Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Dodging Fare Evasion - A Guide

Dodging Fare Evasion – A guide.

This post only relates to Fare Evasion on Buses that are operated by TFL.
It does not deal with Fare Evasion on the Tube, though I suppose you can use similar arguments, but you should be careful to make that distinction for yourselves.

Quite a few of you readers have been emailing me and asking me how I got out of being prosecuted by TFL for fare evasion. Some of you have been nice, and others have just taken my information and run, without a thank you (I hope you get done propa). Though I find it incredibly boring to give people the same advice all the time, and I’m pretty sure I keep missing stuff out, so here’s a guide if you help you getting out of being prosecuted via settling out of court.

Disclaimer: I accept no responsibility for any reliance that you make on this information, it should not be considered as independent legal advice, if you do intend to rely on this information by reading this you promise not to be a dumb ass, not to copy and paste points that I put across, you are free to distribute this information as you wish as long as I am credited.

Update 03 April 2009 - If you get a court summons just ring them up and ask to settle out of court. They will normally let you and you will have to pay around £102.


PLEASE READ THE POST IN FULL AND THE COMMENTS BEFORE EMAILING ME.

Update February 5th 2009 - there is another fanastic website that deals with this, I have yet to verify the information on it, but I consider that the information is still reliable. In addition to reading this guide you should also read the information on the link below.

I have just recently become aware as of February 6th 2009 of this wonderful website
http://busrights.blogspot.com/

1. You’ve been caught
So you have been caught, either it was a mistake or you were deliberating doing it, it really makes no difference. Make sure that you check whatever you sign at the time, this will be used in evidence against you, so make sure that you agree with what TFL inspector, or if you did not know then you may say that you were under duress to sign it.

If the ticket inspector has taken down your details it will be all put in a computer, and I gather that the decision to prosecute is made by the prosecution managers. If you have given a real name and address you are likely to receive a letter, saying that you were caught at X time and X date, and do you have anything to say about the matter.

You should immediately reply, with a grovelling letter of apology, it will also be important to make sure that any correspondence with TFL is printed off or photocopied, and kept in a safe place or folder, you will need this if you need to go to court.

2. The Court Summons
Think that they have forgotten about it, haven’t heard about them in a couple of months? TFL are extremely busy prosecuting people, probably with the amount of people that don’t pay on the buses. As fare evasion is a summary offence a court summons can arrive any time (so I’m told) within 6 months of when the offence was committed. Any longer and I assume you can have the case chucked out of you as the time limit for bring forth proceedings has elapsed, or you could be unlucky enough to have the court summons arrive 4 days before the elapsed period.

2(a) Read

Though you will probably be in shock and perhaps thinking that your legal career is over it is important to read all the documents that you have in front of you, check all the statements provided by inspectors, look to see if they are signed or not, an unsigned statement may not be valid, after all how do we know that someone else has not made this information up? Look also at the statements look for discrepancies, the TFL inspector may have surmised what you have said, or might not have written down what you said at all. Note this down for later.

Also have a look at the Revenue Enforcement and Prosecutions Policy and highlight any sections that you feel are applicable to your case.


2(b) Do I have to respond immediately?http://www.blogger.com/img/gl.bold.gif
My advice is no, do not respond immediately to the court summons as you will be trying to settle out of court. I did not fill out the back of the form or send anything off. If you have already put in your plea it doesn’t matter you can change it.

If you have received a court summons ring up the TFL number provided on the summons and ask for whoever is in charge of your case and ask for their email, this will speed up communication time, as you will not have to put valuable letters within the remit of Royal Mail.

3. Drafting a response to the court summons

(a) Tone and Format

Assuming now that you want to settle out of court, have read through all the information on the court summons, have highlighted any discrepancies in the evidence against you, and checked that the statements have been signed so you can assure for their validity you can now start with your draft letter/email in the hope that you can settle this out of court.

You will need to sound (a) apologetic, do not rant, keep it simple and precise, and (b) it needs to be written in a formal manner, even if its in an email I recon it should look like this found HERE (click link) . Do not use the same adjectives over again, have an expansive vocabulary but do not get flowery.

Here is where you need to develop your written advocacy!! Whilst also being formal, apologetic all that jazz, you need to be persuasive, be persuasive in a suggestive way for example “It could be open to suggest that…” etc.

(B) What to include.
Hopefully if you have read all the above points you will know what to include.
You may want to set it out like this (a) Apology (b) Revenue and Policy Guidelines that support you case (C) The Pace argument (explained later) (D) if the statements are signed or not.

(C) The Pace Argument

The pace argument relates to the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984. (You may wish to google this) now TFL inspectors are bound by this act and therefore must perform their duties in accordance with it. Depending on your circumstances you may not be even to use this argument, this must be considered very carefully, because if you use it and its not applicable to you then you will look like a dumbass. I suggest you do your own research on Pace.
Now what can you use PACE for. Basically PACE stipulates that any conversation or questions put to a suspect that are likely to produce an allged confession, must only be after you have been cautioned. A police caution in this circumstance being that which you may be familiar with on the bill "You do not have to say anything. But it may harm your defence if you do not mention when questioned something which you later rely on in court. Anything you do say may be given in evidence." Also see this site HERE for more information.

So if you have been questioned and you have said anything that may be prejudical to your case you could suggest to TFL that it would be inadmissible in a court of law.
If it went to court, you can make an application under s.76 and s.78 of PACE 1984 to exclude such evidence being admitted.

4. The Waiting Game

So hopefully you will nervously await a reply from TFL as they decide your fate! This process can take up to a week. They will either (a) inform you that they are proceeding with the prosecution or (b) saying that they will drop it, if you pay prosecution costs and the fare evaded, an amount which could be between £100-£200. Once you have paid they will send you a confirmation that they have dropped the case and that you do not need to attend the court date.

5. What happens if they don’t drop the prosecution.

Now I never got this far, however I would try and keep communications open as possible with TFL, keep asking them to settle out of court.

If not you can ask to meet with the prosecutor and suggest that they charge you with a caution, if not then you could ask the magistrate to impose an absolute discharge (which is not a criminal conviction) given the prosecution’s hard stance. You could also show how eager you were to co-operate with TFL, and make sure that you have a copy of all the correspondence between yourself and TFL.

5(A) Should I get representation?

Not if you can settle it out of court, solicitors will charge £100 for an interview as fare evasion does not give rise to legal aid! There may however be people who will represent you bro pono.

Contact details are below.

Community Legal Services Direct
0845 345 4345


The Law Society on 020 7242 1222.

Bar Pro Bono Unit
0207 6119500.


6. How will this effect my future career in Law Etc

I have been told that this will probably not effect being called to the Bar. You MUST if asked declare any convictions declare them to your professional regulatory body, either to the Bar or Law Society. If you do not have a conviction then you do not need to mention it ;)

I think that they ask for any previous convictions, not withstanding whether or not they have been spent, so you must declare them. If you do not declare your conviction you risk the chance of being found out later and disbarred, or whatever the equivalent for a solicitor is.

There are two different views on whether or not this will effect your chances of pupillage/jobs, either (a) everyone has done it in London including Barrister’s themselves so it’s not very serious or (b) it’s an offence of dishonesty, “ I wouldn’t want to work with a thief” a mumbling twat would mutter, and with competition for these jobs being so high, its another reason to reject your application.

Now hopefully this has provided you with the answers that you want. If you still have questions you can contact me at lost London law student at googlemail dot com.

Good Luck!!

278 comments:

1 – 200 of 278   Newer›   Newest»
Law Minx said...

Wotcher Lost,

What a handy little guide! Do you plan to circulate it among your fellow students as a leaflet for a small renumeration? Just a thought! :)

Lost said...

I could do!!
I seem to be having a few hits off this page from google searching!!

I could change it to, for £10 I will give you a guide that may or may not get you off fare evasion charges!

Ha!

Bar Boy said...

Lost, new bar students received a specific warning about oyster cards at Inner Temple this week. The clear implication was that a conviction for fare evasion would end any hopes of a career at the Bar. The message was one of zero tolerance.

Lost said...

ah fuck really? shit!!!

Glad I got out of that one!!!

I find that quite unreasonable really, there may be exceptional circumstances, and not everyone will know if they want to apply to the bar or not.

The most i have heard is that everyone pleads guilty by post, as they see it as their "only" option..

hmm

Anonymous said...

Thanks you very much for the guide.

This worked for me.

Inspector stopped me because I was having less money on my oyster and after nearly 6 months I received a court summon.

I called Prosecution Manager at TFL and requested for out of court settlement and as it was my first report so they took £100+£2 on the phone and now they will be sending me the receipt and out of court settlement form which I need to fill and send back.

Prosecution Manager informed me that I don't need to go to court any more for this summon.

Lost said...

Glad you it helped you!

NP said...

Just to add my thanks and gratitude as well for your helpful hints and tips. I likewise received the out of court settlement for £100 costs plus the original fare with a minimum of fuss. I emailed at lunchtime and received a reply that afternoon - apparently this is normal according to the guy I spoke to on the phone.

Other than chancing it with a couple of technical details (your PACE argument, and also the loophole detailed here: http://busrights.blogspot.com/), I wrote pretty much the same as in the original letter at the time of the offence. It seems pretty obvious what's written at that time is ignored and they push ahead with the prosecution knowing the vast majority will panic and plead guilty.

Thanks again.

Lost said...

Hi NP,

Glad you found the blog post useful.
I'll take a butchers at Bus Rights and see if i can salvage anything.

I really need to update the s 78 Pace argument, normally I would think it would be enough to deter them off prosecuting you, they don't want to get involved in looking up the law now do they.

There are other things that they could do to admit such evidence, however I'm not that technically skilled in evidence to give a thorough run through of the issues on my blog and I wouldn't want anyone from TFL stumbling onto a few cases that let them do certain things.. lol

Well done in beating TFL!

NP said...

I didn't want to find myself out of my depth with arguments about PACE but I did mention specific reference to Section 11.1 in the Revenue Enforcement document you mentioned.

I have no idea if any of this helped. Hell, they probably made their mind up when I said it was my first offence blah de blah, and then they just giggled at the rest.

I think you're exactly right that they're just after the path of least resistance and just want to drop anyone who's willing to make an effort to make a fuss and defend themselves (and as long as they're not a serial offender). They're too busy collecting fines off the people who are given the impression that ticking the guilty box is the least worst option. (I say that with a mistaken sense of superiority and a wallet 100 quid lighter).

Anonymous said...

I need a number to call the prosecutions manager on. The number provided on the summons is just ringing constantly. Nobody is picking up! I have been calling for the past two days now!
HELP ME SOMEONE PLEASE!!!
somebodies email will be nice!

Thank you in advance

Lost said...

Ring the general enquiries number for TFL and ask for the TFL prosecution number.

Not that difficult to work out.

nidda said...

Hey had a prb rcently i was abt 2 b late for a presntation at uni and wen i gt to the sttion i realised i picked up my lil bro's oyster card i had to use it no choice but gt caught on the way bk and she took my details and the reason y i used it, i gt confused and said i lost mine thts y i used my brthers i hvnt gt a ltter yet im 19 have an oyster but jus had a bad day any advice?

Lost said...

One piece of advice, READ!
They have 6 months to send you a letter for a court summons.
You can ring up and ask if you are on the list to pay for a penalty fare, if not its likely you will get sent a court summons.

After the court summons arrives ring them up and ask to settle out of court.

I'm sure you could have read that from the blog.

nidda said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
nidda said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lost said...

costs are £102

Anonymous said...

what should one do, if TFL has sent a summons despite a grovelling letter of apology - and has documented the events well enough not to be able to use the advice given? Should a solicitor be consulted ASAP, esp when the hearing is in less than a fortnight's time? Or is there another way...? (Please let there be another way!) Yours, an admiring fan

Lost said...

1. Read their handbook on prosecutions, the link is somewhere above in the post.
2. Use a few sections to say that the prosecution is unfair.
3. Read the Bus Rights blog I have posted that gives you an alternative defence.
4. Solicitors can be expensive, you may be talking £100 for just an interview.
5. I suggest re reading the blog post again, and trying to work something out.

Law is like a broken drum - cannot be beaten said...

Hi, I've spoken to my solicitor who says the best he can do is get an absolute discharge. This still shows up on a CRB record, and will have to be mentioned when applying for a pupillage. Is he unduely pessimistic, and are there cases where you can be let off on the basis that it was a first time offence? Is there any other way, you can force an out-of-court settlement besides tenaciously writting letters to the prosecutors? Eagerly awaiting your reply, thanks.

Lost said...

Send them a very persuasive letter using the post above.

Post is first class or next day delievery, either send an email or I would ring them up over the phone and ask to settle out of court.

Most of the time they settle.

Will cost you £102 to settle.

You can also ask the prosecutor to be cautioned.

An absolute discharge is not a criminal conviction, im unaware of how much stigma it carries.

Ask them to settle out of court.

Anonymous said...

re Fare Evasion you can also read at:
http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/public-transport-trains-tubes/138489-oyster-card-hell.html

it helped me a lot.

Pistachio said...

Lost London Law Student,

Thank-you! I thought the only option i had was to go to court say i'm sorry, pay the minimum of £100 and be lumped with an embarassing criminal record. Alas, i found your blog, wrote a letter outlining what you recommended, sent it via email, and have recieved a reply today saying i just need to pay them... £22.00.
CAB may well tell you to go to court and be done with it but don't! Write to them. Thank-you for all the amazing advice, it really works.

Lost said...

£22! is that all!
You lucky bugger!

Cal Roscow said...

Thank you for your help! I would have lost my job if convicted so I can't thank you enough.

Received confirmation of settlement this morning.

£102.

Lady About Town said...

Just wanted to say, thanks for all the advice! Managed to settle out of court, but with a charge of £200! I should have asked for £22! Nonetheless, thank-you so much again! You'll make a fine advocate! x x

Sam said...

Does anyone know if the prosecution manager has a direct email address because when I rang up they told me just to send my email to 'ips@tfl.gov.uk' as the prosecution manager doesn't have a direct address...Is someone telling porky pies??? Thanks

Anonymous said...

Hi, very useful thing this, i received summons today (a full 5 months and 5 days after my offence"), however on my summons they have my date of birth wrong, I'm just wondering if this alters the validity of the summons and if so, will they then just summon me again with my correct date of birth or will that be that?
Thanks for help, speedy reply would be appreciated but just in case I'm following your handy guide above in the meantime
Mike

Lost said...

Probably not, you are best to ring up and ask to settle.

Student said...

This guide is incredible. Thanks for all the help!

After drafting an argumentative letter I did find an easier route though...

If you just ring the number in your court summons and directly ask to settle out of court they will offer to drop the case for £100, no questions asked. Odd, but it worked for me.

Anonymous said...

Oh you are so lucky!!! I just phoned them up and although the guy seemed pretty nice he informed me that it had to be in a written manner. And he didn't give me his email address, just gave me his name. I tried to phone again n hopefully try my luck with someone else but got the same guy and hanged up!
I don't have a argument to defend my case, and I answered all the questions truthfully and signed it! All I can say to defend myself is that I have a clear record and that I was very co-operative from the moment the incident occurred. help anyone?

Lost said...

Yes ANON I have some advice for you..

it seems like you have learnt how to write but not to READ.

I suggest you READ the post that I spent a few hours making, then the 30 comments that this post has received.

THEN if you are still confused then ask for help.

Lost said...

It doesnt need to be in a written manner, a lot of people who have used this blog have done it over the phone with no hassle.

If he wants it in a written manner then USE the blog post.

Anonymous said...

Gosh sorry. I must have made quite an impact on you considering your response. and update on your guidance notes. won't bother you again n thanx for the info!!

Anonymous said...

As I actually paid dear for a Legal 500 lawyer to stay away from prosecution, I wanted to share some of his advice with everybody else:

- The handy article 7.4 that you can try to defend yourself with only applies to buses and not to underground.

- Settling out of court is still the most elegant if you are actually guilty. If that doesn't work, and you are actually guilty, you should consider pleading guilty as lying under oath is a serious offence (even punishable by imprisonment).

- You can consider going to court and make a plea, but he warned not to overdo it as there might always be people from the press around. If you have nothing to lose, you can go for it, but if you actually have a career, you just don't want your face in the newspaper.

I settled for £300, so considerably more than most other people. The lawyer was many times more expensive, but I wonder whether simply employing a lawyer frightened TfL a bit as well.

Lost said...

Dear Anon,

I have updated the main blog post to say that you can ring TFL and that the majority of the time they are happy to settle.

For some reason they will not settle, I'm afraid if they won't settle then you are being made a further example of.

To settle with them costs £102 + many hours of embarrassment and confusion when first considering what to do.

I personally did not have the money to instruct a solicitor as a student, money like that is better spent on better things.

I did however have the help of a solicitor who I spoke to over the phone who assured me that if I were to be convicted that it didn't matter. Subsequent advice by people who post regulary on this blog suggests otherwise particulary if you are a student and wish to pursue a legal career.

I am also grateful that a barrister was kind enough to give me various ideas as to what I should do.

All of this advice was free and as I received it freely I give it freely to all other people in the same predicament.

I apologise to other people I may have been short tempered with. I often get many emails giving me a long description of what happened and I do try to reply to each of them very politely however much of the information I give is just a repeat of what I have already said on the blog.

I hope that people continue to find post useful.

Anonymous said...

Hi guys.

I received my court summon today and having read up about my rights on this blog, I think I can make use of some of the PACE act guidelines to my defence.

In my case, I was not given a full caution informing me that I was entitled to have a solicitor present. I was not informed about having the right to free and independent legal advice. (they often forget about the legal advice bit)

The prosecutor states in my court summon: I cautioned Mr xxx, informed him that he was not under arrest and not obliged to stay with me.

So I am going to put together a letter saying that I was not given a "full" caution. I believe any confession obtained without the PACE guidelines being followed makes any such confession inadmissable in a court of law.

Hopefully this should work!

Thanks Lost

Lost said...

Hi Anon, sorry I seem to have mislead you in my post.

S 58 PACE 1984 - which is about the right to consult a solicitor only applies when you are in custody not when they stop you.

They should have given you a full caution when they stopped you and asked you questions.

The caution which is found at 10.5 Code C Codes of Practice issued with PACE 1984. “You do not have to say anything. But it may harm your defence if you do not mention when questioned something which you later rely on in court. Anything you do say may be given in evidence.”

In an sense for your legal argument to work, you would have to state that you did not receive that full caution.

Therefore anything obtained from you from that point onwards is unfair and should be excluded under s 78 PACE.

I'm not a legal professional so I could be mistaken....

Anonymous said...

right, thanks for that mate. Seeing as the prosecutor only mentioned I gave Mr xxx a caution but didn't specify what that full caution was. I might carefully use it and say he left some parts out. I understand they are allowed to some extent change the wording of the PACE act but my argument is going to be that the prosecutor didn't mention that any comment made could be used as evidence in court. Cheers

Anonymous said...

As hope to anybody who received a "no" on a proposal to settle: I got a "no" on the first and the second instance that I wrote them. Only the third time, when my lawyer wrote (I posted a comment earlier and am the one who took on a Legal 500 lawyer), they agreed to settle for £300. So keep trying if the initial response if "no"! The lawyer letter costed me over £2000, but I feel it is worth it to stay away from a criminal record.

Not that it is helpful to anybody, but I think it is ridiculous that an organisation like TfL can criminise people for such small offences. If I had stolen something in a shop for £4, then no way would the court consider bringing this to court.

Anonymous said...

Anon - Lawyer 500 user. I would be grateful if I could speak with you about your case. In a similar situation and would like to know more about your experience.
If possible could we disscuss on
pooleschmidt@yahoo.co.uk?

Anonymous said...

Anon - Lawyer 500 user. I would be grateful if I could speak with you about your case. In a similar situation and would like to know more about your experience.
If possible could we disscuss on
pooleschmidt@yahoo.co.uk?

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Lost said...

I really wouldn't put my university email on a site that was about trying to get off fare evasion...

Again I'll say read all the above of what I have said. I don't think there is a need for a lawyer, there would only be a need for a lawyer if they refused to settle out of court repeatedly.

Anonymous said...

you're right. In that case, can you pls delete it. thanks

Anonymous said...

You sir, Mr. Lost, are an absolute genius! Hats off! Who knew petty theft costs betwixt a 'ton' and a 'monkey'? One begs to ask whether a ten percent commision should be paid to you by TFL, for every case settled. T'is only fair :)

Anonymous said...

this really does work.

Just called tfl now, and i was surprised at how quick THEY offered me to settle out of court for £102. No questions asked. I quite simply agreed :-) I am delighted..

Mr Lost, i take my hat off to you. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Hi I have some questions regarding the fare evasion process and would be grateful for your expertise:

I was not told that i did not have to stay with the inspector, does that mean i did not recieve a full caution?

also, I was also only given the caution after I had signed the inspector's form!

what has been the exact charge that people have been able to settle out of court? I understand there are two different charges relating to fare evasion, the intent 'mens rea' one and the strictly liability non-recordable recordone?

Is it only advisable to contact the train comany after the summons has been recieved, I am worried this will not leave enough time to settle out of court, either by myself or through a solicitor?

Thanks

Lost said...

Anon.

1. Being told that you do not have to stay with the inspector is not a full caution.

2. Being given the caution after you have signed your statement is probable a breach of PACE.

3. Fare evasion is a strict liability offence, it has no mens rea.

4. If you had read the post Anon, you would have discovered that most people settle within 30 secs on the phone with TFL for about £102.

Anonymous said...

thanks Lost for the advice, my situation involves another train company, not tfl, so guess we'll have to see what happens!

Anonymous said...

So I gather from the TfL situation you are supposed to be cautioned, then questioned, then expected to sign the record they make from those questions...

In which case a similar scenario involving another railway firm where they do not caution you, just take notes on a note pad and they don't make you sign anything would in fact help one's case. Especially if the inspector did not show any identification.

Essentially if I didn't sign anything does their whole argument fall apart?

Interestingly I found this discussion on a police forum about this very topic

http://www.ukpoliceonline.co.uk/index.php?showtopic=32718

I particularly like the Chief Inspectors opinion. It just goes to show it can happen to anyone.

Anonymous said...

Hey

I got caught stopped on the platform this morning without a ticket, had my details taken etc. I co-operated fully, the inspector told me my rights and explained the process (I will be getting a letter, which I am to respond to etc.).

I then went downstairs and told the inspectors who were checking tickets in the station that I did not have a ticket, and that I had just been dealt with on the platform. I was then told to pay a penakty fare, which I did unquestioningly.

In hindsight, is this OK? Am I not liable to be punished twice here? Does the fact that I was issued and paid a penalty fare in any way impact on my liability to be prosecuted?

Lost said...

You won't be punished twice if you paid a penalty fare, I wouldnt worry about it, though if you are caught again then they can take you to court.

Anonymous said...

Hey Lost,

Thanks for taking the time to respond, I really appreciate it - I hope you are right, as it seems wrong to be punished twice.

However, I'm just conscious that the penalty fare was issued by a different inspector than the one who wrote me up. As a result the one who wrote me up doesn't know that I also paid a fine, so I assume that I will still be getting a letter.

If I mention that I was subsequently fined in my response to this letter, do you think that this could help my case?

Lost said...

Do you have a receipt of being fined?
Photocopy that and send it off if you receive a letter, it seems inappropriate to be fined twice..

Anonymous said...

I will do. Thanks again - your help is really appreciated. You are providing an outstanding public service!

Take care...

Anonymous said...

Hi Lost, I really need your advice. I was stopped by the Revenue Inspector in Mar for using someone else's student oyster card. My details were taken & I received a letter from tfl stating "the facts of this incidents are now being considered and I must advice you that legal proceedings may be initiated against you regarding this matter in accordance with the London Underground prosecution policy. If you have any comments to make, to write it on the reverse & return the form with personal details within 10 days. You do not have to reply to this letter but it may harm your defence if you do not mention something which you may later rely on in court. Anything that you do provide in writting may be used in evidence. Failure to respond to this letter may result in the matter being progressed by the London Underground Prosecutions Dept without further notification." Firstly, I moved in Apr & every 2 weeks have been going back to the old house to check for mails. I just picked up the letter today (9th May) from tfl dated in April, which means it has been more than 10days. I am planning to ring them Mon morning and explain that I moved, etc.. but on the other hand, with this letter, do I ask to settle out of court immediately? Any advice is greatly appreciated. Do I reply to it or not? I am not sure what to do. thanks so much!

Lost said...

Best to ring them, say you have moved, didn't get it. What steps they are going to take against you, and whether you can settle out of court :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Lost, I guess I will need to reply to the letter, can you please give me a rough guide to what I shouldd & should not say? Thanks.

Lost said...

Ringing up is still the best option, they don't actualy care what you put in the letter you send back to them

Anonymous said...

Well, I spoke to Tim this mrg,and he asked me to send in the reply, so i guess the only thing I can do is write & apologise. I did ask him about settling it out of court & he said I will still need to reply to the letter. Guess will have to wait then. Thanks Lost! Vinny

Panda said...

My son received a court summons today for 6th June for not having validated his oyster card. This happened back in August 2008 and as he hadn't heard anything, up until getting the letter today he thought it had 'gone away' - so to speak. Can you tell me is it usual to have a gap of 10 months between the offence and court date. Also as he is away can I ring TFL on his behalf and try to get out of court settlement.
Many thanks

Lost said...

Hi Panda,

As far as I am aware fare evasion is a Summary offence that can only be tried in a magistrate's court, and the proceedings must be brought within 6 months of the date of the offence.

See -
http://www.hse.gov.uk/enforce/enforcementguide/court/magistrates/intro.htm#P8_746

There is an exception of offences that are explicitly provided for by statute, if you could give me the details of the statute then I could look it up for you.

It is most likely to be time barred.

I would ring up TFL say that your son has been caught, its his first time, and that you have heard that the prosecution is actually time barred, as it would need to be in 6 months and it has been 10 months.... I don't know if they will know any of this, but is it persuasive enough to let them drop the charge or settle out of court.

Like I said let me know which statute it is, as I have forgotten the one I was trying to be prosecuted under and I'll try and look it up for you :)

panda said...

Thanks for your quick reply. I'm not sure if this is the statute. 72B2 Failing to pay fare. Contrary to Regulation 7(2)(b)(ii) of the Public Service Vehicles (conduct of Drivers, Inspectors, Conductors & Passengers) Regulations 1990 SI No. 1020 and contrary to Section 25(3) of the Public Passengers Vehicles Act 1981. Do you think they will actually deal with me if I phone them up? I will try what you suggest in your blog. Thanks again for your help.

panda said...

Many thanks for your blog and your reply. I did as you suggested and phoned tfl today and spoke to a very helpful person. They have said that my son can settle out of court for £102 pounds and that they will withdraw the summons. He said they will be sending a letter out to that effect, so fingers crossed it will all go through. Again thank you, I initially thought that my son would have to plead guilty and that he would have a criminal record. What a relief that this may not happen now.

Lost said...

I've just read the Public Service Vehicles (conduct of Drivers, Inspectors, Conductors & Passengers) Regulations 1990 SI No. 1020 (a statutory instrument) and the Public Passengers Vehicles Act 1981. I will probably need to update the information on the main post.

section 7(2)(b)(ii) states that you have to pay a fare to be on the bus thats fine..

section 7(4) is more interesting
Any passenger who-

(a) fails to comply with paragraph 2(b) or (c); or

(b) does not have with him a ticket which was issued to him before his journey in respect of that journey;

shall pay the fare for his journey to the driver, inspector or conductor on request and in any case before he leaves the vehicle unless otherwise agreed by the driver, inspector or conductor.

So basically says that you can pay the fare to the bus driver or conductor... however it does say elsewhere that you do have to give your name over to a conductor/police officer if asked.

s 25(3)Public Passengers Vehicle Act 1981 says

(3) Subject to section 68(1)(which is a list of defences you must have reasonable excuse) of this Act, if a person contravenes, or fails to comply with, a provision of regulations having effect by virtue of this section, he shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding etc...

It doesn't create a statutory exception to the 6 month summary conviction rule as outlined at http://www.hse.gov.uk/enforce/enforcementguide/court/magistrates/intro.htm#P8_746.

I think it would be best for you to settle, however if you really really really didn't want to pay the fine and wanted to take a gamble you could argue that the prosecution of your son is time barred, and probably an abuse of process.

Saf said...

Hey!..I came across this site when I was looking for help and started searching around on google when I received a court summons for a similar offence. I got the summons on Saturday and found your site on Sunday and I rang them today!..He was a really reasonable guy named Mr Coombs. He told me over the phone that I could pay the £100 and then he would withdraw my case from court which I was due to attend on 10th June. He said he couldn't take payment over the phone as their card reader wasn't working so he gave me directions showing me how to get to his office in Victoria which was next to Victoria Coach Station. I met up with him during my lunch break at work, paid the £100 and he gave me a receipt and a letter confirming that my case will be withdrawn and I would not have to attend court which means I won't get a criminal record under my name!..and i was only there for 5 minutes when I saw him..He had the letter and receipt ready. I just wanted to say thanks so much, i'm so glad i came across this site otherwise I would've just pleaded guilty by post and ended up paying court fees plus fines plus ended up with a criminal record!..You're doing a great job, and if anyone wants help on this matter and wants to know more about my case then they are more than welcome to contact me!..Thanks again..You've saved me from having a criminal record.. :)

Anonymous said...

Hi,
I have called the prosecution department but they said they need exceptional circumstances to settle. Can anyone tell me what you told them on the phone to make them accept to settle out of court on the phone.
Cheers

Lost said...

Just say that you are really sorry and it won't ever happen again, it was a lapse in judgment blah bi dlbha

Anonymous said...

Thanks Lost. I have called and i was told to write to them and they will consider the letter. Could you please post the letter you gave the link to earlier.As I do not have access to it( ie it is password protected) ?

Thank you for you help, you have been great.

Lost said...

The letter was only to show how to lay out a standard formal letter it can be found anywhere.

I would just be very apologetic, if they don't drop it then use the legal arguments on the blog post.

Anonymous said...

Hi Saf, Can I ask what was your offence for? and what did you say to him on the phone? Thanks!

Saf said...

Hey.. Well basically I used my cousins student oyster card for one day when I couln't find my oyster at home and I was in a hurry. I used his just to get to the station which was a few stops away and when I got off they stopped me. What was your situation?..give me your email and I will email you.

Anonymous said...

Hey Saf, different Anon user here but in the same predicament as you.
Please could i get your help too?
pooleschmidt@yahoo.co.uk

Lost said...

I don't understand why you would need to contact someone else, I am finding it slightly insulting that people cannot be bothered to read through the entire blog post and then considering their options.

The blog post was meant for people to have something to think about, and it is quite easy to just ring up and ask to settle and say that you are very sorry.

Anonymous said...

hi Saf,
I have called and aske for Mr Coombs and i was told that there is no such person there. Could you please let me know how u did it. thanks

Lost said...

You ring up and ask to settle your case out of court..

really NOT that difficult.

Anonymous said...

guys,
I was wondering what are the exceptional circumstances for them to withdraw thier claim? I have followed the instroction on the blog and still got refused settlement out of court via mail. Can anyone please give me an example of what they want to hear ??

Thanks

Lost said...

If they dont let you settle first off, write again and say you are really sorry then try any of the legal arguments on the blog.

Anonymous said...

Hey Saf,
Could you please give me ur details so i can get more details from your case if you do not mind. I got cought for the same thing as you but the caling and the mailling did not have much results. I would really appreciate your help.
Thank you

Anonymous said...

There seems to be a lot of confusion on some of the latest posts.

An important point to remember is that there are two distinct departments: Buses and the Underground (tube).

This post relates mainly to Buses for which getting them to settle out of court appears to be very easy.

The same does NOT apply to the tube prosecutions department who require much more persuasion to do the same. They don't accept pleas over the phone.

Another point to remember is there are differing offenses. One offense where they are much less likely to settle is the use of someone else's freedom pass.

Lost said...

Thank you Anon,

I actually have never thought of that distinction, I will update the blog accordingly.

Anonymous said...

Hi Saf, Anon from the earlier post. Here's my email: svinny80@yahoo.co.uk, as I would like to know what you said to them on the phone. Thanks!!

Anonymous said...

I was just wondering if anyone has used this guide to settle out of court after being caught on the underground?

test said...

Another related question - Has someone who used somebody else's freedom pass in the underground settled out of court ?
I would appreciate if anyone who has settled out of court (for the above scenario) or has been refused settlement, please let us know the situation.

Anonymous said...

I just been recently stopped on a double decker bus by an inspector using my sister discounted oyster card. Although I am also eligible for a discounted oyster card I have yet to apply for one. I had my details taken and was told I would receive a letter in 10 days. I contact the prosecution services and they informed me as I was using my sister's oyster card its highly probable I will be prosecuted. Can anyone provide me with any advice in order to avoid a conviction based on the facts of my case???

Edward said...

I am also a law student and I was caught recently using my sister's discounted oyster on the bus. I had my details taken by the inspector and told I would receive a letter in 10 days. I contacted the prosecutions services and they informed me that it is likely I will be prosecuted as I was using someone else's oyster. Can anyone provide me with any advice or what defence I should use as due to doing law I need to avoid getting a conviction

Anonymous said...

I am the Legal 500 user again:
I got caught on the subway and settled out of court, but as I wrote above: it was with great difficulty! I wrote them twice and my lawyer wrote them once. Exceptional circumstances are the fact that this will ruin your life. You will have to back this up with evidence (e.g. PROOF that your employer doesn't employ people with criminal records, PROOF that you travel regularly to a country where you will be denied access, etc), so a nice story is insufficient. If it is really dear to you, use a lawyer. They are expensive, but a criminal record is more harmful.

Anonymous said...

can i was the nature of your offense and whether or not it involved a freedom/student/child oyster card? also which solicitor did you use?

Lost said...

I got on a bus and forgot to tap in.
I didn't use a solicitor, did all the legal leg work myself.

Anonymous said...

I have received a summons notice for first week of Aug.My first letter of apology to TFL I guess is disregarded !I called them up only to hear the same thing that I have to write a letter again and explain everything ! Please help !sandstorm_85@yahoo.com

Anonymous said...

Legal 500 user again:
Yes, it was subway and student oystercard was involved.

This is a very hard case as Tfl firmly believes this is intentional and not accidental, which is why I could only get out under the "exceptional circumstances".

Anonymous said...

Hi Legal 500 user,

Am hoping you could help someone in a very similar situation to yours and in need of a lawyer - could you let me know the law company name/where they are based & which laywer you spoke to?

thanks in anticipation, dave.
dave22uk@hotmail.com

Anonymous said...

Hi, What are the consequences if you plead guilty by post? Do you get a criminal record? I am due to fly out on holidays tomorrow for 3 weeks & today received the court summons! Due to appear in court in 2 weeks & I won't be back by then. Any advise please? Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Hi, I am trying to access your link to the sample letter but get this message: A user name and password are being requested by http://www.ssdd.bcu.ac.uk. The site says: "students.uce.ac.uk", please help? Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Hi, I have called & written to them & pleaded stating exeptional circumstances - it will ruin my career as I am in Accountancy, but they still insist on going to court in 2 weeks. Called twice already & they won't budge. What else can I say/do? Please help!!

Lost said...

Anon feel free to send me an email
lostlondonlawstudent@googlemail.com

I will be able to help you more there :)

Anonymous said...

Dave - I replied to your request per email.
Person travelling abroad - I had a similar situation and wrote to the Court (not to TfL) to ask for an extension of the court date.
Accountancy person - you will have to back up your claim with evidence (at least that is what I did: I sent them a copy with my name in the register of accountants.

Anonymous said...

Hi Legal 500 user -
Thanks for your email, did you get my reply? Hope to hear from you again, thanks for your help Dave.

sonneybouy said...

Hey i was wandering if anyone could help me deal with my oyster photocard being confiscated at the tube station. Im 15 and the ticket sales guy stopped me and took my oyster. It was all over the fact i was 10p insufficient, had no money and was only coming home from school. What are the odds i will get summoned or fined?

Anonymous said...

hi. on the 2nd of July, i travelled on the train (south eastern ) without a ticket. I couldnt pay on the spot and the inspector told me that i should sign without explaining what is was ( i asked him several times) I dont know if i will receive a penalty fare or go to court. Which number can i call to know if iam in the list of penalty fare?
thanks

Anonymous said...

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/columnists/danielhannan/4954323/My-wifes-real-crime-Being-middle-class.html

Anonymous said...

Any help on this last post would be appreciated, - the number to call to see if your name is on the penalty list.

i have just been caught on the bus after not swiping my oyster, i have read this blog post over and over, cheers Lost, your efforts have assisted many, praise is wholeheartedly given, however, im unsure what i can do until the court summons arrives.

If im correct, the first step will be a letter from TFL asking for an explanation or any comments about the offence, then the waiting game for the court summons, then try and ring them to try and get it settled out of court

i have read that serious first time offenders this option rarely succeeds, what constitutes 'serious first time' offending??

Any help would be appreciated,seriously.
paz

Anonymous said...

Some statistics from TfL:

For the period 1/1/2009 till 30/6/2009, 663 bus cases settled out of court of the 18656. Only 32 subway cases out of 4657 settled out of court.

Anonymous said...

more accurately, unedited from TFL:

"The figures below are for the period of 1Janaury 2009 - 30 June 09.

Buses: - 18,656 cases, 17,508 successful prosecution (466 still outstanding in courts system), 663 settled out of court.

London Underground - There were 4,657 irregular travel reports received of which 2,481 progressed to formal prosecutions with 32 out of court settlements."

Lost said...

and.. whats your point?

Anonymous said...

Can anyone please help me! I stupidly used my aunt's freedom pass on a complete on-off and have received court summons today. I am a medical student and therefore terrified a criminal record could destroy my career. Can anyone offer me advice or has someone been in a similar situation? Shall I plead guilty or call tfl? Thanks!

Anonymous said...

sorry that is meant to read 'one-off'

Anonymous said...

medical student - need a bit more info to help you:

1. when did the incident happen, was it on the tube or bus?

2. when you were interviewed by the inspector did you admit intent to use the freedom pass?

3. did you receive any letter from TFL before the summons, did you reply and what did you say?

Anonymous said...

Answer to your questions:

1) It was on the tube
2) Yes I amditted intent to use the freedom pass, I panicked!
3) I recieved a letter from TFL, I apologised and wrote how this could affect my career but this seems to have been ignored.

Any help would be appreciated!

Anonymous said...

Hi medical student, couple more questions:

Ok, when did the original incident happen, and how long after that did you receive the letter?

What do you do for a living?

If you prefer, post your email address and I can reply direct.

thanks

Anonymous said...

Hi!
Last Tuesday, the 11th August 2009 I was caught on the underground by a TFL inspector using a freedom pass which belonged to my mother.
As this is my first and only offence, when questioned, I confessed to the “crime”, I have also admitted to using the card the previous week (3 days), provided my full details and signed the confession. The inspector confiscated both my student’s photocard and my mother’s freedom pass, he also printed out the travel information recorded on both cards. I have asked him to let me pay the fine on the spot but he obviously refused.
If convicted, a criminal record would absolutely destroy my future legal career.
I am planning to travel to the US in February 2010 to sit for the NY Bar exams and also start the Legal Practice Course in September of the same year in London but I am not sure if I should enrol for the course as I am scared of being convicted which means that all the money spent on the course would not be refunded.
I have not yet received any correspondence from London Underground but after thorough research I have found that the TFL prosecution team rarely settles out of court when the offence was committed using a freedom pass. All the solicitors I’ve contacted told me that it is going to be very hard to settle out of court as I have admitted the intent to avoid the fare!
Just thinking of having a criminal record is terrifying and I would be extremely grateful if you could let me know of any chances of success in what is concerned with an out of court settlement and avoiding a criminal record.
Your help would be much appreciated.

Anonymous said...

Hi, I've emailed you details of the law firm I used. Hope it helps.

Medical student said...

Could you post me ur email address, mine will give away my name and uni, thanks.

Anonymous said...

hi medical student, email me on eharris2008@hotmail.co.uk

Anonymous said...

Hi lost

Could u please email me the format of the apology letter to a railway company after they ve sent me a court summon,i was trying to use the link but it is asking for password which i don t know .My e mail is boddo007@hotmail.co.uk.

thanks

Anonymous said...

hi lost

i received i a court summon to appear before the magitrate court on the 21 september .i used the nationa express train without ticket one stop before an underground station,when i was changing i swiped my prepaid oyster to the underground and was stopped by a plain cloth fraud department inspector.he asked me questions and asked me whether i can pay my fare which is £1.70 i said to him that i had a travelcard
but lost it ,i also offered to pay the fare which he refused.
i received the summon,he lied saying that he cautionned me 2 times and asked me if i undestand the caution and i said yes.he also said that he asked me if it must have been my intention to avoid the fare and i said yes which is a complete lie.my year of birth has olso been changed on the summon ,i did give him my real name ,address,and date of birth.before the summon they sent me a letter to put my details including my NI and said what happened.I sent the letter back explaining everything,i also said that i regret what happened and will take full responsibility,but still they proceeded with the summon.They want me to pay £100 towards the posecutior s cost and the fare evaded £1.70 if i was convicted.I paid a penalty fare of £20 more than 2 years ago at the same spot but at that time i didn t live in the area but know i live down the road from the railway station.
i am really worried about the whole thing as i am an accounting student and also work as a railway security,a ciminal record will mean to me no job and no future in my studies.

Can you please help.

thanks

Anonymous said...

Hi Lost,

First of all, congratulations on winning the award in July. I've just sent you an e-mail regarding to my case of using my friend's student oyster card. If you could find time to reply, I'll be very grateful. Eager to hearing from you.

Lost said...

I would pay up the £100 its easier than all the other hassle of going to court. I wouldn't have given my national insurance number though... no idea why they would want that..

Anonymous said...

Thanks a lot ,they ve already to settle on the £101.70 which i paid last tuesday, it was very easy ,they just agreed when i asked them.they sent me a receipt by e-mail and in the post but they said that they have to attend the court to withdraw the summon and the matter is closed.

Thanks for ur answer.

Help said...

Hi All & Legal 500 Anon,
I was caught using my mother's freedom pass and had for quite a while. They printed teh travel history.. Was questioned and stupidly answered and signed. I am looking for legal representation and would appreciate names of any that were successful.

Thank you!

Lost said...

People like you want me to delete this post...

Help said...

Did you mean 'People like you make me want to delete this post'? If so, I'm not sure why.
If I had been caught on a bus, I would had done everything you recommended, as it clearly works. However, I was caught on the underground using a freedom pass which is a lot harder to get out of. For work reasons I can't take any chances. I was hoping the Legal 500 users would be able to recommend who they used.
I'm sorry if this offends you.

Lille said...

Hi

I was caught by London Underground who are apparently much tougher when it comes to dealing with prosecutions. I used a family member's freedom pass. Does it make any difference in this circumstance whether I can settle out of court or will this circumstance torpedo me to court? I am also a qualified lawyer and a CR will ruin my life. I lost my job and have a mortgage which I will not be able to support and I have other personal factors that are also quickly depleting my savings. Any comments that you can provide to alleviate my concerns and perhaps not lead me to jumping off a cliff?

Help said...

Lille - I would say get a lawyer. I've researched this a lot and they are incredibly tough on freedom pass users. You need to try and get pff on exceptional circumstances.

JW said...

Hi there Help and Lille, if you drop me an email on jwilson250@hotmail.co.uk - I think we may be able to help each other out. All the best.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for your help. worried myself to death for the last 2 weeks about the CR, but when i found your advice, wrote an e-mail, then phoned the next day, and they agreed to settle out of court without even reading my e-mail. Thank you so much and good luck with your career!!

Anonymous said...

Hi,

My younger brother has just received a letter from Tfl stating that a number of previous convictions due to bus fare evasion will be used against him in a hearing next week. These previous fare evasions were not done by him but someone who had got his details. Now we are finding it very difficult to prove that he was not the individual involved as Tfl do not keep bus camera pics for too long. Also, he has to try and prove where he was on those dates (some of the offences go back 3 yrs!). And hope that the description taken by the inspectors was a full one so that he can say it doesn't match his appearance.

There is a magistrates court hearing next week but we have not received a summons (as previous letters were sent to a number of differet addresses given by the real culprit). Do you have any information/advice that we could use? The main problem was that he had to pay a fine for fare evasion a few yrs ago that was done to a honest mistake. But it seems like Tfl will not act reasonably in this case and are using that instance to say he committed the other offences! Help!!

Tricky said...

Hi Lost,

Thanks for your blog. I'm hoping you could help me.
I was spoken to at the end of August by London Underground (LU) staff about my train journey and associated fare. I have just received a letter from LU saying "the facts of the incident are now being considered", and "if you have any comments to make" I should do so by "returning the letter".
At the time of the incident I actually haven't managed to touch into the Underground yet. I was actually on the outside, and was attempting to use my Gran's Freedom pass to get onto the platform. The Inspectors must have blocked the use of the Freedom Pass users to get in, and therefore identified me that way. Anyway they pulled me to one side, took all my details, I confessed that I had been using my Gran's freedom pass in the past, then gave me PACE. The thing is the Inspector was going to make me sign everything that was written down in the notebook, but I never signed anything.

Having read all the comments left, ppl have been saying LU are much more strict regarding settling, and even more so against cases involving Freedom passes.
I'm wondering if I should ignore this letter and wait for the court summons before phoning them up to settle. My hope is that they realise (A) I hadn't actually used the Freedom pass in this specific incident, technically, I was attempting to. Although I foolishly admitted I was intending to. (B) I didn't sign what was written down at the time. I'm hoping in theory this might make their case weaker, and therefore more likely to settle.

If I actually respond to the letter and write a letter of groveling apology, they are more likely to use it against me in court. So at the moment I am waiting for the summons letter before calling up to settle. Unless you think I should call up immediately? Or it may be too early to call as they haven't quite categorised my case.

Anonymous said...

To the person whose brother had not committed the crime: TfL has to prove you are guilty. It is not up to you to prove you are unguilty. Call a couple of lawyers to ask for advice on this. They usually don't charge for the first call and give you quite a lot of advice.
To Tricky: I would respond and not apologise (apologies can be used as an admittance of guilt) and say you were confused at that moment. You can say you talked to them, but didn't admit (which is why you didn't sign), or you can say you were so scared and confused that you admitted.

To all: how I interpret an FOI request posted is that these revenue inspectors are not police and do not have real rights to stop you. You can simply walk away. Unfortunately people only find this blog once they have committed the crime and then it is too late.

Anonymous said...

Hello,

I was just wondering if a penalty fare would show up in a CRB check. Also having now paid the penalty fare will I have a criminal record. Any help would be much appreciated.
Thanks.
Paul.

J said...

This a very helpful guide, I'm just about to ring and ask for an out of court settlement, but I'm just waiting for my anger to subside before I do.
My son who was 17 at the time was caught using his friend's Oyster 16+ going to college in September. In his statement he explained that his own valid 16+ card was defective and that he was waiting for his new card to arrive. He usually carried his own card with him but due to sod's law the day he was approached by an inspector he didn't have it with him.
As TFL have a record of him having a valid Oyster 16+ which entitled him to free travel I thought this was enough to prove that his intention wasn't to defraud, but it was just a stupid error of judgement.
I was expecting a deservedly warning/harsh words/fine, but they sent a summons instead.

Anonymous said...

Many thanks to Lost and others on here who also make good points and suggestions.

Good news also that bendy buses are being phased out, reducing the scope for unintentional, as well as deliberate, fare evasion of all types.

I have been very fortunate from the sounds of things. I was reported on a bendy bus. TfL wrote a letter asking for comments. I wrote a letter in reply which explained that I had no intention to attempt to avoid paying my fare. I also made it clear that I was very sorry that I had boarded the bus without sufficient credit on my Oyster card, and that I shall be very careful not to do it again.

I have been issued with a formal warning (and at no cost). This is obviously good news and a great relief.

I had researched the whole thing carefully online to understand all the issues, and took particular note of the TfL prosecutions policy, as linked from this site (above). I quote the section about warning letters below.

The whole experience, and my reading of other cases covered here and in the press, shows that one needs to be very careful whenever boarding a bus or going through a barrier that everything is in order with one's Oyster / Railcard / Travelcard etc.

KM

10. Warning Letters
Where the offence involves fare evasion TfL may decide to issue an offender with a Warning Letter in lieu of prosecution, where the following conditions are met:
(a) The offender admits the irregular travel and;
(b) The risk of re-offending is considered minimal and;
(c) The offender has provided TfL with exceptional mitigation against prosecution or in the opinion of the Prosecutions Manager it is not in the public interest to prosecute and;
(d) The offender agrees to pay the administrative costs incurred in the processing of the case file.

J said...

After talking with the prosecution officer my son has now received a letter form TFL dropping the case - no costs either

Rakesh S. Yadav said...

hi

i was caught, received letter nd sent back with writing regarding my mistake, i had photocopied but i lost them now i dont hav any address or phone no. to contact the prosecution manager nd even i dont hav my ref. no. of this issue, i am confused wat 2 do now? any guidance would b appriciated. thanks

Rakie

ola said...

I am due to show up in the magistrate court in two days (monday) for charges of fare evasion and it's london underground. I actually used a freedom pass unknowingly which belongs to my 12 yr old cousin. I usually keep her pass with me because i take her out from time to time as she is partially sighted.
Do you think i can still settle out of court after showing up for the summons in two days time?
I would have tried that option earlier but i've only just found this useful blog.
Please help!

Anonymous said...

hi, i tried accessing the apologetic letter but it requires a username and password. im so desperate to see it what do i do?

Mr Sayed said...

hi , please can someone contact me i need the apologetic letter to send tfl, when i try to download it, it says i require a username and password.
please can someone give these details to me or even email me the apologetic letter i would be most greatful.
contact: mr.asimsayed@googlemail.com

Anonymous said...

Best bet is to ring them if it's your first time to settle out of court. I done that and was told to pay £100 and they removed my case immediately.

Mr Sayed said...

but theyve asked me to email them when i rang so i really need the letter in the link

marcassmith said...

I have been caught with a freedom pass, which i found about a month ago. I didnt use it at first but because i was running out of money - I started to use it. Today, there were inspectors at the station and I was caught with the card. they said I will have a court hearing and that there is a 'possibility i will be prosecuated for 'fare evasion'. I am really worried because this could result in a criminal conviction which will stay on my record and that would mean I will not be able to apply for jobs or and have visas refused when travelling abroad. I am really worried about my future and what this could mean.

These people are so petty and I heard they have a zero tolarance on fare evasion. I think there is a high possibility i will be convicted.


A freedom pass is for the elderly (65+) or the disabled. It work on all london transport- i thought i was being smart but it could cost me deardly in the end. I called the person it belong to, i found their details on line, left a voice message but they never got back. the inspector used the argument that i should have returned to a office of london transport but how could i when i am broke. it was too tempting.


I have no prior convictions.

Please help. I really need your advice.

Thanks!

Stephan said...

Hello lost, first i'd like to thank you for creating this blog it has really helped me figure out what i am going to for my upcoming court case but i just have a couple questions about what i am going to do. Firstly my hearing is April 8 2010 but i need to give a response to the court summons within a weeks time. I only got the thing yesterday but i'd feel better if i was prepared for this.

So basically i found an oyster card (i believe it was an 11-15 one) a couple moths ago and began using in on the buses. on Jan. 20 2010 there were ticket inspectors and 2 cops looking at everyone's oyster cards and i tried to beep mine as i got off the bus but they noticed it was too young for me so i admitted that the oyster card wasn't mine (i was given no warning by the officers). We got off the bus and the community officers asked me where i got the card, how long i'd been using it and then checked if anyone reported a stolen oyster card. I told them that i had been using it for a couple of days and i had found it the week prior. The ticket inspector then told me that she was confiscating the card and then i'd receive a letter in a week or so.

I got the letter asking for my statement and panicking i said that i used the oystercard and that they should consider my good record as i have no previous criminal convictions.

When i got the summons yesterday i noticed that they did a sloppy job as there were problems with the ticket inspectors statement saying that i said that the oyster card was mine when she asked me (even though she didn't ask me a damn thing and i told the officers off the bat that it wasn't my card) also the document wasn't signed so i questioned whether this statement was actually written by her.

I was wondering if you could help me out in trying to get this settled out of court? Thank you!

Stephan said...

Also they are charging me with 71B using another persons pass, i hope these arguments still apply

Anonymous said...

Stephan

There is a site called Consumer Action Group which has a forum called "Public transport (Trains, tubes and buses)" with very knowledgeable users who would be able to give you accurate advice more quickly than here.

It would be worth following this link and posting your question along with details of where you were stopped (train/bus/tube), roughly how long ago it was, and who is charging you/under which law.

Hope this helps.

http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/public-transport-trains-tubes/

KDS said...

Hi,
Thanks so much for this guide, I had this problem last year and managed to settle out of court. I was just wondering if you know whether anything will show up on an enhanced CRB? Like a warning or anything even though it was settled?
I'm just wondering because I don't want to unintentionally lie when filling in application forms for jobs just because I didn't realise!
Thanks so much

Anonymous said...

hiya,i have a court summon on the 8th of june 2010 and i would like to settle of out court please e-mail me on what steps to take :

lolly4real14@hotmail.co.uk

Sandy said...

Thank you so much!!!!!! This guide is awesome. I bet no one expected to be potentially stamped with a criminal record; especially, when it was unintentional. I suggest going to your local citizens advice bureau, they can be really helpful. Also, all of you never stop fighting your cases at any point.

Sandy said...

I suggest going to your local citizens advice bureau, they can be really helpful.

Anonymous said...

hello sir,
hope ur fine...
i'm here to ask you about what happened to me in london underground. in my case, i bought a child ticket and LU guard caught me in the act. i' 26 yrs old.i know it's my stupidity that push me to do this. i got a summon letter couple of weeks ago and my case would be heard on 26/7. what's the best thing for me to do? do u think, i should plead guilty? or not? although if i plead not guilty, i'll be proven guilty eventually. so, i'm just asking if there's any chance to settle this out to court and just pay the fine by calling them or just write a letter of plea in my abscence? pls sir, tell me what coz im so stressed sbout this. i would kindly appreciate your reply. pls help me..

Anonymous said...

also, i called LUPD an hour ago and they refuse to settle my case by fone. they said, i must reply to the summon and wait for the result. maybe i'll call again tomorrow to try my luck. i know tube and bus were different.(obviously!) but the're both under tfl. i don't see why LU are more strict than anybody else. and i dont see why if you caught in an overspeeding, you can easily get away with it even it's more dangerous than this bloody fare evasion. the laws of this country are sometimes UNFAIR. i should have stabbed someone and can get away with it. JOKE.. but it's true

Iron4rm said...

Lost,

I'm not a Law student, but I work with vulnerable people the world over in the Third Sector - a criminal record would totally dismantle me. I, however like many other people here came across your website at a crisis point. My case was I'd simply forgotten my OCard in my other jacket. When approached on an articulated bus I couldn't produce it.

I was escorted off and explained my circumstances in which they were very amiable about. I gave an old address when asked, but of course I'm not registered there and foolishly the inspector could see my Drivers License in my wallet - I proffered it and she duly took the details and then said; well we've got good news and bad. The good is we're not fining you...the bad, we're forwarding this matter to the prosecutions department. Immediately soiling myself, I summoned all manhood I could muster and asked just what this meant.

I was informed that I can simply explain my situation to them - providing them with my OCard serial no. If I was a frequent traveler; they'd see this and 'possibly' dismiss it.

Well I took that advice. I wrote them immediately, not hearing anything back, quite naturally assumed I'd been 'let off'. Not so. I got a letter about 3wks later informing me that, although they understand; the onus is on me to ensure I have my OCard with me and touch in blah-blah-blah. The letter stated, they appreciated the communication, and by no means meant that I was 'let off'.

For all I knew I was 'let off'.

Iron4rm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Iron4rm said...

Somehow my missus opened my summons and simply placed it in amongst my other mail. I came across it TWO WEEKS before the summons. Work was such that I couldn't find the time 'privately' to deal with this. Before I knew it, the summons date was upon me. TODAY.

I weighed up ALL my options. I had the PACE argument locked down because at no point was I informed our 'conversation' was 'information that could be used against me in 'a court of law' - as it all came through as a witness statement in my summons. I totally understood where I'd be fighting point 7(4) as I wasn't asked to pay and had not yet disembarked. Finally I could argue that the Inspector missed out lots of information that would prejudice the judge against me...

I was set. However one thing kept niggling in my mind throughout all of this. I knew that their prosecution was unlawful, but the similarities in all the cases I'd researched - the apprehended individuals either forgot swipe and had their card on them - possibly with insufficient funds. Secondly they all offered to pay when accosted. In my case, I didn't even have my OCard with me and further, I didn't offer to pay (nor was I asked, however). To compound the issue even more and add more doubt to my mindset was the fact that I was traveling from a notoriously crime ridden area of London (where I live happily) and I'd offered a false address. I had plausible explanations for all holes in my arguments should I end up in court. But that's what they were, holes. BIG GAPING ONES.

I've seen enough court dramas to know the onus is on the prosecution to PROVE that I had no INTENTION of paying. But not only did I not offer to pay, nor could I - I gave false information and had not written any additional explanations or apologies, save my initial explanation to bolster any sort of plea bargain or fight wholeheartedly in court. As the saying goes, you can't be wrong and strong (especially if you don't know what you're doing!)

Iron4rm said...

Now I for one, did not take the information on this blog lightly - or for gospel. With techniques learned during my MBA I cross referenced the information here with information elsewhere. A glimmer of hope being (Mr Usher: Harlesden Case Quashed) whilst a rather more morose tale: (Miss Joe Cahill: Chiswick £315 fine + court costs.htm made me fear the worse. I was now bricking it.

I was up from 5am reading, researching and looking for that single glimmer of hope that could save me from an embarrassing and career destroying CRB. I got my suit ready - went to the barbers'. And up until midday, had not completed my means form or decided whether I was going to plead guilty - and beg leniency - something NONE of my research showed had ever happened. Or plead not guilty and prepare to fight the good fight...

Iron4rm said...

That glimmer of hope came through trawling through ALL of these comments listed herein. The commonality I found in this and my other research were these:

- All people who were able to obtain an out of court settlement were all those on a bus (bar the few who stated Tube herein).
- Most people offered to pay; had payed; had insufficient funds; or a technical fault with the Oyster reader on the bus.
- As above, lots of people are caught on an articulated bus where it's sometimes impossible to 'touch in'.
- Most people had been consistent with their efforts to clear their name through writing, phoning, or otherwise harassing TfL to get them to settle out of court.

I had only one of these tenets - I was on an articulated bus when Inspectors approached me. From there on in - my situation diverged totally.

My summons was at 2.20pm THIS afternoon. I called them at 1.30 and settled out of court for £102!

My point in writing all of this is that although all our situations are different, OVERSTAND that this is an unlawful practice in generating revenue for TfL. They do not care whether your circumstances are genuine or deliberate. Too much money is made from getting people to flail and panic. Although they were able to generate the same revenue from me, I don't have a criminal record!

Something has to be done about the faceless and incompetent manner TfL treat us; their bread & butter. I sincerely hope this helps. Try to understand that it's little about the situation and more to do with income generation...

Iron4rm

Iron4rm said...

I forgot to say THANK YOU!!!

(LIFE SAVER)

Holla@me for an opportunity to return the favour.

Best regards,

Iron4rm

Lost said...

Hi Guys,

Sorry I don't reply to this thread as often as I should.

I take it as an extreme compliment that people thank me for the blog post.

I hope all your cases have gone well.

I check my GMAIL account frequently, so if you need a hand get in contact with me there.

MMO said...

Thanks for this blog post Lost. Here is my story. I got on a bus (not a bendy one) and I saw the oyster reader was not working - it had a big old hand written sign on it. So I did not bother to swipe. After a couple minutes a conductor comes down and I try to swipe my wallet on his personal reader. To my horror there is no signal. It turns out i've forgotten my oyster card at home. I get no questioning from the conductor. He simply asked for my driver's license and took down my name and address. He gives me a ticket without pay for the rest of my journey and then leaves the bus.

Fast forward to today and I get a letter asking me to produce the serial code of the oyster card I was intending to use, which i will. It seems to me that everyone who was prosecuted had some kind of statement taken and admited to some offence. Even if i give them the serial code of my oyster card, can they take me to court without any such statement and given the mitigating circumstances?

MMO said...

Sorry I should add that failure to reply to this letter may result in legal proceedings.

Lost said...

I would disclose the oyster card you intended to use; however, they may trace any irregularities with travel etc try and find other ways to prosecute you.

If you got on the bus and the card reader did not work, the bus driver nodding you on, surely that is a contract between you and the driver, who has given you permission to go on the bus.

The fact that you didn't have your oyster card at the time isn't material, you thought you did, I would have hoped that was good enough.

Their case would probably be - you got on the bus and took advantage of the fact the card reader wasn't working.

Anonymous said...

I am in a similar situation to many of the previous people and am planning to phone the prosecution team on Monday to try and settle out of court...what exactly should i say? for example when they ask how they can help shall i just straight up say "i want to settle a case outside of court"?
also i have been discussing with other people and this person believes that even if i do get a 'criminal record' from them it wont affect my career prospects:

"OP don't listen to any of these people. Fare evasion is classed as a non recordable offence and is classed in the same bracket as speeding or driving without insurance. This is contrasted against recordable offences which include any crime that can involve a prison sentence or certain other specific crimes such as begging.

Non recordable offences are not stored on the PNC(police national computer) but are kept at the court where the offence was judged on.

To assess the suitability of an applicant a financial institution can apply for a standard CRB check. This checks against the PNC only and thus fare evasion will not show.

An application for ANY job (even government) can only be checked on a basic, standard or enhanced level which only uses the PNC for recordable offences.

You are not a criminal and you haven't commited a criminal offence as they are defined by law as recordable offences ONLY.

TFL uses this process as a scare tactic and I hope you will be more responsible in the future but live your life in peace and say no on all application forms."

can anyone confirm if what this guy is saying is true? many thanks!

Anonymous said...

Hi lost,

My case is somewhat different from the rest. A few weeks ago, I was caught on the bus without a valid ticket and my details were taken by the inspector. on the day of the incident, I was not asked to sign anything and was not read any rights. on the day, I had lost my oyster card the a few days before and was on my way to pick it up.I have now recieved a letter asking me to send a statement within the next 10. Does my circumstance stand as an exceptional circumstance? What should the tone of my reply statement be? Please help!

Anonymous said...

Well It looks like they are wise to this and probably don't feel they are making enough money from it, so the standard fine for an out of court settlement is £250 - This is such a money making scam from TFL when there is penalty fare in place and even the mayoral guide lines for prosecution is that it should be used for repeat offenders.

However the time taken and the randomness of the fine, the fact that they have £100 cost included probably still make it the better option !

I know i will be avoiding London Busses in the future.

James Devoe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I have read all the posts and this is really helpful, thank you so much.
I still have a few question.
Indeed I have been caught in the bus for not having touched the reader (top up Oyster card with money on it). The inspector did not bother asking me any questions but my details.
I have received the letter to make my comment within 10 days.
I would like to call them tomorrow in order to propose them to pay for the penalty and administrative costs. I am not sure what I should say and what I should avoid to say. I have just accepted a job abroad (I am French) and due to leave UK in 3 weeks...
Many thanks

Anonymous said...

the settle out of court is now £250...what!!??? that is now ridiculous. is there any way that i can negotiate it or perhaps not?

Anonymous said...

thx Lost, i think ur brilliant! but isnt it easy to settle out of court? the person told me on the phone that just write/email them saying that i want to settle out of court and then i have to pay £250!!! AHHH this is a one off pay and cannot be done by installment...

Lost said...

I would sugggest that they are being unreasonable.

Say that you know someone who paid £100 + 2 fare.

Say that as TFL is a public authority, you will seek to make a judicial review of the proceedings should they refuse to mark it down.

It would be Wednesbury unreasonable I think.

Anonymous said...

thank you very much Lost for your reply, it made me feel better? Ihave another question Lost, i emailed them in order to settle out of court and they emailed me back that i dont need to go to court as it is withdrawn. so do i need to pay a fine? they said nothing at all. all they said is that i dont need to go to court and thats all (literally).

so i emailed them saying if i have to pay a fine and if i will get my oyster card back. i emailed to them, now i kind of regretting it (i dont know why). so what's gonna happen Lost? are they like gonna send a letter to me or something, so worried. thx Lost, ur AWESOME!

Anonymous said...

sorry about my fast writing, what i meant to say is that your comment made me feel better!

Anonymous said...

Very helpful and reassuring guide Lost. Does seem like they've hiked the cost of settling up to 250 quid though... seems incredibly steep when they are clearly not issuing penalty fares... is this just down to each inspector's judgement or is it a new policy??

Big slick said...

Just phoned TFL up and can confirm that it is now a 'non-negotiable' £250, payable within 28 days subject to a review by the prosecution team.
I have been through the whole rigmarole of sending in the apology letter with £2 (which the inspector at the time advised me to do but which TFL promptly returned to me!). I have also been to CAB who advised me to plead guilty by post(!). There must be some conflict of interest/not-wanting-to-appear-to-collude thing between CAB and TFL, because if not then surely CAB would just advise everyone who was guilty to settle out of court rather than get a criminal record??

Anonymous said...

Hi, I have caught today in London bus using my cousins photo card which was weekly. The inspector asked me why I am using his card, I told I had to go work at 5am in the morining, so I could not reaload my oyster card. He took my details and told me a letter will be sent within 7days where I have to give explanation of it. He seized his photo card and told me they will send him another new card. I have not been signed in any form/statement. Now Please tell me what should I do.

helen said...

The initiative taken for the concern is very serious and need an attention of every one. This is the concern which exists in the society and needs to be eliminated from the society as soon as possible.
======================
http://www.lawyersoft.net

Anonymous said...

Just want to say thank you for making me realise there was an alternative to pleading guilty and ending up with a criminal conviction. Took your advice, wrote an email and an out of court settlement was offered. Went to the offices today to pay the £250.

Big weight off my shoulders. Thanks Lost

Stephanie said...

I got caught using a 16+ Oyster back in September, panicked and got caught up in a web of lies with the inspector... a month later received a letter asking me to write my account of things. I did so, but still received a court summons with details of the incident and a form to fill out my income etc. (I'm hoping that since I'm unemployed and on Jobseekers they'll be leniant)

Anyway I took my mum's advice and pleaded guilty by post and now I'm waiting for them to get back to me. Have I made a huge mistake? Unfortunately I only found this blog after all this happened and I'm starting to think my mum's advice could result in a criminal conviction, which is the very thing I was trying NOT to get. I'd pay any amount of money to get out of it, I just didn't want a criminal record :(

Could you tell me what you think of this please? I'm starting to get really worried right now. Thanks.

zmv said...

hi there last week i got caught with my sisters photocard and they didnt ask me anything but just took my details.. i have ecieved a post from tfl saying to write any comments if i have what do i do.. i am on student visa studying in medical field and dont want criminal record.. can you help plz i wuld b grateful 2 u thanks alot

Anonymous said...

Hi. I got a court summons today for using my sister's oyster on the bus but I don't want to attend court as I will end up getting a criminal record. How do I settle for a out of court settlement? I just don't want any criminal record as it will affect my studies.
Anyone know the number or email?
Help will be much appreciated. This website helped me alot. Thank you so much.

pakhi said...

HI, Mr. Lost,
I am a student in london. yesterday my wife got caught by a tfl inspector on the bus while she using my student oyster card. Inspector took the card from my wife and ask about me and she honestly replied that i am her husband. the inspector give her a free travel ticket. On the back of the ticket is written within 10 working days she gonna get a reply from the authority. I didn't knew that she is using my oyster card for last few weeks. could you please help me. Shall i call now to pay fine or settlement. need help.

Anonymous said...

Hi all . I need a help, just got a redirected letter from TFL from my old address asking me to write a statement about a journey made without a valid ticket on the bus. I never made any such journey on that route they mentioned. I called the number up but they were shut today. Just came across this blog now. Please what can I do? Any advice will be appreciated.
Regards,

Anonymous said...

Hello,

Could you please let me know where I could get similar advice regarding First Capital Connect?

Thanks.

Anonymous said...

I used my sisters oyster card accidentally that was a discounted. When I was asked by the inspector tos a photo I'd.
The inspector took my name and address thereafter I had received a letter saying..... You've been reported to have traveled without a valid ticket, oyster card etc. I think it's a standard letter.

I'm worried what they will do as I have never ever been in this situation before. This is my first one!!!!

I've written back saying as far as I was aware I had a valid card ...... Any advise will be muchuvh appreciated...

Anonymous said...

Hi Lost,
Thanks a lot for for your guide. Incredibley helpful.
Could you pl help:
My freind's son has been caught using somebody's freedom pass on London Underground(apparently has been using it for the past six months). He was cautioned and made to sign a written statement.
He is a medical student and is worried to death about CRB for obvious resons. I have asked Anno for the lawyers contact he used (thanks Anno)
I have read almost all the comments on your blog. Could you pl help and suggest what else could he do to avoid going to court. Is he likely to succeed in avoiding going to court

thanks for your help in advance

Mr. Student said...

Hello Lost,

Extremely helpful guide. Can't believe I get away without paying a penny.

How ??? Well, I followed up everything with TFL, wrote a nice letter in reply and thats it. Mantle torcher was unbearable though. Don't know what situation following bloggers are into, but guys, do as Lost said.

There is nothing to worry about. Its a scare tactic. They will only fine you or if you write a proper reply by admitting your mistake, you may get away with caution letter and nothing to pay.

Good luck all ...

Anonymous said...

Mr Student,

That's Great news!
Could kindly advise how you worded the letter to them please. Or if you phone them what/ how did you request.

Will appreciate your reply.
Kind Regards,

Anonymous said...

All,

A note of advise. Before you even get the summons, best you email the investigator and apologise for the mistake and agree to pay any administrative cost. He/she will reply and probably say that you have been put forward for prosecution or can settle out of court.
They don't tell you that you can settle out of court on the initial letter but they Want your money!!!!! And it's not cheap!!! £250 ( cash) full cost!!!!!!
I suppose it's better than going through the court process and if found guilty your name will be on the records!!!

Even if you end up getting summons. You can ask to settle but I'm afraid the fine is quite a hefty one!!! £250!!!!
Hope this clarifies.
Good luck.this is a very good blog.Thanks!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Hi Lost,

i am going through this at the moment and have found the given information very reassuring, and i'm feeling a it more positive. i have received a summons but am about to email the overseeing officer and attempt to settle out of court. the statements however have not been signed, (the name have been printed below the line but no signature or witness signature is given)
i was wondering if you could provide some advice about how to address this in the letter.

I'll wait to here from you, your advice so far seems to be spot on,
fingers crossed.
regards B

avidd said...

Hi Lost,

My boyfriend has got into a similar situation on the London Underground using my Student Oyster. It was the first time he ever did this (a comparison of our travel histories on both of our Oysters will clearly show this) and obviously a huge error in judgment. From what I understand after reading this page, it is very unlikely that the Underground will settle out of court.

So is our best option now to plead guilty in court and try to get an absolute discharge? He's not opposed to paying a fine, but is absolutely terrified of having a criminal record. His job will likely require a move to the States, and getting a work visa will be jeopardized by a conviction. If so, what is the best way to ensure this outcome? Can anyone recommend any particular strategies or things we should try to get a discharge?

Thanks!

Avid D

Your Well-wisher said...

April 01, 2020

Enforcement Team (CSEP) 9G4
Transport for London
Palestra House
197 Blackfriars Road
London
SE1 8NJ

Dear Sir/Madam,

I am writing this regarding the letter that I have received from you concerning the occasion on 01 April 2020 at 12:00 pm when I was travelling on a XYZ bus/XYZ train from X station to Y station.

First of all kindly accept this letter as my humble apology for what happened. I am extremely sorry for having failed to recognise that I was travelling without a valid oyster/travel card.

(If you are a foreigner then you may add) I am a foreigner and have enjoyed my stay here very much and it was never my intention to create such an awkward and uncomfortable situation before I leave UK.

I completely understand that fare evasion is a serious problem and I am one of the vast majority of travellers who pay the correct fare every time. I have been foolish in not realising that I was travelling with an invalid oyster / without a valid travel card on that occasion. I hope that you will recognise that I did not travel with the intention not to pay. It was only a genuine misunderstanding (or whatever your scenario was)

While I have caused this unpleasant experience, I am able to see clearly where I went wrong. I believe acquiring this insight will allow me to learn and grow and prevent similar issues in the future. I have much esteem for the law and I have never previously been prosecuted in my life for any offence ( Hope you are the same).

Again I sincerely wish to apologise to the respected member of staff concerned and to the venerated TFL team for the extra administration work that my actions have caused. I am offering to pay the full fare / plenty fare that is due and the reasonable costs that have been incurred by the TFL in the hope that you will allow me to make amends for this uncharacteristic act rather than go to court action. Furthermore, I promise that this will never happen again.

On this occasion I express my deep gratitude on behalf of your kindness and look forward to hearing from you soon.

Yours sincerely
XYZ

Your Well-wisher said...

(Sorry this needs to be at first)

Hi everyone!

My deep sympathies for those who are undergoing a stressful period after getting clinched through TFL fare evasion case. I can understand and feel the situation as I have suffered through the same nightmare. And like you people I also goggled a lot about this matter on the net and came across this blog which was quite helpful. I’m very grateful to ALLAH ( GOD) Almighty who helped to escape through this doom & gloom.

Well now when I am all free from the stressful thoughts and creepy feelings of CRIMINAL RECORD, PROSECUTION, COURT, SUMMONS, bla bla bla…., I want to share my initiatives and steps with you people who are facing the same situation so that it may help some of you to escape from the matter.

I’ll try to write it short and precise so as to save your precious time. The following information is the Sum of all my research on the net and knowledge I gathered from different sources.

First of all let me tell you I was caught on BUS and not in the train/underground. Second I reckon that the chances for out of court settlement are more in BUS cases as compared to underground. But it does not mean underground cases can’t get OC settlement, just try your best.

1- You were caught by an inspector using invalid/ wrong travel card or oyster. He took your details and a letter came to your home asking about the details and your comments about that incident. RIGHT!
Now first advice is that try your best not to give the RIGHT information to the inspector i.e your address or DOB etc. But for this you need to keep your driving licence or other identity documents hidden from him otherwise he will ask you to hand over him your ID document/card. Because when you give him the information, maximum he will try to confirm your address by calling in to his office and asking about the building like > what type of building is it? Flats or single house (I reckon they just check on Google map. Well I’m not quite sure just an idea).
So if you give them wrong address and DOB they can never trace you and you are free of any tension.
2- If you are innocent enough like ME and give them all the information correct then as I mentioned above you’ll get a letter within couple of days. Now BIG BIG question and tension is that HOW to answer that letter. Don’t worry I’ll help you to put down this tension as well. Kindly find a letter format below and Make Amendments As Required.

Well-wisher said...

6- Finally I would like to advise you that when communicating with TFL don’t be like a beggar asking for mercy and pity. They will never ever take this in account and even it will make them more confident and comfortable to prosecute you. Even don’t say sorry again and again. Try to make them realise that you would be a DIFFICULT case for them if they decide to prosecute you.

Furthermore through out this process please please please stay calm and cool. I know it is almost inevitable but try not to be stressed or tensed. Because whatever happens, you can never stop it except only trying to stop it. So try your best and leave up to God. Life doesn’t end up here. Make yourself strong enough to face and fight with these types of hurdles and problems which we can’t deter to come in our life. Now one final advice; MAKING YOURSELF STRESSED WILL ONLY CAUSE DAMAGE TO YOU AND NOT TO TFL OR ANYONE ELSE. SO MY DEAR DON’T DAMAGE YOURSELF AND TAKE CARE OF YOUR PRECIOUS LIFE.

REMEMBER ME IN YOUR PRAYERS.
My best wishes for all of you. May you get out of this doom and gloom soon.

Well-wisher said...

I'm sorry but I don't know why my comments have been shuffled. But you can take help through the numbering that I have used in my comments.
Thanks and Good Luck

Well-wisher said...

3- Print this at the back of the letter and make a photocopy for your records. Please keep a copy of each and every document related to this matter for your records as you may need this in the court (Worst Scenario). Now after posting this letter make a deep connection with GOD and keep praying. If your connection turns to be successful then you will get another letter form TFL within few days (might be a week or more, but it’s really tough when waiting for it) offering you an out of court settlement with a letter to sign and send back and paying an amount of £250. (It might be less as well if you are luck enough).
4- So if this happens then be thankful to GOD, stretch your arms and leap freely.
But unfortunately if you get summons rather than the above letter then don’t be frustrated and upset as you still have the ways which have been mentioned in this blog many times by different users. Like study thoroughly TFL prosecution and fare evasion policy documents (On TFL website), pick up the important points that you can use against them, then call the TFL and talk to the concerned officer offering him the out of court settlement and discussing those key points which you picked up. Be confident and rational. No need to feel like a helpless or feeble person.
5- So this is the final option for you to convince the officer as if he turns down your offer then in the next stage you’ll have to face the court and prosecution.

Anonymous said...

Brilliant guide - saved me from so much hassle and relief. Was caught without ticket (just over 2 pound fare) on railways and details taken by RPO. Replied back to initial letter confirming name / address / etc with explanation. Was true to my word and owned up in both letter and when stopped. Did not receive anything for about 6 months or so and therefore thought that I had been let off or they had forgotten. Boy was I wrong. Received a Court Summons / prosecution after approx 6 months!! Was in shock but got my head round and took advice from this site and wrote back to Prosecuting Co (Railway) explaining 1st offence / apology / etc ... and asking for out of court settlement. Luckily received letter back asking to call them. Did so and after approx a week or so (after they had reviewed my case) they accepted settlement. Paid the fare + prosecution costs only - so just over 100 ponds! Mightily relieved and thankful. Used very similar letter to example given. WORD OF ADVICE - Although may be too late if you are reading this - PLEASE DO NOT EVADE FARES ON ANY TRANSPORT SYSTEM. Not worth getting convicted for a couple of pounds is it really. If you do get Summons / Prosecution Letter, try and settle out of court before it is too late. Praise to God for helping me in my time of need.

Anonymous said...

HI everyone I need some advice.

I was caught using my partner bus operator pass by the ticket inspector and police.(have used the pass for months)

I have received the letter from TFL and I called and was told to email my request to settle which I will do today but on the other hand the police are also going to possiby charge me for fraud I am due at the station in a few weeks time.

Has anyone being in the same situation? if yes what did you do? I did sign a statement admitting I took the pass from my partner).

I have spoken to a few solicitor who have all confirmed that I most likely will be caution which means I will lose my job.I work in finance.

I have never being in trouble and I am worried sick. I can not believe I was so stupid over a few pounds. I am having sleepless nights worrying.

Thanks in advance for any comments.

Will update on the progress

Bloo Eng! said...

Hi everyone,

Firstly, thank heavens for this blog it saved me! For this reason I need to thank everyone who has posted and shared their experiences, now I feel obliged to do the same in case it can help anyone out there who is facing the same situation :)

I was getting on route the bus a few months ago, bear in mind, full bus, Monday morning rush and I didn't want to be late for work!
There was practically no space to move as soon as the doors closed. Funnily enough the guy at the door (normal clothes) asked me for my oyster card; he was the ticket inspector!! This was the last thing I needed and I was fully aware that I had been lured into a situation where I handed over my oyster card- (it was in my hand ready to touch in)
He asked me to write my name and address on a notepad and that was all.
I did so very quickly to get out of an awkward situation.

Now..I was sent a letter by TFL prosecutions team referring to a 'travel irregularity',at the time I sent a very angry letter back to them stating the outrage I was feeling- (quite comical in hindsight) only to find that 3 months down the line I am facing prosecution over a £1.20 journey for which I wasn't even given the opportunity to touch in!
This is just a clear illustration of how the system is being abused to criminalise innocent individuals.

I used the PACE argument only to be told by the prosecutor that if I felt I was 'so' innocent then I should plead not guilty and let the court decide- Even more outrage!!

Anyhow, I continued to use the advice on this website to reach a pricey out of court settlement with the prosecutor- standard, non-negotiable £250.

I would have fought my case in court but I could not compromise the nature of my work with the attention of this case and the stress revolved around it.

So for anyone out there in a similar situation, ring your prosecutor once you receive the summons and ask him to settle out of court as it is the path of least resistance.

Just out of interest I intend on finding out what the £250 is actually for through the Freedom of Information Act- will update!

tada!

pinky991 said...

hi i need your help i was court on a bus with my boyfirnds bus pass because he acidently gave it to me instead of my own bus pass when we toped it up at the train station now the inspector that took down the reaport not only threaten to arrest me beacause i had no id on me (because who needs id to go somewear to draw ) but he made a fulse aligation aganst me in his statement from the courts now i have a fine aswell as a court date to attened and i think its completely unfair i was woundering allso if i refuse to pay any fines how long will i get in prison

Shafique said...

Lost, thank you so much for this amazing help. My friend got the summon letter and he was panicking as he is really a good person just been caught on bus by mistake ironically for using his mom's oyster. after reading this blog and having the ideas from others' experiences I told him to call TFL but they refused to help him. They asked for his bank statement to show that his is a first time offender. However, I wrote an email with some rewording of an email composed by "well-wisher" ( thanks a million to him). Thank you guys. My friend is so happy as he does not need to worry about the criminal record anymore!!

Thank you for this really helpful blog!!!!!

Anonymous said...

I am glad to hear that at least some leeches on hard working people who pay their way have been caught, and I feel sorry for those of you that made a genuine mistake. I hate dishonesty!

Anonymous said...

What are the likely implications if you do absolutly nothing and ignore it?

1)I am no longer living at the address the letter was sent to.

2)I am planning on leaving the UK within the next 6 months

3) have a caution for cannibis

4) Dont intend on presuing a career in law/police/medicine etc.


Considering the above what are the long term implications, if any? I got caught on the tube so am probably looking at a £300 out of court settlement if i can even get it, and i would very much like to keep my £300 if i could.

Advice much appreciated!

Thanks

Anonymous said...

hi lost,
can you help please, my details were taken few months back for using invalid ticket in underground,a letter was sent on my previous address. as i changed my address and trying to contact prosecution department since then by email and also made couple of phone calls, but haven't got any response from them of my emails.
i tried to update details through email and also told on phone call,

what should i do now to update my details as time is passing and they are not responding my emails? should i call them again to get their postal address and write them a letter or should i sit back and wait for email response?

Thanx.

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