TFW / TIL response to my appeal is to double the unpaid fare payment

Discussion in 'Disputes & Prosecutions' started by nightmareish, 25 Jan 2019.

  1. nightmareish

    nightmareish New Member

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    I was questioned under caution by TIL after not buying a ticket before boarding to go one stop last month. Most people just buy on the train, the employees have always been lax about it. This has never been a problem and I stupidly didn't realise it was a case of "you must buy before you board or face risk of prosecution". It was busy so nobody came down the train and then we were at the next station, I got off and went over to what I thought was a ticket desk, except it was manned by revenue protection TIL.

    My mistake, I know. I then received the letter with the payment of £80+ and I had the following e-mail exchange with TIL.

    Me: “If I respond to the penalty fare with my defence can it go against me e.g. Will the offer be taken away and a worse one be proposed instead, or is it fixed now?”

    TIL: Thank you for your email. Yes you can appeal your letter by putting your version of events in writing and sign and date the letter and send to us to be reviewed.

    Based on this I wrote and appealed, within the 21 days.

    In response to this they sent me a new letter with more than double the amount being asked for! Despite me asking in advance if I'd end up worse off trying to appeal.

    Any advice? I'm prepared to pay the original amount, not the double and I wouldn't have appealed if they had warned me I could be charged more...

    In the most recent e-mail they told me "there is no Penalty Fare scheme operating in the South Wales area." - I don't know why they didn't say anything when I was talking to them about my penalty fare then...

    Any advice appreciated please, the letter talks about court and summons and I just don't really get it. Could I get them to revert back to the original fine given I acted on my correspondence with them?
     
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  3. Hadders

    Hadders Established Member

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    Welcome to the forum.

    Boarding a train without a ticket (except where there aren't facilities to do so where you start your journey etc) is a criminal offence and fare evasion in the South Wales area is rife, which is why Transport for Wales are trying to do something about it.

    I'd just pay what they are asking to keep the matter out of court. Once the matter has been settled then you could always write back seeing if they will review the position given the email exchange.
     
  4. ForTheLoveOf

    ForTheLoveOf Established Member

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    They are correct - Transport for Wales don't yet operate any Penalty Fares schemes (though they soon will, in a different part of the country). So you were never issued with a Penalty Fare - you were instead given an opportunity to settle the matter out of Court informally.

    They are entitled to charge whatever sum they like, provided it is not so unreasonable as to affect the interests of justice. Charging £160 to avoid Court is a lot of money but not so unreasonable as to affect the interests of justice.

    They are under no obligation to offer you a settlement at all, and thus, whilst it was highly misleading to say that you could appeal without risking a higher cost, unfortunately there is no recourse for this, and I'd agree that, unless you are of extremely limited means, you are probably best off accepting the settlement.
     
  5. Gareth Marston

    Gareth Marston Established Member

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    The Penalty Fare would have been cheaper for the OP - Ive still not seen an implementation date on the PF scheme for the South Wales Metro however TfW are scheduled to install 45 new TVM's in the Metro area and 75 on the rest of the network this year so it wont be too far away.
     
  6. nightmareish

    nightmareish New Member

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    Thank you,

    I can't afford the new cost and I don't think it's fair for them to increase it without warning. I checked in advance if it would be the case because I wouldn't have done it had there been that risk. I've never known appealing within a given timeframe to leave someone with an even worse charge.

    I wrote back and requested that they keep to the amount from the first letter, because of the poor advice I received from them. They are entitled to charge what they like, yeah, but if they state an amount they should stick to it unless it's stated clearly somewhere that me writing to them would change that. The letter says "if after your letter has been assessed and the file reviewed, there is no reason to change the view that action is justified, then our reply will say so and we will allow a further 7 days for you to take up the opportunity before proceeding further".

    Nothing there either.

    What would happen if this went to court? Do they automatically side with the company? I wouldn't try to escape the unpaid fare, I was prepared to pay the first letter but I believed I had a decent defence so gave appealing a go. I just want it reduced. My financial situation is a mess anyway and the fact they don't even allow instalments doesn't help...

    All of this for a less than 2 minute journey, I am an idiot.
     
  7. Llanigraham

    Llanigraham On Moderation

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    If this went to Court the simple question would be, "Did you travel on x train on y date without buying a ticket?"
    You haven't stated which station your journey started from but if there were facilities to buy at that station there is only one truthful answer you can make to that question. Therefore the Court can only accept that answer.
    If this went to Court it is quite possible that it could cost you more, and depending on what legislation they used for the prosecution, could mean you end up with a crimnal record.

    It is interesting to note that all the TfW stations I have been on lately all have announcements about buying before you travel, and have been displaying notices stating the same.
     
  8. 221129

    221129 Established Member

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    If that facts are as you state here, then you'll be found guilty in court and it will cost more than what you're being offered now.
     
  9. cactustwirly

    cactustwirly Established Member

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    Boarding a train without a ticket (where there is a Ticket Machine or Ticket office) is a strict liability offence under the Railway Byelaws, therefore you'll be given a fine, probably much larger than the settlement offer.

    They could prosecute you under the more serious Regulation of Railways Act 1889, which carries a much larger fine, and a criminal record, however they need to prove intent to avoid the fare.
    However I believe there is insuffienct evidence for a RoRA prosecution.
     
  10. js1000

    js1000 Member

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    It's a standard byelaw offence of travelling without a ticket for me. The OP says he walked over to the ticket desk to buy a ticket at the destination station which should absolve intent to avoid a fare as they did offer to pay it - although not prior to boarding.

    Jump a barrier at the destination station, use an unmanned exit without ticket etc where intent to evade a fare is far more clear cut.
     
  11. Llanigraham

    Llanigraham On Moderation

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    The problem is, the OP hasn't ever mentioned where he started his journey.
     
  12. ForTheLoveOf

    ForTheLoveOf Established Member

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    It's subjectively unfair. But they have the right to do it.

    There's no question of the Court 'siding' with the train company - it's a simple legal fact that, if there were sufficient ticketing facilities to purchase a ticket, you're guilty of a Byelaw offence if you board a train without a ticket.

    There's no criminal record associated with a conviction under the Railway Byelaws, but there is a fine and costs to pay, which would likely be quite a bit more than what you are being proposed as a settlement now.

    I would pay the settlement ASAP and get the matter behind you.
     
  13. Whistlekiller

    Whistlekiller Member

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    “TIL: Thank you for your email. Yes you can appeal your letter by putting your version of events in writing and sign and date the letter and send to us to be reviewed.”

    I’ve read and re-read this, and I know it’s Sunday morning, but I can’t see the bit where, in response to your question, they confirm that they won’t increase the penalty upon review.
     
  14. Fawkes Cat

    Fawkes Cat Member

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    The advice to - if you possibly can - pay now before the charge goes up is good and practical. But just to comment briefly on a side point which may go some way to explain why TfW are being so tough:

    You tell us that you got on the train and rode one stop for a couple of minutes. If the train started further back, you may have found yourself in a ticket queue with people who got on a lot earlier - but still asked for a ticket from the station where you got on, because it's cheaper than the ticket they should have got.

    Obviously, what these (hypothetical) other people were doing is wrong. But you can see why the railway will be firm in making sure people pay the right fare, rather than the cheapest fare that will get them through the ticket barrier.

    What's the practical use of this? Well, the railway will assume that you were trying to short-fare. But as you really did get on the train just a couple of minutes from your destination, presumably you had a reason for being there (is it where you live/work/go shopping?). If you get back in touch with the railway, then I don't see that it can hurt to explain why you were getting on the train at that point.
     
  15. 221129

    221129 Established Member

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    Not sure how relevant this is as no one has accused the OP of short faring. Just not having a ticket at all.
     
  16. Fawkes Cat

    Fawkes Cat Member

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    No, but I am guessing that was the point of the blockade in the first place.

    Someone will be along in a moment to point out that if things end up in court it's for the prosecution (the railway) to prove their case, but prior to court, the humans who work for the railway will humanly (and in this case wrongly) assume short faring - which is why I think the OP has an interest in disabusing them of this assumption.
     
  17. Llanigraham

    Llanigraham On Moderation

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    What "blockade"?
    I see no reference from the opening post that there was one.
    The OP needs to come back here and state EXACTLY what stations he travelled from and to. Then and only then can a full and complete answer be given.
    As it is I'm guessing the journey ended at Cardiff Central.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: 28 Jan 2019
  18. najaB

    najaB Veteran Member

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    True, but in context - the OP says that they specifically asked if the settlement offer would be affected by their appeal - that reply definitely reads as if it won't.
     

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