Pre court action

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Alice

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Does anyone have any advice? In November I dropped my son at Guildford station to get a train to LGW - we had no time to buy a ticket so I told him to buy a ticket on the train. On leaving Guildford he went to find the guard, explained what had happened and asked to buy a ticket. at he guard refused saying that he would receive a warning letter in the post . He issued him a ticket (we have it) with a zero fare on it and said that he would have to pay it at a later date. Have heard nothing since then until this morning when we received a letter headed 'pre court action' saying that he had attempted to travel without a ticket and offering him the 'opportunity' to settle the matter by paying £92.90 which is made up of outstanding fare of £12.90 plus a charge towards the costs that have been incurred. I am so angry about this as there was no intention to travel without a ticket and my son actively sought out ticket inspector. What should we do next - don't want the stress of going to court but equally feel very strongly that we should not be penalised in this way.
 
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TEW

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How did you get past the ticket barriers at Guildford? Knowing the RPIs who work that line, whom I suspect your son came across, that is likely what they were asking themselves, and why they did not offer to sell a ticket.
 

455driver

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Does anyone have any advice? In November I dropped my son at Guildford station to get a train to LGW - we had no time to buy a ticket so I told him to buy a ticket on the train. On leaving Guildford he went to find the guard, explained what had happened and asked to buy a ticket. at he guard refused saying that he would receive a warning letter in the post . He issued him a ticket (we have it) with a zero fare on it and said that he would have to pay it at a later date. Have heard nothing since then until this morning when we received a letter headed 'pre court action' saying that he had attempted to travel without a ticket and offering him the 'opportunity' to settle the matter by paying £92.90 which is made up of outstanding fare of £12.90 plus a charge towards the costs that have been incurred. I am so angry about this as there was no intention to travel without a ticket and my son actively sought out ticket inspector. What should we do next - don't want the stress of going to court but equally feel very strongly that we should not be penalised in this way.
The highlighted part is where you went wrong, it is your responsibility to buy a ticket before boarding the train, as soon as you boarded without a ticket you were in breach of the byelaws (possibly RoRA as well).

The fact you boarded without a ticket shows intent to avoid payment because you walked straight past a ticket machine (and possibly a ticket office) and in a Court of Law intent is proved by actions rather than thoughts.

The apologists will be along shortly to explain how the nasty railway is at fault because blah blah blah and will advise you to fight it (they are good at advising it but wouldn't actually do it themselves).

If Dave Newcastle answers your question then I highly recommend you take his advice, whether it actually agrees with my views or not!
 

najaB

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In November I dropped my son at Guildford station to get a train to LGW - we had no time to buy a ticket so I told him to buy a ticket on the train.
Guilford is a Penalty Fare area for GWR and the ticket office is open pretty much all day so he would not be allowed to purchase on the train.
He issued him a ticket (we have it) with a zero fare on it and said that he would have to pay it at a later date. Have heard nothing since then until this morning when we received a letter headed 'pre court action'...
Are you 100% sure that you (more importantly your son) didn't receive any previous correspondence? Is there any chance he received it but didn't show it to you hoping that if he ignored it that the matter would go away? If you truly have received no correspondence then it may be possible to put the clock back to the stage where only the penalty fare was due.
...saying that he had attempted to travel without a ticket and offering him the 'opportunity' to settle the matter by paying £92.90 which is made up of outstanding fare of £12.90 plus a charge towards the costs that have been incurred.
The alternative is to not settle and take the matter to court. I would advise against doing so - as has been pointed out above it is the passenger's responsibility to purchase a ticket before boarding if there are facilities to do so.
I am so angry about this as there was no intention to travel without a ticket and my son actively sought out ticket inspector.
From a legal point of view, bypassing the ticket office demonstrated intent to travel without paying.
What should we do next - don't want the stress of going to court but equally feel very strongly that we should not be penalised in this way.
If you truly received no correspondence prior to this, then write back to the TOC stating same and offer to pay the penalty fare.
 

crehld

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Does anyone have any advice? In November I dropped my son at Guildford station to get a train to LGW - we had no time to buy a ticket so I told him to buy a ticket on the train. On leaving Guildford he went to find the guard, explained what had happened and asked to buy a ticket. at he guard refused saying that he would receive a warning letter in the post . He issued him a ticket (we have it) with a zero fare on it and said that he would have to pay it at a later date. Have heard nothing since then until this morning when we received a letter headed 'pre court action' saying that he had attempted to travel without a ticket and offering him the 'opportunity' to settle the matter by paying £92.90 which is made up of outstanding fare of £12.90 plus a charge towards the costs that have been incurred. I am so angry about this as there was no intention to travel without a ticket and my son actively sought out ticket inspector. What should we do next - don't want the stress of going to court but equally feel very strongly that we should not be penalised in this way.

Unfortunately by not buying a ticket before boarding the train when there was an opportunity to do so an offence has been committed. Because of this fact, if this were to go to court a prosecution in all likelihood will succeed. Intent won't be a factor if a byelaw prosecution proceeds.

If you want to avoid court, and the prospect and consequences of a guilty verdict, then the best course of action is to pay the settlement that has been offered.
 

TEW

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Guilford is a Penalty Fare area for GWR and the ticket office is open pretty much all day so he would not be allowed to purchase on the train.
A Penalty Fare will not be charged on GWR services departing Guildford towards Redhill and Gatwick Airport as there are no stations in that direction which are within the GWR Penalty Fares scheme. Penalty Fares will only be issued from Guildford in the Reading direction on GWR services. Of course this does not change the requirement to purchase a ticket before boarding the train, Guildford has a ticket office open from 0610-2200 and a number of TVMs accepting both cash and card payments.
 
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najaB

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A Penalty Fare will not be charged on GWR services departing Guildford towards Redhill and Gatwick Airport as there are no stations in that direction which are within the GWR Penalty Fares scheme. Penalty Fares will only be issued from Guildford in the Reading direction on GWR services.
Thanks for the correction. As you correctly say it doesn't absolve the OP's son from the requirement to hold a ticket before boarding.
 

DaveNewcastle

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I'm sorry that you are not going to be pleased by my reply, . . . .
. . . . we had no time to buy a ticket so . . .

. . . . there was no intention to travel without a ticket . . . .
Sadly, the offence is committed by boarding without having previously contracted to travel. (Certain exceptions exist but don't appear to apply here).
. . . . feel very strongly that we should not be penalised in this way.
I and others can sympathise with your feelings, but . . . no one can advise you contesting this in Court with any realistic assessment of probabilities in your favour. An offence was committed (and the lack of time was not the Company's responsibility but yours).

I'm sorry this reply is so harsh.

A Penalty Fare will not be charged on GWR services departing Guildford towards . . . .
I'm not sure if your remark was intended as advice to Alice, but, rightly or wrongly, I did not read her request for assistance as referring to a Penalty Fare. On re-reading it, I'm quite sure that it is not.
 
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TEW

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I was replying to najaB who had suggested the OP should have been issued a Penalty Fare and was advising them to contact GWR to try and only pay a Penalty Fare.
 

island

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How did you get past the ticket barriers at Guildford? Knowing the RPIs who work that line, whom I suspect your son came across, that is likely what they were asking themselves, and why they did not offer to sell a ticket.

He probably said he was crossing to the other side of the station. There is a public right of way across the Guildford station footbridge.
 

TEW

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That's what I was getting at, and it's probably the thought that entered the RPIs mind too, and why they would not sell a ticket.
 

FenMan

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The OP's anger may be connected to the continuing "custom & practice" on North Downs Line services, where many guards happily sell the full range of tickets to passengers who have boarded ticketless at Penalty Fare stations such as Blackwater.*

That said, GWR are entirely within their rights here and the fact the journey began at Guildford, where a gate line is manned for much of the day, does not help the OP's son at all. I too recommend the OP disposes of this in the manner required by GWR.

*As I did a couple of weekends ago, as the card reader on the Platform 2 TVM was again misbehaving (it's now been replaced, at long last).
 

najaB

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I was replying to najaB who had suggested the OP should have been issued a Penalty Fare and was advising them to contact GWR to try and only pay a Penalty Fare.
Indeed, it was my mistaken belief that the paperwork that was supposed to arrive in the post was wrt a penalty fare.
 

TEW

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The OP's anger may be connected to the continuing "custom & practice" on North Downs Line services, where many guards happily sell the full range of tickets to passengers who have boarded ticketless at Penalty Fare stations such as Blackwater.*

That said, GWR are entirely within their rights here and the fact the journey began at Guildford, where a gate line is manned for much of the day, does not help the OP's son at all. I too recommend the OP disposes of this in the manner required by GWR.

*As I did a couple of weekends ago, as the card reader on the Platform 2 TVM was again misbehaving (it's now been replaced, at long last).

The problem is most the stations have unreliable Card Only TVMs as their only ticket issuing facilities. In practice you are unlikely to be issued a Penalty Fare from these stations. Even Sandhurst is still in the Penalty Fares scheme, despite it having no ticket issuing facilities.
 

Alice

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Many thanks for all your posts. Just for further info my son came through the back entrance to Guildford station where there was a guard but he let him through as there was a queue for the ticket machine. He didn't vault the ticket barriers!! I have spoken to someone at the penalty office today who was very helpful so fingers crossed we may get this resolved now.
 

gray1404

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Many thanks for all your posts. Just for further info my son came through the back entrance to Guildford station where there was a guard but he let him through as there was a queue for the ticket machine. He didn't vault the ticket barriers!! I have spoken to someone at the penalty office today who was very helpful so fingers crossed we may get this resolved now.

Was your son given permission by the person at the gateline to travel without a ticket and buy one on board on the basis there was a queue at the ticket office?

Can such permission be given?
 

exile

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Was your son given permission by the person at the gateline to travel without a ticket and buy one on board on the basis there was a queue at the ticket office?

Can such permission be given?

If this is the case, then there is a defence to any possible prosecution. The fact that the son was able to get past the gateline is pretty good evidence he was being allowed to board the train.

(3) No person shall be in breach of Byelaw 18(1) or 18(2) if:
16
(i) there were no facilities in working order for the issue or
validation of any ticket at the time when, and the station where,
he began his journey; or
(ii) there was a notice at the station where he began his journey
permitting journeys to be started without a valid ticket; or
(iii) an authorised person gave him permission to travel without a
valid ticket.

(i) and (ii) don't apply but (iii) does.
 

najaB

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The fact that the son was able to get past the gateline is pretty good evidence he was being allowed to board the train.
It was stated above (and appears to be the case looking at the station plan) that a right of way exists across the station. So being allowed past the barriers provides exactly zero evidence that the OP's son was given permission to travel.
 

FenMan

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It was stated above (and appears to be the case looking at the station plan) that a right of way exists across the station. So being allowed past the barriers provides exactly zero evidence that the OP's son was given permission to travel.

As a regular user of Guildford station, I agree with this. To try to argue that some kind of permission of travel has been granted would be tenuous in the extreme; staff on that gateline are stood next to a row of TVMs.
 

gray1404

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But the OP said: "where there was a guard but he let him through as there was a queue for the ticket machine" so if the OPs Son was let through on this basis I am wondering if he was given permission to travel. OP please advise? Just because there is ALSO a right of way access across the station does not be default mean that the OPs son could never have been given to travel because of the long line at the TVM.
 

najaB

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But the OP said...
Please see this thread for a somewhat similar scenario. There is a lot of discussion of the precarious legal position of a passenger who depends on 'the man on the platform said I could board the train' as a defence against a Byelaw prosecution.

We don't know yet what, if any, charges would be brought but this case it isn't even the man on the platform, but rather 'the man on the gate (that also happens to be a public right of way) let me past the gate so I got on the train'.
 
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gray1404

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Please see this thread for a somewhat similar scenario. There is a lot of discussion of the precarious legal position of a passenger who depends on 'the man on the platform said I could board the train' as a defence against a Byelaw prosecution.

We don't know yet what, if any, charges would be brought but this case it isn't even the man on the platform, but rather 'the man on the gate (that also happens to be a public right of way) let me past the gate so I got on the train'.

najaB Can we please just wait and see what the OP confirms (if anything) in terms of what happened and on what basis their son says he was let through the gate?
 
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