Transport Investigations “administrative option” - is this fair please?

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treep80

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Hi all, wishing you all a very happy new year!


Having written a letter:


[1] Summarising each journey leg (start / train / interchange station / train / dest) & how there was no reasonable opportunity as per NRCoT, except at destination (which was denied)


[2] Asking for clarification as to what I should have done in accordance with NRCoT rules


[3] Offering (again) to pay the fare due


…have received the attached response.



Not the clarification I was hoping for, so I’ll call them first thing tomorrow for clarification as to what exactly I should have done.


Many thanks again

TP
 

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Fawkes Cat

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I think (and of course, for the avoidance of doubt, I Am Not A Lawyer, so these are nothing more than the thoughts of a random stranger) that it’s time to start being firm. Remain courteous, but firm.

So phoning them tomorrow is sensible - speaking to someone may generate movement in a way that letters clearly don’t - but if TIL are going to pass the case back to TfW for a decision on prosecution, it’s time to point out that you remain willing to pay the train fare*, but if they take you to court you will be pleading ‘not guilty’, attending court and expecting them to prove their evidence. That will mean that you will be expecting whoever it was who you talked to at Bridgend to attend and confirm how their recollection of the discussion varies from yours (particularly over whether you offered to pay the fare or not), and for them to demonstrate what opportunities to pay you neglected to take. In other words, make it clear that you are not a pushover (which they should have worked out already, but you will have to try again).


* A quick point about the tickets. I appreciate that you were perfectly legitimately planning to split tickets. But if they do agree to settle for the through fare, please don’t stand on your dignity and insist on the split. A few pounds will be worth paying to make the problem go away.
 
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cuccir

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Hang tight. TIL seem increasingly unmovable, even in the face of evidence, but the train companies - who are the ones who eventually prosecute - usually are more reasonable.
 

some bloke

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Surely the second sentence in the second para of the TiL letter is factually incorrect.
Yes, that was discussed earlier.

One way of tackling it could be to ask for the evidence they have for those claims about declaring the journey and paying immediately on boarding.

It could be an informal request on the phone, "I'm not quite sure..." then a formal request in writing, "please supply the evidence". You could also ask TfW customer services or management to supply the evidence.

TfW's own Charter:
the Passengers' Charter instructs passengers to "buy a ticket from the Conductor", rather than to seek a conductor.

https://tfwrail.wales/sites/tfwrail.wales/files/2019-09/Passenger's Charter English 19092019.pdf
there was no reasonable opportunity as per NRCoT, except at destination
If there was a conductor on the train to Cardiff, the company might say there was a reasonable opportunity.

Possible points to make in anticipation of them making that argument:

1. You might reasonably expect a conductor to come round during that length of journey.

2. You were expecting to have time to pay at Cardiff as you had done before.

3. It isn't obvious how you were supposed to know about any requirement to seek a conductor, even if there were clear evidence that there was such a requirement.

I have travelled before to Cardiff, same day & time as recently as September 2019, and always used unpaid fares. I know where it is and how long it takes, and 12 mins is more than enough under normal conditions
 

treep80

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Hi all, thank you again for all your responses, I really appreciate it!

Have phoned & sent follow up letter, asking for clarification of what I should have done, references to supporting docs, and reiterating I remain willing to pay the fare (as a single journey)

Many thanks again

TP
 

treep80

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Have also spoken to TfW customer services (generic queries, nothing specific to my case), and the person I spoke to (who was very helpful) was very clear that the obligation is for a passenger to seek out a conductor.

Many thanks

TP
 

Ferret

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Have also spoken to TfW customer services (generic queries, nothing specific to my case), and the person I spoke to (who was very helpful) was very clear that the obligation is for a passenger to seek out a conductor.

Many thanks

TP
While I agree that’s a preferable course of action, can somebody point me in the direction of where it states this is a legal obligation placed on the customer?
 

gray1404

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The person at the other end of the phone giving out naff information clearly has never worked as a guard. Perhaps every passenger should start doing exactly what TIL/TFW are saying any seek out the guard as soon as they step foot onto the platform and insist on buying a ticket before they even board the train. There is no such requirement for the customer to seek out the guard and trains a much more workable when passengers take their seat and the guard comes through when he/she is able.
 

some bloke

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Have also spoken to TfW customer services (generic queries not specific to my case), and the person I spoke to (who was very helpful) was very clear that the obligation is for a passenger to seek out a conductor.
TP
You could make written requests for evidence supporting that. Twitter would be one option, though they may want to engage by email instead.

If TfW responds first (with no clear evidence), sending the reply to TIL might speed up TIL's response.

If you get a reply from either claiming it's in the Conditions of Travel, see here:

https://www.railforums.co.uk/threads/transport-investigations-“administrative-option”-is-this-fair-please.196133/page-2#post-4321014

and here (the whole thread is on this issue):

https://www.railforums.co.uk/threads/requirement-to-find-the-guard.189136/#post-4157422
 
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some bloke

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To help make this go away faster, is there any other authority that could usefully be asked to give a view on the supposed requirement to seek a conductor - such as Transport Focus?

Here's more evidence that isn't helpful to TfW's case. I know you boarded at a non-TfW station, but someone going by TfW's information could hardly be said to face strong evidence against them for intending to avoid a fare, just because they didn't seek a conductor:

Buy before you board _ Transport for Wales - Mozilla Firefox 06_01_2020 17_41_22 cro.png
https://tfwrail.wales/purchasing-your-tickets/buy-before-you-board
 

ukkid

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What do you realistically hope to achieve from TIl. It seems to me their job is to elicit a settlement or pass it back to TFW, who will then decide what they may or may not to. Surely any argument (pre-emptive or not) is with TFW.

It doesn't seem to me that TIl are willing to debate with you or even respond to your points. It appears to me they are just sending back stock responses and hoping you cave in.

Maybe you need to hold your nerve and wait and see what happens. BTW If it ever got to prosecution they would also need to bring the guard to be questioned under path, that they were on the train, selling tickets and available to the passanger
 

some bloke

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It seems to me their job is to elicit a settlement or pass it back to TFW...Maybe you need to hold your nerve and wait and see what happens.
Where an agent for TfW is giving different advice on passengers' "responsibility" from what's in the Passengers' Charters and the Conditions of Travel, it seems reasonable for TfW to clarify the position, independently of any criminal investigation.

If TIL are going to send the case to TfW, why not write to TfW to clarify the issue in advance?

Also, if TfW management can't provide the evidence about passengers' responsibility, is it unthinkable that they might tell TIL they are mistaken, one consequence being that TIL drop the case?

Does anyone know of instances where after a message to the boss of a train operating company, a silly criminal "investigation" or prosecution has been stopped as a result?
 
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Fawkes Cat

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If TIL are going to send the case to TfW, why not write to TfW to clarify the issue in advance?
I can't help but feel that this is not good advice. The practical upshot of this would seem to be to lead to confusion between TIL and TfW. While in the circumstances it feels tempting to confuse the other side, it seems to me that it would lead to a number of loose ends that could prevent TfW coming to a reasonable settlement. I work in a bureaucratic organisation (not railway related) and I have no difficulty in imagining that a case would remain open until all the queries had been clarified. I don't see that this would be in the OP's interest.

Surely the best option is for TIL to present a clear report of what they have done and recommend to TfW, and for that report to collapse under its own contradictions?
 

some bloke

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The practical upshot of this would seem to be to lead to confusion between TIL and TfW.
An "investigation" might continue until other aspects are considered, but is there a real disadvantage to a general inquiry to TfW as to what the responsibilities of passengers are?
 
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MikeWh

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Does anyone know of instances where after a message to the boss of a train operating company, a silly criminal "investigation" or prosecution has been stopped as a result?
Not necessarily involving the boss, but I managed to get GTR to back down on a fraud investigation by telling TfLs press office that there was a flaw in the Oyster system that GTR would soon be asking about. The victim received an email from GTR within 8 hours which quite impressed me.
 

some bloke

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Not necessarily involving the boss, but I managed to get GTR to back down on a fraud investigation by telling TfLs press office that there was a flaw in the Oyster system that GTR would soon be asking about. The victim received an email from GTR within 8 hours which quite impressed me.
Thanks. If TfW's agent is giving the wrong advice to passengers, it seems to me that's something of interest to TfW management.

The various ways of tackling this kind of thing through publicity, campaigning organisations etc, may depend partly on how fed up, and how motivated to do various things, the person affected is.
 
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some bloke

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treep80, in case these are of interest:

1) TfW isn't the only company on whose behalf TIL has been working when it has made this claim.

2) It's a different kind of case, but last year, train companies' agreement to refund thousands of passengers became public:

https://news.sky.com/story/thousand...und-after-mistake-by-train-companies-11790493

- less than two weeks after @ten7 wrote on here of this inquiry to the Department of Transport, about the wrong application of Penalty Fare regulations:

Just to give an update DfT responded to this and said...the guidance published by RDG must be clear and leave no scope for confusion regarding any consistency with the regulations and that for any appeal, appeals body must make decisions based on the regulations.
It may be a coincidence, or it may not.

It could be that asking the DfT what the evidence is for TIL's claim might make a difference, including to your case.

Again, the issue with penalty fares was a different kind of situation - any duties of TIL or of train companies overseeing TIL's work on their behalf to provide correct information, or to act in particular ways towards people suspected of crime, are different matters.

The real points may be that one of the problems you have faced applies to other companies, and that there may be various ways of approaching the problem.
 
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PG

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To help make this go away faster, is there any other authority that could usefully be asked to give a view on the supposed requirement to seek a conductor - such as Transport Focus?

Here's more evidence that isn't helpful to TfW's case. I know you boarded at a non-TfW station, but someone going by TfW's information could hardly be said to face strong evidence against them for intending to avoid a fare, just because they didn't seek a conductor:

View attachment 72414
https://tfwrail.wales/purchasing-your-tickets/buy-before-you-board
So let me get this straight, TfW are saying:
When trains are busy, customers in need of a ticket may have to seek out the conductor on the train as it could be difficult for the conductor to get through.
  • If the train is busy it may be difficult for the conductor to get through; yet
  • You can seek out the conductor
I'm either reading this wrong or somehow a passenger can magically get through a busy train when the conductor can't! :o

I'm not trying to have a go at on train staff who have several responsibilities which are way more important than selling tickets, safety primarily. However on a packed train if the conductor can't make their way through the train then neither can a passenger so the advice from TfW is useless.
 

treep80

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Hi all, thank you again for all your replies! (which I’m digesting…..)


Can I ask a potentially basic question please; if both my trains were operated by GWR (just checked), what role do TfW play in all of this please?


Many thanks again


TP
 

Kilopylae

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Hi all, thank you again for all your replies! (which I’m digesting…..)


Can I ask a potentially basic question please; if both my trains were operated by GWR (just checked), what role do TfW play in all of this please?


Many thanks again


TP
You said in point 2.12 of your original post that a revenue inspector stationed at Bridgend station was called over. Bridgend station is operated by TfW, and so the revenue inspector who took your details and statement was an officer of TfW. Therefore, TfW are the railway operator that is leading the prosecution.

Edited to correct station per post below.
 
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treep80

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Hi Kilopylae, ahhhh right, thanks (it was @ Bridgend station but assuming the same applies). Thankyou for clarifying.


Many thanks


TP
 

treep80

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Hi all


Just wanted to provide an update please – I’ve had helpful, fair, and courteous dialog with the TIL prosecution department RE the specifics of my case - in summary:


[1] Had I replied “Parson Street” at Bridgend I would’ve been asked questions about my journey, and then allowed to purchase a ticket (i.e. as my first reasonable opportunity under NRCoT when travelling from a station with no facilitates)


[2] My replying “Bristol” to the barrier gentleman, and then reaffirming Bristol as “yes” to the RI, caused suspicion that an offence had been committed - leading to caution, being reported and TIL processing (and associated £costs)


[3] My case was assessed as suitable for prosecution, but given my mitigation, an administrative disposal was offered when one normally wouldn’t.


[4] It *would* proceed to a summons - the charge being under the Regulation of Railways Act S5.3a


[5] If pleading not guilty and going to court, then TIL *would* be the authorised prosecuting authority in court


With this in mind, and now having a clear view of the full picture, I have chosen to take the administrative disposal (rail fare to rail company + TIL costs).


I don’t view this as giving in or an admission of guilt, but the bottom line is I have to take responsibility for my first (and highly regrettable – but it was a natural response) reply of “Bristol”. I now fully understand the importance of this and how this was the root cause of the entire chain of events that followed.


As some of you guys have said, being an RI must be extremely challenging, and any suspicions I raised, whether rightly or wrongly, I understand that.


I have also provided feedback to TIL about my experience of this process, in particular how the first round of letters was generic and sometimes incorrect or unclear, which has been taken on board.


I would like to thank you all for all your kind words and advice – I’m a far more informed rail traveller now and I thank you for that.


(not relevant to my case, but I’ve already been able to pass on new knowledge to a friend who was going to use the app to buy on board, not before)


Thanks again, and wishing you all the very best


TP
 
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