PF or MG11?

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jon0844

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Got the train home tonight, from King's Cross, and walked down to country end of train to get some space. About 10 minutes before the train left, a guy came down and sat near me and kept looking around. He was either looking for someone or looked otherwise concerned about something.

As the train left, I didn't think anything more of it and he settled down until we got to Potters Bar and two RPIs boarded. Turns out this chap didn't have a ticket (ah, so that's why he looked stressed), and when asked just pulled out £20 with a smile on his face.

At first the RPI didn't say anything as he was presented the £20. He then asked where the guy had come from (King's Cross, so he didn't lie) and where he was going to. After that, he asked why a ticket wasn't purchased at King's Cross and the guy said 'because the gates were open and I thought I'd get away with it.

Surprising honesty from the chap yet again, so why then did the RPI say he would have to pay a PF? He had the means to pay (cash in hand, although his fare was above £20 so he had to dig into his pockets for a bit more) and openly admitted he didn't bother to buy a ticket. He had plenty of time too, although to be fair the RPI didn't know that.

So, stupid me, asked the RPI why he was giving a PF and he just said 'and why shouldn't I?'. I said he had admitted fare evasion, but he said that was the appropriate action to take. I didn't want to get into an argument so I chose to shut up, partly in case the passenger took exception to me getting involved. As it was, the passenger just said 'I'm from France' and grinned at me. Is it okay if you're from France then? Perhaps I should try my luck over there without a ticket!

Perhaps a PF was the best option if he was from abroad, but the RPI didn't know that. Surely you don't give PFs in these cases? Why can FCC be so tough on some people and then happily dish out a PF to someone who will clearly chance it as he'd admitted as much!
 
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RJ

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Leave the RPIs to do their job and only worry about yourself and holding a valid ticket. Nobody will thank you for getting involved when you don't need to. It's a small wonder I so frequently hear other railwaymen derising enthusiasts as busybody knowitalls when I hear these stories of unwarranted intervention. RPIs have the power of discretion bestowed upon them, end of story.

Had someone on a train I was working telling my colleage "use your discretion" when they were dealing with a travel irregularity with someone who wasn't even travelling with said person. Although I wasn't dealing with that particular incident and didn't get involved, I thought that intervention was really cringeworthy and totally pointless. The person just wanted to let everyone on the train know that they know about "discretion." For what reason, I don't know.

Even now, I get this "what about him" attitude from passengers who have no idea what they're talking about. I don't need to justify my decisions to anyone except those who supervise/manage me! Responding to this can only end in unnecessary awkwardness, especially if the person criticising me didn't realise that the other person actually showed me a valid ticket which they missed.

That said, I wholly understand the potential for frustration but I don't understand the need to tell someone else how to do their job if it is not directly affecting you? Venting steam is what customer relations and internet discussion sites are for!
 
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jon0844

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I said 'stupid me' and didn't carry on any discussion with the RPI beyond that - it was purely said out of frustration because the 'offender' was so damn smug. I didn't say anything nasty to the RPI, nor have I named him or the service I was on. Nor will I report him. I am surprised the RPI didn't want to bring the guy down a notch, but I suppose it was late (and, maybe he couldn't wait to get this dealt with and rush along to first class!).

I mean it's good that they're working late trains but it's also when people consider open gates as being permission to take a free ride. I get the discretion bit, but FCC is somewhat selective when it comes to using it or even admitting they have any.

Some RPIs openly admit they have it, while others are adamant that they don't and must go by the rules every time. I am sure you can guess how this varies depending on the person and the situation!
 

GadgetMan

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As a passenger you only see part of the picture. The staff who deal with these issues work on a wider scheme. With regular fare dodgers it's important to keep handing them rope until there's enough to hang them with.

As a guard I have quite happily let regular evaders just say "I'm not paying.....", and walked away.

Now the other passengers will have gone away with a really poor opinion of me. What they don't realise is that I've probably dealt with the individual numerous times previously and a pile of TIRs is being compiled ready for the day we can get BTP to pick them up.
 

Greenback

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That makes sense GadgetMan, and the passengers will not know any of that.

Yet this tale does highlight, if any further highlighting was needed, that PF's are no deterrent at all to fare evading.
 
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Imo 'penalty fares' should only be used where there is restricted access to trains, eg barriers, and ticket office is open till virtually the last train.
Some TOC's charge PFs, and some don't.
A customer boards a train without a ticket. The fare is around £5. If they have seen the £20 penalty fare signs -
Do they then sit on the train and hope the guard / conductor doesn't come round, and leave the train and avoid paying the penalty fare?
I think it acts as a deterrent not to pay in that situation. It gives the impression the worst that can happen anyway is the £20 + fare.
 

Clip

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Imo 'penalty fares' should only be used where there is restricted access to trains, eg barriers, and ticket office is open till virtually the last train.
Some TOC's charge PFs, and some don't.
A customer boards a train without a ticket. The fare is around £5. If they have seen the £20 penalty fare signs -
Do they then sit on the train and hope the guard / conductor doesn't come round, and leave the train and avoid paying the penalty fare?
I think it acts as a deterrent not to pay in that situation. It gives the impression the worst that can happen anyway is the £20 + fare.
I believe they should up the PF too something around £100. This would certainly act as a deterrent - which is one of the reasons why TfL now have theirs at £80
 

island

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Perhaps the RPI was not PACE-trained and could not conduct an interview with a view to commencing a prosecution.
 

Greenback

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Imo 'penalty fares' should only be used where there is restricted access to trains, eg barriers, and ticket office is open till virtually the last train.
I agree in principle.

Some TOC's charge PFs, and some don't.
Some of the schemes are clear and managed properly, some are not.

A customer boards a train without a ticket. The fare is around £5. If they have seen the £20 penalty fare signs -
Do they then sit on the train and hope the guard / conductor doesn't come round, and leave the train and avoid paying the penalty fare?
I think it acts as a deterrent not to pay in that situation. It gives the impression the worst that can happen anyway is the £20 + fare.
There is far too much confusion and too many what if's in many places. My favourite was at Par, on a Sunday morning, when we wished to purchase a Ride Cornwall ticket.

The ticket office closed, but there was a recently installed TVM and a poster warning that PF's had been introduced, and that you must buy a ticket before boarding the train. The problem is, of course, that the TVM didn;t have Ride Cornwall tickets on it. So what to do next? Buy a singel to St Austell and hope to exchange the ticket on board? Or just get on and buy from the conductor? There was no readily available or accessible information on what to do.

I believe they should up the PF too something around £100. This would certainly act as a deterrent - which is one of the reasons why TfL now have theirs at £80
The downside would be that those who have made a genuine mistake would be very heavily penalised. Though if PF's were only used in the circumstances Clive describes, that may lead to fewer mistakes being made.

As it stands, though, there are far too many opportunities for honest passengers to get caught out.
 

Clip

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Yes 'honest' passengers may get caught out but there is no other solution and everytime this gets discussed on here we cant ever agree.

Most of the gripes that come on here are about how they forgot their railcard and so on and so forth. Id hazard a guess that there are far fewer 'genuine' mistakes then there are people not adhering to the restrictions on their ticket/not having one.

They should also make the appeals process a little fairer and have it done by a strictly independant body as even though they say it is , being administered by a TOC can lead to people think they are colluding to get any monies from the passenger.

Higher penatly for the hardcore fare evaders would cut down on it a treat.
 

Greenback

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Yes 'honest' passengers may get caught out but there is no other solution and everytime this gets discussed on here we cant ever agree.

Most of the gripes that come on here are about how they forgot their railcard and so on and so forth. Id hazard a guess that there are far fewer 'genuine' mistakes then there are people not adhering to the restrictions on their ticket/not having one.

They should also make the appeals process a little fairer and have it done by a strictly independant body as even though they say it is , being administered by a TOC can lead to people think they are colluding to get any monies from the passenger.

Higher penatly for the hardcore fare evaders would cut down on it a treat.
I agree that the Penalty Fare should be higher, but the whole Penalty Fare system needs to be tightened up as well.

I'm not really talking about forgetting a railcard, I am more concerned with those who cannot buy the ticket that they need due to TVM's being out of order, not accepting particular methods of payment, or not selling the ticket at all.

This is why I would prefer to see PF's restricted to staffed stations.

I agree that the appeals system should be fairer, and I would include this in the package of changes that would also see the PF itself set at a much higher rate. But, at the moment, I do not think that some of the schemes are fit for purpose, and I would not support such a large increase without other adjustments.
 

barrykas

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Perhaps the RPI was not PACE-trained and could not conduct an interview with a view to commencing a prosecution.
Then the RPI could have submitted a Travel Irregularity Report instead, which contains much the same information but isn't conducted under caution.

But if the passenger doesn't have a verifiable address for service, there'd be very little point in going down the TIR/MG11 route anyway. Nor the "nil paid" PF route for that matter, given it's highly likely the passenger in front of you won't receive the letters if they don't pay.

Cheers,

Barry
 

142094

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Discretion, whether rightly or wrongly, means there is no consistency across the board. I'm sure most passengers wouldn't care less as long as they knew everyone who did not have a ticket for travel was going to be dealt with in the same way, each and every time.
 

Ferret

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Then the RPI could have submitted a Travel Irregularity Report instead, which contains much the same information but isn't conducted under caution.

But if the passenger doesn't have a verifiable address for service, there'd be very little point in going down the TIR/MG11 route anyway. Nor the "nil paid" PF route for that matter, given it's highly likely the passenger in front of you won't receive the letters if they don't pay.

Cheers,

Barry
I suspect the last paragraph may be close to the truth here - the circumstances mentioned by the OP are a nailed on MG11/TIR scenario as far as I can tell!

 
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