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Penalty fares

Got a question about Southeastern penalty fares or what happens if you travel without a ticket? Find the answers here…

When will I be charged a penalty fare?

If you travel on a train without a ticket, you’ll have to pay the full single fare or full return fare or, if appropriate, a penalty fare for your journey.
 
You might be charged a penalty fare if you:
  • Travel without a valid ticket
  • Can't produce an appropriate railcard on a discounted ticket
  • Travel in First Class accommodation with a Standard Ticket
  • Are aged 16 or over, travelling using on a child-rate ticket
  • Continue your journey past your ticket destination
The penalty is £20 or twice the full single fare from the station where you started your journey to the next stop - whichever is the greater.

Do I need a ticket to travel?

Yes, you must have a valid ticket or permit to travel for your journey.
 
It's easy to buy a ticket before you get to the station. You can buy train tickets from any staffed ticket office or machine, or buy a train ticket online.

If the ticket office is closed do I still have to buy a ticket

Yes, you must have a valid ticket or permit to travel before you start your journey.

All our stations have Ticket Vending Machines, though some may be card-only.

You can check ticket office opening times in the online station information.

Don't forget you can also buy your ticket online before you get to the station.

Can I pay at my destination if I am in a rush?

No, you must have a valid ticket or permit to travel before you start your journey.  
 
It’s our responsibility to make sure you can buy your ticket at the station – either at the ticket office or from a Ticket Vending Machine
 
But it’s your responsibility to arrive at the station with enough time to use these facilities to buy your ticket.
 
If you get on a train without a ticket you may have to pay a penalty fare.

I've forgotten/lost my Season Ticket what should I do?

If don't have your Season Ticket with you, you'll need to buy another ticket before you travel. If you don't you may be asked to pay a penalty fare.
 
We know everyone sometimes makes mistakes, so if you have to buy a replacement ticket for your journey we'll normally refund the cost of that ticket under the following conditions: 
  • 1st time – full refund of the fare paid
  • 2nd time – full refund of the fare paid less a £10 administration fee
  • 3+ times – no further refunds paid in any 12-month period

Will I get a penalty fare if I sit in First Class and I've only got a Standard Ticket?

Yes. Our revenue inspectors travel around our network and can issue you with a penalty fare if you do not hold a valid ticket. This includes being in First Class with a Standard Class Ticket. 
 
This applies even on crowded trains where you can't otherwise get a seat. 

How do I pay a penalty fare?

You should pay the penalty fare when it's issued. You can pay the inspector directly and you'll be given a receipt.  
 
You can also promptly pay the penalty notice at the ticket office at your destination. 
 
If you don't have the full amount, then you will be allowed to make a part payment of at least the single fare for your journey. You then have 21 days to pay the balance by: 
  • Visiting a Southeastern ticket office
  • Sending a cheque or postal order to the payment address on the notice (with the notice included). Please do not send cash through the post 
  • Paying online at www.penaltyfares.co.uk  

What happens if I haven’t paid the penalty fare?

You'll be sent a letter reminding you about the money that you owe us.
 
If you travel on the railway intending to not pay the fare, then you may be prosecuted under criminal law. The current maximum penalty upon conviction is £1,000 fine and/or 3 months imprisonment.
 
You are required by law to provide your full name and address to the inspector even if you pay the penalty fare in full. They can check these details and will know if the details you give are not correct.

Can I appeal against a penalty fare?

You can appeal against a penalty fare online or in writing within 21 days of the issue date. Online appeals can be made here. Written appeals should be sent to Penalty Services Ltd (PSL) at:
 
PSL, 9 Deben Mill Business Centre, Woodbridge, IP12 1BL
 
PSL are an independent organisation governed by the Department of Transport. They will consider your appeal based on the facts of the case and rule whether it’s successful or not.
 

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