22 February 2017
Mr J tried to purchase a ticket at Gateshead stadium with Tyne and Wear Metro but was faced with a faulty ticket machine. As the ticket machine wasn’t accepting cards Mr J called Tyne and Wear Metro customer services for advice. While discussing this with customer services, Mr J missed one train and when he heard another coming he decided it was more important to get to work. So he opted to board the service.
When Mr J arrived at his destination, he explained to the ticket inspector that he was unable to purchase a ticket due to a broken ticket machine. Despite this Mr J by the was issued with a Penalty Fare Notice by the inspector.
Despite being issued with a Penalty Fare, Mr J still went to purchase a ticket for his journey after departing the Metro at Monument. He contacted Tyne and Wear Metro to appeal the fine but didn’t hear anything back. When he called to chase it he was told it was too late to appeal.
As Mr J was extremely unhappy, he contacted Transport Focus for help. When we contacted Tyne and Wear Metro they were unwilling to drop the fine because it believed Mr J should have used the help point to report any issues with the machine. We felt this to be unfair, as Mr J did attempt to do this at the time and was going to be late for work as a result of the fault.
The penalty fare scheme states that if there are no facilities to purchase a ticket, then a passenger must be able to purchase a ticket at the next available opportunity. Mr J, therefore, should have been allowed to purchase a ticket at his destination.
We asked Tyne and Wear Metro to check the machine again for faults as it should have in the first place. It responded that an intermittent fault was discovered at the time the passenger purchased his tickets and agreed to overturn the Penalty Fare as a result.
Tyne and Wear Metro have assured Transport Focus they have contacted the company that have authority over the ticket vending machines to resolve the fault.