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Kazkaan

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I am student. Yesterday I took a train and there was no oyster contact machine and the ticket office was closed I knew I had money on my oyster so I boarded a train as I was about to reach my destination a ticket officer asked me for a ticket and I showed him my oyster he said there was no evidence of me tapping in so I explained to him what had happened and he said oysters are not allowed in that region and I told him I was not aware of that he said he didn’t believe me so he said that I would receive a penalty he didn’t give me a receipt he said I may receive a letter. Today I was rushing to school and the ticket office at the station was closed and there was a long queue at machine outside I was about to miss my train so I boarded on the train with the intention of explaining to the people at my stop that there was a queue and if I could purchase a ticket at my station but the same ticket officer which came to me again and I had explained to him the situation he told me that I could be prosecuted and printed a receipt that I broke bylaw 18 and would receive a letter soon. I’m very confused and don’t know what to do or write on the letter. I’ve read other threads relating to this situation. How would I go about writing I want to resolve this out of court.
 
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TFN

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I am student. Yesterday I took a train and there was no oyster contact machine and the ticket office was closed I knew I had money on my oyster so I boarded a train as I was about to reach my destination a ticket officer asked me for a ticket and I showed him my oyster he said there was no evidence of me tapping in so I explained to him what had happened and he said oysters are not allowed in that region and I told him I was not aware of that he said he didn’t believe me so he said that I would receive a penalty he didn’t give me a receipt he said I may receive a letter. Today I was rushing to school and the ticket office at the station was closed and there was a long queue at machine outside I was about to miss my train so I boarded on the train with the intention of explaining to the people at my stop that there was a queue and if I could purchase a ticket at my station but the same ticket officer which came to me again and I had explained to him the situation he told me that I could be prosecuted and printed a receipt that I broke bylaw 18 and would receive a letter soon. I’m very confused and don’t know what to do or write on the letter. I’ve read other threads relating to this situation. How would I go about writing I want to resolve this out of court.
Hello and welcome to the forum.

I assume as your local station is in Southeastern or Thameslink territory as your location is Kent. Are you over the age of 18?

It's not looking good for you as the same officer caught you twice in a row. Unfortunately, long queues at the ticket machine or the ticket office being closed isn't a valid reason to not have a ticket on board the train in a Penalty Fare area.

What time did this occur? You say that you were heading for school so I presume early morning. Was the ticket office completely closed when it was supposed to be open?

Wait for the letter to arrive which can take a few weeks. Do not ignore the letter and reply stating that you're sorry and you've learned from your mistakes and you'd like to settle without going into court by paying the fare(s) lost and any costs incurred by Southeastern/Thameslink.

I'm sure more experienced people on this forum will come along, but at the moment just be patient.
 

Kazkaan

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Hello and welcome to the forum.

I assume as your local station is in Southeastern or Thameslink territory as your location is Kent. Are you over the age of 18?

It's not looking good for you as the same officer caught you twice in a row. Unfortunately, long queues at the ticket machine or the ticket office being closed isn't a valid reason to not have a ticket on board the train in a Penalty Fare area.

What time did this occur? You say that you were heading for school so I presume early morning. Was the ticket office completely closed when it was supposed to be open?

Wait for the letter to arrive which can take a few weeks. Do not ignore the letter and reply stating that you're sorry and you've learned from your mistakes and you'd like to settle without going into court by paying the fare(s) lost and any costs incurred by Southeastern/Thameslink.

I'm sure more experienced people on this forum will come along, but at the moment just be patient.
I am over 18 and yes it did occur in the morning the ticket office was completely closed with a padlock
 

Horizon22

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I am student. Yesterday I took a train and there was no oyster contact machine and the ticket office was closed I knew I had money on my oyster so I boarded a train as I was about to reach my destination a ticket officer asked me for a ticket and I showed him my oyster he said there was no evidence of me tapping in so I explained to him what had happened and he said oysters are not allowed in that region and I told him I was not aware of that he said he didn’t believe me so he said that I would receive a penalty he didn’t give me a receipt he said I may receive a letter. Today I was rushing to school and the ticket office at the station was closed and there was a long queue at machine outside I was about to miss my train so I boarded on the train with the intention of explaining to the people at my stop that there was a queue and if I could purchase a ticket at my station but the same ticket officer which came to me again and I had explained to him the situation he told me that I could be prosecuted and printed a receipt that I broke bylaw 18 and would receive a letter soon. I’m very confused and don’t know what to do or write on the letter. I’ve read other threads relating to this situation. How would I go about writing I want to resolve this out of court.

If there was no machine, is Oyster valid from your initial station? There would be one available in any area within the Oyster boundary zone, even if the ticket office is shut. What station were you travelling from?

You say you're from Kent, but there are very few places in Kent with Oyster availability, so you'd need to clarify your home station.
 

Kazkaan

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If there was no machine, is Oyster valid from your initial station? There would be one available in any area within the Oyster boundary zone, even if the ticket office is shut. What station were you travelling from?

You say you're from Kent, but there are very few places in Kent with Oyster availability, so you'd need to clarify your home station.
I was travelling from Northfleet Station
 

island

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Northfleet is outside the Oyster zone and Oyster cards cannot be used to travel from there.

Long queues do not excuse you from buying a ticket; it is incumbent on you to arrive at the station in good time.

Northfleet has a card-only ticket machine and a morning-only ticket office. The ticket machine is outside and can be accessed when the station building is closed.

How were you planning to pay for your journey? Have you used the station before? If so, how did you pay for your journeys in the past?
 

Kazkaan

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In order for the experts to assist you, it would be most helpful if you could disclose the station that you boarded the train and the station where you got off the train.

I presume this is a journey you do daily?
I Boarded at Northfleet got off at Sidcup.

Northfleet is outside the Oyster zone and Oyster cards cannot be used to travel from there.

It has a card-only ticket machine. How were you planning to pay for your journey?
There is no card card machine and I was not aware that it was not an oyster zone until i was told by the ticket officer
 

Horizon22

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I was travelling from Northfleet Station

Northfleet is outside the Oyster zone. If you're doing this daily, you are going to find yourself in, I'm afraid, serious issues - it would show a pattern of misuse. Understandbly the gateline or revenue member of staff would see no evidence of you tapping in as you can't...

If it was a one off and the ticket office was closed that may be a different issue, but you're still travelling without a valid ticket. Were you intending to buy a ticket at the station? Were there any ticket machines available?
 

Kazkaan

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Northfleet is outside the Oyster zone. If you're doing this daily, you are going to find yourself in, I'm afraid, serious issues - it would show a pattern of misuse.

If it was a one off and the ticket office was closed that may be a different issue, but you're still travelling without a ticket
i do not do this daily

Northfleet is outside the Oyster zone. If you're doing this daily, you are going to find yourself in, I'm afraid, serious issues - it would show a pattern of misuse. Understandbly the gateline or revenue member of staff would see no evidence of you tapping in as you can't...

If it was a one off and the ticket office was closed that may be a different issue, but you're still travelling without a valid ticket. Were you intending to buy a ticket at the station? Were there any ticket machines available?
I am aware I did not have a ticket i was intending on buying a ticket at the station I got off to explain to them that the ticket office was closed
 

Kazkaan

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Indeed you may not, but it looks to them like you do. You say "you were rushing to school", are you sure this isn't a regular occurrence? Did you tell the officer you were travelling to school?
I normally get a bus to school but I have had a falling attendance and have been getting to school late so I decided to take train so as to be on time
 

AlterEgo

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I normally get a bus to school but I have had a falling attendance and have been getting to school late so I decided to take train so as to be on time
How did you intend to pay for your first journey, given you hadn't tapped in?

If the train company looks at your Oyster history, would it show regular use?
 

superkopite

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If you thought that you could use an Oyster card, why would you not choose to utilize the convenience of the Oyster Card every time you make that journey rather than queueing up for at a ticket machine each time you travel?
 

island

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I Boarded at Northfleet got off at Sidcup.


There is no card card machine and I was not aware that it was not an oyster zone until i was told by the ticket officer
Northfleet station has a ticket vending machine. I live near there and have personally seen it. You also said in your very first post that there was a queue for it.

Why didn’t you buy a ticket from the ticket machine on the second day? You had been told your Oyster card was not valid already.
 

Kazkaan

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How did you intend to pay for your first journey, given you hadn't tapped in?

If the train company looks at your Oyster history, would it show regular use?
the first journey intended to tell them that there was no oyster machine there and show them i had a pay as you go balance already so as to pay for the journey
regular use as per?

Northfleet station has a card only ticket machine. I live near there and have personally seen it. You also said in your very first post that there was a queue for it.

Why didn’t you buy a ticket from the ticket machine on the second day? You had been told your Oyster card was not valid already.
As I said previously I was running late and need to get on the train

the first journey intended to tell them that there was no oyster machine there and show them i had a pay as you go balance already so as to pay for the journey
regular use as per?


As I said previously I was running late and need to get on the train
i Intended to purchase a ticket from sidcup station
 

AlterEgo

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the first journey intended to tell them that there was no oyster machine there and show them i had a pay as you go balance already so as to pay for the journey
regular use as per?
Would a look at your Oyster history show regular use? In other words, will the Train Company buy that excuse, which is that you are effectively claiming not to know you MUST tap in before starting your journey?

Please try to answer as fully as you can; knowing the strength or weakness of your defence will help people inform you of the next steps.
 

Kazkaan

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Would a look at your Oyster history show regular use? In other words, will the Train Company buy that excuse, which is that you are effectively claiming not to know you MUST tap in before starting your journey?

Please try to answer as fully as you can; knowing the strength or weakness of your defence will help people inform you of the next steps.
I have tapped in at other stations if that is what you are asking but Northfleet station did not have one of those tap in things at the entrance

If you thought that you could use an Oyster card, why would you not choose to utilize the convenience of the Oyster Card every time you make that journey rather than queueing up for at a ticket machine each time you travel?
This is not a usual journey
 

island

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As I said previously I was running late and need to get on the train


i Intended to purchase a ticket from sidcup station
At the entrance to Northfleet station is a yellow notice informing you that you must buy a ticket before you travel.

As you chose not to purchase a ticket you have in this instance committed two criminal offences. It is likely that Southeastern will write to you in the coming weeks asking for your side of the story. Following on from that you may be asked to pay a sum of money to settle the case (which might be £100-200, though those are not firm upper and lower bounds) or you may be reported for prosecution.

This changes if you are a minor (under 18) and you are not turning 18 in the next 6 months.

Going forward, you must make certain you buy a ticket prior to travel. If you will be making this journey frequently, consider purchasing a season ticket for a week or month. Alternatively, if you have a compatible smartphone you may wish to order a The Key smartcard and purchase and load tickets onto it via your phone. This will avoid needing to queue up.
 

Kazkaan

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At the entrance to Northfleet station is a yellow notice informing you that you must buy a ticket before you travel.

As you chose not to purchase a ticket you have in this instance committed two criminal offences. It is likely that Southeastern will write to you in the coming weeks asking for your side of the story. Following on from that you may be asked to pay a sum of money to settle the case (which might be £100-200, though those are not firm upper and lower bounds) or you may be reported for prosecution.

This changes if you are a minor (under 18) and you are not turning 18 in the next 6 months.

Going forward, you must make certain you buy a ticket prior to travel. If you will be making this journey frequently, consider purchasing a season ticket for a week or month. Alternatively, if you have a compatible smartphone you may wish to order a The Key smartcard and purchase and load tickets onto it via your phone. This will avoid needing to queue up
Okay. I do not mind paying to settle the case but I do truly fear prosecution. How do I avoid prosecution or settle this out of court?

At the entrance to Northfleet station is a yellow notice informing you that you must buy a ticket before you travel.

As you chose not to purchase a ticket you have in this instance committed two criminal offences. It is likely that Southeastern will write to you in the coming weeks asking for your side of the story. Following on from that you may be asked to pay a sum of money to settle the case (which might be £100-200, though those are not firm upper and lower bounds) or you may be reported for prosecution.

This changes if you are a minor (under 18) and you are not turning 18 in the next 6 months.

Going forward, you must make certain you buy a ticket prior to travel. If you will be making this journey frequently, consider purchasing a season ticket for a week or month. Alternatively, if you have a compatible smartphone you may wish to order a The Key smartcard and purchase and load tickets onto it via your phone. This will avoid needing to queue up.
This is my last week of school so I will no longer be making this journey anymore
 

AlterEgo

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I have tapped in at other stations if that is what you are asking but Northfleet station did not have one of those tap in things at the entrance
So, as you have used Oyster quite a few times, you shouldn't use the defence "I didn't know I must tap in", because whether it is true or not, it doesn't really stand up.

On the second occasion, having already been told in no uncertain terms you must buy a ticket and Oyster is not valid, you deliberately failed to buy a ticket. I think you will be lucky to settle out of court, but you should certainly still wait for the letter and see if they offer you a settlement.
 

Darandio

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Okay. I do not mind paying to settle the case but I do truly fear prosecution. How do I avoid prosecution or settle this out of court?

The post you are quoting tells you what to expect and what to do.
 

Kazkaan

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So, as you have used Oyster quite a few times, you shouldn't use the defence "I didn't know I must tap in", because whether it is true or not, it doesn't really stand up.

On the second occasion, having already been told in no uncertain terms you must buy a ticket and Oyster is not valid, you deliberately failed to buy a ticket. I think you will be lucky to settle out of court, but you should certainly still wait for the letter and see if they offer you a settlement.
As i have stated there is nothing to even tap on

At the entrance to Northfleet station is a yellow notice informing you that you must buy a ticket before you travel.

As you chose not to purchase a ticket you have in this instance committed two criminal offences. It is likely that Southeastern will write to you in the coming weeks asking for your side of the story. Following on from that you may be asked to pay a sum of money to settle the case (which might be £100-200, though those are not firm upper and lower bounds) or you may be reported for prosecution.

This changes if you are a minor (under 18) and you are not turning 18 in the next 6 months.

Going forward, you must make certain you buy a ticket prior to travel. If you will be making this journey frequently, consider purchasing a season ticket for a week or month. Alternatively, if you have a compatible smartphone you may wish to order a The Key smartcard and purchase and load tickets onto it via your phone. This will avoid needing to queue up.
should I mention that i want an out of court settlement?
 

skyhigh

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On the second occasion, having already been told in no uncertain terms you must buy a ticket and Oyster is not valid, you deliberately failed to buy a ticket. I think you will be lucky to settle out of court, but you should certainly still wait for the letter and see if they offer you a settlement.
Looking at this purely from the point of view of the company, the same person was stopped twice in 2 days with no valid ticket on the same journey.
As i have stated there is nothing to even tap on
Which to most people would be a massive red flag as to whether Oyster is accepted from that station - how would the oyster system know what to charge you if it didn't know where you started?
 

Kazkaan

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Because as has been stated many times Northfleet is OUTSIDE the valid Oyster zone. Your Oyster card is not valid.

See this map for validity.
I am aware now before I was not aware

Looking at this purely from the point of view of the company, the same person was stopped twice in 2 days with no valid ticket on the same journey.

Which to most people would be a massive red flag as to whether Oyster is accepted from that station - how would the oyster system know what to charge you if it didn't know where you started?
I was going to tell them the station I boarded at
 

Haywain

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How do I avoid prosecution or settle this out of court?
See below the concise information provided on another thread, which excellently sums up how you should proceed.
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) to people who engage with the process and who haven't come to their attention before. There is no guarantee of this, and the train company is within their rights to prosecute you in the magistrates court, however harsh this may seem.

If you are offered a settlement the amount varies depending on the train company and circumstances but tend to be around a 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.
 
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