Sat in 1st class GWR train with 2nd class ticket

Toronto

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Hi, yesterday evening I caught a train from Paddington to Reading. I sat in a 1st class carriage and only had a 2nd class ticket. The guard caught me and told me to either move to 2nd class or pay the upgrade. I stupidly refused both at first as, even though there were a few seats left in 2nd class, I said that social distancing in there was not being observed and quite a few not wearing masks. He then said are you refusing to move to which I said yes, but then after he walked off I came to my senses and decided to stand in the corridor for the remainder of the journey. When I got off the train I was then confronted by a police officer who told me to provide ID, which I did and then asked if I had ever been in trouble with the police before, to which I told her the truth that I hadn’t. She then went on to say that the train conductor claimed I was also being abusive to which I completely denied. I was 100% stupid by not agreeing to move initially but at no point abusive. She then told me to expect a letter over the next couple of weeks and that was that. Can anyone advise on the potential outcome to this and anything I should do in the meantime before the letter arrives? Thank you
 
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skyhigh

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Was it definitely a police officer who stopped you, or a revenue inspector?
 

Fawkes Cat

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Can anyone advise on the potential outcome to this and anything I should do in the meantime before the letter arrives? Thank you
The railway could prosecute you for not having a ticket for the journey that you were taking (i.e. first class from Paddington to Reading) and also for not behaving properly (I'm sorry for being vague here - I'm not familiar with what public order offences are called and what behaviour falls into what offence). From what you have said, they would win a prosecution for not having the right fare, and you would face a fine, plus court costs, plus compensation (i.e. the train fare that you didn't pay).

Or they may offer you an opportunity to settle out of court. This will be for the administrative costs they have incurred in looking at this matter, plus the train fare that you haven't paid. It is quite likely that the admin costs will be less than the fine that you would face at court.

It's most likely that the first letter you get from the railway will be headed something like 'notice of intended prosecution' and explain that your case has been provisionally authorised for prosecution. There's no need to panic at that stage, in that the railway are trying to keep all options open to them: if they are happy with what you write back to them then, then they may still agree an out of court settlement.

So until the railway get in touch with you, there's nothing that you have to do. But what would be a good idea is to write down now - while it's still fresh in your mind - exactly what did happen. Since there seems to be some dispute between you and the railway as to whether you were abusive, try and remember exactly what you said, and in what tone of voice and with what body language: you might then want to think whether someone who had that said to them like that would take it as abusive (n.b. I'm not trying to convince you that you were abusive, but to help you understand how it might have come across to the train crew: if you can understand how they might have interpreted what you said, then you are in a better position to challenge their argument that you were abusive, or maybe you can argue that they misunderstood your intentions during the discussion). A near-contemporary account of what went on will be useful when you write back to the railway.

If the railway do write to ask for your comments, that's a good time to write back, as briefly, as politely and as clearly as possible
- explaining where you agree with them (for example, I think you now agree that you were wrong to be in the first class carriage)
- making it clear that you understand that the proper fare should be paid and that you should follow railway staff instructions
- offering to pay the train fare that you should have paid and the costs that the railway will have incurred in investigating the matter.

Once you've got to that point, you will have to wait and see if the railway will allow you to settle.
 

30907

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Just to add that the most likely scenario is that the letter will state that you were reported for not having a correct ticket (this being easy to prove). GW policy is normally not to prosecute for a first offence but to offer a settlement.
 

Toronto

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The railway could prosecute you for not having a ticket for the journey that you were taking (i.e. first class from Paddington to Reading) and also for not behaving properly (I'm sorry for being vague here - I'm not familiar with what public order offences are called and what behaviour falls into what offence). From what you have said, they would win a prosecution for not having the right fare, and you would face a fine, plus court costs, plus compensation (i.e. the train fare that you didn't pay).

Or they may offer you an opportunity to settle out of court. This will be for the administrative costs they have incurred in looking at this matter, plus the train fare that you haven't paid. It is quite likely that the admin costs will be less than the fine that you would face at court.

It's most likely that the first letter you get from the railway will be headed something like 'notice of intended prosecution' and explain that your case has been provisionally authorised for prosecution. There's no need to panic at that stage, in that the railway are trying to keep all options open to them: if they are happy with what you write back to them then, then they may still agree an out of court settlement.

So until the railway get in touch with you, there's nothing that you have to do. But what would be a good idea is to write down now - while it's still fresh in your mind - exactly what did happen. Since there seems to be some dispute between you and the railway as to whether you were abusive, try and remember exactly what you said, and in what tone of voice and with what body language: you might then want to think whether someone who had that said to them like that would take it as abusive (n.b. I'm not trying to convince you that you were abusive, but to help you understand how it might have come across to the train crew: if you can understand how they might have interpreted what you said, then you are in a better position to challenge their argument that you were abusive, or maybe you can argue that they misunderstood your intentions during the discussion). A near-contemporary account of what went on will be useful when you write back to the railway.

If the railway do write to ask for your comments, that's a good time to write back, as briefly, as politely and as clearly as possible
- explaining where you agree with them (for example, I think you now agree that you were wrong to be in the first class carriage)
- making it clear that you understand that the proper fare should be paid and that you should follow railway staff instructions
- offering to pay the train fare that you should have paid and the costs that the railway will have incurred in investigating the matter.

Once you've got to that point, you will have to wait and see if the railway will allow you to settle.
Thank you Fawkes Cat for the very thorough and informative reply. I will write down an account this afternoon while it is fresh in my mind and then wait for the dreaded letter to arrive. Thanks again
 

Mcr Warrior

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Just to add that the most likely scenario is that the letter will state that you were reported for not having a correct ticket (this being easy to prove). GW policy is normally not to prosecute for a first offence but to offer a settlement.
That could still prove quite expensive for the OP.

As a point of clarification, to what extent do the allegations of abusiveness made by the train manager (?) muddy the waters somewhat, and make the likelihood of an out of court settlement being offered by the TOC less than that of the OP being prosecuted (and going to court - which would potentially be a much more expensive /costly outcome!) :|
 

Toronto

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Just to add that the most likely scenario is that the letter will state that you were reported for not having a correct ticket (this being easy to prove). GW policy is normally not to prosecute for a first offence but to offer a settlement.
Thank you 30907. It’s really good to know that GW generally look to offer a settlement for first offenders. One other quick question if I may - Does the settlement or fine generally mean that I could also end up with a criminal record? I travel to the US with my work so I’m very worried about any criminal conviction / record that will go against my name?
I wish I considered all of this before I decided to be so stupid!!
 

Watershed

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Thank you 30907. It’s really good to know that GW generally look to offer a settlement for first offenders. One other quick question if I may - Does the settlement or fine generally mean that I could also end up with a criminal record? I travel to the US with my work so I’m very worried about any criminal conviction / record that will go against my name?
I wish I considered all of this before I decided to be so stupid!!
If you reach a settlement before they start criminal proceedings, you won't have any kind of criminal record.

It's still possible to reach a settlement as late as the day of any trial. Obviously if this were the case, the discontinued prosecution may appear on your file if in-depth checks are done.

We can't give immigration advice, but suffice to say that, even if you are prosecuted and convicted, if it is 'only' of a fares related offence rather than a public order/assault offence, it is unlikely to make you ineligible for a visa. You need to discuss this with a qualified immigration advisors though.
 

Tazi Hupefi

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If the Conductor felt it necessary to get the police involved, and on reflection, some of your conduct was less than satisfactory, including the manner in which you spoke, I think it is far from guaranteed that you are likely to be offered a settlement. As an employer, how would you feel if one of your employees had been (or legitimately felt) abused, by a passenger without a valid ticket and someone who was intentionally and knowingly failing to purchase the correct one, or even sit in the correct carriage, and it was simply dealt with by paying a bill?

Just because you don't think you were abusive, doesn't mean that others don't think you were. Merely doing or saying something disorderly or that causes alarm or distress is a public order offence. The railway also has Byelaw 6 and Section 16 Railway Regulation Act 1840 to rely on.

However, I think you will get a settlement in all likelihood, but will require more effort than usual. You may wish to consider responding with a sincere letter of apology addressed to the employee, in addition to apologising to the company for the fare evasion (which seems intentional by your own admission).

You may even be fortunate in that only the fare evasion is dealt with, in which case a settlement will be pretty much guaranteed, saving you the problems with immigration. This will cost you somewhere between £100-£250 on top of the fare, which seems to be about £50 for a first class single from Reading to London.
 

Toronto

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That could still prove quite expensive for the OP.

As a point of clarification, to what extent do the allegations of abusiveness made by the guard (?) muddy the waters somewhat, and make the likelihood of an out of court settlement being offered by the TOC less than that of the OP being prosecuted (and going to court - which would potentially be a much more expensive/costly outcome!)

If the Conductor felt it necessary to get the police involved, and on reflection, some of your conduct was less than satisfactory, including the manner in which you spoke, I think it is far from guaranteed that you are likely to be offered a settlement. As an employer, how would you feel if one of your employees had been (or legitimately felt) abused, by a passenger without a valid ticket and someone who was intentionally and knowingly failing to purchase the correct one, or even sit in the correct carriage, and it was simply dealt with by paying a bill?

Just because you don't think you were abusive, doesn't mean that others don't think you were. Merely doing or saying something disorderly or that causes alarm or distress is a public order offence. The railway also has Byelaw 6 and Section 16 Railway Regulation Act 1840 to rely on.

However, I think you will get a settlement in all likelihood, but will require more effort than usual. You may wish to consider responding with a sincere letter of apology addressed to the employee, in addition to apologising to the company for the fare evasion (which seems intentional by your own admission).

You may even be fortunate in that only the fare evasion is dealt with, in which case a settlement will be pretty much guaranteed, saving you the problems with immigration. This will cost you somewhere between £100-£250 on top of the fare, which seems to be about £50 for a first class single from Reading to London.
I can't argue with any of that Tazi Hupefi. I don't condone any of my actions and of course any interpretation of abuse, not matter what my views are, will not be determined by me. I didn't swear or verbally attack the Conductor in any way, but I simply should have either paid or moved immediately and if that made him feel uncomfortable then I have to accept that. I think a sincere letter of apology to the Conductor as well as GWR is a very sensible idea and one I will take up. Thank you for your advice
 

MikeWh

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You may wish to consider responding with a sincere letter of apology addressed to the employee
I think this is very poor advice.

Indeed, it runs the risk of making unintentional admissions that could be highly prejudicial if a prosecution is laid.

In addition, if there was abusive behaviour then I’m not convinced that attempting to address correspondence to the ‘victim’ is a sensible thing to do - it could be construed or perceived as attempted harassment.
 

Hadders

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Hi, yesterday evening I caught a train from Paddington to Reading. I sat in a 1st class carriage and only had a 2nd class ticket. The guard caught me and told me to either move to 2nd class or pay the upgrade. I stupidly refused both at first as, even though there were a few seats left in 2nd class, I said that social distancing in there was not being observed and quite a few not wearing masks. He then said are you refusing to move to which I said yes, but then after he walked off I came to my senses and decided to stand in the corridor for the remainder of the journey. When I got off the train I was then confronted by a police officer who told me to provide ID, which I did and then asked if I had ever been in trouble with the police before, to which I told her the truth that I hadn’t. She then went on to say that the train conductor claimed I was also being abusive to which I completely denied. I was 100% stupid by not agreeing to move initially but at no point abusive. She then told me to expect a letter over the next couple of weeks and that was that. Can anyone advise on the potential outcome to this and anything I should do in the meantime before the letter arrives? Thank you

Welcome to the forum!

I've put below the advice I normally give to people who request help from the forum in similar circumstances to yours.

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 train company would be well within their rights to prosecute you in the magistrates court. An aggravating factor in your case is the alleged abusive behaviour towards the train manager which might make GWR less inclined to agree an administrative settlement. Also it's possible that the police are dealing with this rather than GWR although I suspect that even if you were met by the police at Paddington I suspect they've probably just made sure your details were provided to GWR as I doubt they really want to get involved in an issue like this.

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.
 

Deepgreen

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What also needs to be taken into account is that train crews are confronted with people in first who shouldn't be there day after day, with all the excuses under the sun. It is wearing to have to deal with them time after time and, even if you were not abusive in the conventional sense, you presented a problem by being obstructive, and, by refusing to obey a legitimate instruction, were rude at the very least. The problem of fare abusers has become so routine that train crews have their responses ready to go, as did the one you encountered.
You have admitted your stupidity, which is fair enough, but have you fully considered what sparked your instant decision to act as you did? Was it really that social distancing was not perfect in standard class or did you try your luck and feel aggrieved to be caught/entitled? You needn't answer here, of course, but it would be worth examining the question honestly yourself.
 

SteveM70

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You may wish to consider responding with a sincere letter of apology addressed to the employee, in addition to apologising to the company for the fare evasion (which seems intentional by your own admission).

Spectacularly poor advice in my opinion
 

Mak1981

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In regards to travel to the US, there is an opinion from a charity which helps offenders regarding this sort of potential conviction, it is only an opinion but worth bearing in mind


So by this it may be best to avoid court, so an out of court settlement would maybe be best option if given, where as going to court or a sjp would not be desirable as may affect US travel
 

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Tazi Hupefi

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I think this is very poor advice.

Indeed, it runs the risk of making unintentional admissions that could be highly prejudicial if a prosecution is laid.

In addition, if there was abusive behaviour then I’m not convinced that attempting to address correspondence to the ‘victim’ is a sensible thing to do - it could be construed or perceived as attempted harassment.
They would tell you in the initial letter what offences are being considered. Clearly, if they say they are considering one of public order, my advice is good and stands.

It's also total nonsense about upsetting a victim by writing a letter of apology. It's an exceptionally common remedy for this sort of matter, even with the police. Nobody worth their salt would view a sincere letter of apology as harassment, not that the definition of harassment even comes close.
 

island

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Do GWR's trains used on the Paddington/Reading route, whether class 387 or 80x, not have on-board CCTV, which could be used to show what happened ?
This forum has somewhat of an obsession with using CCTV to “show” or “prove” things. I am at a loss as to how it will help in any way here; the OP admits committing the criminal offence of sitting in 1st class without a 1st class ticket and refusing to pay the fare or leave when requested. Train CCTV does not record audio so will not record what was said.
 

Toronto

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What also needs to be taken into account is that train crews are confronted with people in first who shouldn't be there day after day, with all the excuses under the sun. It is wearing to have to deal with them time after time and, even if you were not abusive in the conventional sense, you presented a problem by being obstructive, and, by refusing to obey a legitimate instruction, were rude at the very least. The problem of fare abusers has become so routine that train crews have their responses ready to go, as did the one you encountered.
You have admitted your stupidity, which is fair enough, but have you fully considered what sparked your instant decision to act as you did? Was it really that social distancing was not perfect in standard class or did you try your luck and feel aggrieved to be caught/entitled? You needn't answer here, of course, but it would be worth examining the question honestly yourself.
Hi Deepgreen, it was totally a genuine reason. The train was packed and I honestly didn't feel comfortable sitting in a carriage where the use of masks was sporadic to say the least. If I were trying it on and consequently got caught then I would have either paid for the upgrade or moved - I'm not that stupid. I felt in this situation it wasn't justified to move me. Upon reflection I wish I hadn't argued my case as I was clearly in the wrong. I realised that soon after and that's why I got up and moved into a corridor where people were wearing masks at least. Ultimately I will pay the consequences for my actions and learn from the experience. I agree with you that train crews are put in these positions time and time again. It's not right and I'm mortified that I contributed it. However, I know for sure I will never forget the experience and ensure it won't happen again. I just hope this is recognised by GWR

This forum has somewhat of an obsession with using CCTV to “show” or “prove” things. I am at a loss as to how it will help in any way here; the OP admits committing the criminal offence of sitting in 1st class without a 1st class ticket and refusing to pay the fare or leave when requested. Train CCTV does not record audio so will not record what was said.
Thanks island. I suppose the only thing the CCTV would prove is that I wasn't being aggressive towards the Conductor or acting in a threatening way towards him. Of course I was arguing my case and he, rightly, disagreed with me so if this caused him distress then it could be construed as abuse. I do want it to be put in perspective though. Abuse of any kind is unacceptable, but when I hear that word I instantly this of someone shouting and verbally attacking / threatening the other person. Whether they will look this deeply into this case though I'm not sure. Do you have any views?

In regards to travel to the US, there is an opinion from a charity which helps offenders regarding this sort of potential conviction, it is only an opinion but worth bearing in mind


So by this it may be best to avoid court, so an out of court settlement would maybe be best option if given, where as going to court or a sjp would not be desirable as may affect US travel
Thanks Mak1981. I've just been on the link and this is a really useful website. I hope I won't need it but I've bookmarked it just in case. Thanks again
 
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MotCO

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It's also total nonsense about upsetting a victim by writing a letter of apology. It's an exceptionally common remedy for this sort of matter, even with the police. Nobody worth their salt would view a sincere letter of apology as harassment, not that the definition of harassment even comes close.

I think the use of the word 'victim' might be unwise, since it implies an acceptance that some sort of offence has been committed. (I sense that yiou are some sort of lawyer, and I'm not, but I'm sure you'll understand what I am trying to convey, albeit maybe in a cack-handed way.)
 

skyhigh

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I suppose the only thing the CCTV would prove is that I wasn't being aggressive towards the Conductor or acting in a threatening way towards him.
It wouldn't. If you can't hear what's said, it's useless. It would only show a) you were in first class - which isn't disputed and b) you didn't make physical contact - which hasn't been alleged.
 

skyhigh

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Not totally, CCTV would show body language and aggressive actions, or as Toronto says the absence of such.
Given how I've known people to be aggressive or threatening with limited body language to suggest that, it's really of no use if someone has alleged the OP has been verbally abusive.
 
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I think the use of the word 'victim' might be unwise, since it implies an acceptance that some sort of offence has been committed. (I sense that yiou are some sort of lawyer, and I'm not, but I'm sure you'll understand what I am trying to convey, albeit maybe in a cack-handed way.)
Barrack room or mess room lawyer?
 

AlterEgo

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In summary, there is no right to self-upgrade without penalty. The argument about masks and social distancing would cause an eye-roll amongst most staff members who catch this sort of nonsense daily; it’s just an extension of “well there’s no seats in there”.

Given the OP was offered the opportunity to move themselves without penalty having already purposely sat in first class, and declined this (allegedly abusively although I find the railway definition of abuse to often be rather thin)…the only advice we can give is to try to settle out of court.

I do not recommend writing an apology letter to the member of staff. You risk incriminating yourself further.
 

30907

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The argument about masks and social distancing would cause an eye-roll amongst most staff members who catch this sort of nonsense daily; it’s just an extension of “well there’s no seats in there”.
It might carry more weight if, for example, the OP was Clinically Extremely Vulnerable. But that is for the OP to raise with GW, if it applies.
 

FenMan

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It might carry more weight if, for example, the OP was Clinically Extremely Vulnerable. But that is for the OP to raise with GW, if it applies.
That may carry weight on here (if not with the TOC) if the OP had alluded to any such thing, but they haven't done so.

It's not the purpose of this sub-forum to give people creative ideas that may or (more probably) may not pass muster with the people that take the decisions on how to resolve these matters .

Encouraging honesty is the key, otherwise our advice is worthless.
 

Bluejays

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Hopefully an out of court settlement will be offered, and you can move on and forget about this. We all make mistakes and do things we regret. Gwr are normally quick to offer a settlement so you should be fine.


Having said that mind, as a guard myself I do find this kind of thing quite draining sometimes. The out and out aggressive idiots that fly off the handle are always going to be around, they're part of a customer facing job and something you just have to deal with. But personally I find these kind of things more frustrating a lot of the time. When 'normal ' people are going out of their way to antagonise and annoy you it can be extremely draining.
 

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