Penalty fare or fare evasion?

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WesternLancer

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Joined
12 Apr 2019
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2,356
This is a first attempt, which others will, I hope, improve on:

"On dd/mm/yy at about (time) after a flight I bought an Anytime Single ticket from Luton (Airport Parkway? you say "City") to Cricklewood.
I am not familiar with the route as I do not do this journey often/regularly/have never done it before. (choose!)
A member of staff told me I needed to change at St Albans for Cricklewood.
Unfortunately I missed the stop at St Albans and was over-carried to St Pancras.

I did not know how to get back to Cricklewood, so I attempted to leave the station and catch a Tube (as I knew how to get home from Cricklewood tube station).
I had an Oyster card with enough credit, and used it for this at about (time).
My ticket did not work the barriers, and this is when I was challenged.

I realise now that I should have asked advice and would have been told to catch a train back to Cricklewood from the other platform; however, I did not know this then, and tried to get home by a route I knew.

By trying to use the barrier I probably gave the impression that I was trying to evade paying the correct fare. I apologise unreservedly for my mistake, and hope you will accept that I was not attempting to defraud the railway.

(I know that fare evasion costs the railway a considerable amount. I also realise that investigating cases like this is costly in staff time. I hope you will agree to settle this informally. I am, of course, willing to pay the difference in fares plus an amount to cover the expense of your investigation.)"

Please re-word this in a way that you are comfortable with.

I am not sure whether you should include the last paragraph - maybe that should wait for the follow-up if they do not offer a settlement immediately.

What do others think?
Good draft. I think worth you including the details of the ticket you had and what you paid (given you paid more than you actually needed to do). Maybe also end with eg 'I hope this shows that I had no intention at all of trying to evade paying my train fare'
 

ale

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5 Sep 2020
Messages
10
Location
London
thanks for all your replies, I will do a draft , there is not much space in the letter to reply, do you think should add an extra sheet? , please
 

WesternLancer

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Joined
12 Apr 2019
Messages
2,356
thanks for all your replies, I will do a draft , there is not much space in the letter to reply, do you think should add an extra sheet? , please
Only if really necessary - think about making some points shorter.
 

Haywain

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Joined
3 Feb 2013
Messages
4,803
I agree the reply should be kept short but I am sure the OP would appreciate knowing which bits to cut.
Most of the first four paragraphs. The 5th paragraph is the one the OP wants, and needs, them to read. It isn’t good if they get bored before getting that far.
 

30907

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30 Sep 2012
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Airedale
Most of the first four paragraphs. The 5th paragraph is the one the OP wants, and needs, them to read. It isn’t good if they get bored before getting that far.
I thought the OP was being asked for their explanation of events?
 

ale

Member
Joined
5 Sep 2020
Messages
10
Location
London
Hi, this is so far how it looks my draft. I think I have to cut more, but everything looks important to mention in my opinion but you are the experts.

On 03/10/2020 after a flight and starting a quarantine I bought an Anytime Single ticket (£14,10), 30p more than off-peak time ticket (£13.90) from Luton station to Cricklewood.
I am not familiar with the route, I only do this journey to go to the airport (once or twice a year).
A member of staff told me I needed to change at St Alban's City for Cricklewood.
Unfortunately, I missed the stop at St Alban's City and was over-carried to St Pancras.

I did not know how to get back to Cricklewood and as I had my Oyster card with enough credit(£28) I attempted to leave the station and catch a Tube ( was the way I knew to get home in zone 3 but not the cheapest £2.80) I ended spending £16.90 while a ticket from Luton to St Pancras at that time is 16.70.

My ticket did not work on the barriers, and this is when I was challenged.


I realise now that I should have asked advice and would have been told to catch a train back to Cricklewood from other platforms; however, I did not know this then and tried to get home by a route I knew.

By trying to use the barrier I probably gave the impression that I was trying to evade paying the correct fare. I apologise unreservedly for my mistake and hope you will accept that I honestly was not attempting to defraud the railway.

I understand that fare evasion costs the railway a considerable amount ad I assume that also investigating cases like this is costly in staff time. I hope you will agree to settle this informally. I am, of course, willing to pay the difference in fares plus an amount to cover the expense of your investigation
 

WesternLancer

Established Member
Joined
12 Apr 2019
Messages
2,356
This is a first attempt, which others will, I hope, improve on:

"On dd/mm/yy at about (time) after a flight I bought an Anytime Single ticket from Luton (Airport Parkway? you say "City") to Cricklewood.
I am not familiar with the route as I do not do this journey often/regularly/have never done it before. (choose!)
A member of staff told me I needed to change at St Albans for Cricklewood.
Unfortunately I missed the stop at St Albans and was over-carried to St Pancras.

I did not know how to get back to Cricklewood, so I attempted to leave the station and catch a Tube (as I knew how to get home from Cricklewood tube station).
I had an Oyster card with enough credit, and used it for this at about (time).
My ticket did not work the barriers, and this is when I was challenged.

I realise now that I should have asked advice and would have been told to catch a train back to Cricklewood from the other platform; however, I did not know this then, and tried to get home by a route I knew.

By trying to use the barrier I probably gave the impression that I was trying to evade paying the correct fare. I apologise unreservedly for my mistake, and hope you will accept that I was not attempting to defraud the railway.

(I know that fare evasion costs the railway a considerable amount. I also realise that investigating cases like this is costly in staff time. I hope you will agree to settle this informally. I am, of course, willing to pay the difference in fares plus an amount to cover the expense of your investigation.)"

Please re-word this in a way that you are comfortable with.

I am not sure whether you should include the last paragraph - maybe that should wait for the follow-up if they do not offer a settlement immediately.

What do others think?
@ale - to the OP - this is what I would send based on your draft - so long as every aspect is correct and true and ultimately your would be prepared to say that in court (worst case scenario, very unlikely to happen in my view). If you can check the fare you paid based on your bank statement etc that will help - I have used the prices given on National Rail website journey planner

STARTS

Dear Sir / Madam

Quote their Reference:

On dd/mm/yy at about 13.30 hours I bought an Anytime Single ticket from Luton to Cricklewood near where I currently live.

I am not a UK citizen and English is not my first language (I have had assistance with composing this letter). I am not familiar with this journey as I have never done it before, nor am I familiar with railway ticketing in the UK. As a result I bought an Anytime ticket to be sure of validity even though I have subsequently discovered that I only required a cheaper Off Peak ticket.

On taking the train from Luton I failed to change trains en route to one that stopped at Cricklewood so was over-carried to St Pancras.

I now realise I should have sought advice from staff about how to travel back to Cricklewood by train having missed my stop.

However, being more familiar with the London Underground / Tube, I thought it would be easier to exit the Thameslink barrier at St Pancras International and travel back by Tube to the station near where I am living, using my Oyster Card for that journey. My Oyster card record will show that this is what I did.

On trying to exit the Barrier at St Pancras International, to change to the Tube, my ticket did not work the barriers, and this is when I was challenged. It is perhaps because English is not my first language that I was unable to understand the staff member’s explanation about my ticket not being valid at St Pancras, and he may have not been able to understand my explanation of what I had done. At this point my details were taken.

I realise now that I should have asked advice and expect I would have been told to catch a train back to Cricklewood from the other platform; however, I did not know this then, and tried to get home by a route I knew (the tube).

By trying to use the barrier I probably gave the impression that I was trying to evade paying the correct fare. I apologise unreservedly for my mistake, and hope you will accept that I was not attempting to defraud the railway.

I hope you will appreciate that:


  • I bought an Anytime ticket to try to be sure I paid the correct fare for the journey I planned to take
  • I had no intention of travelling to St Pancras as this was not my intended destination
  • By making the mistake of failing to change trains on route missed my stop at Cricklewood
  • Had no intention of evading any fare
  • I would be happy to pay the difference in fare to that which I paid but I note an off peak ticket from Luton to St Pancras International at £13.80 is actually less than the Anytime Ticket from Luton to Cricklewood at £14.10 that I actually paid.
I hope this explanation suffices for the reason I presented a ticket to Cricklewood when I arrived at St Pancras International on the Thameslink service, and that you will understand I had no intention to evade any fare owed.

Yours etc


ENDS

To others who believe this is too long I think the context is important in showing the OP made an 'honest mistake' in this case
It's possible to shorten this but that boils down to:

Starts

I bought a ticket from Luton to Cricklewood.
In error I failed to change trains en route to a train that stopped at my station (Cricklewood)
I arrived at St Pancras International and did not know what to do so I decided to exit the station and continue my journey by Tube as I am familiar with using the Tube to get to where I live
I made a mistake and hope you will appreciate that I had no intention to evade any fare
I actually paid for a more expensive ticket to Cricklewood than the off peak ticket to St Pancras that I could have bought were that to have been my genuine intended destination (which it was not)

Ends


I'm simply not sure why the shorter version invites the rail company to look sympathetically on the error the OP made, even if it is quicker to read and digest.

It's the OP's choice on what to send of course.

Hi, this is so far how it looks my draft. I think I have to cut more, but everything looks important to mention in my opinion but you are the experts.

On 03/10/2020 after a flight and starting a quarantine I bought an Anytime Single ticket (£14,10), 30p more than off-peak time ticket (£13.90) from Luton station to Cricklewood.
I am not familiar with the route, I only do this journey to go to the airport (once or twice a year).
A member of staff told me I needed to change at St Alban's City for Cricklewood.
Unfortunately, I missed the stop at St Alban's City and was over-carried to St Pancras.

I did not know how to get back to Cricklewood and as I had my Oyster card with enough credit(£28) I attempted to leave the station and catch a Tube ( was the way I knew to get home in zone 3 but not the cheapest £2.80) I ended spending £16.90 while a ticket from Luton to St Pancras at that time is 16.70.

My ticket did not work on the barriers, and this is when I was challenged.


I realise now that I should have asked advice and would have been told to catch a train back to Cricklewood from other platforms; however, I did not know this then and tried to get home by a route I knew.

By trying to use the barrier I probably gave the impression that I was trying to evade paying the correct fare. I apologise unreservedly for my mistake and hope you will accept that I honestly was not attempting to defraud the railway.

I understand that fare evasion costs the railway a considerable amount ad I assume that also investigating cases like this is costly in staff time. I hope you will agree to settle this informally. I am, of course, willing to pay the difference in fares plus an amount to cover the expense of your investigation
EDIT
Hi - just seen you posted your draft (post #41) at the same time I posted suggested responses - so very much up to you how to proceed. Your draft seems good to me, you may want to consider if any of my points are worth including if you feel they add anything to what you have written.

When you send it (eg by e-mail) I would also send a paper copy by 'Signed For' post (go to a local post office to do that) and keep copies and also the registered post receipts / record codes etc and get a screen grab of the tracking stuff from Royal Mail website - all to be on safe side and help you guarantee they get it.
 
Last edited:

AlbertBeale

Member
Joined
16 Jun 2019
Messages
1,020
Location
London
@ale - to the OP - this is what I would send based on your draft - so long as every aspect is correct and true and ultimately your would be prepared to say that in court (worst case scenario, very unlikely to happen in my view). If you can check the fare you paid based on your bank statement etc that will help - I have used the prices given on National Rail website journey planner

STARTS

Dear Sir / Madam

Quote their Reference:

On dd/mm/yy at about 13.30 hours I bought an Anytime Single ticket from Luton to Cricklewood near where I currently live.

I am not a UK citizen and English is not my first language (I have had assistance with composing this letter). I am not familiar with this journey as I have never done it before, nor am I familiar with railway ticketing in the UK. As a result I bought an Anytime ticket to be sure of validity even though I have subsequently discovered that I only required a cheaper Off Peak ticket.

On taking the train from Luton I failed to change trains en route to one that stopped at Cricklewood so was over-carried to St Pancras.

I now realise I should have sought advice from staff about how to travel back to Cricklewood by train having missed my stop.

However, being more familiar with the London Underground / Tube, I thought it would be easier to exit the Thameslink barrier at St Pancras International and travel back by Tube to the station near where I am living, using my Oyster Card for that journey. My Oyster card record will show that this is what I did.

On trying to exit the Barrier at St Pancras International, to change to the Tube, my ticket did not work the barriers, and this is when I was challenged. It is perhaps because English is not my first language that I was unable to understand the staff member’s explanation about my ticket not being valid at St Pancras, and he may have not been able to understand my explanation of what I had done. At this point my details were taken.

I realise now that I should have asked advice and expect I would have been told to catch a train back to Cricklewood from the other platform; however, I did not know this then, and tried to get home by a route I knew (the tube).

By trying to use the barrier I probably gave the impression that I was trying to evade paying the correct fare. I apologise unreservedly for my mistake, and hope you will accept that I was not attempting to defraud the railway.

I hope you will appreciate that:


  • I bought an Anytime ticket to try to be sure I paid the correct fare for the journey I planned to take
  • I had no intention of travelling to St Pancras as this was not my intended destination
  • By making the mistake of failing to change trains on route missed my stop at Cricklewood
  • Had no intention of evading any fare
  • I would be happy to pay the difference in fare to that which I paid but I note an off peak ticket from Luton to St Pancras International at £13.80 is actually less than the Anytime Ticket from Luton to Cricklewood at £14.10 that I actually paid.
I hope this explanation suffices for the reason I presented a ticket to Cricklewood when I arrived at St Pancras International on the Thameslink service, and that you will understand I had no intention to evade any fare owed.

Yours etc


ENDS

To others who believe this is too long I think the context is important in showing the OP made an 'honest mistake' in this case
It's possible to shorten this but that boils down to:

Starts

I bought a ticket from Luton to Cricklewood.
In error I failed to change trains en route to a train that stopped at my station (Cricklewood)
I arrived at St Pancras International and did not know what to do so I decided to exit the station and continue my journey by Tube as I am familiar with using the Tube to get to where I live
I made a mistake and hope you will appreciate that I had no intention to evade any fare
I actually paid for a more expensive ticket to Cricklewood than the off peak ticket to St Pancras that I could have bought were that to have been my genuine intended destination (which it was not)

Ends


I'm simply not sure why the shorter version invites the rail company to look sympathetically on the error the OP made, even if it is quicker to read and digest.

It's the OP's choice on what to send of course.



EDIT
Hi - just seen you posted your draft (post #41) at the same time I posted suggested responses - so very much up to you how to proceed. Your draft seems good to me, you may want to consider if any of my points are worth including if you feel they add anything to what you have written.

When you send it (eg by e-mail) I would also send a paper copy by registered post (go to a local post office to do that) and keep copies and also the registered post receipts / record codes etc and get a screen grab of the tracking stuff from Royal Mail website - all to be on safe side and help you guarantee they get it.
NB - "registered post" was combined with "express post" and subsumed into "Special Delivery" quite some years back. It costs £5 or more above ordinary post (sometimes much more, depending...). SD is really just for very valuable items, or where something absolutely has to get there by a specific time the next day, guaranteed.

If what's wanted is simply proof of posting and of delivery, for any items sent in the ordinary post (1st or 2nd class), then you should ask for "Signed For" - previously called "Recorded Delivery" - and it'll cost only c £1.30 on top of whatever the ordinary postage for the item would be.
 

Haywain

Established Member
Joined
3 Feb 2013
Messages
4,803
I think it is still too long, with too much unnecessary information. I've crossed through what I think you can do without and added one or two words, in italics:
Hi, this is so far how it looks my draft. I think I have to cut more, but everything looks important to mention in my opinion but you are the experts.

On 03/10/2020 after a flight and starting a quarantine I bought an Anytime Single ticket (£14,10), 30p more than off-peak time ticket (£13.90) from Luton Airport Parkway station to Cricklewood.
I am not familiar with the route, I only do this journey to go to the airport (once or twice a year). but a member of staff told me I needed to change at St Alban's City for Cricklewood. Unfortunately, I missed the stop at St Alban's City and was over-carried to St Pancras.

I did not know how to get back to Cricklewood and as I had my Oyster card with enough credit (£28) I attempted to leave the station and catch a Tube (was the way I knew to get home in zone 3 but not the cheapest £2.80). I ended spending £16.90 while a ticket from Luton to St Pancras at that time is 16.70. My ticket did not work on the barriers, and this is when I was challenged.

I realise now that I should have asked advice and would probably have been told to catch a train back to Cricklewood from other platforms; however, I did not know this then and tried to get home by a route I knew.

By trying to use the barrier I probably gave the impression that I was trying to evade paying the correct fare. I apologise unreservedly for my mistake and hope you will accept that I honestly was not attempting to defraud the railway.

I understand that fare evasion costs the railway a considerable amount and I assume that also investigating cases like this is costly in staff time. I hope you will agree to settle this informally. I am, of course, willing to pay the difference in fares plus an amount to cover the expense of your investigation.
Of course, it's up to you but the people who will read this will appreciate not having lots of stuff that is of no interest to them.
 

WesternLancer

Established Member
Joined
12 Apr 2019
Messages
2,356
NB - "registered post" was combined with "express post" and subsumed into "Special Delivery" quite some years back. It costs £5 or more above ordinary post (sometimes much more, depending...). SD is really just for very valuable items, or where something absolutely has to get there by a specific time the next day, guaranteed.

If what's wanted is simply proof of posting and of delivery, for any items sent in the ordinary post (1st or 2nd class), then you should ask for "Signed For" - previously called "Recorded Delivery" - and it'll cost only c £1.30 on top of whatever the ordinary postage for the item would be.
Thanks. Edited my post accordingly.

I think it is still too long, with too much unnecessary information. I've crossed through what I think you can do without and added one or two words, in italics:

Of course, it's up to you but the people who will read this will appreciate not having lots of stuff that is of no interest to them.
Very helpful amends. Personally I'd not offer them more money (they will ask for that if they agree not to prosecute, surely) but I can see the benefit of doing so in some ways - but I'm not the person having to answer this after all. V much the OP's call on that of course. If you want to close the matter at 'all costs' it would probably make sense to do so. I know the OP has wider concerns about the case going further and is keen to avoid that.
Perhaps best for the OP to use this as it is much closer to their own words as well.
 
Last edited:

ale

Member
Joined
5 Sep 2020
Messages
10
Location
London
Thank you all for your advice and help with the letter, I have sent the letter through special mail and I have attached a copy of the bank statement of the tickets plus the travel history of my oyster card that day, I can't think of another document I could send. Now I have to wait. I will back to you when I have any news from the train company. Do you think should I start to look for a solicitor or is too soon? Thanks
 

SteveM70

Member
Joined
11 Jul 2018
Messages
893
Sorry it’s too late, but one thing I didn’t spit when I read your draft letter was pointing out that you went straight to the tube upon exiting (I think that’s what the OP said he did, and if so the timestamp on his oyster history will back this up). This to me evidences the accidental over travelling.
 

WesternLancer

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Joined
12 Apr 2019
Messages
2,356
Thank you all for your advice and help with the letter, I have sent the letter through special mail and I have attached a copy of the bank statement of the tickets plus the travel history of my oyster card that day, I can't think of another document I could send. Now I have to wait. I will back to you when I have any news from the train company. Do you think should I start to look for a solicitor or is too soon? Thanks
Hi - I would wait for the rail company's response before going to a solicitor. However, you mentioned you are at University in the UK - I would go to the students union welfare advice service now to raise it with them and seek their advice (they may for example have a relationship with solicitors who will take your case on at reduced price or free if required). Since contact the Students Union will be at no cost you may as well do that now to get your case flagged up with them.
 

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