Urgent assistance needed

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Urgent

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I’m in my last year of college and was in a rush to get to school and there was a queue at the ticket machine so I got on the train with the intention of buying a ticket at the station I was to come off at. I know I am wrong. I should have bought a ticket prior or got there earlier. But please what can I write so as to get an out of court settlement I do not mind paying for the fees involved I just do not want to be prosecuted or have a criminal record any advice would be really helpful.
 
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zwk500

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Others on here will be able to give much better advice if you give a full description of what happened including:

- Where were you travelling between (Or with which Operator if you'd rather not reveal specific locations)?.
- When you were stopped and by whom?
- What the person stopping you said to you.
- What you said to them.

The general advice on other threads is that you just need to wait for the rail company or it's contractors to get in contact with you, as without a reference number it's unlikely any communication would be attached to this case.
 

Fawkes Cat

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Welcome to the forum.

As you have said, you know that you are wrong: there was an opportunity to buy a ticket before boarding the train, and you chose not to take it. So the law allows the railway to take you to court, and if they do so you will be convicted, and have to pay a fine, plus compensation to the railway, plus the prosecution's costs, plus court costs, plus a victim surcharge.

But assuming that this is the first time that you have done this, it is quite likely that the railway will agree to let you settle out of court. @Hadders has an excellent piece of advice which they will probably post when they see this thread, but in brief
- wait for the railway to write to you
- write back explaining that you now know you were in the wrong and offering to pay the fare that you didn't pay plus the costs that the railway has incurred
- if you are lucky the railway will allow you to settle for the fare plus costs of around £100.

If you aren't lucky and the matter goes to court, I expect you will lose. This is something I've just posted for someone in a similar position:

What's the worst that can happen? You may go to court, and be convicted (either because you plead guilty, or because the court finds you guilty). If that happens, you will have to pay as I have explained above What will not happen is being sent to prison - the only time that happens for not paying your train fare is if you were violent to whoever caught you, or if not paying your fare is linked to other criminal actions (theft perhaps or drugs). So the punishment will be in money.

You will also have a 'criminal record'. But this isn't too much to worry about. For most purposes, most offences become 'spent' after a while - which means that you don't have to tell anyone about the conviction after a given length of time. If you are convicted under the railway bylaws, then as I understand it the conviction is immediately spent (so you never have to tell anyone about it) and if your conviction is under the Regulation of Railways Act then it is spent after a year.

But there's some bad news: there are a few jobs and activities when you always have to declare any conviction - even after the conviction is spent. These tend to be things that involve handling money (maybe being an accountant) or dealing with the law and some medical roles. But there's a little bit of good news: even if you have to declare a conviction that may not stop you taking a role: as a couple of examples I know people who have gone on to train as teachers and nurses after getting a conviction for not paying a train fare - they had to tell their university about it, but the university didn't see it as a problem.

So all in all, please try not to panic. This problem won't go away, and it won't be nice going through it - but even if the worst happens it's not going to be the end of the world. If you want to go to university you will still be able to, and there are plenty of good jobs that you will still be able to do!
 

Urgent

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Welcome to the forum.

As you have said, you know that you are wrong: there was an opportunity to buy a ticket before boarding the train, and you chose not to take it. So the law allows the railway to take you to court, and if they do so you will be convicted, and have to pay a fine, plus compensation to the railway, plus the prosecution's costs, plus court costs, plus a victim surcharge.

But assuming that this is the first time that you have done this, it is quite likely that the railway will agree to let you settle out of court. @Hadders has an excellent piece of advice which they will probably post when they see this thread, but in brief
- wait for the railway to write to you
- write back explaining that you now know you were in the wrong and offering to pay the fare that you didn't pay plus the costs that the railway has incurred
- if you are lucky the railway will allow you to settle for the fare plus costs of around £100.

If you aren't lucky and the matter goes to court, I expect you will lose. This is something I've just posted for someone in a similar position:

What's the worst that can happen? You may go to court, and be convicted (either because you plead guilty, or because the court finds you guilty). If that happens, you will have to pay as I have explained above What will not happen is being sent to prison - the only time that happens for not paying your train fare is if you were violent to whoever caught you, or if not paying your fare is linked to other criminal actions (theft perhaps or drugs). So the punishment will be in money.

You will also have a 'criminal record'. But this isn't too much to worry about. For most purposes, most offences become 'spent' after a while - which means that you don't have to tell anyone about the conviction after a given length of time. If you are convicted under the railway bylaws, then as I understand it the conviction is immediately spent (so you never have to tell anyone about it) and if your conviction is under the Regulation of Railways Act then it is spent after a year.

But there's some bad news: there are a few jobs and activities when you always have to declare any conviction - even after the conviction is spent. These tend to be things that involve handling money (maybe being an accountant) or dealing with the law and some medical roles. But there's a little bit of good news: even if you have to declare a conviction that may not stop you taking a role: as a couple of examples I know people who have gone on to train as teachers and nurses after getting a conviction for not paying a train fare - they had to tell their university about it, but the university didn't see it as a problem.

So all in all, please try not to panic. This problem won't go away, and it won't be nice going through it - but even if the worst happens it's not going to be the end of the world. If you want to go to university you will still be able to, and there are plenty of good jobs that you will still be able to do!
Can you please give me an idea on how to respond to the letter
 

zwk500

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Kazkaan is a a forum member who asked a very similar question on a nearly identically labelled thread.
Please can anyone give me the best advice on how to respond?
It's given by @Fawkes Cat in post #3 above
But assuming that this is the first time that you have done this, it is quite likely that the railway will agree to let you settle out of court. @Hadders has an excellent piece of advice which they will probably post when they see this thread, but in brief
- wait for the railway to write to you
- write back explaining that you now know you were in the wrong and offering to pay the fare that you didn't pay plus the costs that the railway has incurred
- if you are lucky the railway will allow you to settle for the fare plus costs of around £100.
There's also this very good piece of advice that is regularly posted by either @Haywain or @Hadders (sorry I forget which and this is taken 2nd hand from a different thread):
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) to 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 is within their rights to prosecute you in the magistrates court, however harsh this may seem.
 

robbeech

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Part 6-36, subsection 4(a) of the Ticket & Settlement Agreement has the following note

(4) Queueing times
(a) Each Operator must use its reasonable endeavours to ensure that no-one has
to queue at its Impartial Points of Sale (that are not Internet Sites, Telephone Sales
Offices or Sites) to Purchase a Rail Product for more than five minutes during times
of peak demand or for more than three minutes at any other time (or any shorter
period(s) specified in its Passenger's Charter).

Many operators show this and offer advice in their passenger charters about this.

West Midlands trains for example (first operator I chose at random), on their West Midlands Railway brand says the following :
wmt queue times.jpg

Image Text :
We advertise busier times at ticket offices and monitor
queuing durations as part of our efforts to help our
customers. In specific situations where queueing times
are extended, you may be able to buy a ticket en route or
at your destination.

Our aim is to make sure you do
not have to queue more than five
minutes at peak times or three
minutes at any other time.

This seems to fall in line with the TSA above. To suggest that you MAY be able to buy a ticket on board or at your destination but not specify anything rather leaves it open to interpretation, which in consumer law leaves it in the capable hands of the consumer here. Most operators will have similar wording in their documentation but at the very minimum they are in theory to comply with the TSA.

Of course, in reality the railway doesn't need to abide by any laws so will try it on at any available opportunity.


Your argument here should only be made IF you had been unable to purchase a ticket at the station if ALL available facilities would have involved a queue longer than this time, and its likely you'll need to take things much further than you expect in order to get them to listen.
If you turned up at the station 2 minutes before the train was due and realised there were 3 people at the ticket machine then this is NOT an acceptable argument and any penalty they wish to impose is indeed due. If on the other hand you turned up 10 minutes before, at an unstaffed station, and there were 20 people in the queue for the single ticket machine, you joined the queue and then left the queue on arrival of the train still with 7 people ahead of you then this is a line of argument you should pursue, although the railway tends to operate a guilty until proven innocent attitude and seem to get away with it enough for them to keep it up so short of video evidence i see little way of winning. You said you were in a rush, which leads me to believe you may not really have left enough time.

It's worth pointing out that even at peak times it isn't particularly common to see huge queues at ticket machines, especially at the moment, and that there will be CCTV evidence that will confirm it wasn't as busy as you claim, or, if it WAS a busy as you claim be immediately lost.


As an unrelated note, would you consider changing the topic subject to something more useful. We get a lot of posts and when they have the similar if not identical names it becomes difficult for people to follow or help as it can be confusing and advice can get crossed. It may be that a moderator changes this for you, but if you mention (or have done so whilst i'm replying here) the stations involved this would be ideal to add to the subject.
 

robbeech

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I’ve changed it
I think maybe you've missed the point but at least it does now differ from the other identical name. The idea is to make the subject brief and identify this issue rather than generic. So for example if you issue was Between Edinburgh and Lockerbie you might put something like "Ticket issue Edinburgh to Lockerbie" or whatever. It doesn't stop there being duplications eventually but i'm sure you can appreciate they will be much less common.
 

Urgent

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This is the statement I intend on sending if anyone could check and offer any advice on it: Dear sirs/madams I am writing to ask for you to please consider withdrawing the case against me.I wish to apologise as I am extremely sorry for travelling without a ticket. I was in a rush so as to be on time to school and there was a queue at the ticket machine available and the ticket office had no available staff. I know this is not an excuse. It was a very stupid thing to do and I know that now after speaking to the officer and I will never do it again.I would highly grateful if you would consider agreeing to settle this matter out of court for the train fare that I did not pay and a sum to cover costs that you have incurred.Thank you for your time. I look forward to hearing from you with your suggestion of how much would be required to settle this matter.
 

skyhigh

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This is the statement I intend on sending if anyone could check and offer any advice on it: Dear sirs/madams I am writing to ask for you to please consider withdrawing the case against me.I wish to apologise as I am extremely sorry for travelling without a ticket. I was in a rush so as to be on time to school and there was a queue at the ticket machine available and the ticket office had no available staff. I know this is not an excuse. It was a very stupid thing to do and I know that now after speaking to the officer and I will never do it again.I would highly grateful if you would consider agreeing to settle this matter out of court for the train fare that I did not pay and a sum to cover costs that you have incurred.Thank you for your time. I look forward to hearing from you with your suggestion of how much would be required to settle this matter.
Have they sent you a letter yet?
 

superkopite

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What stations were you travelling from/to?

When did this occur?

Have they sent you a letter yet?
 

island

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When did the alleged incident occur?

How did you get through the ticket barriers at Greenhithe?

Where were you spoken to by an inspector?

What does the letter say?
 
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gray1404

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Then you need to try to get the letter from your Dad. We do want to help you here but you also need to help yourself by providing all the details required on the forum. You will make it easier for us to help you if you do your part.
 

zwk500

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Okay. Is it that I should message him for advise?
No, he is also seeking advice from this forum. I would monitor that thread as well for advice, as he has been able to post a copy of his letter. However I would also post a copy of the letter you have recieved as soon as you can on this thread (I'm aware you're dad has it, so hopefully this evening?) to allow the specifics of your case to be addressed.
 

Urgent

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No, he is also seeking advice from this forum. I would monitor that thread as well for advice, as he has been able to post a copy of his letter. However I would also post a copy of the letter you have recieved as soon as you can on this thread (I'm aware you're dad has it, so hopefully this evening?) to allow the specifics of your case to be addressed.
Looking at the thread what’s on the letter is the same as what my dad told me
 

Urgent

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No, he is also seeking advice from this forum. I would monitor that thread as well for advice, as he has been able to post a copy of his letter. However I would also post a copy of the letter you have recieved as soon as you can on this thread (I'm aware you're dad has it, so hopefully this evening?) to allow the specifics of your case to be addressed.
I will not be seeing my dad until next week Monday
 

zwk500

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I will not be seeing my dad until next week Monday
Can he take a photo or scan it and send it to you? If you've already received the letter you want to move quickly to prevent the more serious processes being started.
 

Urgent

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Can he take a photo or scan it and send it to you? If you've already received the letter you want to move quickly to prevent the more serious processes being started.

I think people are finding the similarities between the two cases rather more than coincidence.
After reading his thread I can see the similarities but his story is very different to my own
 

HST274

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think people are finding the similarities between the two cases rather more than coincidence
And it's seemingly quite rude. For a completely new member he does not know what is going on and many people are just passing it over as fake. Maybe seek to help instead of confuse.
 

Urgent

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And it's seemingly quite rude. For a completely new member he does not know what is going on and many people are just passing it over as fake. Maybe seek to help instead of insult.
Yes I agree all I have genuinely asked for his help
 
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