Please help me

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brandonvperez

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14 Apr 2021
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Swindon
Earlier today in the morning I had bought a child eticket to use from Bath spa to Swindon rail station, yet I am 18 years of age. I know that is a form of ticket evasion, but as it’s the first time I got caught, I don’t know what will happen, I’m worried it may spiral into a legal court case. I have done this once more, but I was only caught today. I was also told I’d receive a letter, what is going to happen?
 
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Fawkes Cat

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Welcome to the forum.

Assuming that you gave the railway accurate contact details, it's most likely that the railway will write to you some time in the next six months, asking for your side of the story. As you seem to accept that you have done the wrong thing, you should reply confirming what you did. Confirm that you will not do it again, and offer to pay the cost of the fare and the costs that the railway may have incurred in dealing with this matter. Remember that someone will have to read the letter, so keep it short and make it polite.

What happens next is then up to the railway. It would be a good idea to look at GWR's 'Revenue Protection Policy' at https://www.gwr.com/~/media/gwr/pdf...licy/revenue-protection-policy-2020.pdf?la=en. In particular, look at the bottom of page 11:

We’ll do our best to settle out of court. Prosecution can have serious consequences on your personal and professional life. So, if you don’t pay your fare, we will do everything we can to avoid taking you to court. We’ll probably send you an offer to settle out of court – usually asking you to pay an amount to cover your fare and our costs.

So as you ran into your problem at a GWR station, they will probably agree to settle. The costs they ask you to pay will probably be up to £200.

But also be aware of what the Revenue Protection Policy says at the bottom of page 6.
If you systematically or persistently travel without a ticket or without a valid ticket: We will consider this to be a fraud matter and we will instigate a criminal investigation into your actions. You could end up in court as a result.

So GWR still have the right to take you to court. If that does happen, then (as you accept that you didn't pay the fare you should have done) you will be convicted (that means you will have pleaded guilty or have been found guilty by the court) and you will face a punishment. If the only reason that you're in court is fare dodging, you will not go to prison. But you will face a fine, plus court costs, plus the costs of the prosecution, and compensation to GWR. It's most likely that this will add up to more than any settlement that GWR might offer you - and you also need to bear in mind that there are some jobs (typically those involving handling money or personal care) where all convictions have to be declared even if your conviction was a long time ago. So while you don't need to worry that you will be sent to prison, a conviction can be bad news.

So on the one hand, this isn't trivial - you can't ignore it and hope that it will go away. But on the other, it's not the end of the world. If you work with the railway, and don't fare-dodge again, you should solve this problem and be able to get on with your life.
 

Tazi Hupefi

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If your name is actually Brandon Perez, it would not surprise me at all if a train operator was keeping an eye on a forum like this, so they will be aware of what you have wrote here, which is essentially a confession.

However, I suspect that is actually likely to go in your favour. You've held your hands up, admitted you've done wrong, and are looking to resolve the matter (and obviously never do it again).

Wait for them to write to you, reply with an genuine apology, offer to pay any of their costs incurred as a result of your poor judgement, and I'm sure they'll happily suggest an appropriate settlement, probably as another forum member posted, in the region of a couple of hundred pounds.

Although, you really must not do it again, I doubt you will get a second chance.

The only thing that could possibly complicate matters is if this is only the first time you have been caught. If you have done it before, and not been caught, they may be able to trace more child tickets and journeys back to you, especially if purchased online or on your phone, in which case, it may escalate into fraud. I would assume that an "eticket" is an electronic ticket, so this may be a very important fact.
 

Fawkes Cat

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If your name is actually (your username)
This is good advice: it's fine to have a user name that isn't your real name, just in case someone picks up on what has been written here: if you change your user name then your posts will be credited against your new name (and hopefully @Tazi Hupefi will then be kind enough to amend his post to conceal the name you originally posted under).
 

Peter Mugridge

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I'd remove the bit in the first paragraph between "ticket evasion" and "I don't know" as well...
 

brandonvperez

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14 Apr 2021
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Swindon
This is good advice: it's fine to have a user name that isn't your real name, just in case someone picks up on what has been written here: if you change your user name then your posts will be credited against your new name (and hopefully @Tazi Hupefi will then be kind enough to amend his post to conceal the name you originally posted under).
How can I change my username?
 

Hadders

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Welcome to the forum.

You are likely to receive a letter from the train company (or an investigation company acting on their behalf) which will probably take a few weeks to arrive saying that they have received a report, are considering prosecuting you and asking for your version of events. It is important that you engage with and reply to this letter. You might want to include the following in your reply:

- That you are sorry for what has happened
- What you have learned from the incident
- That you are keen to settle the matter without the need for court action
- Offer to pay the outstanding fare and the train company's administrative costs in dealing with the matter

Make sure your reply is short and concise, don't give a sob story - they've heard it all before. Most train companies are usually prepared to offer an administrative settlement (commonly known as an out of court settlement) for people who engage with the process and who haven't come to their attention before. There is no guarantee of this, and the fact that you have done this several times means that the train company would be well within their rights to prosecute you in the magistrates court.

If you are offered a settlement the amount varies depending on the train company and circumstances but tend to be a few hundred pounds plus the outstanding fare. An out of court settlement might appear to be a fine, but it isn't and you won't have a criminal record as a result of accepting one.
 

Bletchleyite

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Hasn’t he essentially addressed the implication by saying he’d done it once before? Or am I being spectacularly thick? (I often am)

That's how I read it. If he has genuinely only done it once before (and not more times), then it is best to be honest about that and offer to pay the costs of that as well. Particularly as if it was an e-ticket they will already know he has as it'll have his name against it.

If he's done it lots more times, paid legal advice may be sensible (and deleting the posting on here which amounts to a confession).
 

ta-toget

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Wouldn’t be a very useful forum if we allowed that.
But you can edit the original post to say nothing, which seemed to have happened at some point yesterday (it changed to say something along the lines of "Thanks" and not much else, unless I've got confused).
 

Haywain

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But you can edit the original post to say nothing, which seemed to have happened at some point yesterday (it changed to say something along the lines of "Thanks" and not much else, unless I've got confused).
But that still ends up making the forum useless. Fortunately, moderators can undo such edits.
 

Peter Mugridge

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Hasn’t he essentially addressed the implication by saying he’d done it once before? Or am I being spectacularly thick? (I often am)
He seems to have edited the post to add that bit some time after I had originally raised the concern about the wording.
 
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