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Gatley rail user wins appeal against penalty fare

by Iain Roberts on 5 October, 2018

On Saturday 4 August a local resident wanted to visit Manchester. He went to Gatley station and found the ticket office closed – as per normal. Sometimes there is a conductor on the train, but not this time – so he couldn’t buy a ticket – quite normal.

On arrival at Piccadilly station, he joined the queue at the platform gate to purchase the return ticket – as normal.

However, when he tried to pay, he was told that they don’t sell tickets anymore, they instead dispense ‘Penalty Fare Notices’ for travelling without a valid ticket.

There were no signs to say there was a ticket machine on the platform. There were no notices to inform passengers that tickets should purchased before boarding the train and certainly nothing pertaining to a warning notice of obligation for train users.

He claimed this was unfair and appealed.

The Appeals Service upheld his complaint.  They are independent from Arriva – who run Northern. The Appeals Service agreed that there was insufficient signage at Gatley Station either to draw attention to the ticket machine, or to the need to get a ticket or permit to travel from the machine if the ticket office is closed.

The Lib Dem team are very pleased that the appeal succeeded. Arriva changed the rules, left people to guess what we were meant to do and then punished us if we got it wrong. They shouldn’t get away with it.


5 Responses

  1. Robert Cohen says:

    Quite right! In this day and age it is beyond belief how archaic the system is if the ticket office in Gatley (or anywhere else) is closed. Most of us have a card that has a touch facility – I have done this using the tube in London and it works a treat. Andy Burnham……

  2. Chris says:

    That’s happened to me before in Piccadilly.

  3. Jane says:

    I hardly ever use the train but the one time I did a few months ago the conductor on the train was so rude to a gentleman near me who had not been able to buy a ticket using the machine because he hadn’t realised it took cards and he had no cash on him. He was more than willing to pay for his tickets but the conductor seemed to want to turn it into an argument very quickly saying “well if you want to get fined then that’s your problem” etc. He was so aggressive we could not believe what we were seeing!! Thankfully the gentleman remained calm as he had a disabled passenger travelling with him. My husband and I we’re looking at each other and saying “wow, can you believe this”? Really put me off getting the train again. Had the gentleman in question responded in a different manner there would have been a real problem on that carriage. It made me feel really unsafe.

  4. John Sutcliffe says:

    Clearly the privatised system is broken. Putting sticking plasters on is not adequate. The rail companies are arrogant and attempting to charge a so called standard fair is a private company attempting to impose a fine which they should not have the power to do. This is the perogative of the courts. It is also iniquitous that one ticket on buses and trains does not cover the journey, particularly return tickets issued by one company when they do not provide a return service so that the poor commuter is asked to pay twice. If they fail to inform the passenger they should be required to pay the other company for the return journey. All companies should have a proper system in place for making payment before travel. No one should be required to have a mobile phone in order to make a payment.

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