Short Faring: advice desperately needed

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jnpl88

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Hi all, I need some advice on the most idiotic thing I've ever done in my life. Over the past 2 months I've bought a weekly ticket from Ewell East to Epsom instead of Anerley to Epsom. I was an imbecile as I was broke in the new year I'm ashamed, embarrassed and regret what I've done. I was caught by the RPO this morning at Epsom station and all of my details were taken. I except that what I did was inexcusable and I'm going to wait on the letter from Southern rail. I'm scared thinking I may be locked up for this stupid act as I haven't had any criminal convictions before and had never done this before. I appreciate that you have quite a few queries on here but your advice is desperately needed.
 
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najaB

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I'm scared thinking I may be locked up for this stupid act as I haven't had any criminal convictions before and had never done this before. I appreciate that you have quite a few queries on here but your advice is desperately needed.
Although it is technically possible to receive a custodial sentence, we can confidently say that you won't get locked up. Only persistent, repeat offenders are at any risk of that.

The absolute worst that can happen to you will be a fine of £1000 (plus costs) and a criminal record that will appear on a standard DBS check for one year.

I truly don't believe you will get anything even close to that.

What will likely happen next is you will receive a letter from the train operating company (TOC). This letter will be your opportunity to try to convince the TOC that this case isn't worth taking to court. Your letter should show them four things:

1. That you understand that you should have bought a ticket that covered your full journey.
2. That you appreciate that short-faring costs them (and by extension all passengers) money.
3. That you are sorry that they have incurred additional costs in dealing with the matter.
4. That you will never do it again.

On receipt of your letter they will choose from four options:

1. Drop the matter with no further action taken.
2. Request an interview or further information before taking further action.
3. Agree to settle the matter for payment of the outstanding fare (with or without additional costs).
4. Determine that there are no mitigating factors and proceed with a prosecution

Seeing as it is a case involving short-faring on a season ticket, they are going to be interested in determining exactly how much money you have underpaid by, so I wouldn't be surprised if they go for option 2.

You don't need to instruct a solicitor yet, you may still be able to resolve this matter with a well-crafted letter. If this is not successful they might invite you for a friendly chat. If this happens, that would be the point to get legal representation. It doesn't have to be a railway specialist, any solicitor who is familiar with criminal law should be able to assist.
 
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Antman

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It's hard to excuse what you've done but rest assured you will not be locked up.
 

jnpl88

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Thank you for your quick response NajaB. I have bank statements before I did this stupid act that show I regularly paid £27.40 a week from Anerley to Epsom. The price I paid for the short faring was £12.40 dating back to January. I appreciate your advice on this and feel like a complete idiot. When I get the letter from Southern Railway in response I will most definitely state how sorry I am for doing this and the inconvenience caused to the railway. Do you think I would get the maximum fine and a court order as I want to settle this before it goes to a court.
 

CheesyChips

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You can stop worrying about being locked up, although the potential consequences really depend on what offences(s) you're being accused of.

The best advice will come after you receive a letter from company. You can come back to this thread with the details and we'll have something concrete to work with.

There are sometimes opportunities to prevent the matter going to court but you won't know this until you receive something in the post.

What I can say with some degree of confidence is that this is going to cost you, court or not.
 

jnpl88

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You can stop worrying about being locked up, although the potential consequences really depend on what offences(s) you're being accused of.

The best advice will come after you receive a letter from company. You can come back to this thread with the details and we'll have something concrete to work with.

There are sometimes opportunities to prevent the matter going to court but you won't know this until you receive something in the post.

What I can say with some degree of confidence is that this is going to cost you, court or not.

I fully understand that it will cost me and I'm a complete fool for doing this. I have bank statements that show I paid the full correct fare of £27.40 point to point up until Christmas and I'm prepared to provide this when they request it. I'll definitely keep you updated when I get the letter from Southern.
 

gray1404

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I'm just curious as to how you got stopped at Epsom when you're season ticket was valid to and from that station.
 

455driver

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I'm just curious as to how you got stopped at Epsom when you're season ticket was valid to and from that station.

The OP has been watched over a period of time and was then been nabbed once enough evidence of persistent fare evasion has been secured, I would hazard a guess that a day in Court would be the most likely outcome although not guaranteed.

Whatever the TOC decide, the OP had better start saving up!

Edit-
Already answered.
 
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gray1404

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It really has surprised me to think, given the high numbers of passengers and low numbers of revenue protection staff, a TOC would even notice a customer doing this - partially if ticket checks are seldom.
 

455driver

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It really has surprised me to think, given the high numbers of passengers and low numbers of revenue protection staff, a TOC would even notice a customer doing this - partially if ticket checks are seldom.

Oh they do check, I chat to the RPIs and they can do a sting a week as a matter of course, it surprised me as well.
 
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Haywain

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Plus they act on advice received from other regular travellers. That is probably an excellent source of information.
 

island

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It's hard to excuse what you've done but rest assured you will not be locked up.

Whilst not wanting to cause scaremongering, this depends on what offence the OP is charged with. Fraud by false representation would potentially carry a custodial sentence. The far more likely scenario of a railway-ticketing offence does not for a first offence.
 

Antman

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Plus they act on advice received from other regular travellers. That is probably an excellent source of information.

But how many passengers are going to know what ticket somebody else has got let alone notice where they get on and off?
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Whilst not wanting to cause scaremongering, this depends on what offence the OP is charged with. Fraud by false representation would potentially carry a custodial sentence. The far more likely scenario of a railway-ticketing offence does not for a first offence.

You have to do something pretty serious to get a custodial these days!
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Whilst not wanting to cause scaremongering, this depends on what offence the OP is charged with. Fraud by false representation would potentially carry a custodial sentence. The far more likely scenario of a railway-ticketing offence does not for a first offence.

I'm just curious as to how you got stopped at Epsom when you're season ticket was valid to and from that station.

Yes that is a bit odd, there are no ticket barriers or checks at Anerley
 

CheesyChips

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It would only really take one suspicious act to get the investigation juices flowing, there's any number of things that could spark an interest.

Once somebody thinks there's something fishy, gathering the evidence would probably be fairly straightforward.
 

Antman

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It would only really take one suspicious act to get the investigation juices flowing, there's any number of things that could spark an interest.

Once somebody thinks there's something fishy, gathering the evidence would probably be fairly straightforward.

Well I can see that revenue staff at Epsom may have thought a season ticket to one station up the line was a tad suspicious and followed him discreetly and found that he was going further afield but other than that?
 

LowLevel

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I've certainly had emails from revenue protection before asking me to observe certain individual's travel habits when I've been booked to work the same train in short succession so I would think we would be surprised with the extent to which they watch people of interest!
 

jnpl88

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Unfortunately there were no detectives involved monitoring me I was just caught out simple as that. The revenue guys are always at Epsom as it's the station after the zone 6 oyster boundary. They are guaranteed a field day there. There were at least 5 others who were fined on the spot for only having an oyster and no paper tickets. I asked to go through to buy a ticket and they just simply asked where I came from and I felt I needed to be truthful as lying about your address would just make things worse.
 

Clip

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I've certainly had emails from revenue protection before asking me to observe certain individual's travel habits when I've been booked to work the same train in short succession so I would think we would be surprised with the extent to which they watch people of interest!

Certainly do go to what people may think are great lengths to catch people but even being based at stations you can pin point their times of travel and get a good case together in only a few weeks.
 

gray1404

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Unfortunately there were no detectives involved monitoring me I was just caught out simple as that. The revenue guys are always at Epsom as it's the station after the zone 6 oyster boundary. They are guaranteed a field day there. There were at least 5 others who were fined on the spot for only having an oyster and no paper tickets. I asked to go through to buy a ticket and they just simply asked where I came from and I felt I needed to be truthful as lying about your address would just make things worse.

Asking what station you have come from and what your address is are 2 totally different questions.

So you didn't show your season ticket to them or did you? I ask that question because you had a season ticket which, in theory, should have just allowed you to exit the station? So, did you not bother showing it and simply ask to buy a ticket?

What exactly was the conversation between you and the Revenue Protection Inspector and what tickets (if any) did you show them?
 

jnpl88

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Asking what station you have come from and what your address is are 2 totally different questions.

So you didn't show your season ticket to them or did you? I ask that question because you had a season ticket which, in theory, should have just allowed you to exit the station? So, did you not bother showing it and simply ask to buy a ticket?

What exactly was the conversation between you and the Revenue Protection Inspector and what tickets (if any) did you show them?

I get weekly season tickets as I'm prone to losing things. When at the gate I asked the inspector if I could by a ticket as the TVM was out of use and rather than waiting I hopped onto the train as I was running late for work. She said no where did you come from and I was honest gave my post code and admitted where I started my journey. She confiscated my ticket from the previous few weeks and I cooperated being apologetic.
 

Antman

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Unfortunately there were no detectives involved monitoring me I was just caught out simple as that. The revenue guys are always at Epsom as it's the station after the zone 6 oyster boundary. They are guaranteed a field day there. There were at least 5 others who were fined on the spot for only having an oyster and no paper tickets. I asked to go through to buy a ticket and they just simply asked where I came from and I felt I needed to be truthful as lying about your address would just make things worse.

But your season ticket between Epsom and Ewell East would have been valid
 

LexyBoy

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I get weekly season tickets as I'm prone to losing things. When at the gate I asked the inspector if I could by a ticket as the TVM was out of use and rather than waiting I hopped onto the train as I was running late for work. She said no where did you come from and I was honest gave my post code and admitted where I started my journey. She confiscated my ticket from the previous few weeks and I cooperated being apologetic.

I'm a bit confused here. Could you clarify:
1. You were travelling to work
2. From Epsom to Anerley (or v/v?)
3. Your Season ticket had expired
4. The RPI let you through the gateline to buy a ticket (or was it already open?)
5. You then boarded a train without buying a ticket
6. And were stopped by the RPI

If (1) is correct, surely when asked where you've come from an honest answer would be fine (i.e. somewhere near the station)? Did you deliberately show your previous tickets or was it a case of the RPI spotting them? Surely boarding the train having made clear that you need a ticket would obviously draw attention?
 
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