Penalty fare given to family

Ediswan

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Unfortunately, as @Watershed has needled out upthread, when they got to Leeds, payment was attempted in cash, and the failure to obtain a Promise to Pay notice is again problematic.
I can't find anything in either of the OP's posts describing the means of payment they were using at Leeds.

Edited to add links:
https://www.railforums.co.uk/threads/penalty-fare-given-to-family.233348/post-5717835
https://www.railforums.co.uk/threads/penalty-fare-given-to-family.233348/post-5718254
 
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Ken H

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If the lady tried to pay by card and it was rejected, then the TVM, or the back office computer will have a record of the attempt. The attempt will not have been lost. Also the card system outside the railway would also have a record. It would depend where the transaction failed.
I would also expect the TVM system to keep a log of 'lost' transactions where someone has selected a destination and a ticket but does not carry through to actually pay. Such data is invaluable for marketing and machine design purposes.
 

SteveM70

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I know it’s legally not relevant as the passenger has no duty to seek out train staff, but Low Moor to Leeds involves a reversal at Bradford so the guard will have been in the passengers’ unit for part of the journey, so the “separate trains” point the OP made is tenuous at best
 

WesternLancer

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I can't find anything in either of the OP's posts describing the means of payment they were using at Leeds.

Edited to add links:
https://www.railforums.co.uk/threads/penalty-fare-given-to-family.233348/post-5717835
https://www.railforums.co.uk/threads/penalty-fare-given-to-family.233348/post-5718254
Indeed

I know it’s legally not relevant as the passenger has no duty to seek out train staff, but Low Moor to Leeds involves a reversal at Bradford so the guard will have been in the passengers’ unit for part of the journey, so the “separate trains” point the OP made is tenuous at best
Without the person who was trying to pay on behalf of the group posting here we can't be sure - but I suspect it is as I said earlier
a) card did not work in ticket machine for reasons we do not know
b) no effort made on part of the group to find staff on train (not that they are obliged to do this) but hoped they could pay if asked on board / tickets checked on board or at destination before exiting barrier (a reasonable expectation)

Advice to OP is still - she on behalf of her son, or her son should appeal to next stage on behalf of their own case (so they are handling their own appeal) - and suggest rest of group do the same independently. Post draft of appeal wording here for comment and advice if that would help.

Depending on how that plays out come back here for more advice in due course.
 
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Bletchleyite

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While it won't help the original poster now, perhaps the solution is for machines to print a receipt with an error code when a card transaction fails. Then ideally the error code could identify why the transaction failed e.g. unable to communicate with bank, insufficient funds on the card or bank card has been cancelled.

Printing a card receipt for a declined transaction is good practice anyway, as if the transaction erroneously goes through the customer has something to prove to their bank that it should have failed so it is a simple process to charge it back.
 

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Snow1964

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This is quite an unusual case, assuming the facts are correct (couldn’t buy ticket at station TVM for whatever the reason was), then didn’t have a problem with paying on train (if a person selling tickets had been found), then went to the equivalent of an excess fare point offering to pay.

Many will say pay the penalty and chalk it up to experience.

Personally due to the unusual facts, might be better in court.
The reasons are had 6 people (one adult, 5 children), so potentially have multiple witnesses about machine not selling ticket. Also have same number of potential witnesses to any discussion about buying the ticket on train or at destination.

I don’t know the ages, but some rail companies (and I haven’t checked Northern) have rules about children below certain age needing to be with a responsible adult. I suspect a magistrate would take that as adult is expected to pay, and not the other child passengers (this removes the option of someone else could have paid for the group)

I also suspect if it was adult supervising children a court (and any defending solicitor) would want it as a single case involving 6 people, rather than 6 separate individual cases.

Then Northern would be expected to prove they were trying to avoid paying, and that options like ticket office being open, machine guaranteed as working and not offline to bank; and conductor made themselves available in all carriages during the journey (basically any reasonable impediment to getting the ticket) didn’t apply.

Then there will be evidence on cctv of the group enquiring about paying at Leeds (and only an idiot would overwrite barrier line cctv recordings whilst disputes are open), as I said before if having opened a dispute the cctv evidence is destroyed it won’t look good to a magistrate if it effectively hides proof of the defendants action.

The journey won’t be in dispute, but trying to prove the whole group were fare evading in court, rather than hadn’t been able to get a ticket until told wouldn’t sell them one sounds like a tall order. I guess they could try and remove the witnesses as unreliable due to age, but I suspect a magistrate will see that as desperation rather than a sensible reasonable approach.
 

Watershed

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This is quite an unusual case, assuming the facts are correct (couldn’t buy ticket at station TVM for whatever the reason was), then didn’t have a problem with paying on train (if a person selling tickets had been found), then went to the equivalent of an excess fare point offering to pay.

Many will say pay the penalty and chalk it up to experience.

Personally due to the unusual facts, might be better in court.
The reasons are had 6 people (one adult, 5 children), so potentially have multiple witnesses about machine not selling ticket. Also have same number of potential witnesses to any discussion about buying the ticket on train or at destination.

I don’t know the ages, but some rail companies (and I haven’t checked Northern) have rules about children below certain age needing to be with a responsible adult. I suspect a magistrate would take that as adult is expected to pay, and not the other child passengers (this removes the option of someone else could have paid for the group)

I also suspect if it was adult supervising children a court (and any defending solicitor) would want it as a single case involving 6 people, rather than 6 separate individual cases.

Then Northern would be expected to prove they were trying to avoid paying, and that options like ticket office being open, machine guaranteed as working and not offline to bank; and conductor made themselves available in all carriages during the journey (basically any reasonable impediment to getting the ticket) didn’t apply.

Then there will be evidence on cctv of the group enquiring about paying at Leeds (and only an idiot would overwrite barrier line cctv recordings whilst disputes are open), as I said before if having opened a dispute the cctv evidence is destroyed it won’t look good to a magistrate if it effectively hides proof of the defendants action.

The journey won’t be in dispute, but trying to prove the whole group were fare evading in court, rather than hadn’t been able to get a ticket until told wouldn’t sell them one sounds like a tall order. I guess they could try and remove the witnesses as unreliable due to age, but I suspect a magistrate will see that as desperation rather than a sensible reasonable approach.
We don't know about the other relatives but at least in the case of the OP's son, an appeal has been brought and decided. So Northern can no longer bring a prosecution and hence the whys and wherefores of RoRA and the Byelaws are no longer relevant.

What is relevant, and a point on which will still do not have clarity, is what method of payment (if any) the OP's son carried, and the precise nature of the issue with the ticket machine. But this is only relevant in determining whether there might be more substantive grounds for raising second or third stage appeals, rather than the usual "it's not fair", which is unlikely to get very far.

Of course, even if the second and/or third stage appeals are unsuccessful, that simply means that the OP's son could be pursued in the County Court for unpaid Penalty Fare, which is rather unlikely. Personally I would be more concerned about the other family members and whether they have brought an appeal, which is vital to benefit from the protection against prosecution.
 

Ken H

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Printing a card receipt for a declined transaction is good practice anyway, as if the transaction erroneously goes through the customer has something to prove to their bank that it should have failed so it is a simple process to charge it back.
The machine will validate the card a little. it can tell from the first few digits of the PAM (The 16 digit card number) what type it is and whether the machine will accept it. It will see if the card is expired, and that the check digit adds up (The last digit of a pan is calculated from the other 15 numbers using a luhn algorithm.)
If that passed the details will be passed to a card agent, like Square or cardnet. They can check against stolen card lists but they will pass the details to the card owning bank. The bank will either accept or decline the card. They never give a reason - they just say 'declined'*. If its accepted they give back an authorisation code.
So the TOC, the card agent and the bank will have details of the failed transaction.

*The bank will know why it was declined. They will tell the card holder if you call telephone banking. But they wont tell the merchant.
 

WesternLancer

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This is quite an unusual case, assuming the facts are correct (couldn’t buy ticket at station TVM for whatever the reason was), then didn’t have a problem with paying on train (if a person selling tickets had been found), then went to the equivalent of an excess fare point offering to pay.

Many will say pay the penalty and chalk it up to experience.

Personally due to the unusual facts, might be better in court.
The reasons are had 6 people (one adult, 5 children), so potentially have multiple witnesses about machine not selling ticket. Also have same number of potential witnesses to any discussion about buying the ticket on train or at destination.

I don’t know the ages, but some rail companies (and I haven’t checked Northern) have rules about children below certain age needing to be with a responsible adult. I suspect a magistrate would take that as adult is expected to pay, and not the other child passengers (this removes the option of someone else could have paid for the group)

I also suspect if it was adult supervising children a court (and any defending solicitor) would want it as a single case involving 6 people, rather than 6 separate individual cases.

Then Northern would be expected to prove they were trying to avoid paying, and that options like ticket office being open, machine guaranteed as working and not offline to bank; and conductor made themselves available in all carriages during the journey (basically any reasonable impediment to getting the ticket) didn’t apply.

Then there will be evidence on cctv of the group enquiring about paying at Leeds (and only an idiot would overwrite barrier line cctv recordings whilst disputes are open), as I said before if having opened a dispute the cctv evidence is destroyed it won’t look good to a magistrate if it effectively hides proof of the defendants action.

The journey won’t be in dispute, but trying to prove the whole group were fare evading in court, rather than hadn’t been able to get a ticket until told wouldn’t sell them one sounds like a tall order. I guess they could try and remove the witnesses as unreliable due to age, but I suspect a magistrate will see that as desperation rather than a sensible reasonable approach.
No disrespect - but I think we are getting

- ahead of ourselves, and
- also have to seriously consider if the OP wishes to 'have their day in court' pursuing this course of action, potentially with the costs of a solicitor to help them....

My take is that they wanted to know if the appeal stood much chance, if there was any point making such an appeal - and what the downsides of doing so would be.
It strikes me that this has been answered, and the consensus of advice given is to take the appeal further at this stage.

The other option being to pay what I assume is a £20 Penalty Fare.

I also note the OP has not been back to post again for further advice, or to clarify any further details about the exact circs the adult with the group faced when trying to pay at the TVM (no criticism of the OP in that, they may simply not know, I don't think they were present)

I think we need to be careful at this stage not to veer off into other options that could be considered in the future.
 
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Watershed

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No disrespect - but I think we are getting

- ahead of ourselves, and
- also have to seriously consider if the OP wishes to 'have their day in court' pursuing this course of action, potentially with the costs of a solicitor to help them....
There is certainly no need to have legal representation in the event of a County Court claim, for a small value such as this. Unlike the Criminal Procedure Rules, the Civil Procedure Rules require that both parties make all efforts to settle out of Court where possible, so if it did go down that road (which, again, I stress is unlikely) the matter could easily be disposed of by paying whatever Northern claim is due - i.e. the opportunity for an "out of Court settlement" is guaranteed. Even if the claim were to be taken to a hearing, the worst possible outcome would be having to pay the judgment - there would be no criminal record, no fine, no Victim Surcharge etc.
 

WesternLancer

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There is certainly no need to have legal representation in the event of a County Court claim, for a small value such as this. Unlike the Criminal Procedure Rules, the Civil Procedure Rules require that both parties make all efforts to settle out of Court where possible, so if it did go down that road (which, again, I stress is unlikely) the matter could easily be disposed of by paying whatever Northern claim is due - i.e. the opportunity for an "out of Court settlement" is guaranteed. Even if the claim were to be taken to a hearing, the worst possible outcome would be having to pay the judgment - there would be no criminal record, no fine, no Victim Surcharge etc.
Thanks - hopefully that would re-assure the OP over that issue.
and as you say hopefully all of the group have appealed the Penalty Fare for the reasons you explained.
 

hkstudent

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There is certainly no need to have legal representation in the event of a County Court claim, for a small value such as this. Unlike the Criminal Procedure Rules, the Civil Procedure Rules require that both parties make all efforts to settle out of Court where possible, so if it did go down that road (which, again, I stress is unlikely) the matter could easily be disposed of by paying whatever Northern claim is due - i.e. the opportunity for an "out of Court settlement" is guaranteed. Even if the claim were to be taken to a hearing, the worst possible outcome would be having to pay the judgment - there would be no criminal record, no fine, no Victim Surcharge etc.
And to add to the matter, penalty fare's court hearing is a civil case instead of a criminal one. So rest reassure with any criminal related matters.
 

Pugwash

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The advantage for this for all the teenagers in the group is that they now know the importance of purchasing a ticket before boarding, or at least getting a "permit to pay cash" from the machine.

Probably 6 customers lost from the Railway for some time.
 

Bletchleyite

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The whole sorry tale is a good arguement for learning to drive

I can't, to be fair, imagine it having gone very well if their card had been declined at the self service at Tesco and they'd walked out with the goods anyway.

I think Metrolink's (former?) approach is pretty good - if you have a TVM problem you phone them up for help, and assuming the problem wasn't caused by yourself (i.e. your card declined due to lack of funds, in which case tough, you don't travel) they'd give you a reference number allowing a completely free journey. It also means any TVM issue is reported pretty much immediately.

FWIW if I was the parent taking another parent's kids on a trip and got PFed, I'd pay (or handle appealing) their PF. It'd be my fault, not the kid's, because I'm responsible for them on that trip.
 
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FWIW if I was the parent taking another parent's kids on a trip and got PFed, I'd pay (or handle appealing) their PF. It'd be my fault, not the kid's, because I'm responsible for them on that trip.
Especially if you had been paid in advance for the costs associated with the event, which seems to have happened here
 

WesternLancer

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FWIW if I was the parent taking another parent's kids on a trip and got PFed, I'd pay (or handle appealing) their PF. It'd be my fault, not the kid's, because I'm responsible for them on that trip.

I think from post #1 that is what is happening

On appeal its been rejected, the mum did the appeal for all 6 of them she is continuing to appeal,
 

Parham Wood

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A general observation. If your card does not work in a machine and you have no other means of payment it appears you have no means of knowing whether it is a faulty machine or your card. If you travel without a ticket and your card does not work elsewhere you will be liable for any penalties due IMO. So other than trying your card at a shop or ATM after this failed event and before travelling you are potentially travelling with no means of payment if your card does not work at the next payment opportunity. The delights of the modern age.
 

yorkie

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Is there any industry that hates its customers more than the railway?
Please create a new thread to discuss this matter first (feel free to amend your post above to link to it).

I could have plenty to say on that subject but I'll 'bite my tongue' until then; it's not a matter we can debate in any thread where someone is asking for advice, we need to stick to the point in these threads.

It is highly relevant because of the rule that in the event you cannot buy a ticket at the station, you try to buy at first opportunity. Having not been able to find someone on the train, the next opportunity was trying to pay when got off, which got rejected because a member of train staff was deemed available to passengers.

If the customer walked the train and got as far as a locked door (which the in carriage cctv might have shown), what level of reasonableness beyond that is seeking a member of staff on the train
There is no requirement to "seek staff" on the train.
While it won't help the original poster now, perhaps the solution is for machines to print a receipt with an error code when a card transaction fails. Then ideally the error code could identify why the transaction failed e.g. unable to communicate with bank, insufficient funds on the card or bank card has been cancelled.
This is potentially a good idea but please post it in the dedicated forum section for all suggestions (feel free to amend your post above to link to it), as we can't allow such discussions on any other thread, least of all one where someone is asking for advice for a specific situation.

Op mentions "different carriages", when I think they mean two different (195?) units - so entirely plausible the guard was in one unit and the passengers were in another. In any case, there is no requirement to seek out the guard or go banging on the back cab door.
Agreed; if they boarded at the rear and the Guard didn't get to them in the short section before Bradford (where the train reverses), then the Guard would be in the wrong section for the rest of the journey.

Some Northern Guards simply don't come through; this is very common later in the day but less common early morning.
 

Neptune

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I know it’s legally not relevant as the passenger has no duty to seek out train staff, but Low Moor to Leeds involves a reversal at Bradford so the guard will have been in the passengers’ unit for part of the journey, so the “separate trains” point the OP made is tenuous at best
Playing devils advocate it’s only 6 minutes Low Moor to Bradford. You can lose 2 of those minutes with the station duties so that’s down to 4. If the party was in the same portion but not seen in time (we don’t know how busy the train was) then the opportunity will be lost at Bradford. It’s not always possible to compete a ticket check after every station.

People need to stop assuming that every time you don’t see a guard they are being lazy, there are loads of reasons (I’m not saying no guards are lazy but some posters like to tell us that they all are).
 

Edsmith

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Sounds like another case of railway staff making up the rules as they go along. Did the TVM not accept cash? If not and no conductor on the train then surely the train operator has failed?

I'm struggling to see what else these kids could have done? Probably put a dampner on the birthday celebrations as well.
 

Turtle

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A general observation. If your card does not work in a machine and you have no other means of payment it appears you have no means of knowing whether it is a faulty machine or your card. If you travel without a ticket and your card does not work elsewhere you will be liable for any penalties due IMO. So other than trying your card at a shop or ATM after this failed event and before travelling you are potentially travelling with no means of payment if your card does not work at the next payment opportunity. The delights of the modern age.
As you say "the modern age". Yet the Railway operates on 19th century legislation for cardboard tickets. Things must be changed for the 21st century digital age.
 

richw

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For example by producing logs showing that passengers 10 minutes before and after were able to successfully make a purchase using card on that machine.
Irrelevant unless it was the same bank. Proving cards in general were working doesn’t prove or disprove if there was a fault with a specific bank.
A few weeks back my Santander card declined several times for transactions of under £10 despite having a 4 figure balance available. My wife’s Lloyds account worked no problem on the same terminal immediately after mine declined. Santander had a fault at the time.
 

thejuggler

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That's what a promise to pay is for.
Except it isn't.

Promise to Pay is for passengers who only have cash, not as a general option if the TVM card reader has failed.

What is a Promise to Pay notice?

A Promise to Pay notice is a ticket that must be obtained from our ticket vending machines if customers do not have the facility to pay by credit/debit card. The Promise to Pay notice allows customers to board the train with the intention of exchanging the notice at the first opportunity with a revenue officer, or at the next available booking office.

 

Watershed

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Irrelevant unless it was the same bank. Proving cards in general were working doesn’t prove or disprove if there was a fault with a specific bank.
A few weeks back my Santander card declined several times for transactions of under £10 despite having a 4 figure balance available. My wife’s Lloyds account worked no problem on the same terminal immediately after mine declined. Santander had a fault at the time.
Whilst I have no doubt that such errors do occur, the evidence the TOC produces need not prove their position/rebuttal beyond all reasonable doubt, as would be the case in a prosecution.

The appeals body has the latitude to decide how much evidence they want to see, and I would be surprised if they didn't accept such logs, in the absence of counter-evidence from the appellant (e.g. a statement from their bank explaining a fault such as the above).
 

strawbrick

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In the very first post the OP wrote "When they arrived at Leeds they went straight to the internal ticket office to purchase the tickets, as they were buying the tickets some staff came up and told the staff member selling them the tickets that they couldn't sell them after the journey and that they needed to be issued with penalty fare notices that they could then appeal."

Northern' s website states "If a passenger gets on a train without a ticket or Promise to Pay notice at a station where ticket buying facilities are available, they may be liable to pay a penalty fare."

Notwithstanding the niceties of the rules and regulations, as they were apprehended at a ticket office we are not dealing with fare evasion.

The liability to pay a penalty fare is not absolute - the operative word on Northern's site is MAY. It appears at least four times on the website. The word "will" does not appear so clearly there is scope for discretion.

Clearly the original ticket office clerk understood the situation and the use of the word MAY and was about to issue return (?) tickets.

The elephant in the room is the attitude of the second ticket office clerk ...
 

skyhigh

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Clearly the original ticket office clerk understood the situation and the use of the word MAY and was about to issue return (?) tickets.

The elephant in the room is the attitude of the second ticket office clerk ...
This is how the 'excess fares' window at Leeds works. You go to the window, if you're travelling from somewhere with a ticket machine or office open a penalty fare officer comes over.
 

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