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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    Hi, just so you are aware, I have no reason to lie on here. At no point did I cover up my season ticket. The guard did not mention this until the customer service rep was present, and when I challenged him in front of someone else he said I covered my ticket up the day before. If this was the case I don't see why the entire debacle hadn't occurred the previous day. I clearly passed him my ticket on both days...I actually fully handed it to him. I was sat on a row of 3 by the window so I had to pass it so he could actually see it.
     
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  2. Greenback

    Greenback Emeritus Moderator

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    I have no reason to think you;re lying about anything. You seem to have been very open so far, and I'm personally prepared to believe that you had no intention of evading any fare.

    I don't agree with the way the guard handled the situation, I think that a simple comment about you needing to buy the ticket at St Helens on the first day would have been a good course of action.
     
  3. cml2015

    cml2015 Member

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    Hi, the guard actually sold me a ticket on day 1. On day 2 he sold me a ticket, and at the same time asked to have a word with me. There was no break where he left and then came back. He said he wasn't meant to sell me a ticket when he confiscates a pass and that he has to see me to the gates instead. The reason he refunded the ticket is because (as I now know) he can't accuse me of not having a ticket if he has just sold me one. He said (not verbatim but) because I was on the train 2 days in a row it was likely that I travel everyday from St Helens.
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    Hi Greenback - I don't know if I said this, but on day 1 the guard made no mention of the need to buy a ticket at the office. He didn't warn me, or gave me any indication that he was unhappy that I bought a ticket from him. On day 2, again when we was with the customer service rep who was saying that there are signs to say you need a ticket etc etc, he then turned round and said 'I told you yesterday to get a ticket before you travel.' And he absolutely did not. I would swear my families lives on it. I said that to him. If he had made that comment on the train then I would definitely have got my ticket at the office the next day. But in all my years of travelling to Manchester I have never ever had a guard on the train refuse to sell a ticket or comment that I shouldn't be buying it on the train. Never. The only time I was ever told was when I got to Victoria months and months ago and they wouldn't let any person buy a ticket at the station. They said that all tickets should be purchased before I get to Victoria.

    (Apologies I am not ranting at you....just ranting in general)
     
    Last edited by a moderator: 14 Aug 2015
  4. reb0118

    reb0118 Established Member Fares Advisor

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    For what it is worth I do not think you are lying too.

    Sometimes on this forum we have the tendency to circle the wagons, form square, and defend an entrenched position regardless of the facts. This can somewhat confuse the OP (you) and for that I will apologise on behalf of us all.

    To let you know where you stand at this time you have not been accused of anything but the details of the incident should have been passed to the guard's manager for review and in time they will end up at the prosecutions dept.. You will then be contacted for your side of the story so I would advise that you note down all that you can remember about the day in question, it may also help if you can collect details of your payment records for other days of travel. NB you are under no obligation to do so but it may help you (NNB this can sometimes be a double edged sword?)

    Just a thought - do you have a record of paying at Victoria on the days when you have been unable to purchase prior to boarding and the guard has not got to you in time as I feel that this may help your case, notwithstanding that it also proves that you did not pay prior to boarding.

    The guard in this case may have jumped the gun but on the other hand....

    Personally I work on the "three strikes and you're out" principle unless there are strong reasons to jump straight in. This means that I have usually dealt with the person four times viz:-

    1) Sell ticket requested.
    2) Sell ticket requested but inform about passenger obligations &c..
    3) Sell "Anytime Ticket"
    4) Submit Travel Irregularity Report

    Now because we do not work the same shifts or lines on a daily basis if I've dealt with someone three or four times then they have probably done whatever it is that's bad at least twenty times or so - most of these persons become known characters and again other colleagues discuss them in the "bothy".

    There may have been something in your body language, it could even be something completely innocent that you are unaware of, it could be you fit the description of a "known character", it could be the guard's gut feeling......we will probably never know and in any case it really does not matter why because ultimately you will be judged on your actions.

    Personal view: I do not think that this will come to a court case but what may happen is that Northern could write to you, after you have submitted your side, offering an administrative penalty + the fare due with a formal reminder that you must use the ticket facilities where provided prior to travel. There is no guarantee though but we can advise better when the letter from Northern arrives.

    Good luck and keep us informed. If you are requested to provide a written statement there are folk on the forum who will proof read your deposition.

    p.s. Try not to be distracted by any side or technical issues that go off on a tangent most deal in the generic or abstract and may not refer to you specifically.

    Cheers.

    Sorry, I had misunderstood this part - apologies too to Gray1404 for my previous point of order. Don't worry my other points still stand. <D
     
  5. tony6499

    tony6499 Member

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    Have you travelled from St.Helens before and not bought the ticket to Eccles ? You may even have been under investigation and once the guard realised it was you that was when he changed his mind and reported you.
     
  6. najaB

    najaB Veteran Member

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    Not really comparable, at least I don't see it as comparable. A penalty fare is issued when the guard or RPI believes the passenger to be in the wrong, as an alternative to submitting the matter for prosecution. In this case, the guard seems to have simultaneously believed the OP was in the right (and sold a ticket) and in the wrong (reported for prosecution). I don't see how they could have held both views at the same time.

    In the case of refunding a paid penalty fare the TOC has always been of the one mind, they are just changing the method of dealing with it.
     
    Last edited: 13 Aug 2015
  7. reb0118

    reb0118 Established Member Fares Advisor

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    Again, this is mere conjecture but it may be that it was only after the fact of issuing a ticket that the guard changed his mind due to either remembering the passenger from yesterday or receiving further information. I would expect the reasons to be noted in the guard's report and as stated above I doubt that we will ever know.



    I don't think he did - I think he changed his mind for some reason.
     
  8. Clip

    Clip On Moderation

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    You're are correct so you have my apologies

    The problem being, as you well know, is that it is an offence to board a train where blah blah blah and Northern are quite rightly cracking down on this with posters everywhere( I know this is a MR station but I believe Northern will have a poster up there as a service provider) stating such a thing about travelling on their services.

    I know I am being overly harsh here but it is what it is- no valid ticket when boarding the train. Its indisputable as the OP has already stated it so I am unsure why people are saying its unfair.
     
  9. Llanigraham

    Llanigraham On Moderation

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    Failed the attitude test, perhaps?
     
  10. gray1404

    gray1404 Established Member

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    I was on a Northern train from St Helens Central to Liverpool today. There was a poster on the train and I said about the conductor being there to help you for your journey and also that the condutor can sell you a ticket.

    What concerns me here is most is that we are hearing report that the guard has lied. Not just once either. i.e. saying the passenger covered up their ticket when in fact they hadned it over. Also, in front of the other member of staff at Manchester Victoria he said that he had told the passenger the day before about the need to have a ticket, when in fact he didn't.

    I believe such behaviour should not be allowed and it should be dealt with. It is wrong, telling lies. What concerns me is how many other lies have been told by this guard in terms of his reports and any conversations with his Manager. Such lies could end up being believed as fact by Northern and result in a worse corse of action being brought against the passenger. This would be very wrong.

    What can the passenger do solely about the guard telling lies? Would there be any merit in them making a formal complaint to the TOc about this aspect of the guard behaviour and taking it up line and to Transport Focus if needed. The guard should not have been telling lies.
     
  11. Clip

    Clip On Moderation

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    Of course we don't know if the OP is being totally truthful either do we?

    What do we do about that then? We can only take it on face value and as such the same must go for what the guard has said to their superiors should we not?
     
  12. Camden

    Camden Established Member

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    Ticket inspectors aren't overlords. There is no "attitude test", just a question of a right and wrong.

    It's that kind of confusing ambiguity that trips the day-to-day rail passenger. Most people would be horrified if they realised the trouble they could get into for boarding without a ticket, but I imagine "not having enough time" is a common enough reason for people buying their tickets on board.
     
    Last edited: 14 Aug 2015
  13. crehld

    crehld Established Member Associate Staff Senior Fares Advisor

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    I'm glad someone has actually pointed this out!
     
  14. tony6499

    tony6499 Member

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    Were you there then ? How do you know and state quite clearly that the guard was lying ?
     
  15. cml2015

    cml2015 Member

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    Today, I travelled from Lea Green as my best friend is driving us home from Manchester tonight. So I haven't drove and parked to get to work today. When getting to the station I tried to buy a ticket from the ticket office. The attendant told me the train was due in a minute or two so he said just go down to the platform and buy your ticket on the train. So I went to the platform and before boarding the train I asked the guard if I could purchase a ticket on the train. She said yes of course you can. So today I purchased my ticket on the train. There is also a poster saying that the guard will happily sell you a ticket if you haven't got one.

    So I understand the law, which is clear. But the problem here is that Northern Rail muddy the water by situations such as these. Their actions indicate that it is ok to buy your ticket on the train.
     
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  16. Greenback

    Greenback Emeritus Moderator

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    I agree that Northern don't really help themselves by not providing adequate ticket purchasing facilities in many locations, by implying that it's OK to buy tickets on the train with some of their wording, and by generally making more mistakes than is acceptable in their administration of their scheme to try and cut down on ticketless travel and fare evasion.

    I do think that they need to do something about lost revenue, in principle I agree with encouraging passengers to buy before they board, but I don't think Northern are doing enough in this area. They can and should be doing a lot better to make it clear what the penalties could be for failing to buy a ticket before your journey where such facilities exist. And they need to improve those facilities at the same time!

    There are too many mixed messages, and you can mention this when Northern ask you for your version of events. I think you have a decent argument that Northern should not take any action. If you're apologetic about not knowing the law, and cite your experiences in support, hopefully Northern will realise that they don't have a strong case for a financial penalty or any other action.
     
  17. clagmonster

    clagmonster Established Member

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    I've been thinking about this. Just to clarify, did you hold a Eccles - Manchester season at the time, and was the fare you went to the excess fares window to pay St. Helens - Eccles? Have you paid your St. Helens - Eccles fare on arrival at Victoria on any other occasions?

    Whilst each time you have done this, you have committed a byelaw offence by not paying the fare at St. Helens, I would say that asking for the extra ticket without any physical requirement to do so, ie having the season to get through the barriers, is not behaviour I would expect of a fare evader or fraudster. It's a double edged sword, but it could be useful if you can highlight any such transactions on your bank statements (are they detailed enough to show where the fare was paid?) or even better have the tickets issued there to hand.
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    That is fine. Byelaw 18 states:
    "(3) No person shall be in breach of Byelaw 18(1) or 18(2) if:
    16
    (i) there were no facilities in working order for the issue or
    validation of any ticket at the time when, and the station where,
    he began his journey; or
    (ii) there was a notice at the station where he began his journey
    permitting journeys to be started without a valid ticket; or
    (iii) an authorised person gave him permission to travel without a
    valid ticket. "

    "authorised person” means:
    (i) a person acting in the course of his duties who:
    (a) is an employee or agent of an Operator, or
    (b) any other person authorised by an Operator, or
    (ii) any constable, acting in the execution of his duties upon or in
    connection with the railway; "

    Clearly the booking clerk and the guard act as such. In such cases, I would always suggest asking the guard before boarding, as:
    a) you are clearly showing intent to pay
    b) the guard knows that he has given you permission
     
  18. cml2015

    cml2015 Member

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    No, I have never bought my ticket at Victoria since this incident. This occurred when I first started travelling from Eccles. I had boarded at Eccles when I drove, and bought my ticket when I arrived at Victoria. But since then I've always bought my ticket either from the ticket office before boarding when I could, or on the train. I do have evidence of purchasing my season ticket at St Helens AND also buying a ticket for my journey to Eccles that same day. Could this help me?

    To be totally honest, after reading all the other posts on this forum, I don't want to fight them. I just want the matter done with. I would happily settle matters with them by paying a fine and costs out of court if need be. I am guilty of not buying my ticket before travel, and therefore I don't have a leg to stand on. I know this. But I am most worried about getting a criminal record. I work in finance and a prosecution would end my career forever.
     
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  19. Greenback

    Greenback Emeritus Moderator

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    You don't need to fight them. The point about the St Helens to Eccles tickets is that not buying them before travelling can causes people to think that you would only buy them if the opportunity presented itself, otherwise you could just exit Victoria using your Eccles to Manchester season ticket and go about your business, without having got yourself a ticket for the St Helens to Eccles journey at all.

    There is a difference between those who will happily pay when challenged but won't otherwise, fare evasion, and the totally straight passenger who will always make sure that they pay for the ticket they need, whatever the circumstances. Northern Rail are well aware of all this, and they may conclude that you fall into the first category, which will make them more likely to pursue you for a higher amount of money.

    If you could assure them, honestly, that you have always bought a ticket at the end of the journey if you weren't able to buy it on the train, it could help you settle the matter and, potentially, with a lower cost to yourself.
     
  20. Llanigraham

    Llanigraham On Moderation

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    Really?
    Can tell you don't work on tickets!
     
  21. cml2015

    cml2015 Member

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    Thanks, this clearly sets out what the guard thought. I can't prove either way that I ALWAYS purchase a ticket. All I have is some old tickets that I have purchased for between St Helens & Eccles both on the train and from Junction ticket office. And some bank statements. I use cash for my train fare quite a lot too.

    My partner thinks that they will go for the earlier accusation. He also thinks I can't prove otherwise. He said I'd be better just trying to settle out of court with them no matter how much it costs.

    If they do go for the earlier, shall I get a solicitor involved?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: 14 Aug 2015
  22. steve a

    steve a Member

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    On the CLC line from Liverpool to Manchester, there are several stations that are staffed for part of the day but there are no signs showing opening times and there are no ticket machines. In some cases, there is no foot bridge so anybody wanting to buy a ticket for trains travelling in the opposite direction has to buy a ticket, then cross via the road bridge.

    In BR days, the booking clerk used to cross the track and sell tickets on the opposite platform when trains were due. Nowadays a lot of people buy tickets on the train and the guard (aka "conductor" to most people) usually sells one without any comments about having to buy a ticket before boarding. It's not surprising people get confused!
     
  23. Greenback

    Greenback Emeritus Moderator

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    I am not as certain as your partner about what Northern will do! I'd recommend you wait and see what they send you. I don't think you can prove that you have always bought a ticket, nor do I necessarily think that you will have to. I think it might be helpful that you can assure them of this fact, though, and with a clear conscience. It would be up to Northern to prove something to the contrary.

    My objective would be firstly to try and resolve matters without any payment at all, and secondly, if that proved to be impossible, to keep the amount of money paid in settlement to a minimum.
     
  24. Greenback

    Greenback Emeritus Moderator

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    Please can everyone ensure that the discussion stays relevant to the Op and their situation. Thanks!
     
  25. najaB

    najaB Veteran Member

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    Before you start instructing a solicitor, wait and see what Northern intend to do. It is entirely possible (even probable) that they will let the matter lie (with or without their standard £80 slap on the wrist).

    If they intend to proceed with a Byelaw 18 prosecution, then just plead guilty as you don't have a strong defence, and the consequence of an early guilty plea is limited (i.e. no criminal record).

    If (and only if) they intend to proceed with a more serious charge (e.g. RoRA), should you consider retaining the services of a solicitor.
     
  26. cml2015

    cml2015 Member

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    Ok, thank you. I will await my letter.
     
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  27. Greenback

    Greenback Emeritus Moderator

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    I agree with najab. I believe that there's a reasonable chance of achieving the first outcome that i outlined in my post 83.
     
  28. island

    island Established Member

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    Tickets are the property of the railway and the guard is within his rights to withdraw one. It is acceptable behaviour assuming the guard allows the passenger to complete his or her journey, which he did. In the event the withdrawal is found to have been improper, which is unlikely, any tickets purchased during that period will doubtless be refunded.
    I must disagree with this. The offence was committed when the passenger joined the train without a ticket and cannot be uncommitted later. The attempt to purchase a ticket may (a) reduce the compensation awarded after a theoretical successful prosecution, and/or (b) tend to provide evidence that an offence under s5 Regulation of Railways Act has not been committed owing to the lack of intent to avoid the fare due. May. Or may not.
     
  29. Greenback

    Greenback Emeritus Moderator

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    The question to my way of thinking is whether the guard, in accepting the fare and issuing a ticket, regularised the situation the OP found themselves in with regard to not buying before boarding.

    Regardless of whether they did or didn't, I don't think it would be helpful to the OP as something to even think about relying on as any sort of defence at this stage.
     
  30. gray1404

    gray1404 Established Member

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    This case would have been a lot more clear cut if the guard had not have sold the ticket on day 2 and then refunded it. Also, if he had not have accused the passenger of covering up their ticket the day before and also saying that he told the customer the day before he'd advised them about not having a tickiet. Yes, I was not there!! We know that. But going on the word of the OP this is what they say has happened and if that's true, its not right.
     
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