Northern Rail Took My season ticket and will issue an MG11

Discussion in 'Disputes & Prosecutions' started by cml2015, 12 Aug 2015.

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  1. cml2015

    cml2015 Member

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    I have a record on my bank statement for all the purchases I've made on my card. I also pay by cash often. I have some old tickets that I rescued from my wallet before he confiscated it. On the day in question he sold me a ticket first, then has said 'can I just have a word', so I followed him to a doorway and he said 'because this is the second time I've sold you a ticket on the train I need to confiscate your season ticket'. I was utterly confused. He then went on to say 'you must buy a ticket before you board the train. If you hadn't bought a ticket from me then you could have still left the station.' This is true and I am not disputing that. But I did ask him for a ticket. On both days I passed him my season ticket and asked if he could make up the difference. I said this to him. But he just said 'yes but it looks suspicious so I'm confiscating your season ticket and I will have to send it off with a written report and you will be prosecuted.' (please note this is not verbatim, but just how I remember it). He then took my ticket off me, and asked for my debit card back. He said he had to do a refund as I wasn't allowed a ticket now.

    I tried to explain to him about how I drive and park, and its more economical. I even gave him my whole life story about how I always got the train, and then started driving, and then a few months back started to drive to eccles instead. I even explained to the lady in Victoria. The lady in Victoria was very nice bless her. She was very nice as well when I approached her on a different day and asked her if I'm allowed to repurchase my season ticket.
     
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  2. DaleCooper

    DaleCooper Established Member

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    I agree and in fact I find the guards behaviour, as reported and in those circumstances, to be irrational which is why I am still wondering whether there is more to it.
     
  3. Haywain

    Haywain Established Member

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    I think what the guard doubted was whether a ticket would be purchased for the St Helens to Eccles section unless challenged. The fact that the OP states "I recognise the train guards" could mean that he knows whether they will be round for tickets or not, and that could be why paying on the train is better than paying beforehand.
     
  4. cml2015

    cml2015 Member

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    I recognise the train guards because I see them every single day whether I board at Eccles or somewhere in St Helens. Most of them are the same faces from years ago when I first started getting the train. Being a Liverpool train, if the guards are form that neck of the woods they tend to be really friendly and will talk to people. When I used to get the Airport train we had a train gang of friends and we knew all the guards as we'd have a joke and giggle with them.

    The story is as I have outlined. There isn't anything more to it. I can't understand what else I could be failing to disclose. I have witnesses that was on the train at the time who seen the entire incident. The guard made it clear that he thought I just get my Eccles pass to get out of the station. He said as much on the train when taking my ticket that I had bought back off me . He said 'people just buy a season ticket to get out of Victoria, so I have to confiscate it.' If the train was one where there is no guard then I would understand. But every day the guard walks up and down the train. So you have to have a valid ticket.

    I just need advice on how to go forward if they do write to me to threaten prosecution.
     
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  5. najaB

    najaB Veteran Member

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    Unless Northern bring fraud charges, the OP's ticket purchase history is interesting, but irrelevant. Any charge that is brought based on the events of the day must be supported by evidence of the OP's actions on that day.

    If the story as told is complete then a Byelaw 18 prosecution is certain to succeed as the OP bypassed an opportunity to purchase before boarding. A RoRA prosecution is less likely to be safe - the OP demonstrated clear intent to pay for their journey.

    Unless there is more to the story - e.g. the OP has a history of purchasing only when challenged which Northern can prove beyond a reasonable doubt (e.g. CCTV showing the OP boarding at St Helens on dates that they claim to have boarded at Eccles) then there is no case.

    I repeat my earlier rambling - Northern has to convince the court that a crime has occurred, the OP is not required to prove their innocence.
     
  6. cml2015

    cml2015 Member

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    You are right here, that is exactly how it looks. I understand this. I absolutely do. I said to the guard and customer service that I understand I am meant to purchase my ticket before travel to avoid situations such as this. I even said I am absolutely guilty of boarding the train without a valid ticket. But I am not guilty of intent to defraud Northern. And the frustrating part about the entire situation is that I can't prove that. I asked for a ticket on both days. I was sold a ticket on both days. The only thing I have is my bank statement to prove when I purchased tickets in the past. I was even tempted to ask the binmen in Eccles to be a witness as I sometimes see them emptying the bins on a Thursday if I'm on the earlier train.
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    Is the case likely to get to court? I am happy to look at an out of court settlement as I am not denying that I was in the wrong. But a criminal record would be the end of my career. I know that it is my own fault. But I am just looking for advice to settle this as quickly as possible.
     
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  7. Camden

    Camden Established Member

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    Re your comment that "this is not verbatim", what I would suggest you do is, if you haven't already, write a full statement of fact as to what happened on the day, including what you said and what he said and what other parties said, and file it away.

    As you can probably tell from reading through these forums, these things can go on a while and it is important you have a strong contemporaneous record of what happened on the day, as time passes details will fade.
     
  8. Llanigraham

    Llanigraham On Moderation

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    You can keep repeating this until the cows come home, but it still doesn't alter the fact that you should have purchased a ticket before you got on the train if there are facilities to do so.
    You didn't!!
    End of story.
    "Go to gaol. Move directly to gaol. Do not pass Go. Do not collect £200"
     
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  9. najaB

    najaB Veteran Member

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    Unfortunately, there is very little you can do to speed up resolution of this issue. You have little choice but to wait for Northern to write to you to inform you of their next step.

    As to if the case will go to court: it is impossible to predict with any certainty, but from previous reports on the forum, Northern tend to be less likely to prosecute than other TOCs. I would say that the most probable outcome is they will give you one of their £80 slaps on the wrist.

    Unless, of course, there is more to the story that we don't know about.
     
    Last edited: 13 Aug 2015
  10. DaleCooper

    DaleCooper Established Member

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    Does the following affect NR's likely action?

     
  11. Camden

    Camden Established Member

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    No need for that.

    And furthermore there is question as to whether there would be a RoRA for evasion, or whether it will be a much less serious Byelaw issue, possibly not even prosecution but the £80-er they give out.

    So it's not end of story, although the OP will need to wait to see what Northern's next move is. Proper interim advice off here I'm sure is appreciated.
     
  12. gray1404

    gray1404 Established Member

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    I do not think the guard had any basis to taking the season ticket off the passenger. It was a valid ticket for tavel between Eccles and Manchester Stations and it was being used correctly on that line. The guard also lied about the OP covering up the season ticket the day before, resorting to telling lies. This is not acceptable behaviour. What can the OP do about 1. getting his season ticket back and having missed days refunded to him. 2. the misconduct displayed by the guard on the train?
     
  13. 34D

    34D Established Member

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    I still say that if the guard was happy to sell a ticket on train (and, in fact, did so) that that means you had a ticket: albeit for a brief period.

    His willingness to sell a ticket is surely his regularising your position, and implicitly giving permission for the foregoing travel that was in contravention.

    Comments from other members?
     
    Last edited: 13 Aug 2015
  14. GadgetMan

    GadgetMan Member

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    Unfortunately the OP refused to accept previous advice informing them that they must purchase tickets before travel where facilities exist. Whatever the outcome of this action, I suspect they will now make the effort to buy before boarding which as far as I'm concerned is the point of this exercise.

    From previous experience as a Guard, most chancers who only pay when challenged for all/part of their journey ignore all polite reminders that they should buy before boarding until it gets to the point of them being reported for prosecution. They then go on about the umpteen times they have been sold tickets onboard but ignore the fact that they will have been advised of their wrong doing multiple times during those transactions.

    I suspect the Guard was trying to be reasonable by selling a ticket on day 2 but also reminding the passenger about the obligations to purchase before boarding, but the conversation gave the Guard the impression the passenger thought it was a trivial matter and that as always they will continue to board without a valid ticket, hence they withdrew the offer of selling the ticket by refunding it and instead going down the line of reporting the matter hoping that will send a clear message to the OP.
     
  15. DaleCooper

    DaleCooper Established Member

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    Were you there, or are you taking the OP's version at face value. You should not accuse the guard of lying based on what little you know of the event.

    This seems a reasonable, although admittedly speculative, explanation for the guard's actions.
     
  16. hounddog

    hounddog Member

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    Whereas you, who weren't there either, are accusing the OP of lying. What's the difference?
     
  17. bb21

    bb21 Forum Staff Staff Member Global Moderator

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    If the guard had good reasons to suspect that the season ticket was being misused, then he was correct to withdraw the ticket and fill in a report. What he must ensure is that the passenger is allowed to complete her (current) journey, issuing a zero fare ticket for the whole journey if applicable, which I note that he has done by accompanying her to the gateline at the destination station.

    I am far from convinced that a Byelaw prosecution is slam-dunk in this case, due to the guard selling the requested ticket so that the passenger had valid tickets at the point she was taken aside, however I believe there is an argument that the RoRA would be applicable if Northern took the view that the passenger only pays when challenged, as demonstrated by the failure to use the ticket office at the origin station.
     
  18. DaleCooper

    DaleCooper Established Member

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    Unless you can show where in this thread I have accused the OP of lying you should retract that. All I have done is question whether we have been told the whole story and that is a very different thing. At least the OP has the opportunity to tell their side of the story, the guard does not.
     
  19. bb21

    bb21 Forum Staff Staff Member Global Moderator

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    Can we stay on topic please?
     
  20. reb0118

    reb0118 Established Member Fares Advisor

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    The guard's behaviour is not irrational if he suspects, and mere suspicion is enough, fraudulent behaviour to be occurring. The correct procedure is to withdraw any tickets held, and obtain the passenger's details. This, I believe from the OP, is what was done. The guard also attempted to deal with the OP in private, as far as he was able to do so on a busy train. This is not a particularly nice part of our job and to be fair we do not nor have to be nice when doing it but we should remain professional.

    As to why he issued a ticket first that can be explained by the theory that he did not come to hold any suspicion of the passengers actions until after he had completed the transaction. We, as guards, have been told not to issue tickets if we suspect fraudulent activity but to obtain details and issue a zero fare.

    This is a very poor post and I will inform you why. Neither of us were there but from the OP's posts I can gather that the guard suspects that this passenger is a regular short farer, that she was covering up the origin of her season ticket to avoid being charged the correct fare, and that she would only pay the correct fare if challenged on board the train. The correct procedure in these cases is to withdraw any ticket held and obtain details for further investigation. There may be other facts as to why the guard took this course of action but as neither of us were there we can not comment.

    NB These, I suspect, were the guard's suspicions not mine as I was not there although I have personally been in similar scenarios.


    The suspicion is that it was not being used correctly. The passengers actions by not purchasing her St. Helens to Eccles ticket prior to boarding the train have not helped in allaying these suspicions.



    I could just as easily state that the OP is lying when she claims that she was not covering up any salient parts of her ticket. I would not do so, however, as I was not there. What I will state is this, as theory not fact, the OP may have inadvertently and without her knowledge been covering up part of the said ticket and this along with the repeat behaviour of not purchasing a valid ticket at her origin has raised the guard's suspicions.

    Correct, but who if anyone is lying? Both parties could be stating the truth as they see it. Once again we were not there so please in future do not defame persons without evidence. This kind of statement only muddies the waters and may cause confusion to the OP.

    If, after suitable investigation, there is no fault found then the OP will be entitled to refunds for any fares paid out when not in possession of her season ticket. If there is found to be any fare evasion then refund of these fares might well be the least of the OP's worries.


    Again, neither of us were there so we should not comment on the conduct of the guard. I will note, however, that the OP is not making any allegation of misconduct. She is, rightfully, confused by what has happened but jumping on the outrage bus ©flamingo does not help her.

    What will happen next is that Northern will contact you to explain your actions either by letter or interview. This will give you a chance to explain your side of the story and to provide any mitigation. At this moment in time you have not, formally, been accused of anything.

    You will have to be patient and await contact from Northern. This may take some time as the back offices that deal with such matters are usually small and over worked.
     
  21. najaB

    najaB Veteran Member

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    Interestingly, I see it the other way around - they boarded without buying a ticket and were unable to produce one (as evinced by the fact that they asked to buy one), so there is no doubt that the evidence meets the requirement to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that they committed a Byelaw 18 offence.

    However, to my way of thinking the fact that they were sold a ticket which was then withdrawn muddies the water where a RoRA conviction is concerned. The guard, by accepting payment, regularised the customer's failure to pay. I don't agree that the customer can be retrospectively moved back to a non-compliant state.
     
  22. cml2015

    cml2015 Member

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    I think I am more concerned about him saying I was potentially 'misusing my season ticket.' I agree that there was a Byelaw 18 Offence, and the lovely lady at customer service explained all of that. What I am most concerned about is that he said I was potentially misusing my season ticket, and if I hadn't bought a ticket from him I would probably have left the station at Victoria. But on 2 days I asked him for a ticket. I didn't ignore him, I didn't pretend I had got on the train anywhere else. I got my season ticket out, passed it to him, and asked for a ticket. But I completely see his point. I absolutely do. However I don't know how I can prove that I wasn't intentionally misusing it.
     
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  23. gray1404

    gray1404 Established Member

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    Dale, you know for a fact I was not there so don't ask such questions. Are you one of these people who won't hear a bad word said about rail staff even if they are actually in the wrong? Someone has to take the side of the passenger and advocate for them. At the very least try and see it from their point of view. Of course I am basing it on what has been posted here. I restate my comments, if what we are reading here is true, then the guard did not act professionally. We are set to see any evidance that the OP is lying. So, I say again, what should the OP regarding the guard's behaviour (even though he told him a ticket the day before he then changed the story that he had covered it up, even though it is not true given the OP passed over his season ticket) and taking his season ticket off him - which I do not think he had any grounds to do because the season ticket was not being misused given that it is permitted to use a combination of tickets.
     
  24. bb21

    bb21 Forum Staff Staff Member Global Moderator

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    Isn't this forum wonderful? :lol:

    I drew my conclusion on the RoRA front through the Corbyn case, in which the act of passing an opportunity to pay was interpreted by the court as demonstrating an "only pay when challenged" attitude.

    I don't think Byelaw 18(2) is relevant here, however the offence was complete in my mind of 18(1) when the OP boarded the train. What I cannot say for certain is whether being sold a ticket then had any impact on her position since at that point she had a valid ticket for travel.

    I am open to corrections.
     
  25. gray1404

    gray1404 Established Member

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    Personally, based on the information given, I do not believe the guard had good reason to suspect the ticket was being misused. I do not believe there would be enough evidence for "reasonable suspicion". I think the guard has made some incorrect assumptions about the passenger (i.e. they must do this every day and avoid paying the full fare.

    I agree with you Re: prosecution for byelaw.

    The OP could not need to prove that they would not have got off the train at Victoria and walked out of the station. Rather, it is for the TOC to prove this - which would be impossible. My understanding is that the OP was proactive in finding the guard on the train on day number 2 and asking to buy a ticket?
     
    Last edited: 13 Aug 2015
  26. reb0118

    reb0118 Established Member Fares Advisor

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    Right, let's nip this one in the bud........

    Firstly, there was no combination of tickets held as the passenger did not purchase a valid ticket at her origin station on the day in question.

    Secondly, as a ticket that only covers part of the journey is not regarded as a valid ticket the passenger's season ticket is not valid for any part of her journey unless she, prior to boarding where facilities exist, purchases a valid ticket, or combination of tickets, to cover the full route undertaken.

    The season ticket can be used as evidence of short faring, and note well it suddenly does not become valid if the passenger passes into the points shown on the ticket without first purchasing a valid ticket to cover the full journey taken.

    If you can not see that this passengers actions, although it is perfectly possible that they are perfectly innocent (if we forget for one moment the matter of not purchasing at St. Helens), are indeed suspicious then I am wasting my time typing this.

    Have a little reflection then respond.

    A small point of order you state that the guard accused the OP of covering up her season ticket on day one but I think it was actually day two - this in fact makes a difference as on day one she was given the benefit of the doubt and sold a ticket but on day two her actions were deemed suspicious enough to warrant the removal of her season ticket.

    Another point worth mentioning we as guards do talk to each other about passenger behaviour on board trains that we believe to be suspicious and if possible we will follow this up.

    Passengers have been purchasing short season tickets to allow them passage through ticket gates for decades, and probably longer, we have the right to challenge any, and all, suspicious season ticket behaviour.

    NB I am not accusing the OP of any wrongdoing but upon reflection I believe that she can see why she was challenged - it would've been less suspicious if she had held no ticket.
     
  27. Camden

    Camden Established Member

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    I don't agree that her behaviour is at all suspicious for someone who lives in St Helens and works in Manchester. Given the short distance to Eccles and the savings on offer, I too would get the train from Eccles. I would be very surprised if a considerable number of St Helens Manchester-bound commuters didn't do likewise on a daily basis, and I would be very surprised if Eccles based Liverpool commuters didn't similarly cross the border to Newton-Le-Willows (indeed I believe the PTA is investing considerably in parking facilities at one of the St Helens stations).

    The difficulty with the situation is that of course it's an open door to people who want to try it on, however just because people may try it on doesn't mean that the presumption of innocent until proven guilty should be thrown to the wind.

    The OP hasn't said or done anything that I find suspicious in the slightest. In fact, I find that many people in the northern towns don't even realise they aren't supposed to buy on board, let alone aware of the potential consequences of it.
     
    Last edited: 13 Aug 2015
  28. Harpers Tate

    Harpers Tate Established Member

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    The part that puzzles me about the original tale is the happenings on the second day:
    - repeat actions of day 1 culminating in a ticket being sold on board
    - LATER the guard returns, takes the passenger to one side, and then confiscates and escalates.

    My guess - in the meantime, the guard made a telephone call either to a colleague, to some support desk, or somesuch; possibly got a matching description of a known repeat offender; believed (rightly or wrongly) that this was indeed the repeat offender (no direct accusation intended) and it's this that caused the escalation. I have seen similar occurrences on TPE in fact where the innocent customer was deemed to be a known abuser.
     
  29. reb0118

    reb0118 Established Member Fares Advisor

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    Not a correction but merely an observation, and yes I realise it's about a different system, but, could this be regarded as similar to when a TOC refunds a penalty fare and then proceeds down the prosecution route?

    The outcome may well depend on the guard's reasons for refunding the ticket, (and that we will probably never know).
     
  30. Greenback

    Greenback Emeritus Moderator

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    Travelling from Eccles on most days, and occasionally from St Helens is not suspicious in itself. It's not buying a ticket before boarding at St Helens that causes questions to arise.

    Had the OP bought the ticket before boarding rather than waiting to see the guard, none of this would have happened.

    I am not convinced that the OP deliberately tried to evade any fares, but that isn't really relevant until they are ever accused of this officially by Northern. I doubt they will be, either.
     
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