28 Jul 2007
Ticket terror on the railways
South West Trains are fining heavily to increase revenue, could they not just sell tickets on the trains and install more machines?
This is the advice from Schnews....I do like Schnews, I reckon if as many people read Schnews as the Sun we would be well on the way to ecotopia.
Since the railways were privatised, ticket prices unsurprisingy went up, largely filling the pockets of investors instead of improving the service. Not content with clobbering the ticketless with a £10 fine, recently all networks upped the 'penalty' to a full twenny quid. South West Trains issued a memo to its 'revenue enforcement' officers saying that they must always presume someone traveling without a ticket is guilty and to sting them for a score regardless of the excuse. But what if you arrived at the station, your train's about to leave and there's a big queue for tickets?
The penalty fares rules state that if there were "no facilities available to issue the appropriate ticket" you can't get done. One barrister, Richard Colbey, says this means that there must have been someone ready to sell you a ticket and if that person (or machine) is serving a queue then the facilities to buy aren't actually available. That's paragraph 7.4 of the penalty fares rules, by the way. To fine you the train company has to sue you through the county court and so far none have done so. Happy traveling!
More Schnews here