Penalty fares

You may be given a penalty fare notice if you travel without a ticket, or with a ticket which is not valid for the journey. The penalty is £20 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.  You will also have to pay the fare for the rest of your journey beyond the next stop.  This is not a fine or a criminal conviction.  It operates on a ‘guilty until proved innocent’ basis.

If you feel that the penalty fare is not warranted or is unfair, you have 21 days to appeal, either in writing to the address on the penalty fare notice, or online.  The appeals process now gives greater consideration to circumstances of how and why the penalty was issued to ensure people are not unfairly penalised. The process is operated by the nominally independent Independent Penalty Fares Appeals Service (IPFAS) – although it is owned by South East Trains. Once you appeal, the 21-day clock on the penalty fare stops until the outcome of you appeal is resolved.

IPFAS considers appeals on two grounds – inappropriate use of discretion by the member of staff charging the penalty fares and a failure by the train operators to comply with the requirements of the DfT's Penalty Fares Rules, the Penalty Fares Regulations or the provisions of the train operator’s own penalty fares schemes (published on the train operator’s website). 

Alternatively, if you could not present a valid ticket, you may be issued with an Unpaid Fares Notice.  This is effectively a bill for the ticket that you haven’t bought and there is no extra penalty, although it will be for the full fare without any discounts that you might otherwise have been entitled to.  The notice will include the process by which you can appeal.

When things go wrong | Changing your mind | Ticket machine not working | Ticket lost stolen or damaged | Reserved seat not available | Missed connection | Cancelled or missed connection with last train | Alternative routes in the event of delay | Delay repay | Making a complaint

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