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National Rail penalty fares rules policy and charge change consultation process

Date published:
04 November 2009
Closing date:
27 January 2010

Summary

This set of documents relates to National Rail Penalty Fares schemes.  Last year, the UK rail network carried more than 1 billion passengers, earning over £6 billion from ticket sales.

If only a small percentage of passengers travel without paying, the rail network loses considerable amounts of money.  Reducing the numbers travelling without tickets reduces lost income and this makes more money available to invest in better rail services.

The National Rail Conditions of Carriage defines the rights and responsibilities of passengers. Condition 2 is titled "Requirement to hold a ticket ". It states "Before you travel you must have a ticket or other authority to travel which is valid for the train(s) you intend to use and for the journey you intend to make"  The "NRCoC" also refers to Penalty Fares in connection with this requirement.

Buy before you board the train is the fundamental position for passengers, although if you look at the NRCoC in full you will see there are sensible and practical exemptions follow.

A penalty fare is what is legally known as 'strict liability'. In other words, there is no need to prove intention to avoid payment, honesty or dishonesty, it's a simple matter of whether or not the passenger can show a valid ticket if ticket facilities were available at their starting station.  However, this is a civil, not a criminal matter, similar to a parking ticket. Outside penalty fare areas passengers without tickets intending to avoid payment may be prosecuted under provisions of the 1889 Railways Act

The 2009 consultation intends to seek contributions toward making the rules and policy clearer through the use of plain English and by revising a number of issues which have sometimes caused confusion.  The policy statement was drafted assuming no previous knowledge of penalty fares on the part of the reader.

The Association of Train operators "ATOC" has also requested a change in the charge amount of a penalty fare, presently £20 or twice the single fare. The proposal is that in future the penalty fare charge is £50, or twice the full single fare from the station where the passenger got on the train to the next station at which the train stops, whichever is the greater. The £50 penalty fare charge will be reduced to £25 or the full single fare from the station where the passenger got on the train to the next station at which the train stops, whichever is the greater if it is paid within 21 days starting from the day of issue of the penalty fare notice to the passenger. This change would bring charges into line with those made by Transport for London with which the large majority of national rail penalty fares schemes presently interface.

The 2009 consultation pack has been sent to a range of interested organisations including passenger representative bodies such as Passenger Focus and London Travelwatch, to disabled organisations, Passenger Transport Executives, and to regional and other government and stakeholder organisations.

 

Download documents


Consultation document (38 kb)

Consultation on National Rail penalty fares rules policy and charge change consultation process.

Published:
04 November 2009

Penalty Fares Policy (221 kb)

Penalty fares policy relating to the consultation on National Rail penalty fares rules policy and charge change consultation process.

Published:
04 November 2009

National Rail Conditions of Carriage (291 kb)

National Rail Conditions of Carriage document relating to the consultation on National Rail penalty fares rules policy and charge change consultation process.

Published:
04 November 2009

Penalty Fares Rules (383 kb)

Penalty Fares Rules relating to the consultation on National Rail penalty fares rules policy and charge change consultation process.

Published:
04 November 2009

Penalty Fares Policy (353 kb)

Penalty Fares Policy relating to the consultation on National Rail penalty fares rules policy and charge change consultation process.

Published:
04 November 2009

Penalty Fares Regulations (25 kb)

Penalty Fares Regulations relating to the consultation on National Rail penalty fares rules policy and charge change consultation process.

Published:
04 November 2009

Railways Act Section 130 (22 kb)

Railways Act Section 130 relating to the consultation on National Rail penalty fares rules policy and charge change consultation process.

Published:
04 November 2009

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