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Penalty Fare Scheme Starting 28th August - Northern Railway

Posted: Tue May 29, 2018 7:19 pm
by turdo170
Hi Folks,

Just thought I would start a thread to let everyome know that Poynton and stations on the Stoke line will become Penalty Fare stations (For Northern services only) from June 25th.

Penalty Fare schemes are regulated by the Department for Transport and legal regulations apply to determine when they can charged.

If you make an honest mistake and don't buy a ticket before boarding from this date, buy the wrong ticket (child and Railcard when not eligable) or override and meet an authorised collector (not the designated guard or ticket examiner) you will be charged at least £20.00 or twice the Anytime single fare to the next station (whichever is greater) and an undiscounted Anytime fare for the rest of your journey if you stay on the same train.

If you meet a non-Northern staff member or demonstrate intend you may be liable for a higher out of court settlement or court appearance with maximum fine £1000 or 3 months in prison.

If the ticket office is closed and you need a cash fare you should obtain a promise to pay from the machine by going through to the payment screen and selecting cash which will provide a free voucher. Machines will be upgraded with a new yellow warning home screen when it goes live with details of obtaining a promise to pay voucher.

If the ticket you want isn't available you must obtain a single ticket to your interchange station which can be exchanged for the required ticket.

Previously Northern have had their own unregulated scheme which consists of:

First Time Failure or No Opportunity to pay - warning and pay the fare
Second time £80.00 + fare
Third time £90.00 plus fare
Further occurances out of court settlement or prosecution.

All this was handled by a premium rate number.

Penalty Fares can be paid fully on the spot or a part payment is normally requested with the remainder online. An appeals process also exists with a new independant stage to ensure passengers are treated fairly.

If a passenger refuses to pay a penalty fare without good cause then it goes to the prosecution department for a higher out of court settlement or a court summons.

More details

Re: Penalty Fare Scheme Starting 25th June - Stoke Line

Posted: Wed May 30, 2018 12:55 pm
by AndrewJ
Although it doesn't affect me personally, I am sure that a lot of people will find this irritating. It has proved controversial elsewhere, which is possibly why the previous franchisee didn't bring it in. As it is not possible to buy all the different types of cheap or season tickets all day (as the ticket machines don't sell them - even if they are working) it feels like this is about making money rather than stopping fare-dodging. At a place like Poynton station it is clearly going to affect those with disabilities more too, as the ticket office has poor access, and the machines are not exactly designed with anyone in mind, let alone those who might struggle (mentally or physically) to use such a thing.

You can get a 'promise to pay' ticket at the machine, but you will have to pay in cash at the other end as the 'promise' is intended to help those who can't pay at the card-only ticket machines. You can't 'promise' to pay for the cheaper ticket you were wanting to get initially either, it would only be one issued by the machine.

The rules are fairly flexible, so as not to catch out accidental offenders. If you agree to pay the full single fare for your journey you have demonstrated a willingness to pay, so you won't be given a Penalty Fare. Just so long as you don't keep on doing it.

Also, if you have to wait a long time to get a ticket (over 3 mins off-peak, 5 mins peak) then that is considered to be an inability to buy a ticket. So if you see the train coming in and you are still in the queue you can get on it without a ticket, and not have to wait an hour or more until the next one!

The person challenging you must be an authorised collector for Northern - and they must show their credentials. Not all Northern rail staff are authorised and they have no right to impose a Penalty Fare. No other companies' inspectors can challenge you either.

No matter what Northern might be saying in their publicity, a Penalty Fare is a civil offense, not criminal offense. You won't get a criminal record if you get a Penalty Fare. Of course if your appeal fails and you don't pay then that is a different matter...

Re: Penalty Fare Scheme Starting 25th June - Stoke Line

Posted: Wed May 30, 2018 8:11 pm
by turdo170
You can buy ANY ticket with a promise to pay not just those on the machine. Likewise if you buy a single to your interchange you can exchange it for ANY ticket.

Unfortunately you can't just jump on the train if there is a queue although you can complain that the train company are breaching the 3 Off Peak/5 minute Peak expected waiting time.

A queue is not a valid excuse and you can be issued with a Penalty Fare as it is a Byelaw 18 breach.

Penalty Fares and ticketing are covered by railway laws and ARE NOT civil. They ARE enforceable in court but with a much higher fine. If you refuse to pay you WILL be reported for prosecution , potentially under ROR section 5 with intent rather than failure to provide a valid ticket , which usually costs around £500.00 in court fines rather than upto around £250.00

I see hundreds of thousands of cases a year of out of court settlements and court fines for railway ticketing offences, so I am afraid this is simply not true.

Re: Penalty Fare Scheme Starting 25th June - Stoke Line - DELAYED

Posted: Thu Jun 14, 2018 8:08 am
by turdo170
Scheme delayed and posters removed.

Re: Penalty Fare Scheme Starting 25th June - Stoke Line - DELAYED

Posted: Wed Jun 27, 2018 4:19 pm
by AndrewJ
OK, I feel quite sad, and don't claim to be a legal expert, but I looked this up as it is widely 'known' that Penalty Fares are not criminal offences, so I wondered if it was an urban myth.

The legislation is here:

Basically a railway operator can choose to go one of 2 ways: a criminal offence or a Penalty Fare (which is a civil debt). If they go the criminal offence route then they have to cancel the Penalty Fare within a certain time limit. I'm guessing they'd only do this with persistent offenders.

Oh, and a queue is a valid excuse, so long as you can demonstrate that there is not usually a queue and so you weren't just late for the train!

Re: Penalty Fare Scheme Starting 28th August

Posted: Mon Aug 06, 2018 10:56 pm
by turdo170
The Penalty Fare Scheme will now be introduced on Monday 28th August.

Re: Penalty Fare Scheme Starting 28th August - Northern Railway

Posted: Tue Aug 21, 2018 8:59 am
by AndrewJ
And interestingly, the new notices have removed all reference to 'criminal offence'. Was it something I said?! :)

Re: Penalty Fare Scheme Starting 28th August - Northern Railway

Posted: Fri Aug 24, 2018 12:46 pm
by turdo170
Well it is a criminal offence to board a train without a ticket or permit where facilities exist to pay.

Penalty Fares are intended for Byelaw 18 offences which are criminal but where it is considered that the offence was an honest mistakes and can be settled out of court with the payment of a penalty fare.