Unpaid Fare Penalty

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Apologies if this has been asked before.
I travel by train a couple of times a month, always buy my ticket before I board, fine upstanding member of the community etc etc. And always, on every train I've been on, a conductor has come round both checking tickets and selling tickets to people without them.


Until the other day - I arrived at the platform at the same time as the train, so just hopped on, and would have bought a ticket if the conductor had come round - but they didn't. So, I arrived at my destination with no ticket and went straight to the Ticket desk to get one.


Next thing I know, I'm being accused of fare dodging and being issued with an Unpaid Fare Notice (the man I spoke to explained that he could have issued a fine for £20 but 'on this occasion' wouldn't).


Now obviously I think this is unfair - and I've appealed. In fact both the person who issued the Unpaid Fare Notice, and the conductor (oh yes, there was a conductor this time!!) on the return journey told me to appeal!!



Does anyone have any thoughts about the likelihood of my appeal being successful? The amounts aren't huge - but I object to being recorded as an Offender.
No longer a spouse, or trailing, but MSE won't allow me to change my username...
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  • giraffe69
    giraffe69 Posts: 3,562 Forumite
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    With most rail companies you are required to buy a ticket before you get on board. If there are no machines or only broken machines there is sometimes a permit to travel machine. If that is broken as well and the ticket office is closed you have a good case and the operator should know this information.
    Some conductors will sell tickets but that doesn't remove your responsibility and indeed you are supposed to find him not the other way round.
    I don't think it us up to you to decide on your preferred time to buy a ticket and suspect that technically you are indeed an "offender"
    Personally I'd get on with life and do better at getting tickets at the proper time in future. These days you can get e-tickets with some and you can buy online from any train company in advance. You can even get the tickets posted to your house although typically that costs £1 extra.
  • jbuchanangb
    jbuchanangb Posts: 1,329 Forumite
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    You are required by law to buy a ticket at the first opportunity. If the station at which you board the train has ticket selling facilities (booking office or ticket machine) you must buy your ticket there. If you board a train at a station with such facilities, but without a ticket, you have committed an offence. If there were no facilities, you do not have to seek out the conductor, so your first opportunity could be at the next station where you get off, either to change trains or because that is the end of your journey.

    The railway official could not have issued you with a fine, only a court could do that. He seems to have taken the most lenient course of action under the circumstances. You should pay up. It is hard to see what proper reason you can put forward for failing to buy a ticket before you boarded this time, when you have done so on previous occasions.
  • trailingspouse
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    I understand that we're supposed to buy a ticket before we board.


    But, that being the case - why do they sell tickets on the train??


    If they don't want us to buy tickets on the train, they should stop selling tickets on the train!! And if they're going to sell tickets on the train then they should actually sell them consistently - and not, as appears to be the case, when they feel like it.


    I think what irritates me more than anything is the inconsistency. Also, it seems a bit rich to be accused of fare dodging immediately after I'd tried to pay for my fare!! That's another inconsistency - apparently you can do this from some stations but not others.
    No longer a spouse, or trailing, but MSE won't allow me to change my username...
  • London50
    London50 Posts: 1,850 Forumite
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    Would it have been possible for you to find the conductor while travelling?Perhaps {with hindsight} if I knew there was one on the train I would have tried to locate him/her a stop or two before the final stop.
  • trailingspouse
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    Yes London50, with hindsight I should have done that. But as they normally come through the train anyway, and if everyone who didn't have a ticket did this, it would be quite chaotic, wouldn't it.


    Hindsight is a wonderful thing.
    No longer a spouse, or trailing, but MSE won't allow me to change my username...
  • p00hsticks
    p00hsticks Posts: 12,964 Forumite
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    I understand that we're supposed to buy a ticket before we board.

    But, that being the case - why do they sell tickets on the train??

    If they don't want us to buy tickets on the train, they should stop selling tickets on the train!! And if they're going to sell tickets on the train then they should actually sell them consistently - and not, as appears to be the case, when they feel like it.


    You don't mention a route, but you may find that not all stations the train stops at have a manned ticket office and/or a ticket machine. My commuting days are thankfully over but my local station had niether a ticket office or machines and unless you possesed a season ticket you had to buy one from the conductor.
  • Jumblebumble
    Jumblebumble Posts: 1,815 Forumite
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    Apologies if this has been asked before.
    I travel by train a couple of times a month, always buy my ticket before I board, fine upstanding member of the community etc etc. And always, on every train I've been on, a conductor has come round both checking tickets and selling tickets to people without them.


    Until the other day - I arrived at the platform at the same time as the train, so just hopped on, and would have bought a ticket if the conductor had come round - but they didn't. So, I arrived at my destination with no ticket and went straight to the Ticket desk to get one.


    Next thing I know, I'm being accused of fare dodging and being issued with an Unpaid Fare Notice (the man I spoke to explained that he could have issued a fine for £20 but 'on this occasion' wouldn't).


    Now obviously I think this is unfair - and I've appealed. In fact both the person who issued the Unpaid Fare Notice, and the conductor (oh yes, there was a conductor this time!!) on the return journey told me to appeal!!



    Does anyone have any thoughts about the likelihood of my appeal being successful? The amounts aren't huge - but I object to being recorded as an Offender.
    Do you understand what a UFN actually is?
    My understanding is that It is an invoice for the travel that you have not paid for.
    I struggle to see what you would be appealing as no one has accused you of anything.
    By making an unnecessary fuss you are simply provoking the RPIs into not being so lenient in future and issuing Penalty Fares instead
    PS a penalty fare is just an an elevated fare not a fine as per the penalty fare guidelines 2018 and does not imply you were fare dodging and neither in my view does a UFN

    A special fare, higher than normal value, for travel on
    services without a ticket, when there was opportunity to
    purchase a ticket before boarding a train or entering a
    Compulsory Ticket Area
  • trailingspouse
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    p00hsticks wrote: »
    You don't mention a route, but you may find that not all stations the train stops at have a manned ticket office and/or a ticket machine. My commuting days are thankfully over but my local station had niether a ticket office or machines and unless you possesed a season ticket you had to buy one from the conductor.


    Yes, this is true. Tickets are available at my station, but the next one on the line doesn't have a ticket office. Perhaps I should have done a bit of quick thinking and just asked for a ticket from that station - it would have been cheaper too... BUT - I'm honest, and it wouldn't occur to me to do that. Penalised again, for my honesty.
    No longer a spouse, or trailing, but MSE won't allow me to change my username...
  • trailingspouse
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    Do you understand what a UFN actually is?
    My understanding is that It is an invoice for the travel that you have not paid for.
    I struggle to see what you would be appealing as no one has accused you of anything.


    On the UFN it clearly states 'Offenders Details', with my name etc under that heading. If that's not being accused of something, I don't know what is. I understand exactly what it is. And I don't take kindly to being accused of something that I don't believe I did.



    The actual offence is 'Deliberately avoiding paying a fare', and I certainly didn't do it deliberately as I had a reasonable expectation of buying a ticket on the train and when that wasn't possible I went to the first place where it was possible to get one.
    No longer a spouse, or trailing, but MSE won't allow me to change my username...
  • BoGoF
    BoGoF Posts: 7,099 Forumite
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    You took a deliberate decision to not buy a ticket before boarding and you have already said that you understand there is a buy before you board policy. That's the bottom line.
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