Prosecuation By Arriva

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Carlos13

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Hello all, First time poster and would really appreciate some help on this matter.

I commute to work between shipley and Leeds every weekday and travel using a monthly Metro pass.

My platform is always manned in the morning and so i have to produce my pass to gain access.

On 18th May this year i got to the barrrier to scan through and could not find my pass for the life of me. I knew i had it on me as i sued it to get through my departure station so i went back to the now empty train only to find nothing.

I then approached the sales barrier to buy a ticket to exit the station with no idea what was about to hit me.

A young man took me away from the ticket area and gave me a rather blunt telling off about travelling without a pass and that he wasn't going to fine me on this occassion but if i did it again i would be. I explained what i've done is not against the law as i got on a train with the pass which has since gone missing.

He asked if i could produce proof i own a pass to which i stated not at present. He then advised i needed to accept and sign notice of payment accepting liability. I refused to sign to which he then stated i could not leave the station and he'd need to notify transport police.

After argueing for 5 minuutes longer it was agreed that if i sign the sheet and then bring in proof the following day he would get it reversed. Stupidly i signed in good faith.

Later thatt night my wife was scrolling through face book and found somebody as selling my pass. the codes on the picture matched up with my receipt. I took a screenshot of this (still have it) knowing the person would delete the post. to cut a long story short (as exciting as it was) I got my pass back.

The next day I went back to speak to the same gent in oorder to get my notice overturned. The gent was not working so i explained the matter to one of his colleagues and he went away and made a call. He came back and advised its all sorted and I'll get confirmation in writing.

To my surprise... whilst watchig england Vs wales at euros a nasty letter drops from my post requesting fare plus £80 fine!! I was furious and called Northern Rail as the contact us page on Arriva diverts to there. they logged my complaint and assured me i was not in the wrong and the complaint would be sent to the station where i will be contacted back. she kept me on the line whilst she for some reason mailled the complaint????. after this call i researched IRCAS whom i could see i needed to make payment to and found you can log an appeal online, however, the system states my FTP reference is not a valid reference for arriva or northern rail so this failed.

I had not heard anything for 3.5 months and now the summons letter has dropped though my post offering settlement for fare plus £100 costs.

I rang northern rail who could not locate my complaint but suggested i visit the station to find out what happened with the complaint. I visited the station yesterday and was told they would not entertain the complaint if received as the people that issue the notices are STM security who are sub contracted. I was given their number and told to contact them and make a complaint as they are the only ones who can sort.

I had a look at the witness statement in my summons from the person that issued the notice and he states he's employed by arriva yet his ID reference starts with STM. Misleading???

Anyhow I decided to call the number on my summons form for arriva revenue prosecution which i never got an answer, only an automated line to request a callback so i settled for this.

I just got my callback today expecting to have a polite conversation and sort this misunderstanding and straight away the ladie sounded really bullish before i even explained what happened. she said there is no dispute, you signed a legally bind notice stating you travelled without a ticket and you failed to pay the fair. she also stated nobody has rights to travel without paying. I then asked if she'd listened to anything i said and that i have the original pass plus proof of purchase plus facebook screen shot. I stated I boarded the train in good faith with a pass which was then either stolen or lost and that due to service failures from their staff im now being victimised. she jusst dismissed everything i said and stated i'd need to go through court.

I have never been to caught and have no idea how the system works and what my rights are. I can afford to pay the fine but to be honest my pride won't allow me to.

Any advise would be much apprciated

Sorry for bombarding you with my life story!
 
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How did the pass come to be for sale on Facebook of all places? Did you notify the BTP of the theft (I assume)?
 

Carlos13

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Thanks for your reply, My wife is a member of a selling page on facebook and it popped up on her news feed. No I never contacted the police as I managed to resolve the matter with the person in question. They tried to claim they'd bought it off someone else for £50 and were not willing to part with it for free. When I threatened to report to police and that i'd screen shot the add they removed they then agreed to leave it hidden in a neutral location.
 
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Thanks for your reply, My wife is a member of a selling page on facebook and it popped up on her news feed. No I never contacted the police as I managed to resolve the matter with the person in question. They tried to claim they'd bought it off someone else for £50 and were not willing to part with it for free. When I threatened to report to police and that i'd screen shot the add they removed they then agreed to leave it hidden in a neutral location.

You need to report it, not only will it help prevent further incidences it will also provide you with some evidence in your attempts to contest the charge.
 

najaB

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I have never been to caught and have no idea how the system works and what my rights are. I can afford to pay the fine but to be honest my pride won't allow me to.
Pride is what got you into this mess - the loss/theft of your pass cocked the gun but your failure to cooperate pulled the trigger. Contrary to your assessment you need to be able to show your pass on request, it's not just enough to have had one when you boarded.

While I agree that Northern's subsequent handling of the case leaves a lot to be desired, I can't see that they've done anything that would prejudice a prosecution for a Byelaw 18.2 offence.

If you can pay the settlement amount then pay it, and attempt to get some or all of it back as a goodwill gesture by writing a strongly worded letter of complaint to the CEO.
You need to report it, not only will it help prevent further incidences it will also provide you with some evidence in your attempts to contest the charge.
It would have provided a very good defence if it had been reported at the time. Now, several months after the fact, the trail has likely gone cold and it might come across as a desperate effort to shift the blame.
 
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It would have provided a very good defence if it had been reported at the time. Now, several months after the fact, the trail has likely gone cold and it might come across as a desperate effort to shift the blame.

Yeah sorry, missed the date in my scan read. OP you should have reported it.
 

Carlos13

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Thank you all for your replies. I'm kind of shocked the court won't look at the matter based on all the info provided and make a logical decision, If I pay £108 per month for a pass and they have not been compliant with my enquiry/complaint i.e making false promises, not contacting back and shifting blame to multiple parties surely i have some kind of consumer right. Its not like its speculation as i have the actual pass from may plus bank statements and receipts confirming i bought. Would it help if I complained to STM security and got some kind of statement from the person that made said call to get notice overturned? how would this stand in court?
 

furlong

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it was agreed that if i sign the sheet and then bring in proof the following day he would get it reversed. Stupidly i signed in good faith.

To me, that is the key sentence. In effect I think your argument might be that the company is reneging on a verbal agreement not to pursue this further if you did as you say you have done. (In legal terms if it went to court, you would want good legal advice to see whether, for example, the witness could be cross-examined to determine what was agreed, and to see whether this would support an argument to exclude evidence or even to drop the case entirely as an abuse of the process of the court.)
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Thank you all for your replies.

There are quite a number of issues here which seem too complicated to disentangle through an internet forum, and if you are unable to persuade the company to drop the matter yourself then you might consider professional legal advice - a local solicitor - to formulate a sensible strategy to try to achieve your objective. (This might cost you more than the settlement on offer.)
 

Fare-Cop

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To me, that is the key sentence. In effect I think your argument might be that the company is reneging on a verbal agreement not to pursue this further if you did as you say you have done. (In legal terms if it went to court, you would want good legal advice to see whether, for example, the witness could be cross-examined to determine what was agreed, and to see whether this would support an argument to exclude evidence or even to drop the case entirely as an abuse of the process of the court.)
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---


There are quite a number of issues here which seem too complicated to disentangle through an internet forum, and if you are unable to persuade the company to drop the matter yourself then you might consider professional legal advice - a local solicitor - to formulate a sensible strategy to try to achieve your objective. (This might cost you more than the settlement on offer.)


If Northern summons a breach of National Railway Byelaw 18.2 (2005) there is no abuse of process so far as I can see from the evidence of the OPs posts.

That appears to be the only charge that could succeed and anything that happened AFTER the OP failed to show a ticket and failed to pay the fare on request, will not alter that fact.

Any other charge would fail (unless there is a behavioural issue).

Furlong is right, if this were to end up in Court there might be a higher penalty to pay, but I am of the belief that this can be avoided and it looks as if a more amicable resolution can be achieved. As a final option, paid for legal advice could be sought.

I don't usually suggest this and by making the initial proviso I am not suggesting they are inaccurate, but if all the facts are exactly as stated here by the OP and if I were he, I would write directly to the Managing Director at Northern Rail to alight him to the attitude of STM staff acting in Arriva Northern's name.

Copy the letter to Northern's customer services and to IRCAS quoting the unpaid fare notice number.

Northern's MD is Alex Hynes.

His email address is [email protected]

If emailing any MD, keep it short, polite, accurate and to the point. Such emails will get read and acted upon. Long rants will just get kicked downstairs to someone else to deal with.
 
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najaB

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To me, that is the key sentence. In effect I think your argument might be that the company is reneging on a verbal agreement not to pursue this further if you did as you say you have done.
I can see the logic there, the difficulty will be establishing exactly what was said - at the moment it's the OP's word against the company's.
 

Carlos13

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Just a bit of an update, As a union member i was entitled to free legal advice which i today took advantage of. whilst the matter is still being looked into I've been advised that since i was held against my will and pressured into signing the FTP notice under false pretences this invalidates me accepting responsibility for travelling without a pass. They are researching the bylaws at present and will prevent their opinion later this week.

Another part of the story i did not reveal was that on the day my pass was lost/stolen i went to metro to try claim a replaceent pass and they refused this. thinking i would not see the pass again i purchased another one however i asked if this pass turned up would i get a refund to which they said yes.

Upon receiving regaining my old pass i went back the next day for a refund and they were prepared to give me 3 weeks of costs back as i'd used to get home the previous day. They advised theres nothing more they can do due to system restrictions and that i should go to head office which was a 10 minute walk. upon complaining at headoffice i got an apology and admission that the system was not fair. i was oferred a refund or a pass for the following month (meaning i wouldn't have to pay for Junes pass) and i accepted the latter.

Not sure if this makes a difference to the case or adds further credibility.

I also managed to obtain records of a phone call made to northern rail which went on for 40ish minutes. this is the call after receiving the fine for £80. They failed to log notes or a complaint following the discussion.
 

Fare-Cop

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Another part of the story i did not reveal was that on the day my pass was lost/stolen i went to metro to try claim a replaceent pass and they refused this. thinking i would not see the pass again i purchased another one however i asked if this pass turned up would i get a refund to which they said yes.

Upon receiving regaining my old pass i went back the next day for a refund and they were prepared to give me 3 weeks of costs back as i'd used to get home the previous day. They advised theres nothing more they can do due to system restrictions and that i should go to head office which was a 10 minute walk. upon complaining at headoffice i got an apology and admission that the system was not fair. i was oferred a refund or a pass for the following month (meaning i wouldn't have to pay for Junes pass) and i accepted the latter.

Not sure if this makes a difference to the case or adds further credibility.

I also managed to obtain records of a phone call made to northern rail which went on for 40ish minutes. this is the call after receiving the fine for £80. They failed to log notes or a complaint following the discussion.


Unless you were told you were under arrest, the matter of being 'detained' against your will seems to be a 'red herring'

Had you revealed that a settlement had already been arranged and accepted by you I'm sure that suggestions by users (including me) would have been different.
 

Carlos13

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Sorry for any confusion but I was of the opinion that everyone knew what a FTP notice was. I disclosed this on my first post and that an agreement was in place to have this cancelled upon supplying said information. I also stated the £80 fine was for not paying the notice.

As previously stated I was put under pressure to sign as the gent would not allow me to leave. He refused to open the barriers for me or sell me a ticket to get out. He threatened to have me detained by police and I needed to get to work.
 

furlong

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As previously stated I was put under pressure to sign as the gent would not allow me to leave. He refused to open the barriers for me or sell me a ticket to get out. He threatened to have me detained by police and I needed to get to work.

(If there was an attempt to use evidence obtained in this way, that's where there could be abuse arguments.)

But as Fare-Cop said, while this and the other circumstances you mention might lead to the specific evidence you mentioned (a written admission?) being excluded, it doesn't necessarily mean there is no evidence remaining. A second issue for technical legal argument is the applicability of the byelaw itself in a situation where the loss of a ticket is accepted as fact. See for example guidance on Local Government byelaws (which this is NOT) but part of these I think can be traced back to case law that would apply.

For example,

that the nuisance they address merits criminal sanctions and that, to a reasonable person, the penalty available is proportionate

Does losing your ticket merit criminal sanctions, and would a reasonable person consider a fine proportionate for this criminal act?
 

323235

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If Northern summons a breach of National Railway Byelaw 18.2 (2005) there is no abuse of process so far as I can see from the evidence of the OPs posts.

That appears to be the only charge that could succeed and anything that happened AFTER the OP failed to show a ticket and failed to pay the fare on request, will not alter that fact.

Any other charge would fail (unless there is a behavioural issue).

Furlong is right, if this were to end up in Court there might be a higher penalty to pay, but I am of the belief that this can be avoided and it looks as if a more amicable resolution can be achieved. As a final option, paid for legal advice could be sought.

I don't usually suggest this and by making the initial proviso I am not suggesting they are inaccurate, but if all the facts are exactly as stated here by the OP and if I were he, I would write directly to the Managing Director at Northern Rail to alight him to the attitude of STM staff acting in Arriva Northern's name.

Copy the letter to Northern's customer services and to IRCAS quoting the unpaid fare notice number.

Northern's MD is Alex Hynes.

His email address is [email protected]

If emailing any MD, keep it short, polite, accurate and to the point. Such emails will get read and acted upon. Long rants will just get kicked downstairs to someone else to deal with.

That won't be his email address anymore , northernrail.org is a Serco/Abellio domain
 

Fare-Cop

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That won't be his email address anymore , northernrail.org is a Serco/Abellio domain

Yes of course, but it is still the address that is publicised at present and I'd hazard a guess that there will be a automatic forwarding link
 
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