Passengers fined for making innocent mistakes when buying train tickets


Passengers fined for making innocent mistakes when buying train tickets are being let down by uncaring officials, watchdog warns

  • Passengers  being fined for making innocent mistakes when buying train tickets
  • Transport Focus found evidence that passengers’ claims routinely mishandled 
  • Watchdog found passengers not told of their right to appeal in the first place

Passengers fined for making innocent mistakes when buying train tickets are being let down by uncaring officials who do not investigate appeals properly, warn watchdogs.

Travellers given penalty fare notices after simple errors, such as misplacing their ticket or buying the wrong one, can appeal to the independent Appeals Service.

But Transport Focus has discovered evidence that passengers’ claims are being routinely mishandled and not investigated properly.

Watchdog Transport Focus has discovered that passengers fined for making innocent mistakes when buying train tickets are being let down by officials. (Stock image)

In one shocking case, a woman who boarded a train without buying a ticket while rushing to hospital after a miscarriage had her appeal rejected.

The incident is one of many involving passengers whose appeals were bluntly turned down despite evidence of mitigation or a valid reason for buying the wrong ticket.

The critical report comes despite the Appeals Service being overhauled in 2018 amid concerns it was unfairly penalising passengers.

The study also found some passengers are not told of their right to appeal in the first place. (Stock image)

The study also found some passengers are not told of their right to appeal in the first place. (Stock image)

Transport Focus said some passengers are not told of their right to appeal in the first place. They receive intimidating penalty fare notices and pay up out of fear of being prosecuted.

The watchdog also highlighted rejection letters which fail to properly explain why an appeal was declined.

Director David Sidebottom said train firms need ‘to show discretion’ and not treat ‘honest passengers as criminals’.

 

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