ScotRail fare dodgers to pay £30 penalty

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PaxVobiscum

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This is being reported on other rail interest fora ;) but not yet here as far as I can see:

http://www.scotsman.com/news/transp...-pay-30-penalty-under-new-crackdown-1-4118158

Passengers who falsely claim they have travelled from a closer station than where they boarded will be hit by a penalty fee in the latest ScotRail drive to tackle fare dodging.

A new £30 “administration charge” will be levied on such people when attempting to buy a ticket at their destination station, The Scotsman has learned.

The move will be accompanied by a campaign to encourage passengers to buy tickets before they board trains.

Unlike some English train operators, ScotRail does not charge penalty fares for those who travel without tickets, although they may be charged the full fare rather than receive any off-peak discounts.

ScotRail said it was discussing measures to tackle “premeditated” fare evasion with the Scottish Government’s Transport Scotland agency.

Its spokeswoman said: “Any proposed additional charge would be applied only to those who, when challenged, continue to claim to have travelled from a closer station.

“Customers would be given every opportunity to confirm the journey they actually made, and a wide-ranging communications programme would be implemented to alert customers to the change.

“It’s a small minority of passengers who deliberately try to avoid paying the proper fare, but it’s honest, fare-paying passengers who bear the cost.

“We have implemented a number of measures to make it easier for customers to buy before boarding, and part of this strategy is to inform customers well in advance about our proposals to tackle deliberate fare evasion.

“We are now proposing that, where premeditated fare evasion can be proven, a new administration charge of £30 will be charged.”

Robert Samson, passenger manager for the Transport Focus watchdog, said: “Fare dodgers are in effect being subsidised by the vast majority of honest passengers.

“It’s right that ScotRail is trying to discourage and catch dishonest passengers. But they must make sure that they don’t scoop up those making an innocent mistake.”

Good idea or not?

ScotRail has survived all these years without such a scheme, in my opinion (since I always pay the correct fare ) with a more pleasant atmosphere for the passenger as a result. What do those who use/work for ScotRail think?
 
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NSEFAN

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What if any legal backing will there be to these "admin charges"? Will they actually be enforceable or will Dodgy MacDodgeface be able to get away without paying them by simply refusing?
 

dquebec

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What if any legal backing will there be to these "admin charges"? Will they actually be enforceable or will Dodgy MacDodgeface be able to get away without paying them by simply refusing?

The Regulation of Railways Act 1889 still applies in Scotland. Whilst private prosecutions by the TOC, are incredibly difficult - the power of arrest for failing to pay and failing to provide name/address still applies.

I would be interested to know how many BTP prosecute for fare evasion.
 

Altnabreac

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Obviously having a crackdown on Scotrail at the moment.

I was refused a family railcard discount having jumped on a train at a staffed station this weekend. Never previously known Strathclyde Ticket Examiners to enforce that rule (Guards do sometimes).

Then I spotted a big "Buy before you board" banner up at a local station as well. Seem to be linking it to rollout of smart cards.

Will be interesting to see if they try and apply buy before boarding to cash purchases from TVM only unstaffed stations.
 

GaryMcEwan

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Obviously having a crackdown on Scotrail at the moment.

I was refused a family railcard discount having jumped on a train at a staffed station this weekend. Never previously known Strathclyde Ticket Examiners to enforce that rule (Guards do sometimes).

Then I spotted a big "Buy before you board" banner up at a local station as well. Seem to be linking it to rollout of smart cards.

Will be interesting to see if they try and apply buy before boarding to cash purchases from TVM only unstaffed stations.

Aye I've seen the staff now stationed EXG due to the new barriers getting very nippy with passengers because they've not got a ticket...
 

mbreckers

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Obviously having a crackdown on Scotrail at the moment.

I was refused a family railcard discount having jumped on a train at a staffed station this weekend. Never previously known Strathclyde Ticket Examiners to enforce that rule (Guards do sometimes).

Then I spotted a big "Buy before you board" banner up at a local station as well. Seem to be linking it to rollout of smart cards.

Will be interesting to see if they try and apply buy before boarding to cash purchases from TVM only unstaffed stations.

These new "Buy before you board" signage has been put up at a lot of stations, I saw them today, best one I saw was a huge one attached to the fence at Holytown. A station without any ticket buying facilities
 

yorkie

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Ah, so if you lie about the station you started your journey from, it's officially a £30 charge?

That's much more lenient than the likely consequences in England & Wales.
Will be interesting to see if they try and apply buy before boarding to cash purchases from TVM only unstaffed stations.
They can only apply that if the TVM was accepting cash!
 

GaryMcEwan

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These new "Buy before you board" signage has been put up at a lot of stations, I saw them today, best one I saw was a huge one attached to the fence at Holytown. A station without any ticket buying facilities

That's kind of on par with Bridgeton. There's a ticket office but the staff always hide through the back and put the sign up to buy your ticket on the train...
 

Agent_c

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I really wonder how they're going to enforce it.

If it was "if you board a train without a ticket and had an ability to buy one, then there is a £30 surcharge" you could say it was contractual, the terms of the contract were communicated, the person had the ability to see them at entry (like those signs to enter a car park) and getting on the train signals acceptance of the contract.

But this is a "fine" for lying about an origin station. Not sure that can be snuck into contract.

I really hope DaveNewcastle throws in his few cents soon. I really do like his legal analysis of things.
 

yorkie

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But this is a "fine" for lying about an origin station. Not sure that can be snuck into contract.
I'm not an expert but, as I understand it: It doesn't need to be. It's the law. So you can refuse to pay it. And they can prosecute. Which is harder in Scotland, but can still be done.
 

Agent_c

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I'm not an expert but, as I understand it: It doesn't need to be. It's the law. So you can refuse to pay it. And they can prosecute. Which is harder in Scotland, but can still be done.

There's only been two in the last hundred years, that bin lorry maybe - possibly - might be number 3 - and the Lord Advocate is opposed.

If they won't allow it for a gang rape, they won't allow it for this.
 

Altnabreac

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Ah, so if you lie about the station you started your journey from, it's officially a £30 charge?

That's much more lenient than the likely consequences in England & Wales.

They can only apply that if the TVM was accepting cash!

Not many cash taking TVMs up here. Only ones I'm aware of are at staffed major stations.

I'd hope they won't enforce it but we'll see.

I wasn't too fussed as I'd jumped on to save a 30 minute wait and it only cost 50p more as I was travelling with a 3 year old so didn't buy a child ticket after being refused the Family Railcard discount. I usually board at a card TVM only unstaffed station so I'm sure I'll find out soon enough. Next few journeys I'm making with the wee boy that are around the £3 mark I'll deliberately not buy a ticket from the TVM to see what happens.
 

yorkie

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There's only been two in the last hundred years, that bin lorry maybe - possibly - might be number 3 - and the Lord Advocate is opposed.

If they won't allow it for a gang rape, they won't allow it for this.
I'm highly doubtful such a conclusion can be drawn by such a comparison! The offence you link to would not normally be privately prosecuted!
 

Altnabreac

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There's only been two in the last hundred years, that bin lorry maybe - possibly - might be number 3 - and the Lord Advocate is opposed.

If they won't allow it for a gang rape, they won't allow it for this.

Doesn't need to be Scotrail taking the prosecutions though. If BTP pass the cases to the Procurator Fiscal then they can prosecute.

If it's a high level decision by Scottish Government / Transport Scotland to pursue these cases then I'm sure the fiscals will take up a few more egregious examples "Pour encourager les autres"
 

yorkie

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I'd hope they won't enforce it but we'll see.
Enforce what? If you are paying with cash then you don't need to pay any more than the appropriate fare. They can't "enforce" anything else!
Next few journeys I'm making with the wee boy that are around the £3 mark I'll deliberately not buy a ticket from the TVM to see what happens.
If paying with cash you are entitled to the full range. I'd consider setting aside the exact amount in your pocket/wallet/whatever and stating I have no more than that, if anyone unlawfully attempted to extract more.

If paying by card they're entitled to charge you the full fare, but in practice the appropriate fare is more likely.
 

Altnabreac

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Enforce what? If you are paying with cash then you don't need to pay any more than the appropriate fare. They can't "enforce" anything else!

If paying with cash you are entitled to the full range. I'd consider setting aside the exact amount in your pocket/wallet/whatever and stating I have no more than that, if anyone unlawfully attempted to extract more.

If paying by card they're entitled to charge you the full fare, but in practice the appropriate fare is more likely.

I doubt most Strathclyde TEs will enforce the staffed stations restrictions never mind any restrictions on cash fares from unstaffed stations. Just interested to see how harshly they intend to attempt to enforce Buy before you Board.

The posters seem to be at unstaffed stations with no cash TVMs and make no distinction about paying cash, just state that you will not be able to purchase discounted fares on board.

Seems unlikely they'll try to implement that but will be interesting to see what they try.

Good thing with a £3 fare is it costs the same for a railcard discounted adult and child ticket or a full price adult ticket so no financial cost to experimenting with how the policy is being implemented.
 

Agent_c

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I'm highly doubtful such a conclusion can be drawn by such a comparison! The offence you link to would not normally be privately prosecuted!
And on that basis, we're left with nothing being prosecuted, because nothing normally is. Even in the basic rules you need something special to get one.

Even stuff that would be normally handled by other government departments - the CAA, or stuff that would be handled by the (R)SPCA is well established as needing to go through COPFS.
 

DaveNewcastle

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I've been too busy this last week to look any further into this, so I can really only comment on the general debate so far.
It seems clear to me that the proposed 'surcharge' is applicable if, and only if, all three of the following apply to a journey within Scotland :
1. a passenger has not purchased an appropriate ticket in advance of travel, and
2. that passenger has fraudulently misrepresented the origin of their journey, twice, and
3. the fare from the misrepresented station would cost less than the fare from the actual origin of the ticketless journey already travelled.​
That sequence of conditions would be captured by the Regulation of Railways Act and also by fraud in common law (Fraud in Scotland doesn't require the third condition) and also by the Railway Byelaws.

The evidence of this sequence of events could reasonably be obtained by a suitably trained Investigator, preferrably working with a colleague who would be able to provide corroborating evidence as a witness. The imposition of an 'Administrative charge' as a means to dispose of the incident would be a civil matter (unless any change to statute or jurisprudence is anticipated). A default in settling the 'Administrative charge' may or may not be added to the outstanding debt of the due fare (I'm going to guess that it would not but may be superceeded by the prosecution's costs).

Where a passenger has been found to have triggered these conditions, and has not accepted and paid the 'Administrative charge', then the matter could be passed to the Procurator Fiscal for public prosecution, or remain as a matter for private prosecution. I have previously expressed a wish that ScotRail would be more robust in persuing willful and persistent fare evasion, and this is what I expect has been discussed with the executive.

I'm not an expert but, as I understand it: It doesn't need to be. It's the law. So you can refuse to pay it. And they can prosecute. Which is harder in Scotland, but can still be done.

There's only been two in the last hundred years, that bin lorry maybe - possibly - might be number 3 - and the Lord Advocate is opposed.

If they won't allow it for a gang rape, they won't allow it for this.
In that case, the victim was found not to be fit to give evidence and that there was no prospect of that situation changing. When, eventually X was capable of doing so, the High Court allowed a prosecution and the perpetrators were convicted.
The story of private prosecutions in Scotland is a poorly reported practice - it's more common than is reported, even in academic and legal texts. The reason for this may lie in exactly what is meant by a 'private prosecution'.

The underlying principle of private prosecutions is a right in common law in Scotland, as it is in England. The rules are found in Chapter 19 of the "Book of Regulations":
19.37 Private Prosecutions

Although the general rule is that prosecution in Scotland is at the instance of the public prosecutor, exceptions still remain, namely:-
(a) Prosecutions by the victim of crime
(b) Summary prosecutions by a public body for statutory offences
(c) Summary prosecutions by landowners and others for certain statutory offences.

19.38
In a Bill for Criminal Letters, the High Court is petitioned for authority to bring a private prosecution on the grounds that the Lord Advocate has refused to prosecute and that the Petitioner has a substantial interest to do so.

etc.
Only one of these three conditions must apply. In a), the victim could be the railway company, and/or Transport Scotland, b) could be a public transport provider, partnership or Transport Scotland prosecuting a RoRA offence (but not a Byelaw or fraud at common law), and c) might be applicable to accusations of statutory Trespass on railway property, which could be applied to a fare evader with additional evidence of fraud, (but not to fraud at common law or a Railway Byelaw offence).


I commented on the reports of 'only two' private prosecutions on here recently, and this may help to understand the different applications of the term 'private prosecution' which sustains some of the confusion:
self said:
The number 'two' crops up in a few contexts, but in fact there have been many.
First, there were just two 'private prosecutions' brought by private individuals:
X v Sweeney in 1982 (rape); J & P Coats Ltd v Brown in 1909 (Fraud prosecuted as a civil action against Brown at the suggestion of the Lord Advocate. Jury trials require the permission of the Lord Advocate).

And then, at the time of writing a comprehensive review of the matter in a recent edition of the Journal of Comparative Law, it was noted that at that moment, there were two cases in which private individuals were considering bringing a private prosecution after a refusal by the Procurator: one in respect of child abuse on the Isle of Lewis (2005) and the other in respect of former police officer Shirley McKie falsely accused of perjury (2006).

In terms of private prosecutions on the railways for ticketing and fare irregularities, there were two in the 20th cent.:
British Railways Board v Dick 1962 in which, on Appeal, the evidence of just one witness was allowed, as laid down in the RCC(Scot)A S.137; and then,
Gerber v British Railways Board 1969 in which the evidence of just one witness was NOT allowed, as required by the Common Law of Scotland, reversing the finding in BRB v Dick.
(After that, there were no more railway passenger fare prosecutions in Scotland.)

There have not been many applications to the Courts for a Private Prosecution since then, but in the sense of 'private prosecutions' as used in England & Wales, where an offence can be prosecuted by an agency or body empowered to do so (such as the wildlife protection societies, the local authorities, the copyright royalty collection agencies, etc), then the position in Scotland is no different. The role of the public prosecutor in Scotland is simply to ensure that the offender doesn't suffer a 'double jeopardy' from two prosecution for the same offence (one private, one public). [Book of Regulations S.19.39].

There was a famous application in respect of the alleged obscenity in Lawrence's "Lady Chatterley's Lover" in McBain v Crichton back in 1961 which the Lord Advocate refused, and which seems to have fuelled the myth that they were almost impossible.

Even the Lord Advocate has perpetrated this befuddled view that there have only been two in public statements. He, and others, refer to the right vested in the Lord Advocate to bring prosecutions in Scotland since 1587, regardless of the wishes of the victims.

But in fact, even as recently as 1998, in the 'Scottish Prosecution Policy Guidance , Book of Regulations' S.19.37 'Administrative Regulations and Miscellaneous Procedures', it is stipulated that Private Prosecutions may be instigated without the involvement of the Public Prosecutor. I see no grounds for Railway Companies and/or Transport Scotland to be excluded.

I have actually heard more than two private prosecutions in the High Court in Edinburgh myself over the years; including the sad matter of Gordon Ross who took a private action against the Lord Advocate himself last year, and then a Judicial Review against the decision in December (the Court hasn't reached its decision yet, but Mr Ross died in January, so can take no comfort even if the decision is in his favour. [edit May 2016: It wasn't.]).

But since 2015, a victim of crime may now request a review of a decision not to prosecute under S.4 of the 2014 Victims and Witnesses (Scotland) Act. This will create yet more possibilities for private prosecutions. (The Glasgow 'bin-lorry death' a year ago might have been one). This reverses the position in which an aggrieved party did not have to be consulted or informed when the public Prosecutor (the Lord Advocate) abandoned a prosecution.

But in most circumstances, it would be true to say that Private Prosecutions are rare in Scotland, or that there were only two private Railway prosecutions in Scotland in the 20th century. But not that there have only been two private prosecutions in Scotland in the 20th century.

However, procedures changed in July 2015, and a victim of a crime in Scotland may now request a review of a decision not to prosecute under the 2014 Victims and Witnesses (Scotland) Act S.4 . I wouldn't want to suggest that any 'floodgates' had been opened, but I have seen some interesting moves by parties who might otherwise have been denied access to justice, and expect to see more to come.

I really hope DaveNewcastle throws in his few cents soon. I really do like his legal analysis of things.
It's nice to be appreciated. Thank you!
 
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68000

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My wife was travelling from Hamilton Central to Newton and the train was approaching Newton when the TE came to her for her ticket. She was paying with her cc and the TE stated he does not have time to take her payment and she would be fined £30 in future if she did not buy her ticket before boarding the train.

I told my wife a penalty fare system does not apply so it looks like he was embellishing what is coming
 

Simon11

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They copied my idea! I worked for another bidder on this bid and we had a very similar idea. Our plan was to closely work with BTP to prosecute customers who make no effort to pay, despite there being retail channels to purchase tickets- it doesn't appear that they are working together with BTP on this.

Its a crazy system in Scotland. Only pay your fare when asked! Otherwise, its a free for all.
 

68000

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They copied my idea! I worked for another bidder on this bid and we had a very similar idea. Our plan was to closely work with BTP to prosecute customers who make no effort to pay, despite there being retail channels to purchase tickets-

That is not what is proposed
 

Simon11

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I did say "Similar idea"...... and interesting to see another initiative that Abellio are delivering which doesn't quite match the quality of plans that we had in our bid.
 

me123

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I was refused a family railcard discount having jumped on a train at a staffed station this weekend. Never previously known Strathclyde Ticket Examiners to enforce that rule (Guards do sometimes)

They went through a period a while back where they were very strict about this - to the point where I was regularly being refused railcard discounts on board because some staff at a certain station liked to take extended cigarette breaks "carry out essential station maintenance". Many RTVs were received for that!

This seems silly all in all. I agree with the OP - perhaps I've read too much of "disputes and prosecutions" but even though I always pay my fare, I feel much more comfortable on Scotrail than I do traveling in England because I know I won't risk prosecution for an honest mistake. Although, I am one of the vast majority for whom it would be an honest mistake.

But then, this all seems a bit weak. It only applies (if the article is correct) in situations where passengers claim to have boarded at a station where they did not board in order to secure a cheaper fare. In which case, I can't imagine very many of these will be issued :| Imagine - someone gets to the barriers at Queen Street and asks for a return from (unmanned station) Carntyne. What evidence is there to the contrary? It's a perfectly reasonable origin point. They surely can't issue this fare without some evidence to suggest that they could not have boarded at that station, which would probably only be the case if there was a revenue blockade at the station in question.

If the article's not entirely accurate and "buy before you board" will be strictly enforced for all, you're going to have a problem. I cannot believe how many times I've been refused sale of a ticket before boarding a train - being told to get it on board! (Hamilton West being the biggest offender, albeit this was many years ago). In many cases, leading to free travel because there was no other opportunity to buy! :roll:
 

Timster83

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There does seem to be a big focus on "buy before you board" at the moment. More so than I ever recall during the National Express and First franchises. As someone else mentioned, there was a big thing a few years ago about not giving discounts on the train but that seemed to have passed.

Speaking purely from a Glasgow south perspective, the issue I see is not giving the wrong starting point. It is those people who travel a few stops e.g to Mount Florida for the college or to Crosshill for the school and are rarely asked for a ticket on those busy peak trains.

And as for the smartcards, the ticket examiners don't seem to be scanning mine with the phone. Only once has that been done. I play by the rules and buy the right tickets if I'm going further, but I'm sure others won't.
 

sheff1

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My wife was travelling from Hamilton Central to Newton and the train was approaching Newton when the TE came to her for her ticket. She was paying with her cc and the TE stated he does not have time to take her payment and she would be fined £30 in future if she did not buy her ticket before boarding the train.

He did not have time to issue her a ticket but would have time to 'fine' her £30 ?
 

68000

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He did not have time to issue her a ticket but would have time to 'fine' her £30 ?


I know it is a strange one obviously designed to imply a penalty fare system is coming in when it is not
 

route:oxford

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Passengers who falsely claim they have travelled from a closer station than where they boarded will be hit by a penalty fee in the latest ScotRail drive to tackle fare dodging.

I hope it is worded better than that...

Passenger boards at Alloa
Guard checks tickets on the approach to Larbert
Passenger claims to have boarded at Stirling (gates open)

Which station is closer, Alloa or Stirling?
 
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