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Northern Fixed Penalty Notice

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PF1908

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Hi.

I was travelling for work from Manchester Airport to Manchester piccadilly. I prebooked my tickets and used my 16-25 railcard for the discount (automatically applied on the trainline app). Once i arrived at Piccadilly, i was stopped by an employee which checked my ticket and railcard. They noticed that my railcard was expired (something i wasn’t aware of). The employee took my my details and i then relieved a letter to email Northern with a reason.

I didn’t notice my railcard was actually expired and i was willing to comply. This is the first time i have ever been in trouble with any authority so i did not expect a £95 penalty notice, maybe just to pay the £3.30 difference. Anyway, once that happened i purchased a 3 year railcard on that same day while i was walking home.

My first letter told me to email Northern with why i did what i did. I emailed the company but typed the address in wrong. I then got a second letter saying i need to pay the fine within 15 days of receiving the letter. I forwarded my first email to the correct email address with the original send date and then i got a third letter saying that i need to pay £95. I then emailed them again asking why they never considered my reasoning (which was that it was an honest mistake and that i work for a hygiene brand which made me stressed due to coronavirus as we were really busy). They then said this was a lenient punishment and that i need to pay otherwise they will send me a summons.

If this ended up in court, can anyone advise if i have a chance to win? i understand that it is my responsibility to have a valid in date railcard but a £95 penalty notice seems very excessive for a first time offender and it was an honest mistake.
 
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Bletchleyite

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You would lose in Court (that the Railcard had expired is a simple matter of fact) and should pay the £95 or you will end up paying much more and possibly having a criminal record.
 

Haywain

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If this ended up in court, can anyone advise if i have a chance to win? i understand that it is my responsibility to have a valid in date railcard but a £95 penalty notice seems very excessive for a first time offender and it was an honest mistake.
You would have no chance of winning in court as you had not at any time held a valid ticket or paid your fare, so it is best to pay the £95 as a court imposed fine will be higher and costs will be added coming to much more. It may be excessive - that is simply a matter of opinion - but you really have no alternative.
 

RPI

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As others have pointed out your chance of success at court would be incredibly thin, ultimately its your responsibility to ensure that you travel with a valid ticket and any supporting documents, we all make mistakes at times and by offering you a settlement before going to court I'd say its a fair compromise, obviously its your right for the matter to be tried in court if you so wish but you'd be better getting advice from a legal professional if you wanted to take your chances there
 

mikeg

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I do however think it's a bit harsh they went down the reporting the passenger route rather than issuing a penalty fare as this situation is precisely what penalty fares are there for. That said there is no right to a penalty fare, so they're entitled to do it. I to would advise paying up unfortunately.
 

Haywain

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I do however think it's a bit harsh they went down the reporting the passenger route rather than issuing a penalty fare as this situation is precisely what penalty fares are there for. That said there is no right to a penalty fare, so they're entitled to do it. I to would advise paying up unfortunately.
It may be harsh but the staff member may not be authorised to issue penalty fares, in which case the correct course of action was followed.
 

mikeg

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Yknow there was a time, a very recent time when if the staff member wasn't authorised to issue penalty fares, instead of making it somehow the passengers problem would simply confiscate the railcard and charge an anytime single, which was a far more sensible comprimise. Whilst it's the passengers fault their railcard had expired its not their fault the inspector was not an authorised penalty fares collector.
 

Brissle Girl

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Yknow there was a time, a very recent time when if the staff member wasn't authorised to issue penalty fares, instead of making it somehow the passengers problem would simply confiscate the railcard and charge an anytime single, which was a far more sensible comprimise. Whilst it's the passengers fault their railcard had expired its not their fault the inspector was not an authorised penalty fares collector.
I guess confiscation of a railcard when it's sitting on the passenger's brand new £1,000 iphone12 (other phones are available) is not really realistic. It would seem odd to have a procedure (and ultimately a penalty charge/fine or whatever) that varied according to whether the railcard is physical or electronic, so maybe the process has been changed to ensure the outcome is the same.
 

Haywain

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Yknow there was a time, a very recent time when if the staff member wasn't authorised to issue penalty fares, instead of making it somehow the passengers problem would simply confiscate the railcard and charge an anytime single, which was a far more sensible comprimise. Whilst it's the passengers fault their railcard had expired its not their fault the inspector was not an authorised penalty fares collector.
Only in a mythical world that you inhabit. Some staff may do that but it is far from a right, any more than receiving a penalty fare is a right. This has always been the case.
 

mikeg

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Indeed it has long since been the case (though has not always been strict liability) that it could happen, what I am saying is the railway has started to (ab) use the byelaws against passengers who make honest mistakes much more frequently, whereas in the recent past a more measured approach was usually taken.
 

Haywain

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what I am saying is the railway has started to (ab) use the byelaws against passengers who make honest mistakes much more frequently,
And that is just your opinion, unless you have the facts and figures to back that up.
 

RPI

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An MG11 for an out of date railcard has always been the default option as long as I've been in Revenue Protection which is nearly twenty years.
 

crablab

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Are there not rules/standards/procedures about when a PF is issued as opposed to reporting the passenger etc?

If it's simply a matter of who happens to interrogate your ticket, it seems manifestly unfair that the outcome you get is not based on the facts of the matter, but the qualifications of the staff that you deal with (which the passenger cannot influence).

I agree the passenger is in the wrong here, however surely there should be a consistent way of dealing with this across the board?
 

Haywain

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surely there should be a consistent way of dealing with this across the board
If you want a consistent approach, then it will have to be every case being reported for potential prosecution. Otherwise there is a lack of consistency because not every station or train company is part of a penalty fare scheme. And would you draw another line depending on how long the railcard is out of date?
 

crablab

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If you want a consistent approach, then it will have to be every case being reported for potential prosecution. Otherwise there is a lack of consistency because not every station or train company is part of a penalty fare scheme. And would you draw another line depending on how long the railcard is out of date?

That would seem like a more sensible situation then: at least the line is clear then.

Well someone would write a procedure that decided this ;)
 

bb21

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Yknow there was a time, a very recent time when if the staff member wasn't authorised to issue penalty fares, instead of making it somehow the passengers problem would simply confiscate the railcard and charge an anytime single, which was a far more sensible comprimise. Whilst it's the passengers fault their railcard had expired its not their fault the inspector was not an authorised penalty fares collector.
Please start a new thread if you would like to discuss anything not directly related to the OP's questions as this helps avoid cluttering things up and the member seeking advice having to scroll through posts not relevant to their problem in hand.
 

mikeg

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Apologies and would like to reiterate my advice to the op: no matter how unfair this is or may seem, it is better to pay. You may then persue a separate complaint if you wish, but I wouldn't count on it making a difference.
 

WesternLancer

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Other related advice for the OP is to pursue a delay reclaim every time you have a late train, however small the claim, as a way of getting some of your £95 back...
But yes, sadly you need to pay this (or pay a solicitor to help you and that may not work anyway)
 

kristiang85

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How long had it been expired for? If it was a week or so, then maybe you have a mitgation due to stress, etc. (to be honest, the passage of time this year has been very relative). But given it is quite black and white, it's still only a tiny chance of success and a large chance of extra penalty.

If it's months, then I would just chalk it up to experience and pay.

As it was an electronic railcard, didn't you get a reminder?
 

scrapy

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But given it is quite black and white, it's still only a tiny chance of success and a large chance of extra penalty.
If it's a byelaws prosecution there is no chance of success as op doesn't dispute that the offence occurred and as a strict liability offence Northern don't need to prove any intent. Again the stress you were under may be taken into account when the penalty is handed out (although the courts do hear it all the time)but would not be taken into account on the actual verdict. I'd pay it as the costs and victim surcharge alone would be more let alone the fine, (Northern usually ask for at least £100 costs)
 
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philthetube

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5 Jan 2016
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Hi.

I was travelling for work from Manchester Airport to Manchester piccadilly. I prebooked my tickets and used my 16-25 railcard for the discount (automatically applied on the trainline app). Once i arrived at Piccadilly, i was stopped by an employee which checked my ticket and railcard. They noticed that my railcard was expired (something i wasn’t aware of). The employee took my my details and i then relieved a letter to email Northern with a reason.

I didn’t notice my railcard was actually expired and i was willing to comply. This is the first time i have ever been in trouble with any authority so i did not expect a £95 penalty notice, maybe just to pay the £3.30 difference. Anyway, once that happened i purchased a 3 year railcard on that same day while i was walking home.

My first letter told me to email Northern with why i did what i did. I emailed the company but typed the address in wrong. I then got a second letter saying i need to pay the fine within 15 days of receiving the letter. I forwarded my first email to the correct email address with the original send date and then i got a third letter saying that i need to pay £95. I then emailed them again asking why they never considered my reasoning (which was that it was an honest mistake and that i work for a hygiene brand which made me stressed due to coronavirus as we were really busy). They then said this was a lenient punishment and that i need to pay otherwise they will send me a summons.

If this ended up in court, can anyone advise if i have a chance to win? i understand that it is my responsibility to have a valid in date railcard but a £95 penalty notice seems very excessive for a first time offender and it was an honest mistake.
If trainline are automatically applying discounts for an expired railcard do they have some responsibility?
 

pottyy

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You have to manually select the appropriate railcard it wont automatically select the railcard for you.
 

robbeech

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No. It's always the passengers responsibility to check they have the correct valid documents for their journey.
And regardless, you don't tell the retailer any details about your railcard, just that you have one so they have no way of knowing when it expires, or indeed, if you've ever had one.
 

crablab

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And regardless, you don't tell the retailer any details about your railcard, just that you have one so they have no way of knowing when it expires, or indeed, if you've ever had one.

There is another thread on here discussing providing railcard details (they have a unique ID) to the retailer, to avoid exactly this type of issue :)
 
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