Thursday, 15 May 2008

Unjust penalty fair - never change direction

In February I was travelling from East Dulitch to Guildford. When I arrived at London bridge i realised that it would be quicker to get a train directly from there than to go back to Waterloo.

But as I had come overground I was on the wrong side of the barrier to get a new ticket, and I didnt want to miss the train, so ... I went to tick booth on the other side of the barrier.

There was a very nice a young chap in the booth who tried to find me the right ticket. However he could not find it on his system. Meanwhile a huge queue of peopl built up behind me, and the train had arrived.

Things got really tense as all the passengers behind me were about to miss their ride and the guy was looking blankly at the screen. I said

"Look, all these people are going to miss the train. Can I buy the ticket from the conductor?" the guy said
"Yeah, sure" and with a sigh of relief got on with serving a now irate queue of commuters.

I get on the train. There is no conductor. I sit down, get the laptop out and get on with my work.

Later on two ticket inspectors come along and ask for my ticket, I show them my overland ticket to London bridge and explain the problem and ask for a ticket to Guildford.

At this point the two ticket inspectors became really aggressive.

This is my complaint

  • It is not acceptable to initiate an aggressive conversation

  • It is not acceptable to loudly insist that a passenger is lying infront of a whole carriage of people

  • It is not acceptable to ignore my story

  • It is not acceptable to refuse to check up on my story

  • It is not acceptable to insist that I sign a slip that states that I am travelling without permit

  • It is not acceptable to have a convoluted mechanism to appeal against the fine, that can only be done in writing.

It was a challenge to remain friendly and polite in the face of these two aggressive people, but I succeded. I refused to pay the fine, but offered to pay the additional fare as I am not a fare dodger. I also refused to sign their form.

When the ticket inspectors finally gave up and left, the whole carriage cheered, several passengers said well done for standing up to them.

This was a hollow victory as I have just had to pay £40 rather than have the debt collection company they put on to me credit black list me.

I have created this blog whilst following this guide

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