Will Northern Rail settle out of court?

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gh

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Please help,

I regularly commute into a main station and I know there are ticket barriers once I leave the train so I always buy at the station before I board, or on the train.

On one occassion the ticket inspector didnt come round (this is a rareity on my train - we always get an inspector round) and I didnt give it much thought as I approached the barrier at my destination - I intended to ask if I could pay there.

I have never done anything wrong before & when the guard asked me for my ticket I panicked and instead told him I had left it on the train, the only reason I can give for lying is that I didnt want to look stupid in front of the line of commuters watching behind me. Within an hour of getting into work I had gone on line and bought a return ticket, to cover the cost of the fare I missed.

I have just received my letter asking for my side of the story - I am soooo scared of being taken to court, I just want to write a very appologetic letter telling them that I know I was stupid and should have just said I didnt have a ticket instead of lying about leaving one on the train.

I want to know, if I ask to settle out of court, and offer a reasonable sum, would they be prepared to take the offer, especially with it being a first offence? I also work in the medical profession and need an advanced CRB check for applying for jobs, so you see why I am so scared about getting a criminal record.

Thanks for any help, please dont be nasty to me, I didnt set out to not pay, I just thought they might give me a warning about not losing tickets.
 
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cuccir

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Key questions:

1. Was there a ticket machine or open ticket office at the station you left from? If so you should always buy before you board, even if you intend to pay the guard. If not then lieing about your ticket was particularly foolish as up to then you had done nothing wrong!

2. Is this the first time you have had a problem on the rail? If so then that will greatly increase the chance of an out of court settlement, if you write an honest and apologetic letter.
 

EM2

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...the only reason I can give for lying is that I didnt want to look stupid in front of the line of commuters watching behind me.
It's this bit I don't understand. Why would saying 'I need to get a ticket from X as I didn't have the opportunity to buy one en route' make you look stupid?
 

gh

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EM2 - I know! I just panicked. I am no good with confrontations, never have been. I need to practise what I am going to say to people before I do, and I didnt know how to get the words out when I got to the ticket inspector. So I just stood there for a minute dumbstruck then blurted out I have left it on the train before my brain had time to engage. I have always been the same, I am red in the face just writing this now. Theres no way I could ever be a habitual offender, I'm just not cut out for it!

And yes - this is the first time that I have ever been in trouble, on the trains and in general! I have never had a parking ticket or speeding ticket, I never even had a detention at school!

I didnt check the ticket office before I boarded as I was in a rush, but I assume it was open, as it usually is as I often do buy before I board for that same journey, and every other time I have been able to pay on the train.

I just want to know if they will settle, or if the 'zero tolerance' statement means they will push for a conviction? I would offer to pay the £150 costs quoted on the letter if I could just forget about it. I havent slept since I got the letter on Saturday.
 

142094

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1) Which station were you travelling from?

2) Which station were you travelling to?

3) What does the letter say exactly?

4) If you regularly commute, can I ask why do you not buy a season ticket?
 

bb21

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I just want to know if they will settle, or if the 'zero tolerance' statement means they will push for a conviction? I would offer to pay the £150 costs quoted on the letter if I could just forget about it. I havent slept since I got the letter on Saturday.

If this is the figure in the letter then I think it would certainly be something we can work from.

One thing I would say is that once you have drafted your reply, give us a shout here and I am sure that some people would be happy to proof-read it for you so that you don't make it worse for yourself in the letter.
 

GadgetMan

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How often do you travel, is it always the same journey, and what method of payment do you usually use?
 

gh

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I only work 3 days a week, and travel in 2/3 times a week (sometimes I manage a lift in) but I always have to get the train home, so 3 return journeys a week. This is why I havent bought a pass - I did ask at the station if it would be worth the cost, but was told its cheaper for me to pay every time.

It is always the same journey, and I mostly pay by card, although the odd time I have paid with cash.

I would be happy for someone to proof read for me - as long as you dont really work for Northern!? Also as soon as I got the letter I wrote it out and have already written on the back - if I needed to make changes then I would have to ask for another letter to be sent out so that might be worse as they might think I was changing my statement? Again I just panicked & stayed up really late worrying and ended up writing it at 2am just to get it off my chest.

Like I said - Im a bit of a worrier and dont know how to do these things coz I have never been in trouble before :(
 
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