Penalty Fare Notices
What is a Penalty Fare Notice and what should I do now that I have been issued one?
The National Rail Conditions of Travel state that you must have a valid ticket before you board a train. If you board a train without a valid ticket, you may either have to pay the full Single or Return fare, or you could be issued a Penalty Fare Notice.
If you’re issued with a Penalty Fare Notice, you are required by law to provide your full name and date of birth to the Authorised Collector. They can check whether the details you have provided are correct and will know if they are not.
This is the first increase since 2005 and it follows a consultation process by the DfT and the rail industry as it was felt that the £20 penalty fare was not high enough to act as a deterrent.
The Rail Delivery Group (RDG) estimates that in a normal year around £240 million is lost through fare evasion on Britain’s railways.
Fare evasion means that train operators, rail customers and taxpayers who subsidise the railway are paying for the journeys of those who deliberately travel by train without paying the correct fare.
You should pay your Penalty Fare Notice as soon as possible, as after 21 days from the date your notice was issued, you will no longer be entitled to a discounted rate of £50 plus the fare and this will rise to £100 plus the fare.
You can pay your Penalty Fare Notice via the following methods:
- Paying online
- By calling the payment line on 0330 095 9327 (Monday to Friday 10:00 – 16:30)
- By visiting a Southeastern ticket office
You can appeal against your Penalty Fare Notice with our independent appeals service, Penalty Services Limited. The appeal must be submitted within 21 days of the date the notice was issued to you. Their details can be found by visiting their website www.penaltyservices.co.uk.
Penalty Services Limited process appeals for multiple Train Operating Companies, and the Department for Transport (DfT) is in agreement that they are independent in the way it performs its role. The Department for Transport also assess whether or not Penalty Fare Notices have been issued correctly in line with their guidelines.
There are three stages to the appeal process. The first two stages remain with Penalty Services Limited and the third is then independent to them. On the third occasion, if you remain unhappy with the outcome to your appeals, then you should raise your appeal with either London Travelwatch (if your journey was taken within the London Zones) or Transport Focus (if your journey involved travel outside of London).
You should pay your Penalty Fare Notice as soon as possible, as after 21 days from the date your notice was issued. You will no longer be entitled to a discount rate of £50 plus the fare and this will rise to £100 plus the fare.
If your Penalty Fare Notice remains unpaid, your case will transfer over to our Prosecutions department, and you may be prosecuted under criminal law. The current maximum penalty upon conviction is £1,000 fine.
Please contact the payment line as soon as possible. As well as making payments, they can also provide you with your Penalty Fare Notice reference number. They can be contacted on 0330 095 9327 (Monday to Friday 10:00 – 16:30).
If it has been more than 21 days since your Penalty Fare Notice was issued to you, you should have received a letter explaining that you are no longer entitled to the reduced rate of £50 plus the fare and will now need to pay £100 plus the fare. This letter will have your reference number on it.
You should return the Penalty Fare Notice to the address stated on it, along with an explanation to say that it wasn’t you that was travelling with us.
Please also include the listed details below within your explanation, as they will help with your case:
- Date of birth
- Where you were at the time of issue (with any evidence supporting this – such as receipts)
- A recent passport style photo of yourself – we will then cross check this with the description taken in the Revenue Officers report or from Body Worn Video footage
We would also recommend that you contact the British Transport Police to inform them someone is falsely using your details.
Letters that are not addressed to you shouldn’t be opened. They should be returned to sender, and marked with “Not known at this address”. Once this has been received, our records will be updated, and the matter will be investigated further to track down the individual.
If you know the person and their correct forwarding address, please also provide this information when marking the letter.