Northern rail initial contact letter

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Mundo13

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Hi. I have today received an initial contact letter from Northern rail after making a journey with them a couple of weeks back. I boarded the train at hale where the ticket office was closed and I planned to purchase a ticket on the trian however, no conductor got on and so I arrived at my destination which was Manchester piccadilly and the staff there asked me to purchase one. I was asked where I boarded the train and as I only has £3.40 in change or a 20 note I thought I would be clever and say I got on the train at Levenshulme which I thought would he less than the £3.40 change I had and save me breaking a 20. Seems however they wereven onto this and questioned me on why I didn't purchase a ticket at Levenshulme. I immediately admitted the truth and said I got on at hale. But by this point they said it was too late. I was completely honest and even hado a laugh with the guy who took my details. My question is, although I was stupid, what are my chances of getting away with this if I admit in my response exactly what happened? I am not a regulatory train traveller and so I am not sure on how these things work nor how strict they are. Any help or advice before I respond to the initial contact letter would be greatly appreciated
 
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furlong

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If you do nothing and they prosecute, it could be tricky to avoid a criminal record and fine. But if you apologise and offer to reimburse the company its costs for having to deal with you (typically they ask for around £80), and the company doesn't have other evidence that shows you cheating on other occasions too, there's a decent chance it'll offer you a settlement to avoid taking up precious court time with a minor first-time offence where you've willingly paid adequate compensation.
 

Agent_c

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First of all, You weren't completely honest. You lied about your origin. Okay, that's enough beating you up about that.
My question is, although I was stupid, what are my chances of getting away with this if I admit in my response exactly what happened?
What do you mean by "getting away with it"?

Do you mean absolutely no punishment and pushback from NR? None at all.

Do you mean escape a criminal prosection? Depends on how good your response to them is. Write to them a grovelling apology, promising not to do it again, and offer to pay the administration costs that they've incurred as well as the fare.

I promise you its going to cost you a lot more than the £20 note you were saving though.
 

blakey1152

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Definately write a nice grovelling letter to them offering to pay the fare and the admin costs because the way I read what happened you were intending not to pay the correct fare in the first place!

Because you stated you were quite happy to give a different nearer station in the hope that you didn't have to break the £20 note you had, of course had a guard approached you on the initial train you would have had to break that note anyway so when you got to Manchester it wouldn't have made any difference if you had been honest and used the £20 note at Manchester instead of paying on the train.

Blakey
 

najaB

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As blakey1152 pointed out, your story shows this wasn't an innocent mistake but rather a deliberate attempt to defraud Northern Rail of the correct fare. While it is true that Northern tend to issue £80 settlements for first-time offenders, I wouldn't be surprised if they decide to proceed with a Regulation of Railways Act prosecution in this case.

If they do then you can expect a fine of £200-400 and a criminal record. Not bad going for attempting not to break a £20 note.
 

crehld

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Do you mean escape a criminal prosection? Depends on how good your response to them is. Write to them a grovelling apology, promising not to do it again, and offer to pay the administration costs that they've incurred as well as the fare.

I promise you its going to cost you a lot more than the £20 note you were saving though.

Just to add that any such letter will have to be sincere in its apology and appreciation of the situation. Please do not overdo byte grovelling' as this will only give the impression of facetiousness. There are a number of model letters on other threads which will help you compose something concise and 'business-like' (it's quite a skill to master - do not be tempted to engage in needless waffle), but you do need to recognize and understand that you are in the wrong for this letter to help avoid any escalation.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
As blakey1152 pointed out, your story shows this wasn't an innocent mistake but rather a deliberate attempt to defraud Northern Rail of the correct fare. While it is true that Northern tend to issue £80 settlements for first-time offenders, I wouldn't be surprised if they decide to proceed with a Regulation of Railways Act prosecution in this case.

If they do then you can expect a fine of £200-400 and a criminal record. Not bad going for attempting not to break a £20 note.

No one knows what Northern Rail will do (unless you're the case officer???) . So let's stick to offering constructive advice rather than engaging in speculation.
 

najaB

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So let's stick to offering constructive advice rather than engaging in speculation.
I thought the advice was clear: the OP should start saving. At least £80 but possibly anything up to £400.
 

DaveNewcastle

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The circumstances you describe seem to fit exactly into the format of a little deception that is practiced by thousands of rail passengers every day - i.e. travelling without a ticket and when asked, then giving the name of a station at which they boarded which is closer to their destination. It is estimated to cost the industry more than a hundred thousand pounds every day.
It is also captured by a criminal offence under Section 5 of the Regulation of Railway Act "Penalty for avoiding payment of fare". Some Railway Companies bring forward prosecutions against passengers more vigourously than others. Those that operate large numbers of short distance commuter services (which includes Northern Rail) put regular investigations in place to detect this deceipt.

The consequence is usually that an Investigating Officer makes further enquiries (including the response to the letter you have received) and on receipt of all available evidence then makes a two part test: a) is there adequate evidence to give a high probability of success in a prosecution; b) is a prosecution in the public interest.

From your report on here, the answer to both of these will be in the affirmative. A prosecution under S.5 of the RoRA is a 'recordable offence' in the Police National Computer.

But that is no reason not to reply with a suitably apologetic response, recognising the gravity of the situation, what you have learned from this incident, how your behaviour and attitude has changed as a result, and saying nothing about 'not breaking a 20'.

It is possible that if you have no prior record of having attempted a fraud such as this, then the Investigating Officer might be inclined to adopt a less punitive outcome. Otherside the typical level of fine from the Courts for a deception such as this is around £150 - £200 depnding on means. Plus costs of perhaps £120 and Victm Surcharge.

So far, so bad.

The good news is that Northern Rail have put in place a scheme refered to as 'Failure to Pay' or FTP. Some people on this forum are very critical of this scheme and refer to it as "Penalty Fakes". I am not one of them. This scheme identifies first time offenders and introduces a structured alternative to a Prosecution, and passes the choice to the passenger. On the basis of what you have written on here, I think there is a resonable prospect that this offer might be given to you.

That would be the offer to pay an administrative settlement of £80 plus the unpaid fare to discharge the liability to answer to the Courts for the Crime. If they do make this offer, then you are under no obligation to accept it and could attempt some sort of defence if you wished, but from what you have said on here, I cannot advise you to seek that option. If you are offered an administrative settlement, I would urge you to accept it.

Finally, I'm sorry that some people on this forum take the opportunity to criticise others who offer sound advice. I hope you are able to learn what you need to know from what has been posted in response to your request.
 
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furlong

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The good news is that Northern Rail have put in place a scheme refered to as 'Failure to Pay' or FTP.

Just a minor correction: According to information released through FOI: Northern's scheme is called Failure to Purchase (not Pay) and only seems to cover a narrow subset of byelaw 18 offences. However, their (so-called) Fixed Penalty process may be used for either byelaw or RORA offences and it's that we're discussing here, not FTP. (FTP would allow 21 days for the passenger to pay just the fare due - nothing more.)
 
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Puffing Devil

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Anyone know if "New Northern" is going to be continuing the FTP scheme?

The Revenue Protection Policy has the following:
8.4 Arriva Rail North Ltd regards court proceedings as a last resort and so reserves the right to offer to resolve matters through the use of a Fixed Penalty Notice where the circumstances of the offence and the offender are appropriate.

Also, the website encourages passengers to engage if there is an issue:
Should you find yourself in a fare dispute, please do not ignore it, instead contact us to resolve the matter at the earliest opportunity. After all, a disagreement or a difference of opinion may not amount to a defence in respect of impending criminal proceedings.


How much these penalties will be has yet to be shown or published. We're reliant on the OP, or others, to come back with details of any out of court disposals offered by the new operation.
 

Mundo13

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Hi thanks all for your replies. I intend to reply to the notice with a apologetic letter and follow the advice you have given above. As I say I am not a frequent train traveller and if I for one second thought that in my attempts to save a measles 80p things would escalate so much I would not have thought for one second about paying the correct fare. Lesson has been well and truly learnt.
 

najaB

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... if I for one second thought that in my attempts to save a measles 80p...
Thank you. That is the line you need to take with Northern Rail - that you now recognise that trying to 'save' 80p costs everyone else a whole lot more. The 'trying to avoid breaking a £20 note' line wouldn't have got you very far at all.

If you are forthright with your response to Northern and admit that you were in the wrong then there's every chance you may be able to resolve this without involving the court.
 

Mundo13

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So, I have today sent of my letter which reads as follows, can you guys please advise if this covers everything? or sounds silly in any way? :

To whom it may concern,

Thank you for the opportunity to respond with my explanation in regards to an evidential report that has been submitted to your office relating to an incident on Thursday 14th April 2016 and a conversation I had with an authorised member of staff at Arriva Rail North Limited.

There is no explanation I can offer in defence to the allegation which contravenes Railway Regulations and I can only put my actions down to a severe error of judgement on my behalf. I believe that, on the spot and without proper consideration, I made a poor decision to attempt to save a small amount of money and with the benefit of retrospective hindsight it is clear to me that this was a foolish thing to do.

I accept full responsibility and would like to offer to cover any costs that this process has burdened Arriva Rail North with.

I would also like to give assurances that I will never act in such a way again. I am not a frequent rail traveller but I understand the public pressure for your services to run regularly and on time and I understand that passengers who don’t pay the full amount or even at all are a significant threat to ensuring public demand is met. This behaviour was out of character for me personally and now I fully understand the severity of my actions it is clear to me that the same mistake will not be repeated again on my behalf.

Please accept my unreserved apology.
 

antharro

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Good start, but I would suggest waiting to hear from them first. If they offer you the £80 then I would pay it without question; however if they ask for your side of events then that's where your letter would come in. I would suggest you add on a line about being prepared to pay the outstanding fare and an amount to cover their costs in dealing with your case.
 

crehld

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So, I have today sent of my letter which reads as follows, can you guys please advise if this covers everything? or sounds silly in any way? :

Have you sent it off already?? Not much we can do to advise you if you've already sent it off!

To whom it may concern,

Thank you for the opportunity to respond with my explanation in regards to an evidential report that has been submitted to your office relating to an incident on Thursday 14th April 2016 and a conversation I had with an authorised member of staff at Arriva Rail North Limited.

There is no explanation I can offer in defence to the allegation which contravenes Railway Regulations and I can only put my actions down to a severe error of judgement on my behalf. I believe that, on the spot and without proper consideration, I made a poor decision to attempt to save a small amount of money and with the benefit of retrospective hindsight it is clear to me that this was a foolish thing to do.

I accept full responsibility and would like to offer to cover any costs that this process has burdened Arriva Rail North with.

I would also like to give assurances that I will never act in such a way again. I am not a frequent rail traveller but I understand the public pressure for your services to run regularly and on time and I understand that passengers who don’t pay the full amount or even at all are a significant threat to ensuring public demand is met. This behaviour was out of character for me personally and now I fully understand the severity of my actions it is clear to me that the same mistake will not be repeated again on my behalf.

Please accept my unreserved apology.

It looks ok, but as antharro says you need to explain that you're willing to pay any outstanding fare due plus any additional costs incurred by them for having to deal with your case. You do mention this but I'd make it more clear if you can.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Good start, but I would suggest waiting to hear from them first.

The OP has already received an initial contact letter which will have offered them the opportunity to respond.
 
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havahoo

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Hi. I have today received an initial contact letter from Northern rail after making a journey with them a couple of weeks back. I boarded the train at hale where the ticket office was closed and I planned to purchase a ticket on the trian however, no conductor got on and so I arrived at my destination which was Manchester piccadilly and the staff there asked me to purchase one. I was asked where I boarded the train and as I only has £3.40 in change or a 20 note I thought I would be clever and say I got on the train at Levenshulme which I thought would he less than the £3.40 change I had and save me breaking a 20. Seems however they wereven onto this and questioned me on why I didn't purchase a ticket at Levenshulme. I immediately admitted the truth and said I got on at hale. But by this point they said it was too late. I was completely honest and even hado a laugh with the guy who took my details. My question is, although I was stupid, what are my chances of getting away with this if I admit in my response exactly what happened? I am not a regulatory train traveller and so I am not sure on how these things work nor how strict they are. Any help or advice before I respond to the initial contact letter would be greatly appreciated


Any luck yet? I sent mine off on the 11.05.2016 and got a reply on the 20.05. paid a fixed penalty £80 + cost of fair. or go to court which is a no no. Hope this helps.
Safe to say I will not be doing it again.
 

Mundo13

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Any luck yet? I sent mine off on the 11.05.2016 and got a reply on the 20.05. paid a fixed penalty £80 + cost of fair. or go to court which is a no no. Hope this helps.
Safe to say I will not be doing it again.

Nope, not had anything back yet. I sent the letter on the 12.05.16. I will gladly take £80 + cost of fare though after reading some of the possible outcomes on here.

Fingers crossed. Lesson well and truly learnt.
 
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