A teenager has been told he is facing a fine of £31 after being told he had ‘dodged’ paying his train fare of sixty pence.
David Price contacted us yesterday to say that his 16-year-old son had received a letter (pictured) notifying him of the fine after he was accused of dodging his 60p train fare while travelling from Wrexham General to Gwersyllt Station last month.
The letter offers a settlement figure of £31, which is broken down to the initial fare (60p) and an ‘administration charge’, which we take to be £30.40 .
Mr Price said that his son and friends had been approached at the station and told they had not paid their train fare. The group have said there was not a ticket machine at the station they used and they couldn’t see the conductor. A number of the group were taken into some of the nearby cabins and had to sign a statements, providing their name and addresses. When they offered to pay the 60p on the spot, they were told they were not allowed to and their details were taken.
Mr Price said: “I don’t understand they can’t have a ticket operation on the train that is similar to a buses.”
The letter states that ‘travelling without a valid railway ticket on the railway with the intention of avoiding a railway is an offence under Section 5 of the Regulation of Railways Act 1889′.
It also states that the inspectors report alleges an offence and ‘we see no reason why legal action should not be taken’. Before adding that first time cases involving young people might be dealt with outside the judicial process.
In September we reported that a number of train passengers has been stopped and told they had not paid their fare when getting of the train. Mr Price was one of the parents to contact us last month regarding his son and friends being stopped and accused of ‘fare dodging’ at the Gwersyllt train station.
After our original story went online, a number of people got in touch via Twitter and email telling us of similar incidents at the Gwersyllt train station.
We spoke to Arriva Wales after the original incident last month who confirmed that the people carrying out the checks on passengers were ‘experienced Revenue Protection Teams’ who ‘randomly descend on station exits and trains to check that passengers have the correct ticket for their journey.’
Arriva Trains added: “We will always take genuine reasons for not buying the correct ticket into account”.
In a comment posted on Mr Price’s Facebook page this morning, he described the situation as ‘ridiculous’, adding: “This matter will not be dropped and his ‘fine’ will not be paid, I will go to court with him and dispute their claim.”
We contacted Arriva Trains this morning asking how many letters had been sent out to passengers to find out how many others are facing similar demands. We also asked if they felt issuing a £31 fine for a 60p ticket was reasonable.
Rather than specific answers, a statement was issued by Peter Northcott, Head of Revenue Protection and Security for Arriva Trains Wales saying: “Arriva Trains Wales is currently running a campaign to crack down on fare evasion. Ticket checks recently took place at Gwersyllt station and although we cannot comment on individual cases, 87 people were found travelling without a ticket over a two-day period.
“We go to great lengths to inform passengers of their obligations to buy the correct ticket for their journeys. National Railways Byelaw 18 (2005) makes clear that any traveller must obtain a valid ticket showing that the correct fare has been paid for your intended journey if you board at a station where a ticket issuing facilities are available. Ticket machines are available at both Wrexham Central and Wrexham General stations.”
The subject has generated a fair bit of discussion on our forums over the past few weeks. To join in with the discussion, you can visit the forum thread on this topic here.