Please help! Rail fare evasion

Discussion in 'Disputes & Prosecutions' started by BunnyLove25, 29 Aug 2015.

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  1. BunnyLove25

    BunnyLove25 New Member

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    Hi All,

    So, a bit of advice will be useful here.

    Recently I got a job at Woking. Because I was short on cash and waiting to get paid on former job, my mother offered me a rail ticket for Zone 1-6. **I DID NOT LOOK AT THE TICKET. I JUST ASSUMED THAT IT WAS A NORMAL TRAIN TICKET WITHOUT IDENTIFICATION AS I WAS IN DESPERATE NEED** AM NEW TO THE UK TOO BY THE WAY AND ALL THE ZONES AND TRAIN USE IS ALSO NEW TO ME. I AM FROM IRELAND AND THERE WE DON'T USE PHOTOCARDS FOR MONTHLY TICKETS OR ANYTHING.

    So I used it on the first day of my job. I noticed however that each time I got to the stop, It told me to seek assistance. All these times, the rail attendants did open the door for me.

    Having said, on my way back, I went to the waterloo station to ask why the ticket isn't working at entrances so they asked me to take it back to my mum to change it wherever she bought it from. When I got home, I briefly mentioned this (I was really tired btw so it wasn't a lengthy discussion. All she said is; if you have time we can do that on friday) I never looked if it had a photocard with someone else name especially not my mum, I WOULD NEVER EVER HAVE USED IT.

    On the second day, the same seek assistance showed up. So on getting to Woking, I asked the lady to please check for me again and she referred me to her manager who then asked for a photocard. I told him the ticket is for my mum but then he says oh. Its a man's name on the ticket (this was in really small prints and I could not see it)

    Fuming, I called my mum and she told me that the ticket had been found on a train and given to her by some person on the train as his and she could use that for the month!

    I could not get my head around this and I was trying to explain to the train inspectors they called themselves. All they did was say to me "You are travelling on a ticket that is not yours for 7 stops more ! You and your mother are incriminating yourselves! This was such as show. They ran cautions upon cautions like I was under arrest. God I felt so bad. Giving that I have never ever ever ever had a criminal record or issue with trains this was just incredibly embarrassing.

    Bit of Background. I am a graduate and currently active in financial services. Any criminal record now has a chance of reducing my self esteem and make employment unbearable.

    I offered to pay the rail ticket there and then but they constantly refused. They took my details and my mother's details and said they will get back in touch in a few weeks time. Because I know how high my employment prospects have been, I cannot risk a criminal record on this one.

    What can I do?

    1) Wait to see if I get summoned to Court? and arrange an out of court settlement (TBH, the most I can shed is £80 plus send an apology letter to the train ticket holder and the rail company). If this goes to court, I cannot afford any solicitor fees. Plus my mum has been diagnosed with extreme pain on the leg so I am the only one working and I have 4 siblings.

    Please help !!
     
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  3. Gathursty

    Gathursty Established Member

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    I'm not going to comment on your main issue as I'm not this forum's legal eagle BUT to make future commuting cheaper for you, can you provide us with your closest Tube or mainline station (or both) so that you can be advised on the best fare to Woking?

    Can Mods split this thread into a XXX - Woking season when OP gives origin station?
     
  4. mikeg

    mikeg Member

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    Unfortunately it is your responsibility to check the validity of your ticket and nobody else's. Furthermore, whether or not you can see the name on the ticket isn't entirely relevant as all tickets are non-transferable anyway. You mention that in ireland monthlies do not have photocards: even in Ireland these are non-transferable, the presence or absence of a photo or indeed a name has no bearing on the transferability of a ticket, it is merely a tool to detect fraud.

    £80 may not be enough for an out of court settlement and that assumes one is offered. Season ticket fraud is taken very seriously and the amount would be much more than for regular railway ticketing offences.

    What will most likely happen is that you will get a letter asking for your version of the events. You need to be truthful and get a fares advisor to proofread it for you as you don't want to incriminate yourself further. Until then there's little that can be done apart from start saving.
    May I also ask which company reported you?

    Also, please don't post in all capitals. It is considered shouting and is widely thought to be impolite.
     
    Last edited: 29 Aug 2015
  5. najaB

    najaB Veteran Member

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    To make it easier to provide assistance, is it fair to say that with the irrelevancies cut out the situation is that you were using caught using a random stranger's season ticket?

    Could you also clarify a few other things for us: what stations were you travelling from/to? What Train Operation Company (TOC) did the inspectors work for? Had your mother used the ticket previously?

    Thanks.
     
  6. yorkie

    yorkie Forum Staff Staff Member Administrator

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    I'd rather not ;) that is a separate matter for a separate threadand therefore such a thread should be created if it's required ;)
    BunnyLove25 - Please click the [​IMG] button in Fares Advice & Policy if & when you want advice on cheaper or more appropriate tickets.
     
  7. Stigy

    Stigy Established Member

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    Hi,

    You can't do anything until South West Trains contact you. They'll more than likely write to you in the first instance, before progressing the matter to the next stage which would be to lay the matter before the courts (which is the point at which you'll receive a summons) or to offer a settlement and warning. Even with the naivety on your part, you have committed an offence on at least one occasion, and bearing in mind Woking is outside Zone 6 by a considerable distance, this would only serve to go against you. The charge applicable will very much depend on their evidence against you and what you told the staff member when questioned under caution.

    South West Trains are one of the more lenient TOCs in terms of settling matters out of court, however it very much depends on the situation. If they believe there is more to it, don't be surprised if you're invited in for a second interview voluntarily.

    I see all the time that people seem to just assume that their tickets are valid. If I was a visitor in another country, or had just moved there etc etc I'd do my research to make sure the ticket I wanted to use was valid and check on zones etc.
     
    Last edited: 30 Aug 2015
  8. island

    island Established Member

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    Initial thoughts:

    1. Woking isn't even in zones 1-6
    2. Irish Rail monthly tickets most certainly do require a photocard (although Dublin Bus and Luas light rail do not)
    3. £80 is the lower end of what you will need to pay, if the option of paying to avoid a prosecution is even made available to you. Get saving.
    4. Your mother has also committed the offences of receiving and giving a ticket with the intent it be used to evade fare.
     
  9. 455driver

    455driver Veteran Member

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    The OP was using, what is effectively, a stolen season ticket, I can't see on out of Court settlement being offered any time soon.

    SWT will more than likely call her in 'for a chat' before deciding what to prosecute her with.
     
  10. BunnyLove25

    BunnyLove25 New Member

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    I think I may need to seek legal advise before I can provide sensitive details as such. I was really foolish and silly by not getting the right tickets but I did apologise ....
     
    Last edited by a moderator: 30 Aug 2015
  11. yorkie

    yorkie Forum Staff Staff Member Administrator

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    I don't think we can be of any assistance to you, so that sounds like a good idea.

    You may find our RailUK Fares & Ticketing Guide of use, see Section 8 - Legal.
     
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