Short Ticketing - Any advice?

Status
Not open for further replies.

TB678

Member
Joined
16 Nov 2020
Messages
6
Location
Cambridge
Hi All,

Firstly, i know i have done something very stupid and wrong, i can't quite believe i've got into such trouble. Any help on what is likely to happen or what actions i should take would be really appreciated.

I was stopped at Liverpool St on 4th Nov, the guy (he showed me a badge so i thought some sort of Police?) asked to see my ticket and asked me where i had travelled from. I initially told him i'd travelled from the station on my ticket but he seemed to know that wasn't the case so i then admitted i had travelled further. He asked if i'd done this before and i admitted i had - several times over the past month.

I'd previously had a season ticket but since returning it during lockdown in March i'd been buying daily returns, on one occasion i'd forgotten to buy one and panicked - bought a ticket from the station we were approaching through the Greater Anglia app. Initially it was a one off but then i made the really stupid decision to do this again - i think about 23 times.

He took all my details and notes of the conversation, he told me i was under caution but also was very helpful and reassuring and said he'd be in touch.

I received a letter from Greater Anglia on Saturday saying that i "was spoken to and identified by a member of Greater Anglia staff in relation to a ticketing irregularity..." It goes on to say they are considering legal proceedings. There is an email address to contact if there are any mitigating factors about my case - i have 7 days from the date of the letter (13th) to do so. The letter says "without your input, this matter will be passed to our Prosecutions team."

What is likely to happen now? Should i use the email address to contact them and apologise? Would it be possible to ask if they would consider settling this out of court? I'm really worried about what might happen. I have previously had a Penalty Fare, about 4 years ago when i accidently travelled on a season ticket that expired the day before - is this likely to make the situation worse?

Thanks in advance for any advice, i know i've done something so wrong and i feel very ashamed as well as anxious.
 
Sponsor Post - registered members do not see these adverts; click here to register, or click here to log in
R

RailUK Forums

island

Veteran Member
Joined
30 Dec 2010
Messages
11,327
Location
0036
Hi All,

Firstly, i know i have done something very stupid and wrong, i can't quite believe i've got into such trouble. Any help on what is likely to happen or what actions i should take would be really appreciated.

I was stopped at Liverpool St on 4th Nov, the guy (he showed me a badge so i thought some sort of Police?) asked to see my ticket and asked me where i had travelled from. I initially told him i'd travelled from the station on my ticket but he seemed to know that wasn't the case so i then admitted i had travelled further. He asked if i'd done this before and i admitted i had - several times over the past month.

I'd previously had a season ticket but since returning it during lockdown in March i'd been buying daily returns, on one occasion i'd forgotten to buy one and panicked - bought a ticket from the station we were approaching through the Greater Anglia app. Initially it was a one off but then i made the really stupid decision to do this again - i think about 23 times.

He took all my details and notes of the conversation, he told me i was under caution but also was very helpful and reassuring and said he'd be in touch.

I received a letter from Greater Anglia on Saturday saying that i "was spoken to and identified by a member of Greater Anglia staff in relation to a ticketing irregularity..." It goes on to say they are considering legal proceedings. There is an email address to contact if there are any mitigating factors about my case - i have 7 days from the date of the letter (13th) to do so. The letter says "without your input, this matter will be passed to our Prosecutions team."

What is likely to happen now? Should i use the email address to contact them and apologise? Would it be possible to ask if they would consider settling this out of court? I'm really worried about what might happen. I have previously had a Penalty Fare, about 4 years ago when i accidently travelled on a season ticket that expired the day before - is this likely to make the situation worse?

Thanks in advance for any advice, i know i've done something so wrong and i feel very ashamed as well as anxious.
Buying a ticket for a shorter journey than actually made is a criminal offence under section 5 of the Regulation of Railways Act 1889 for which the normal punishment in court is a fine and a criminal record. Most train companies don’t necessarily want to take passengers to court as the fine will be paid into government coffers – instead, they often want to come to a deal which is mutually beneficial: the offender avoids having to deal with court time and the TOC gets more money.

This particular case is however a tricky one – it is not clear whether they have joined up the dots and looked at your records to see that you’ve been making a habit of it.

The usual advice we give in this scenario would be to simply reply to the letter you received apologising for your actions and asking if you can pay a sum in recognition of the fare avoided and the costs they have incurred. I would not go on to discuss the previous 22 times you say you have done the same thing – they may not have picked up fully on that aspect of the offending and you might be digging yourself a bigger hole.

We normally suggest putting everything in writing. I generally recommend a good old fashioned letter in the post as it is more formal – though in the current times with people working remotely you may decide to email. If they have provided an email address and reference number that is probably fine. But if they have asked you to reply by letter then that is definitely what you should do.

Whichever you choose, make sure you proof-read your letter (and/or post it here for review, removing identifying information of course) to ensure there are no spelling or grammar errors. Again, you wish to make a good impression as the train company holds all the cards and can decide from a whole range of actions.

The fact you had a penalty fare in the past is probably irrelevant at this point. But it goes without saying that you need to be squeaky clean from this point forward!
 

Haywain

Established Member
Joined
3 Feb 2013
Messages
4,910
@island has covered this pretty well. I will simply add that I think it is fine to use email whether as a means of stating your case or as a means of attaching a letter in .pdf form. Additionally, I would say that you should keep the email/letter relatively brief - a single side of A4 is usually plenty - as the reader will not want to read lots of waffle or excuses.
 

TB678

Member
Joined
16 Nov 2020
Messages
6
Location
Cambridge
Thanks to you both for your helpful (and quick) replies. I will start drafting a letter, i'll need to email it (thanks @Haywain for saying that should be fine) They did give a postal address as an alternative should i wish to, but email seems to be their preferred method.

I was a bit unsure how to respond as they haven't mentioned any details in their letter, i certainly don't want to draw attention to previous occasions but it wouldn't be difficult for them to discover this. I do remember that when i was stopped, there was another guy (are they Revenue Protection or something like that?) - the Officer i spoke to showed him my ticket and then he left before i gave further details. Probably doesn't matter who i said what to, but i shall try and chose my words so as to apologise, offer to pay to cover my full fare and costs incurred by them. I wont offer excuses as i have none.
 

RunawayTrain

Member
Joined
24 Feb 2019
Messages
33
Another option is to come clean about all the instances up front. It would result in more consequences and/or a higher settlement, but you do express what seems like genuine remorse and this would be a way of making amends.
 

TB678

Member
Joined
16 Nov 2020
Messages
6
Location
Cambridge
Hi All,

Thanks again for everyone's advice. I have drafted a letter - is there anything you think i should change/add to this?

To whom it may concern,

Ref XXXXX

I am writing in response to your letter on 13th November regarding ticketing irregularly.

On 4th November I was unable to produce a ticket covering my journey from xx to London Liverpool Street, I had purchased a ticket from XX. I regret making that decision and I apologise unreservedly for my actions.

I understand that fare evasion cost the railway a lot and I assume that the investigating cases like my situation are also costly in staff time. I’m really sorry and would like to settle this matter. I would like to offer to pay the full amount due for my travel and any cost to you in dealing with my case.

I assure you that I will take care to ensure this situation does not occur again.

Yours faithfully,

XX
 

Haywain

Established Member
Joined
3 Feb 2013
Messages
4,910
Hi All,

Thanks again for everyone's advice. I have drafted a letter - is there anything you think i should change/add to this?

To whom it may concern,

Ref XXXXX

I am writing in response to your letter on 13th November regarding ticketing irregularly.

On 4th November I was unable to produce a ticket covering my journey from xx to London Liverpool Street, I had purchased a ticket from XX. I regret making that decision and I apologise unreservedly for my actions.

I understand that fare evasion cost the railway a lot and I assume that the investigating cases like my situation are also costly in staff time. I’m really sorry and would like to settle this matter. I would like to offer to pay the full amount due for my travel and any cost to you in dealing with my case.

I assure you that I will take care to ensure this situation does not occur again.

Yours faithfully,

XX
That is an excellent letter.
 

TB678

Member
Joined
16 Nov 2020
Messages
6
Location
Cambridge
Thanks @island. I have now sent the letter via email and will await their response.

Just an update to say i've had an immediate response from GA. They are open to a settlement offer as it was a first offence and i was compliant when stopped and have shown willingness to resolve it.

They have asked me to provide all the dates i did not pay the correct fare (and helpfully reminded me that they can check). If they feel i'm not being truthful the settlement offer can be withdrawn. So i now have to double check all my records and make sure i provide full details. Hopefully i can then pay the fares owed and their costs and it will be resolved.

Thanks again to everyone here for their help and advice - i can't tell you how nervous i was about even posting let alone trying to deal with this! Definitely a lesson learned and I will be super careful form now on.
 
Last edited:

WesternLancer

Established Member
Joined
12 Apr 2019
Messages
2,479
Thanks @island. I have now sent the letter via email and will await their response.

Just an update to say i've had an immediate response from GA. They are open to a settlement offer as it was a first offence and i was compliant when stopped and have shown willingness to resolve it.

They have asked me to provide all the dates i did not pay the correct fare (and helpfully reminded me that they can check). If they feel i'm not being truthful the settlement offer can be withdrawn. So i now have to double check all my records and make sure i provide full details. Hopefully i can then pay the fares owed and their costs and it will be resolved.

Thanks again to everyone here for their help and advice - i can't tell you how nervous i was about even posting let alone trying to deal with this! Definitely a lesson learned and I will be super careful form now on.
You could use a phrase such as "I have checked my records and believe I may have done this X times on these dates and wish to make a payment in respect of that" - which on basis of you trying to be honest about it should be reasonable attempt to cite the number of times. IE I would not say 10 times if you think it may have been 20 times, but if you say 20 and it was 22 (or 18) times then that is different. If they then have evidence that it was in fact, say, 21 times, they can correct you / dispute it - you have not lied by use of such words if you have taken an honest attempt to get the number right, as it were.

I suppose their ability to check is dependent on your method of payment / type of ticket (eg paper ticket vs some form of electronic ticket) and perhaps any payment record they hold made using a bank card connected to you or the ticket held when you were intercepted.
 

Metal_gee_man

Member
Joined
28 Oct 2017
Messages
492
My only little concern is whether they join the dots.
If you use the GA app to get a mobile ticket your name, address, email address and history would match the details you gave when you were stopped IF they put 2 and 2 together expect a large settlement and a pretty big admin charge
 

gray1404

Established Member
Joined
3 Mar 2014
Messages
5,154
Location
Merseyside
The OP said they've done it about 23 times. It sounds like they have used the GA app each time. So they can log onto their account on the app and ascertain a number. It would be fair to say that it sounds like the train company is already aware of this information and is seeking confirmation.
 

Brissle Girl

Member
Joined
17 Jul 2018
Messages
912
You could say that you believe it to be X times, that it only started after you no longer had a season ticket at date Y, and that tickets were only purchased through the app (if true). However, to ensure that you haven’t missed any, you would appreciate them checking their records. That way if you have undercounted, they know you are not trying to pull a fast one.
 

Haywain

Established Member
Joined
3 Feb 2013
Messages
4,910
You could say that you believe it to be X times, that it only started after you no longer had a season ticket at date Y, and that tickets were only purchased through the app (if true). However, to ensure that you haven’t missed any, you would appreciate them checking their records. That way if you have undercounted, they know you are not trying to pull a fast one.
I think that's likely to sound like trying to avoid the question.
 

Brissle Girl

Member
Joined
17 Jul 2018
Messages
912
I think that's likely to sound like trying to avoid the question.
It wasn't meant to sound that way. More along the lines of "I've checked to the best of my endeavours, this is how many times I think it is, but I really don't want any slip to be construed as attempting to mislead, so please do check and let me know if you think I've missed one or two."
 

TB678

Member
Joined
16 Nov 2020
Messages
6
Location
Cambridge
Hi everyone, thanks for the comments and suggestions. They were quite explicit about wanting the exact dates so i made sure to check carefully and gave them a full list. I said something like "these are all the instances I've found.." just in case i'd missed any, and offered any further information they needed.

They asked for a sum around £900 (including £200 for their costs) via bank transfer. I've made the payment and they've confirmed the matter is settled.
 

island

Veteran Member
Joined
30 Dec 2010
Messages
11,327
Location
0036
Thanks for coming back and confirming your outcome. Hopefully you will now follow the straight and narrow going forward.
 

WesternLancer

Established Member
Joined
12 Apr 2019
Messages
2,479
Hi everyone, thanks for the comments and suggestions. They were quite explicit about wanting the exact dates so i made sure to check carefully and gave them a full list. I said something like "these are all the instances I've found.." just in case i'd missed any, and offered any further information they needed.

They asked for a sum around £900 (including £200 for their costs) via bank transfer. I've made the payment and they've confirmed the matter is settled.
assuming the unpaid fares totaled circa £700 that does not seem an unreasonable ask from them.
Yes, thanks for the update.
 

talldave

Established Member
Joined
24 Jan 2013
Messages
1,934
A random observation: buying a ticket for somewhere you're not physically at, on an app running on a phone with location services enabled, may not be a good idea if the validity of your ticket is later investigated for any reason.
 

Wolfie

Established Member
Joined
17 Aug 2010
Messages
2,347
A random observation: buying a ticket for somewhere you're not physically at, on an app running on a phone with location services enabled, may not be a good idea if the validity of your ticket is later investigated for any reason.
Really? So anyone who doesn't live in a place or isn't physically there now would be suspect if buying a ticket from there on a phone. There are many and varied perfectly legitimate reasons why you might wish to do so.
 

talldave

Established Member
Joined
24 Jan 2013
Messages
1,934
Really? So anyone who doesn't live in a place or isn't physically there now would be suspect if buying a ticket from there on a phone. There are many and varied perfectly legitimate reasons why you might wish to do so.
If you're on a train at the time, possibly.
 

trebor79

Established Member
Joined
8 Mar 2018
Messages
2,505
A random observation: buying a ticket for somewhere you're not physically at, on an app running on a phone with location services enabled, may not be a good idea if the validity of your ticket is later investigated for any reason.

Really? So anyone who doesn't live in a place or isn't physically there now would be suspect if buying a ticket from there on a phone. There are many and varied perfectly legitimate reasons why you might wish to do so.

If you're on a train at the time, possibly.

Ok, that makes more sense.
Indeed, I wonder if this is how the OP was identified in the first place, and why the person questioning him seemed sure he was not telling the truth when first asked where he was travelling from. Who knows what data the app is collecting, but it wouldn't hard for it to check where it is and how fast it's moving at a point in the ticket buying process and then set some sort of flag if it doesn't look right.
 

talldave

Established Member
Joined
24 Jan 2013
Messages
1,934
Indeed, I wonder if this is how the OP was identified in the first place, and why the person questioning him seemed sure he was not telling the truth when first asked where he was travelling from. Who knows what data the app is collecting, but it wouldn't hard for it to check where it is and how fast it's moving at a point in the ticket buying process and then set some sort of flag if it doesn't look right.
If I was creating such an app it would be very tempting to implement such behaviour. After all, unless you're making use of the smartphone's resources such as geolocation, fingerprint sensor, Bluetooth, NFC, etc, then having an app is pointless.
 

ashkeba

Established Member
Joined
13 May 2019
Messages
1,364
If I was creating such an app it would be very tempting to implement such behaviour. After all, unless you're making use of the smartphone's resources such as geolocation, fingerprint sensor, Bluetooth, NFC, etc, then having an app is pointless.
Each additional permission will make it more difficult to get the app into app stores. I would expect the store owner to insist on the reasons for these permissions to be documented.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.

Top