Penalty fare


Penalty fare

On the United Kingdom's public transport systems, a penalty fare is a special fare charged at a higher than normal price because the purchaser did not comply with the normal ticket purchasing rules. Typically penalty fares are incurred by passengers failing to purchase a ticket before travelling or by purchasing an incorrect ticket which does not cover their whole journey.

Penalty fares are not a fine and the person paying the penalty fare is not considered to have committed a criminal offence. Penalty fares are used to discourage casual fare evasion and disregard for the ticketing rules without resorting to the drastic and costly step of prosecution under the Regulation of Railways Act 1889. More egregious fare avoiders can still be prosecuted and fined if convicted.

Penalty fares are used on the UKs National Rail network and also on other modes of transport within London.

History and Legal Status

Penalty fares were first introduced on British Rail Network SouthEast under the British Rail (Penalty Fares) Act 1989. Over time they have been extended to cover many parts of the National Rail network.

The London Regional Transport (Penalty Fares) Act 1992 and the Greater London Authority Act 1999 allows Transport for London to charge penalty fares under similar but not identical rules. TfL's penalty fares scheme covers buses and trams as well as the London Underground and Docklands Light Railway.

Initially the maximum penalty fare was set at £10 or twice the full single fare to the next station (whichever is the highest) in addition to the full single fare for the rest of the journey. The £10 was later raised to £20.

Operation

Penalty fares are typically issued by Revenue Protection Inspectors either on the trains or by staff at the destination station. Passengers unable to pay the fare on the spot are allowed to pay within 21 days provided they supply their name and address.

Passengers who were unable to purchase a ticket due to faulty ticket machines or closed ticket offices are not charged penalty fares. Staff have considerable discretion in deciding whether to charge a penalty fare to passengers without valid tickets.

Travellers issued with penalty fares which they believe to be unfair may appeal the fare within 21 days to an appeal service, which varies depending on the mode of transport. For National Rail services this is the Independent Penalty Fares Appeal Service [Office of Rail Regulation: [http://www.rail-reg.gov.uk/server/show/ConWebDoc.5772 I have been issued with a penalty fares notice by a train company for not being in possession of a valid ticket, and have a complaint. Whom should I contact?] ] .

See also

*National Rail Conditions of Carriage
*London Underground ticketing

References

External links

*Department for Transport: [http://www.dft.gov.uk/pgr/rail/legislation/pf/penaltyfarespolicya Penalty Fares Policy]
*National Rail: [http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/times_fares/purchasing_tickets/penalty_fares.htm Penalty Fares]
*Transport for London: [http://www.tfl.gov.uk/tickets/penaltyfares/1089.aspx Penalty fares and prosecutions] (Lists the various Appeal Bodies)


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