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travel incident report

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lolidk

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Hi, I recently used my open return ticket which was valid for a month 3 times, and no train ticket checkers said anything about it when I’ve had my ticket checked, and since it didn’t say on the website that you can only use it once, I assumed it could be used more than once. But just now I got told that isn’t allowed and they issued me a travel incident report. I’m scared I will get prosecuted or worse go to jail. Could someone please reply to let me know the possible outcome of this incident, I genuinely didn’t know you could only use it once.
Thanks
 
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skyhigh

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Hi, I recently used my open return ticket which was valid for a month 3 times, and no train ticket checkers said anything about it when I’ve had my ticket checked, and since it didn’t say on the website that you can only use it once, I assumed it could be used more than once. But just now I got told that isn’t allowed and they issued me a travel incident report. I’m scared I will get prosecuted or worse go to jail. Could someone please reply to let me know the possible outcome of this incident, I genuinely didn’t know you could only use it once.
Thanks
Firstly, you won't get sent to prison. I presume you told the inspector you'd used it 3 times, and you gave your name and correct address?

You will probably get a letter from the train company asking for your side of the story. This can take a while, possibly even 6 months. When you get the letter you need to engage with them and explain what happened and that you won't do it again. You can see loads of examples of replies on this forum if you have a look through previous threads. When you do hear from the train company, come back here for further advice.

If you engage with them, and it's a first offence, you might simply get charged the fare you haven't paid for the 2 journeys, plus an admin fee.
 

lolidk

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Firstly, you won't get sent to prison. I presume you told the inspector you'd used it 3 times, and you gave your name and correct address?

You will probably get a letter from the train company asking for your side of the story. This can take a while, possibly even 6 months. When you get the letter you need to engage with them and explain what happened and that you won't do it again. You can see loads of examples of replies on this forum if you have a look through previous threads. When you do hear from the train company, come back here for further advice.

If you engage with them, and it's a first offence, you might simply get charged the fare you haven't paid for the 2 journeys, plus an admin fee.
Thank you so much for replying, no I didn’t tell them I had used it 3 times, it happened because at the station they checked my ticket like they did the other 2 times but this time they told me I wasn’t allowed to use it more than once since it says on the machine how many times I’ve used it. that’s when they gave me the travel incident report and I explained I didn’t know I couldn’t use it more than once. I’m not sure why they haven’t told me sooner when my ticket has been checked, I hope I only have to pay those 2 journeys,
thanks again for replying
 

mikeg

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The new style tickets say on them 'valid for one journey from A to B'. In either case, I'd have thought it pretty self explanatory that once the journey has ended you need to pay again.

If the guard or RPI had stamped or clipped your ticket, would you have thought the same?
 

AlterEgo

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When you do get the letter, I recommend not trying to plead you didn’t know a return ticket couldn’t be used multiple times - it just won’t wash.

Better to engage positively, apologise and offer to settle out of court. It will however cost you a lot more then just two journeys - there will be a significant admin fee on top which is effectively the settlement to prevent it going to court.
 

Gloster

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If you used a debit or credit card to purchase the ticket, have you made any other journeys with tickets purchased on the same card? This is even if all these journeys were completed entirely within the regulations.
 

lolidk

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The new style tickets say on them 'valid for one journey from A to B'. In either case, I'd have thought it pretty self explanatory that once the journey has ended you need to pay again.

If the guard or RPI had stamped or clipped your ticket, would you have thought the same?
I bought it with the trainline app it was an e-ticket, where it doesn’t say that it’s only valid for one journey, I’ve never used a monthly return until this ticket but yeah it is kinda stupid of me to think I was allowed to use it more than once now that I think about it

If you used a debit or credit card to purchase the ticket, have you made any other journeys with tickets purchased on the same card? This is even if all these journeys were completed entirely within the regulations.
Yes I always use the same card but I usually buy singles this was the first time using a monthly return

When you do get the letter, I recommend not trying to plead you didn’t know a return ticket couldn’t be used multiple times - it just won’t wash.

Better to engage positively, apologise and offer to settle out of court. It will however cost you a lot more then just two journeys - there will be a significant admin fee on top which is effectively the settlement to prevent it going to court.
Yeah they said when I get the letter to explain my side of why this happened, thanks for your reply, it does sound stupid to explain I didn’t know I couldn’t use it more than once, how much do you think it will cost?
 

gray1404

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What exactly did you say to the inspector, what did you admit to and at what point in your journey was the ticket checked?
 

lolidk

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What exactly did you say to the inspector, what did you admit to and at what point in your journey was the ticket checked?
I told them I didn’t know you could only use it once, and that on the app it doesn’t say you could only use it once, and that my ticket was checked on the train too & at the end of my journey at the ticket machines, but it’s been checked there before when I used it a second time that’s also why I thought it was allowed to be used more than once, then of course I had to give my details of age, name, my railcard too which I had on me & my official address for the letter to be sent to.
 

pottyy

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Correct me if I'm wrong but did you have your mobile ticket checked on numerous occasions and scanned then unlucky for you someone picked up that it had been scanned a few times therefore it had been used multiple times
 

skyhigh

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When you do get the letter, I recommend not trying to plead you didn’t know a return ticket couldn’t be used multiple times - it just won’t wash.
I agree. Even if you've never been on a train before, the concept of a 'return' ticket is pretty obvious. If you thought it was valid for as much travel as you want in a month, surely you should have questioned why it wasn't much more expensive than a day return? Having seen that it was an e-ticket, any previous scans will be visible to the company. If, for example, you bought an open return but used it out and back on the same day they'd probably wonder why you'd bought a more expensive ticket unnecessarily...

Better to engage positively, apologise and offer to settle out of court. It will however cost you a lot more then just two journeys - there will be a significant admin fee on top which is effectively the settlement to prevent it going to court.
Sorry, I apologise if I made it sound like there wouldn't be an admin fee, or that it wouldn't be a significant amount.
 

lolidk

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Correct me if I'm wrong but did you have your mobile ticket checked on numerous occasions and scanned then unlucky for you someone picked up that it had been scanned a few times therefore it had been used multiple times
Yeah I had an e-ticket & it was checked at the same place it was checked this time twice before and so many times on the train and no one told me I wasn’t allowed to use it multiple times
 

Hadders

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Welcome to the forum!

It's not clear exactly what type of ticket you had, as tickets called 'Open Returns' were renamed 'Anytime Returns' in 2008. The outward portion of an Anytime Return is valid for five days and the return portion for a month, however you are only allowed to make one return journey with this ticket. The Outward portion of an Off Peak Return is valid on the day of travel (and in certain circumstances on the following day) with the return portion valid for a month.

I have put below the advice I normally give to people who request help from the forum in similar circumstances to yours.

You are likely to receive a letter from the train company (or an investigation company acting on their behalf) which will probably take a few weeks to arrive saying that they have received a report, are considering prosecuting you and asking for your version of events. It is important that you engage with and reply to this letter. You might want to include the following in your reply:

- That you are sorry for what has happened
- What you have learned from the incident
- That you are keen to settle the matter without the need for court action
- Offer to pay the outstanding fare and the train company's administrative costs in dealing with the matter

Make sure your reply is short and concise, don't give a sob story - they've heard it all before. Most train companies are usually prepared to offer an administrative settlement (commonly known as an out of court settlement) for people who engage with the process and who haven't come to their attention before. There is no guarantee of this and the train company would be well within their rights to prosecute you in the magistrates court.

If you are offered a settlement the amount varies depending on the train company and circumstances but tend to be a few hundred pounds plus the outstanding fare. An out of court settlement might appear to be a fine, but it isn't and you won't have a criminal record as a result of accepting one.
 

lolidk

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Welcome to the forum!

It's not clear exactly what type of ticket you had, as tickets called 'Open Returns' were renamed 'Anytime Returns' in 2008. The outward portion of an Anytime Return is valid for five days and the return portion for a month, however you are only allowed to make one return journey with this ticket. The Outward portion of an Off Peak Return is valid on the day of travel (and in certain circumstances on the following day) with the return portion valid for a month.

I have put below the advice I normally give to people who request help from the forum in similar circumstances to yours.

You are likely to receive a letter from the train company (or an investigation company acting on their behalf) which will probably take a few weeks to arrive saying that they have received a report, are considering prosecuting you and asking for your version of events. It is important that you engage with and reply to this letter. You might want to include the following in your reply:

- That you are sorry for what has happened
- What you have learned from the incident
- That you are keen to settle the matter without the need for court action
- Offer to pay the outstanding fare and the train company's administrative costs in dealing with the matter

Make sure your reply is short and concise, don't give a sob story - they've heard it all before. Most train companies are usually prepared to offer an administrative settlement (commonly known as an out of court settlement) for people who engage with the process and who haven't come to their attention before. There is no guarantee of this and the train company would be well within their rights to prosecute you in the magistrates court.

If you are offered a settlement the amount varies depending on the train company and circumstances but tend to be a few hundred pounds plus the outstanding fare. An out of court settlement might appear to be a fine, but it isn't and you won't have a criminal record as a result of accepting one.
Thank you so much for replying, when I bought the ticket it was called ‘off-peak return’ but didn’t state it was only valid for one journey however it’s stupid of me not to think that anyhow, I will definitely take the advice you’ve given me, thanks so much for giving me all the information I needed I really appreciate it!

In most cases a settlement would cost between £50-£200.

If it goes to court it will likely cost a fair bit more.
Thank you
 

furlong

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Was it checked by scanning it (which leaves a record of the check), or only visually each time?

As for being valid just for one journey, work your way through the purchase process again carefully and consider whether or not that is made clear. For example, did you have to select one train in each direction in order to make the purchase, and if so, was there any text to say the ticket was additionally valid on other trains and if so what words were used? Consider whether or not the word 'Return' on its own implies this.

As has been mentioned, printed tickets now clearly state on them that they are only valid for one journey. If electronic tickets don't say this perhaps it needs to be changed.
 

lolidk

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Was it checked by scanning it (which leaves a record of the check), or only visually each time?

As for being valid just for one journey, work your way through the purchase process again carefully and consider whether or not that is made clear. For example, did you have to select one train in each direction in order to make the purchase, and if so, was there any text to say the ticket was additionally valid on other trains and if so what words were used? Consider whether or not the word 'Return' on its own implies this.

As has been mentioned, printed tickets now clearly state on them that they are only valid for one journey. If electronic tickets don't say this perhaps it needs to be changed.
It was checked through scanning multiple times when I was on the train and twice before at the same place it was scanned this time, yeah it was an e-ticket, when you buy that one it just says ‘off-peak return’ ‘any off-peak train. return within one month’ ‘travel is allowed via any permitted route’ but not specifically that it’s only valid once
 

gray1404

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On the day you were stopped and questioned, was this at the start of your journey on going through the ticket barrier before any travel occurred? Did you purchase a new ticket after your details were taken?

Did they retain your railcard?
 

lolidk

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On the day you were stopped and questioned, was this at the start of your journey on going through the ticket barrier before any travel occurred? Did you purchase a new ticket after your details were taken?

Did they retain your railcard?
It was after my journey at the ticket barrier & no they didn’t make me pay for new ticket & they did ask for my railcard details which I gave them because I purchased it with my railcard discount
 

gray1404

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Ok so just to confirm, as you were stopped at the end of your journey you used the one return ticket for a total of three return journeys (there and back). Is that correct?
 

lolidk

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Ok so just to confirm, as you were stopped at the end of your journey you used the one return ticket for a total of three return journeys (there and back). Is that correct?
just back because I had a different ticket for going to
 

RPI

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The train operator will probably get a spreadsheet from the trainline.com of all your previous bookings to investigate any other multiple used tickets on your account too.
 

Mak1981

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Also you say that the ticket was scanned "many" times on trains, how many individual journeys was it scanned on the train?
 

lolidk

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Dare we ask if the “different ticket for going to” was the same ticket type but with the origin and destination reversed?
no it was a single

Also you say that the ticket was scanned "many" times on trains, how many individual journeys was it scanned on the train?
every individual journey, so all 3 times

The train operator will probably get a spreadsheet from the trainline.com of all your previous bookings to investigate any other multiple used tickets on your account too.
ahh that’s okay because this is the only one I have used more than once
 

Fawkes Cat

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When you bought your ticket, you will have ticked a box to say that you have read (or at the very least, that you agree to abide by) the National Rail Conditions of Travel (NRCot). Of course, no one actually reads these, but by ticking the box you agree to be bound by them.

You can find the NRCoT at https://www.nationalrail.co.uk/National Rail Conditions of Travel.pdf. Rather to my surprise, the NRCoT don't explicitly spell out that a ticket is only valid for one journey unless it's a special ticket such as a season ticket. But I think it's taken as read, and condition 11.3 is not helpful:

11.3. A return Ticket must be used in the correct sequence (you must use the outward portion of your return Ticket before you use the return portion). The outward portion of a return Ticket is no longer valid for travel once the return portion has been used.

You will not be in a strong position to argue that you did not know that you could only use a ticket once. Even if the railway (or the court) accept that it's not such common knowledge that you can only use a ticket once that it should have been spelt out, then for all but your first outward journey it will be argued that condition 11.3 blocks reuse of the ticket for outward trips - and since you didn't have a ticket you will have to pay for all those outward journeys (and just as a hint, that would recover virtually all the money that the railway had lost in that one of the many oddities of fares on British trains is that a return ticket normally only costs a little bit more than a single).

The advice that has been given in this thread is good. Wait for the railway to write to you. Don't ignore anything that they send (and if the address you gave the railway is one that you might move on from soon, then make sure that your post is redirected to your new address - see https://www.royalmail.com/personal/receiving-mail/redirection) and if you are lucky they may agree to settle out of court. Follow the steps that @Hadders has recommended and you have the best chance of resolving this matter without going to court.
 

Haywain

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You will not be in a strong position to argue that you did not know that you could only use a ticket once. Even if the railway (or the court) accept that it's not such common knowledge that you can only use a ticket once that it should have been spelt out, then for all but your first outward journey it will be argued that condition 11.3 blocks reuse of the ticket for outward trips - and since you didn't have a ticket you will have to pay for all those outward journeys (and just as a hint, that would recover virtually all the money that the railway had lost in that one of the many oddities of fares on British trains is that a return ticket normally only costs a little bit more than a single).
Whilst the above is of interest, the OP will be well advised not to consider trying to argue such a case in court or with the train company. I think it would be more than reasonable to consider that if the outward portion of a ticket can only be used once the same will apply to the return portion.
 

Fawkes Cat

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Whilst the above is of interest, the OP will be well advised not to consider trying to argue such a case in court or with the train company
Sorry - that was what I was trying to suggest. To be entirely clear: I really don't think that any argument based on not understanding that the ticket was only valid for one journey in each direction would succeed. The railway wouldn't entertain such an argument, and if the case then went to court while it is conceivable that an argument could be put together that the wording of NRCoT is not 100% clear, I have no difficulty in thinking that the railway would argue that in the absence of any definition of the word 'ticket' (as far as its validity for use goes), it would take its everyday meaning - that is, a voucher entitling one to travel once. And I would expect the judge to support that argument.

Or to put it even more bluntly - the OP hasn't got a leg to stand on. Their best hope (and I think I did say this bit) is that the railway will offer a settlement - and that settlement should be accepted and paid before this matter gets anywhere near court.
 

lolidk

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Hi, I recently used my open return ticket which was valid for a month 3 times, and no train ticket checkers said anything about it when I’ve had my ticket checked, and since it didn’t say on the website that you can only use it once, I assumed it could be used more than once. But just now I got told that isn’t allowed and they issued me a travel incident report. I’m scared I will get prosecuted or worse go to jail. Could someone please reply to let me know the possible outcome of this incident, I genuinely didn’t know you could only use it once.
Thanks
UPDATE: there were no proceedings taken, and it did not go to court however I did get a £90 penalty with the additional £13 fare that I owed so all together I had to pay £103 (which I now have done) thank you so much for all the replies and advice they have helped me greatly!
 

Hadders

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UPDATE: there were no proceedings taken, and it did not go to court however I did get a £90 penalty with the additional £13 fare that I owed so all together I had to pay £103 (which I now have done) thank you so much for all the replies and advice they have helped me greatly!
Thank you for coming back and letting us know. It is really helpful to know the outcome when giving advice in future cases.
 
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