Northern Rail Fixed Penalty Notice - Advice please

Discussion in 'Disputes & Prosecutions' started by thebrad, 17 Mar 2013.

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  1. thebrad

    thebrad Member

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    Hi all,

    Today I received an £80 fixed penalty plus the £2.30 fare for the part of the journey I did not have a valid ticket for. Basically, I had a valid weekly traincard (still have it), fell asleep on the train, missed my stop, and ended up 2 stops down the line, in my village, but my car was parked at the station where I had the ticket from (as it's cheaper to get a weekly train ticket from here).

    I was stopped by the revenue protection officers at the station on leaving the train (no guard came around to check tickets on board) and was given no option to purchase an additional ticket for the part of the journey I didn't have a valid ticket for as they didn't have the facilities to issue tickets and the ticket office was closed. (I didn't mention the falling asleep and missing my stop, as was in a bit of a daze and felt quite embarrassed to be honest! After thinking back, maybe if I had, they might have been more lenient?!)

    They obviosuly didn't mention I would be facing a fine, they just said that because I had a valid ticket, I would only need to pay the difference by cheque in the post, so I thought fair enough!

    The penalty notice states that I travelled 'without paying the fare and with the intent of avoiding that fare' which I clearly didn't, and even offered to pay for my honest mistake there and then!

    With the letter saying about court proceedings, additional fees and possible criminal records involved if I don't pay the £80, I'm contemplating just paying it, but believe it too be a tad harsh?!

    The fixed penalty notice doesn't give any detail about appealing against it, just states 'Whilst we hope that you will satisfactory conclude this matter, failure to respond to this reasonable request within 14 days will result in legal action being taken...'

    I regularly use the train to commute to work and I'm definitely not a fare dodger!

    Any advice on this matter would be truly appreciated! Thanks!
     
  2. GadgetMan

    GadgetMan Member

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    How can you be sure no one came through checking tickets if you were asleep during the journey?

    Have I read correct that the station you ended up at is the closest station to where you live?

    Does the station normally have Revenue staff at the exit or was it a one off operation?
     
  3. thebrad

    thebrad Member

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    I couldn't be sure on that, I was never asked to show my ticket whilst on board either way.

    The station I ended up at yes, it closest to where I live, I then had to get a lift to pick my car up that station in which I had got on at in the morning.

    To my knowledge, and from speaking to people who regularly use the station where I ended up at, there isn't normally people checking tickets when you get off, it was a bit of a one off operation over xmas apparently! Just my luck!
     
  4. RPI

    RPI Member

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    If i were cynical i would be a little suspicious of your post, that you ended up in the place where you live anyway? did you not ask to go back to the stop where your car was?
     
  5. Crossover

    Crossover Established Member

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    I have to say that isn't how I read the OP but I do think the OP is a bit vague (maybe actually stating stations may help) and as pointed out above, has a couple of contradictions in it
     
  6. jcollins

    jcollins Veteran Member

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    Was it the second time you've been caught without a ticket?

    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    Indeed. With 'traincard' being mentioned and considering the routes that the £80 scheme is used on I'd make an educated guess at it being the Calder Vale line and the ticket being valid to Littleborough but the passenger living at one of the West Yorks. stations beyond there but that may not actually be the case.
     
  7. thebrad

    thebrad Member

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    I drive 3 miles to save £15 a week on a weekly ticket, I didn't wait for the next train, just went home and got a lift to get my car, all in all I'm just contemplating paying it, less hassle and I'll just have to learn the hard way from falling asleep on the way home from work! Was kust that after doing a bit of research online, thought I might have some sort of arguement against it with having a ticket, not having chance to pay and the genuine mistake of missing my actual stop!
     
  8. 185

    185 Established Member

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    I feel this does cross the line, as if someone is to be reported for a travel irregularity, they should at least be told. Telling them something which is untrue isn't right.

    Whilst I know they get a lot of grief from passengers, this regular practice of telling a lie to avert a volatile situation is really not on.
     
  9. Crossover

    Crossover Established Member

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    thebrad - are you able to advise us which stations are involved?

    It is difficult to say whether being upfront about falling asleep would have helped to be honest, as I suspect they get it quite a lot.

    I agree - from the threads that we've had on here, it seems to be fairly common practice - I doubt it being mentioned on a number of occasions by different posters is just coincidence!
     
  10. thebrad

    thebrad Member

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    Travelling back from Manchester on the Buxton line, weekly gmpte traincard I was using, still have have the card as proof of purchase from Disley, park there as decent & free parking and in the long run saves a lot rather than paying the extra from Whaley Bridge (the station I got off at and place I live) is out of the gmpte zone.

    I suppose reading this, you could say there was no proof I had got on at Disley that morning? Unless CCTV is available to prove, but this why I'm thinking it could be too much hassle and I might as well just pay the fine?!

    Per previous reply, this is the first time this kind of incident has happened.
     
  11. 185

    185 Established Member

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  12. ANorthernGuard

    ANorthernGuard Established Member

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    I would say actually that 95% of Guards know that 185 (well I am one of them that do) lol
     
  13. 185

    185 Established Member

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    May apply to guards, but with both G4S into the mix and many, many new faces at Picc depot, that figure drops quite a bit. I knew you'd know the validity :D
     
  14. ANorthernGuard

    ANorthernGuard Established Member

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    I'd be in trouble if I didn't, I do both routes lol
     
  15. thebrad

    thebrad Member

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    Im guessing there is a difference between penalty fares and fixed penaltys, as both stations are none penalty fare stations if that means anything?! It's just annoying, because the notice reads as if I boarded the train in New Mills with intent to avoid the fare and not pay, which is not the case... There was no option for me to pay the extra part of the journey (which I had no intention of making when initially boarded), unless I'd somehow have found the guard before leaving and paid, which there was no time to do so?! I'm thinkin a letter along with the cheque is going to be the only option really, as dont want things to get more complicated!
     
  16. island

    island Established Member

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    Penalty fares do not come into play here and have nothing to do with what you have been issued.
     
  17. bb21

    bb21 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    They are indeed different things. Penalty Fares are governed by the Penalty Fares Regulations 1994, Penalty Fares Rules 2002 and other government legislation. The fixed penalty notices issued by Northern are a relatively new thing.

    The difficulty for you is convincing them that you overslept and had no intention to avoid paying the correct fare, as all other signs appear to point towards someone who intentionally paid a short fare.
     
  18. oddiesjack

    oddiesjack Member

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    I know of a few people from the Whaley area who use Disley station to commence their journeys to Manchester, as its cheaper from there, so the OP's explanation is quite feasible. Presumably you will need to prove that rather than boarding at Newtown as alleged, you had come all the way from Manchester (or Stockport, wherever), using your season ticket. As this is obviously a regular journey, do you have anyone who can vouch for you normally using Disley as your starting and ending station? Were you parked in the station car park or the Ram's Head one, as they have been having a bit of a purge on railway users using their car park, and might just have evidence of you parking there that day? (Mind you, they may just land their own dubious penalty notice on you, too!)
     
  19. 34D

    34D Established Member

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    I know we mustnt judge posters on here, but to me (as a fairly regular (couple of times a week) rail user) it seems totally bizarre to not start my journey at the train station where I live, and instead to _drive_ to another and have all the hassle of petrol, parking, and having to stay under the drink drive limit.

    I have only ever twice in my entire life driven to a railway station and parked my car there. If I ever need to start my journey at the big station 5 miles from my house, I get the bus there.

    Driving 3 miles a day (each day?, or total?) is either 30 miles or 15 miles a week, which to go to the hassle of doing I'd want to save a lot more than £15 a week.

    But then we are all different.
     
  20. Crossover

    Crossover Established Member

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    I agree with what you suggest, but I see oddiesjack's point - we know what tends to happen once you get out of PTE's (Marsden to Greenfield, anyone ;))
     
  21. 34D

    34D Established Member

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    Maybe! I make an occasional journey cross gates to York. I would never ever drive to Church Fenton to get a cheaper train fare, as I still have to stay under the drink drive limit.

    I guess we are all different
     
  22. thebrad

    thebrad Member

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    My closest gym (at the time, now actually closed!) was in Disley, so all worked well with either going before/after work en route to/from train station and meant saved cash on train fare as I would be driving that way anyways.

    Whaley to Manchester 7 day season ticket is (after just having a quick look!) £53, so officially saves £26 a week, compared to the £27 gmpte traincard, but with buying a weekly Whaley return to New Mills (end of gmpte zone) at £16 and then a weekly gmpte traincard (dont know if this is totally acceptable anways!?) you're saving £10 from the season ticket or £16 if you just go to Disley (easier/quicker/better parking than New Mills (for me!))

    But as I state, main reason was for the gym, as it actually made me go!

    All in all, cheque will be in the post to Northern Rail Debt Recovery Prosecutions Unit in the morning...
     
  23. Crossover

    Crossover Established Member

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    34D - I don't think the comparison there is overly fair...Cross Gates and Church Mention must be a fair way apart (dont have mileages to hand to compare) and the latter doesn't get much of a service to speak of :P

    From what you've said, I do think this is your best solution and chalk it up to experience, though I appreciate it isn't what you'd hoped for.

    That said, I had wondered, but couldn't advise on realistic standing (law or otherwise) whether in such a scenario, with the threat of prosecution removed through payment, if there'd be any grounds to contest it after. My feeling would be not in this case, but someone more knowledgeable than myself may be able to advise further on that.
     
  24. thebrad

    thebrad Member

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    Yeah, been good to get you guy's input on the situation, I had thought on the latter, but getting all the evidence after realising would sort of proof would be needed, could be time consuming & nothing could actually prevail! Lesson learnt and alarm to be set on phone everyday 5 mins before arrival! Ha
     
  25. GadgetMan

    GadgetMan Member

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    Why not try to appeal to there better nature. Send an explanation of what happened along with 2 cheques; one for £80 and the other for £2.30. At worse they'll bank both cheques, at best they might just bank the fare.
     
  26. vjm1975

    vjm1975 Member

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    It's not all that bizarre really. For example, I know quite a few people who live near to Ellesmere Port/Overpool stations, but drive to Hooton and commute daily from there. Not a massive difference in overall costs when taking in to account the car parking charge at Hooton and fuel costs etc, but obviously there is a vastly better frequency of trains from Hooton. Am sure there are many thousands of others up and down the country who do something similar for similar reasons as mentioned above, and/ or to save money on season tickets.



    I sometimes do it myself too, despite living within 5 mins walk of E.Port stn, though only when I am on a tight schedule and need the better frequency of service so I can get home as quick as is needed.


    I have also known someone to fall asleep and end up at their home station of Overpool. Thankfully for them, Merseyrail RPI's seem to be a bit more sympathetic and allowed them to travel back to Hooton.



    Though it's not something I have done myself, people do occasionally fall asleep on trains and miss their stop.
     
  27. 34D

    34D Established Member

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    OP - did you board the train at Manchester Piccadilly? Or if not, where did you board?
     
  28. thebrad

    thebrad Member

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    Yeah, well Oxford Road.... May send the letter along with 2 cheques and see if anything (probably v.unlikey!) comes of that...
     
  29. Max

    Max Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    I would tend to agree with others, I'm sure this is quite common in PTE areas! This is why Garforth needs such a huge car park, to serve all the commuters from North Yorkshire. ;)

    However, I will also point out that this is a separate debate and we are here to help the OP, not question their judgement on this issue!
     
  30. 185

    185 Established Member

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    It used to be very different at Hooton.... with it being the last Merseytravel area station for many years there was a huge difference in fares heading north. The catchment of drivers used to come from as far afield as Frodsham, Nantwich, Deeside & North Wales alongside much of Chester and the Port. That's one utterly huge car park at Hooton.
     
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