms 1/4 mile apart).
 

b0b

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If there is only a machine on one platform, then Northern should be challenged - they have (now) managed to provide 2 at Cononley, which also has a level crossing and no footbridge, and Frizinghall (two platforms 1/4 mile apart).
especially when it is the action of the railway that prevented the OP from purchasing a ticket from the TVM when they blocked access with the gates. is it reasonable for the OP to know the unpublished gate schedule so they can arrive in good time to purchase the ticket?
 

Tallguy

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There should be a TVM on each platform depending upon layout and access to each platform/station so I would suggest appealing but ultimately you boarded a train without a valid ticket. You don’t need a mobile phone to buy a ticket in advance, you obviously have internet access so could have purchased a ticket in advance and printed it out.
 

Watershed

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You don’t need a mobile phone to buy a ticket in advance, you obviously have internet access so could have purchased a ticket in advance and printed it out.
That assumes OP has access to a printer. They may well not.

There may be other reasons why they couldn't have bought a ticket online, but ultimately the fact that tickets are sold online and on apps isn't sufficient justification for being issued with a Penalty Fare.

There should be a TVM on each platform depending upon layout and access to each platform/station so I would suggest appealing but ultimately you boarded a train without a valid ticket
Is boarding a train without a valid ticket the only thing that matters? What about if the guard said that OP could buy on board? What if there was a notice saying so? What if OP had been delayed on a previous train and was now travelling on an Advance that was actually for a different train?

Clearly, context matters. It is not enough to say "boarded without a valid ticket → fine to issue Penalty Fare". The fact that the level crossing barriers were down for several minutes before the train arrived, with no other way of reaching the ticket machine, is going to be a highly relevant factor in any appeal OP brings.
 

Tallguy

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That assumes OP has access to a printer. They may well not.

There may be other reasons why they couldn't have bought a ticket online, but ultimately the fact that tickets are sold online and on apps isn't sufficient justification for being issued with a Penalty Fare.


Is boarding a train without a valid ticket the only thing that matters? What about if the guard said that OP could buy on board? What if there was a notice saying so? What if OP had been delayed on a previous train and was now travelling on an Advance that was actually for a different train?

Clearly, context matters. It is not enough to say "boarded without a valid ticket → fine to issue Penalty Fare". The fact that the level crossing barriers were down for several minutes before the train arrived, with no other way of reaching the ticket machine, is going to be a highly relevant factor in any appeal OP brings.
Context does indeed matter but your argument about advance tickets and delayed trains was recently covered in a lengthy and comprehensive thread on this very site......

i inMagine there are some minor stations where there is no facility to buy a ticket or PTT, thus boarding a train there would be quite within the rules. But that wasn’t the case here. Nonetheless I suggest the OP appeals the penalty fare.
 
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