Transport User Voice – Case study

19 December 2017

Ms B dropped her son, Mr B, at Bromsgrove station where he normally buys a ticket from the ticket office. On this occasion, the ticket office was closed and Mr B was unable to buy a ticket from the machine as it only accepts cards. Mr B only had cash on him so he had to board the train without a ticket.

Mr B was travelling to Five Ways station so he had to change at Birmingham University where he tried to purchase a ticket. There were no ticket vending machines inside the station and as he was unable to get through the barriers, Mr B was unable to buy a ticket here either. He boarded the train to Five Ways where he was issued with a Penalty Fare Notice costing £30 because he did not have a ticket. He explained to staff that he attempted to purchase a ticket on departure, and when he changed at University station, but was unable to.

Mr B later appealed the fine. However, this was rejected on the basis that there were facilities to purchase a ticket on departure. His mother contacted Transport Focus on her son’s behalf as she felt the decision to uphold the fine was unfair.

We investigated the case with London Midland Prosecutions and could confirm that the ticket office was closed and that the ticket vending machines only accept cards. This information should and could have been checked by the staff member who issued the penalty fare, and if they had done so it could have saved Ms B and her son from having to go through this process.

London Midland agreed to waive the penalty fare and refund the £20 Mr B paid. They also fed back the issues Transport Focus raised with regards to staff checking the ticket purchasing facilities available before issuing a penalty fare. They understood that not everyone, especially those under the age of 18, will have a bank card to purchase a ticket. Both Mr and Ms B were happy with the outcome.

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