Penalty fare when using Oyster PAYG via Farringdon

nanstallon

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The route taken does seem a little round-the-houses and could be seen as deliberately trying to avoid being charged for travelling via Zone 1 as other routes would involve going through gates. It also doesn't come across as hugely more convenient than some other routes even if heavy luggage or limited mobility comes into play. Ironically it also looks far slower than a cheaper route avoiding Zone 1 unless there was disruption. That said, what you did is entirely legitimate and it's not your fault the system was unable to charge a fare via Zone 1. I suspect the revenue person just couldn't resist trying to make a point though...
Does life really need to be that complicated? OK, I'm a country boy.
 
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Bletchleyite

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Does life really need to be that complicated? OK, I'm a country boy.

It isn't that complicated. The way the Oyster/contactless system works is that provided you touch in and out you are in the clear. LU, for whom it was developed, have no concept of Permitted Routes for single journeys. It is solely about where you enter/leave the system, give or take (very long) time limits, out of station interchanges and the option to touch a pink reader to get a cheaper fare (never mandatory), none of which are relevant here.

This is an RPI acting outside their authority based on what they think should be the case rather than what is the case. If poor training is the cause that needs to be fixed, or if that person is wilfully making rules up they need to be disciplined. Either way the PF needs to be cancelled, and a prosecution (if it got that far) would in my (non-lawyer) view be very easy to defend.
 

Fenchurch SP

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The route taken does seem a little round-the-houses and could be seen as deliberately trying to avoid being charged for travelling via Zone 1 as other routes would involve going through gates. It also doesn't come across as hugely more convenient than some other routes even if heavy luggage or limited mobility comes into play. Ironically it also looks far slower than a cheaper route avoiding Zone 1 unless there was disruption. That said, what you did is entirely legitimate and it's not your fault the system was unable to charge a fare via Zone 1. I suspect the revenue person just couldn't resist trying to make a point though...
Apart from the price I chose that route because it is slower. I had just finished working the night shift and was intending to do some shopping in Croydon on the way home so didn't want to arrive too early. Also I don't like travelling on the Overground trains.
I often make similar journeys with a Zone 1-6 season, sometimes changing at Blackfriars if I manage to get a fairly empty District line train at Barking.
I usually change to a Southern service at London Bridge and pick up something to eat in the station but this time I decided to stay on the train and change at Norwood Junction instead.
 

30907

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The route taken does seem a little round-the-houses and could be seen as deliberately trying to avoid being charged for travelling via Zone 1 as other routes would involve going through gates.
Using the TfL journey planner, the "normal" route is via Whitechapel and Overground, which avoids Zone 1 altogether (hence the fare).

Other routes involve a mix of LUL and NR via (eg) London Br, which incur the "mixed-mode" penalty not just Zone 1 fares.
 

spag23

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I reckon it's important to escalate this. How many other passengers have been falsely PF'ed by this rogue RPI? And his equally educated colleagues. There may be a large number of refunds due, to less assertive customers. Perhaps demonstrable, multiple such breaches could lose them the contract.
 

spag23

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I wouldn't hold your breath on this one.
Yeah, I know it would never happen. I only mentioned it because earlier in the thread someone said that a single incident would be insufficient to constitute a breach of the TOC's contract.
 

Fenchurch SP

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Still waiting for a decision on the re-appeal.
Out of curiosity on Friday I made the same journey from Dagenham Dock to West Croydon, this time changing from c2c to the Underground at Liverpool Street and not touching again until West Croydon, and it somehow came up with the fare of £4.80 which does not match anything on the fare finder.
 

MikeWh

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Out of curiosity on Friday I made the same journey from Dagenham Dock to West Croydon, this time changing from c2c to the Underground at Liverpool Street and not touching again until West Croydon, and it somehow came up with the fare of £4.80 which does not match anything on the fare finder.
That one is easy. Dagenham Dock to Liverpool Street NR is £4.80 which is what you'll be charged when you touch out there. Via Liverpool Street isn't a defined route for the Dagenham Dock to West Croydon journey so it tries to deduct the default fare, but it can't refund anything already charged.
 

Watershed

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Still waiting for a decision on the re-appeal.
Out of curiosity on Friday I made the same journey from Dagenham Dock to West Croydon, this time changing from c2c to the Underground at Liverpool Street and not touching again until West Croydon, and it somehow came up with the fare of £4.80 which does not match anything on the fare finder.
Obviously you could raise that one with TfL Customer Services and get a refund of the difference.

However, you may want to consider whether it's better to 'let sleeping dogs lie' if this is a journey you make regularly - if it gets to the attention of someone 'high enough', the default fare may be increased to assume travel via Farringdon....
 

reb0118

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There are no pink readers in Zone 1, as normally they are only used to prove you have avoided Zone 1.

Precisely. I'm not an Oyster expert but my understanding is that you only have to tap in intermediately on a journey to save you money i.e. to prove that you avoided a specific zone with a higher default fare.
 

Fenchurch SP

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The appeal was refused again!
This time there is no mention of Farringdon but they are claiming I had not touched in. (see image)
The Oyster statement shows a journey from Dagenham Dock to West Croydon charged at £2.80, which would seem to confirm that the card was approved for travel. Seems to be like Delay Repay where there are spurious reasons given for rejection and you have to keep retrying until they get it right.
When I make the final appeal is it worth also mentioning that the PF was wrongly issued because the next station was Norwood Junction and not East Croydon, as suggested by Watershed?
 

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gray1404

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You should include any possible reasons for appealing in the final appeal. It is only at the third and final appeal stage is the appeal actually considered by somebody independent of the Railway.

I would strongly recommend that you reply to this thread listing all the possible reasons for appeal you can think of. Then in the same post draught your third appeal response and post it here for others to have a look at before you submit it to the appeal body.

It is worth remembering that the train company are now statute barred from prosecuting in this matter anyway. I personally would not be paying it even if the thirds appeal was unsuccessful.
 

Nottingham59

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I notice your journey from Dagenham Dock to West Croydon took 2h 7m, which is over the maximum journey time for a zone 5 to zone 5 journey. I wonder if that has any bearing on their attitude in this? Still doesn't justify a penalty fare though.
 

clagmonster

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I notice your journey from Dagenham Dock to West Croydon took 2h 7m, which is over the maximum journey time for a zone 5 to zone 5 journey. I wonder if that has any bearing on their attitude in this? Still doesn't justify a penalty fare though.
The maximum journey time for travelling through 9 zones is 2hours 30 minutes.
 

furlong

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That little word "if" reveals so much! (In the reasoning in the first image.) One day perhaps the DfT will update the regulations to mandate a certain level of competence for an Appeal Panel. It would never have needed to delve into specifying all those matters around ownership if the Appeal Panels were competent and already producing correct outcomes! As ever in government, focus on matters of appearance and process while doing nothing about the fundamental causes.

For a Final Appeal, you need to look up the regulations yourself and write it formally with direct reference to them, keeping each point as short and succinct as possible. (The people deciding the appeal get paid peanuts for their work - a little extra semi-retirement income giving something back to society perhaps - so make their task simple!)
 
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MikeWh

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I notice your journey from Dagenham Dock to West Croydon took 2h 7m, which is over the maximum journey time for a zone 5 to zone 5 journey. I wonder if that has any bearing on their attitude in this? Still doesn't justify a penalty fare though.

The maximum journey time for travelling through 9 zones is 2hours 30 minutes.

Not if they expect you to avoid Zone 1 for that particular journey.
I wish people would understand what they are posting when offering advice. If we take this at face value then the journey is 5-4-3-2-3-4-5 which is 7 zones. Monday to Friday you are allowed 130 minutes for that journey which is 3 minutes more than was taken. However, there is strong evidence that where different routes are allowed for a journey the maximum journey time for all routes is based on the highest number of zones.

However, in terms of this issue the maximum journey time has absolutely no relevance at all. GTR are disputing that the journey started in zone 5, and wherever the card was checked between Farringdon and Norwood Junction it would have been well within the maximum journey time for the Thameslink train.
 

Hadders

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GTR have form for this sort of incompetence. Wasn't there a similar issue last year (might've been 2020) around Clapham Junction where they eventually backed down?
 

MikeWh

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GTR have form for this sort of incompetence. Wasn't there a similar issue last year (might've been 2020) around Clapham Junction where they eventually backed down?
Yes. And Lee to East Croydon as well.
 

jumble

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The appeal was refused again!
This time there is no mention of Farringdon but they are claiming I had not touched in. (see image)
The Oyster statement shows a journey from Dagenham Dock to West Croydon charged at £2.80, which would seem to confirm that the card was approved for travel. Seems to be like Delay Repay where there are spurious reasons given for rejection and you have to keep retrying until they get it right.
When I make the final appeal is it worth also mentioning that the PF was wrongly issued because the next station was Norwood Junction and not East Croydon, as suggested by Watershed?
At this point I would contact Andy Byford via email and apologise for troubling him with such a simple matter and ask him a simple yes/no question
If I want to travel between Dagenham Dock and West Croydon and have touched in at Dagenham Dock and touch out at West Croydon am I allowed to travel any route I Like if I stay within zones 1 to 6 and do not exceed the maximum journey time? YES/NO
(My oyster statement clearly shows I complied with the latter )
He will not respond but someone who understands will.
 

Haywain

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At this point I would contact Andy Byford via email and apologise for troubling him with such a simple matter and ask him a simple yes/no question
If I want to travel between Dagenham Dock and West Croydon and have touched in at Dagenham Dock and touch out at West Croydon am I allowed to travel any route I Like if I stay within zones 1 to 6 and do not exceed the maximum journey time? YES/NO
(My oyster statement clearly shows I complied with the latter )
He will not respond but someone who understands will.
How will that help theOP with getting the Penalty Fare cancelled?
 

furlong

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How will that help theOP with getting the Penalty Fare cancelled?

Indeed irrelevant. To summarise from what we've been told: the matter under dispute is whether or not the Oyster card counted as already 'touched in' at the time of inspection. The appellant claims it was touched in while the company claims it was not. The first two Appeal Panels have decided that the Oyster statement provided proves that it was not touched in.
 

jumble

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How will that help theOP with getting the Penalty Fare cancelled
Indeed irrelevant. To summarise from what we've been told: the matter under dispute is whether or not the Oyster card counted as already 'touched in' at the time of inspection. The appellant claims it was touched in while the company claims it was not. The first two Appeal Panels have decided that the Oyster statement provided proves that it was not touched in.

Indeed irrelevant. To summarise from what we've been told: the matter under dispute is whether or not the Oyster card counted as already 'touched in' at the time of inspection. The appellant claims it was touched in while the company claims it was not. The first two Appeal Panels have decided that the Oyster statement provided proves that it was not touched in.
Lets agree to disagree
Do we agree that the penalty fare was issued on the basis that the OP did not do anything at Farringdon ?
If the OP gets TFL to say in writing that there was no reason for them to do anything at Farringdon for the journey they made from TFL then that is evidence they need to prove that the penalty fare was issued incorrectly by rebutting any nonsense about not touching in by pointing out that the statement could not possibly have Dagenham Dock on it if they had not touched in.
 
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Watershed

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The appeal was refused again!
This time there is no mention of Farringdon but they are claiming I had not touched in. (see image)
The Oyster statement shows a journey from Dagenham Dock to West Croydon charged at £2.80, which would seem to confirm that the card was approved for travel. Seems to be like Delay Repay where there are spurious reasons given for rejection and you have to keep retrying until they get it right.
When I make the final appeal is it worth also mentioning that the PF was wrongly issued because the next station was Norwood Junction and not East Croydon, as suggested by Watershed?
Oh dear. The statement clearly shows that you made a journey from Dagenham Dock. If your Oyster card wasn't validated, it wouldn't show that as your origin, it would show ??? (and you would have been charged for an incomplete journey). They seem to have difficulty in accepting any facts or assertions other than those made by GTR.

For your third stage appeal, you should raise any and all arguments you feel may be applicable. Regulation 16(3) of the Penalty Fares Regulations sets out the possible grounds for appeal:
(a) the penalty fare was not charged in accordance with the requirements of these Regulations;
(b) the appellant is not the person liable for the payment of the penalty fare;
(c) the appellant owns a season ticket valid for the journey in question but was not in possession of the season ticket at the time the penalty fare was charged; or
(d) there are compelling reasons why, in the particular circumstances of the case, the appellant should not be liable to pay the penalty fare.

(a) and (d) are the most likely candidates. In relation to (a), Regulation 5(1) sets out that a Penalty Fare may be issued where:
a person fails to produce a platform ticket or a valid travel ticket in accordance with regulation 4

Regulation 3(1) defines "travel ticket" as:
a ticket or other authority which authorises a person to make a journey on a railway passenger service to which these Regulations apply

Condition 3.4 of the Oyster Conditions of Use on National Rail Services states:
When you touch your Oyster card flat on the yellow card reader:
[yellow reader symbol]
a green light, accompanied by one beep ... means that it has been accepted for travel.

Condition 3.14 states:
At the station where you start your journey, you must touch your Oyster card flat on a yellow card reader (see clause 3.4) at the station ... At the end of your journey, you must touch your Oyster card flat on a yellow card reader at the station as you exit.

Furthermore, condition 3.18 states:
There is no need to touch your Oyster card on a yellow card reader when changing trains within the same station from National Rail to London Underground, DLR, TfL Rail or London Overground services, or vice versa.

Perhaps that's going into an excessive level of detail, but it demonstrates that the Conditions of Use support the fact that you acted perfectly correctly. So your ground of appeal here would be that, under regulation 16(3)(a), the penalty fare was not charged in accordance with the requirements of the Regulations as you held a valid authority, given that you complied with the Oyster Conditions of Use (this being proven by the statement).

You should also raise an appeal under regulation 16(3)(d), on the basis that, even in the counterfactual situation where you somehow hadn't touched in correctly, you have demonstrably paid the correct fare for your journey, and this constitutes a compelling reason why you should not be liable to pay a Penalty Fare. Admittedly this is perhaps somewhat of a collateral way of arguing the above argument again, but there's no harm in raising it.

Even if your third stage appeal is denied, it's not the end of the world. GTR might feel empowered to try and send you threatening letters chasing payment, and alleging that you now owe extra "administration" or "debt recovery" charges. Such claims have no legal basis and their only option remains to take you to County Court, should they wish. Of course, in the extremely unlikely event they did so, you would have all the evidence from your appeals to show that they are chancing their arm.

Do keep us updated as to the outcome of this latest appeal.
 
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furlong

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Watershed has done your work for you! That shows the right way to set out an appeal (and is what your first appeal ought to have looked like). Personally, I also number the paragraphs of such arguments to make it easier for anyone who wants to reference any part of it in a discussion.
 

Fenchurch SP

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Oh dear. The statement clearly shows that you made a journey from Dagenham Dock. If your Oyster card wasn't validated, it wouldn't show that as your origin, it would show ??? (and you would have been charged for an incomplete journey). They seem to have difficulty in accepting any facts or assertions other than those made by GTR.
Thanks Watershed. I did pay the penalty fare at the time. I vaguely remembered it was advised to do that somewhere on this forum but I may have been confusing it with another situation.
I was not too concerned at the time because I was sure it was a mistake and would be overturned. The second rejection seems bizarre because the statement shows the exact opposite of what they claim it does.
 

Watershed

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Thanks Watershed. I did pay the penalty fare at the time. I vaguely remembered it was advised to do that somewhere on this forum but I may have been confusing it with another situation.
I was not too concerned at the time because I was sure it was a mistake and would be overturned. The second rejection seems bizarre because the statement shows the exact opposite of what they claim it does.
Ah, I see. Obviously that puts the boot on the other foot, as you will need to pursue GTR to recover your Penalty Fare.

If it was just issued for the £20 minimum, you may understandably consider that it's not worth your time taking the matter further if this appeal fails.

However, you aren't limited to simply recovering the unlawful Penalty Fare. You can add on a data protection claim under section 168 of the Data Protection Act 2018 and Article 82 of the GDPR. This would be on the basis that GTR had no lawful basis for demanding, and subsequently processing, your personal data (name etc.), seeing as you had a ticket which no reasonable inspector could conclude was invalid - a touched-in Oyster card. And you would be claiming for the resultant damages (material and non-material) which you have suffered. This portion could be worth rather more than £20.

Anyway, it's a matter to consider when and if this latest appeal is decided. But suffice it to say, an unsuccessful appeal is by no means the end of the story, and GTR can't get away with having an incompetent appeals body parrot their arguments.
 

James H

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If you are a resident of Greater London, it might be worth writing to your local London Assembly member (or one of cross-London members who pick up casework across the board) - a letter from them to both GTR and TfL might bring the matter to the attention of some senior people who are capable of grasping that the whole thing is a nonsense of GTR's making.

There are some AMs (Caroline Pidgeon comes to mind) who - backed by researchers with an eye for detail - are good at pursuing slightly niche but important transport questions of this nature..
 

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