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  • FIRST POST
    • trailingspouse
    • By trailingspouse 15th Oct 19, 7:28 AM
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    trailingspouse
    Unpaid Fare Penalty
    • #1
    • 15th Oct 19, 7:28 AM
    Unpaid Fare Penalty 15th Oct 19 at 7:28 AM
    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.
Page 1
    • giraffe69
    • By giraffe69 15th Oct 19, 11:02 AM
    • 2,794 Posts
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    giraffe69
    • #2
    • 15th Oct 19, 11:02 AM
    • #2
    • 15th Oct 19, 11:02 AM
    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
    • By jbuchanangb 15th Oct 19, 11:11 AM
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    jbuchanangb
    • #3
    • 15th Oct 19, 11:11 AM
    • #3
    • 15th Oct 19, 11:11 AM
    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
    • By trailingspouse 15th Oct 19, 6:23 PM
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    trailingspouse
    • #4
    • 15th Oct 19, 6:23 PM
    • #4
    • 15th Oct 19, 6:23 PM
    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.
    • London50
    • By London50 15th Oct 19, 6:59 PM
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    London50
    • #5
    • 15th Oct 19, 6:59 PM
    • #5
    • 15th Oct 19, 6:59 PM
    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
    • By trailingspouse 16th Oct 19, 6:32 AM
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    trailingspouse
    • #6
    • 16th Oct 19, 6:32 AM
    • #6
    • 16th Oct 19, 6:32 AM
    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.
    • p00hsticks
    • By p00hsticks 16th Oct 19, 10:22 AM
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    p00hsticks
    • #7
    • 16th Oct 19, 10:22 AM
    • #7
    • 16th Oct 19, 10:22 AM
    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.
    Originally posted by trailingspouse

    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
    • By Jumblebumble 16th Oct 19, 3:09 PM
    • 403 Posts
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    Jumblebumble
    • #8
    • 16th Oct 19, 3:09 PM
    • #8
    • 16th Oct 19, 3:09 PM
    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.
    Originally posted by trailingspouse
    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
    • By trailingspouse 17th Oct 19, 6:40 AM
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    trailingspouse
    • #9
    • 17th Oct 19, 6:40 AM
    • #9
    • 17th Oct 19, 6:40 AM
    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.
    Originally posted by p00hsticks

    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.
    • trailingspouse
    • By trailingspouse 17th Oct 19, 6:47 AM
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    trailingspouse
    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.
    Originally posted by Jumblebumble

    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.
    • BoGoF
    • By BoGoF 17th Oct 19, 9:03 AM
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    BoGoF
    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.
    • trailingspouse
    • By trailingspouse 18th Oct 19, 3:32 PM
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    trailingspouse
    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.
    Originally posted by BoGoF

    So you think it's perfectly reasonable for them to sell tickets on the train sometimes, but not all the time. To sell tickets 'after the fact' if you've travelled from some stations but not others. To charge you the full fine sometimes, but take the lower cost option if they feel like it.



    I would prefer to know where I stand so that I can make an informed choice. If I'd known there would be no conductor, I would have waited for the next train. But there's always been a conductor, in my experience - so I made a decision to pay on the train (I did NOT make a decision not to pay at all).


    Interestingly, both the guy who issued me with the UFN, and the conductor on the return journey, told me I should appeal because, in their words, the system is not fit for purpose. They know themselves that they are penalising otherwise law-abiding passengers who would never dream of fare-dodging (there were 3 of us, on my train alone!), because the system won't allow some passengers to pay retrospectively.



    If I go to the supermarket and find there's no-one on the checkout to take my money, I don't get accused of shoplifting if I then go to the Customer Service desk to try to pay for my shopping.


    I sent the appeal off a couple of days ago. I'll let you know how it goes.
    • esuhl
    • By esuhl 18th Oct 19, 4:33 PM
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    esuhl
    I would prefer to know where I stand so that I can make an informed choice.
    Originally posted by trailingspouse
    And now you know. In a compulsory ticket zone, where tickets are available to buy, you must buy a ticket before boarding a train.

    Interestingly, both the guy who issued me with the UFN, and the conductor on the return journey, told me I should appeal...
    Originally posted by trailingspouse
    I'm not surprised. If fare-dodgers think they can appeal and "sort it out later" they're more likely to accept the penalty fare and avoid a confrontation with platform staff.

    I sent the appeal off a couple of days ago. I'll let you know how it goes.
    Originally posted by trailingspouse
    If you were travelling in a compulsory ticket zone, you won't have any grounds to appeal. Good luck, though.
    • Takmon
    • By Takmon 20th Oct 19, 6:49 PM
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    Takmon
    If I go to the supermarket and find there's no-one on the checkout to take my money, I don't get accused of shoplifting if I then go to the Customer Service desk to try to pay for my shopping.
    Originally posted by trailingspouse
    A similar analogy would be that nobody is at the checkout so you load the stuff into your car and go to a different branch of the supermarket to pay for the goods.
    • Jono111
    • By Jono111 20th Oct 19, 7:35 PM
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    Jono111
    The OP should consider what would have happened if a ticket inspector had found him during the journey.
    I have a feeling it would have been a slam dunk fine.
    • bartelbe
    • By bartelbe 20th Oct 19, 9:38 PM
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    bartelbe
    It would be interesting to see this tested in court, I doubt that many railway terms and conditions would be legal, if tested.

    Of course the sensible thing to do is pay up and put it down to experience.
    • stragglebod
    • By stragglebod 21st Oct 19, 2:33 PM
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    stragglebod
    It would be interesting to see this tested in court, I doubt that many railway terms and conditions would be legal, if tested.

    Of course the sensible thing to do is pay up and put it down to experience.
    Originally posted by bartelbe
    Tell you what - get yourself caught fare dodging, ignore any opportunities to settle so it goes to court, then please not guilty and tell the magistrates that the prosecution isn't legal, and let us know how you get on.

    I got a post removed from this thread because I told the OP to take responsibility for their own actions. If I were to post what I think of your response I'll get my account deleted.
    • trailingspouse
    • By trailingspouse 22nd Oct 19, 3:21 PM
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    trailingspouse
    I've just received a response to my appeal letter. See below.


    Thank you for your letter dated 14th October 2019.

    I have amended the amount owing to 1.50, please make payment in accordance with the instructions on your Unpaid Fare Notice.

    For the future, please ensure that you obtain a valid ticket or Promise to Pay notice before boarding the train or you may be liable for a Penalty Fare.





    The 1.50 is the difference between the single fare that I had to buy for the return leg of my journey, and the cost of the return fare I would have bought if I'd had the opportunity - no problem at all with paying that, obviously.


    stragglebod - I think your comment must have been removed before I saw it - but I would agree with you about taking responsibility for ones own actions. And I do. Part of that responsibility is to stand up for yourself when you believe that something is unfair, which is what I have done - successfully.








    • Dymphna60
    • By Dymphna60 22nd Oct 19, 4:39 PM
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    Dymphna60
    What a good outcome for you .
    When I read your post I sympathised with you as when I travel from my local station ,which has a ticket office , signs state you must not travel without a ticket or will receive a fine . However there is usually someone on the train checking tickets and cheerfully selling all sorts of tickets never saying that a ticket should be bought before travel.
    • yorkie2
    • By yorkie2 26th Oct 19, 7:51 PM
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    yorkie2
    A similar analogy would be that nobody is at the checkout so you load the stuff into your car and go to a different branch of the supermarket to pay for the goods.
    Originally posted by Takmon
    What a weird, inaccurate analogy; the OP specifically said they " went straight to the Ticket desk [analogy: checkout] to [pay]."


    There is a lot of confusion in this thread about terms such as Penalty Fare, Unpaid Fare Notice, and Fine. These are all different concepts and are not one and the same thing. Only some companies issue Penalty Fares, while a UFN can be used in different ways by different companies. An actual fine could be the final outcome in a case of suspected fare evasion, however train companies cannot issue these themselves and would have to successfully prosecute through the courts if they wish to go down that route.



    Anyway I am glad it worked out OK on this occasion.
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