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Potential TFL bus fare evasion prosecution proceedings

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Public Transport & Cycling
3 replies 2.3K views
velli100velli100 Forumite
34 posts
edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Public Transport & Cycling
On the 25th of July 2019 at approximately 8.45am I set off to work boarding the 207 bus at Acton High Street to get to Shepherds Bush Station where I would then change for the Central Line. Upon boarding the 207 I reach out to tap my oyster card on the card reader when I was then gestured to by the driver motioning with his hands to what I assumed to mean ‘not working’. I proceeded to take a seat on the upper deck of the bus unchallenged & uncontested. The bus set off then several stops later I was asked to produce a ticket by ticket inspectors where I informed them of the machine not working which is why I did not tap in. They ordered me off the bus to speak to the driver who eventually was able to explain that those gestures and hand movements was in relation to a conflict he was having with the previous customer about entering through the front set of doors with her buggy as opposed to the back entrance.

Unfortunately through this confusion I misconstrued those hand movements and unintelligible yells the driver was making and mistakenly assumed the oyster card machine was not working. The inspector then took my details and informed me that I will be receiving a letter through the post shortly where I would need to explain the above. I was directed to board the next bus causing me to run late into the office.

Having taken the rest of the afternoon off under the pretence of going to enjoy the hottest day of the year with friends and family in Hyde Park I instead went home to research the gravity of my morning ordeal. My usual £1.50 daily morning bus fare could turn into a hefty fine and even more critically a criminal conviction under the Regulation railways act 1889. This could potentially ruin my career and future prospects so I will be consulting a solicitor first thing tomorrow morning but was hoping to speak to you good people first for any advice, direction or insight you could offer.

My first thought was to obtain and view CCTV footage to show the confusing exchange between myself, the driver and the passenger with a buggy and so with a little digging I identified the bus operating company and currently in the process of drafting a subject access request for this CCTV footage. I am hoping some sane individual working for TFL views the footage back and comes to the clear conclusion that it was a freakish misunderstanding that could lead unfairly to dire consequences for my future.

I am trying to get in front of this so any advice you can offer will be greatly appreciated.

Thank you so very much.

Replies

  • Voyager2002Voyager2002 Forumite
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    I think you are over-reacting...


    Some years ago something similar happened to me: I was caught with an invalid ticket and wrote explaining that when I boarded and tendered it to the driver he made some unintelligible noises and gestures without looking at me. I never heard anything after that.


    You have a reasonable defence and so a court might very well not convict you, and under these circumstances TfL are highly unlikely to press charges. My guess is that they will take no action, but they might write to you inviting you to pay some kind of penalty fare.



    So: while it is sensible of you to send a SAR for the video evidence I do not think there is any need for you to see a solicitor at this stage.
  • ChinoChino Forumite
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    velli100 wrote: »
    On the 25th of July 2019 at approximately 8.45am I set off to work boarding the 207 bus
    velli100 wrote: »
    Having taken the rest of the afternoon off under the pretence of going to enjoy the hottest day of the year ... I instead went home to research the gravity of my morning ordeal. My usual £1.50 daily morning bus fare could turn into a hefty fine and even more critically a criminal conviction under the Regulation railways act 1889.
    Clearly the heat had got to your head - the Regulation of Railways Act 1889 refers to railway companies, not bus operators.

    If it gets serious, respond in the same vein that you posted here, making no reference to the driver's claim - that's TfL's problem, not yours - and you'll be OK. I have frequently been waived past a red-flashing Oyster card reader by a driver.

    Of course, if you had sat downstairs in sight of the card reader and become aware that it was working, then you should have tapped your card a second time but, as you sat in the upper saloon, you could not have been aware of this.
  • glider3560glider3560 Forumite
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    If you are that worried, you may wish to request the CCTV from the bus operator before it gets overwritten (Abellio West London Ltd for the 207).

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