Changes To Rail Fare Penalties Proposed - Unity Recruitment

Changes have been proposed to the system that is in place for appealing against rail fare penalties.

The Department for Transport has announced that adapting the current process would help to make conditions fairer and more consistent across the board for train passengers in the UK.

At the moment, if an individual is found to be travelling without a valid ticket on a rail journey, the train operator can immediately present them with a financial penalty that needs to be paid within a set time period - usually 21 days.

Then, the passenger can appeal through one of two official bodies - the Independent Revenue Collection and Support or the Independent Penalty Fares Appeals Service - if they believe they have been fined in an unfair or incorrect manner.

However, with extra trains and seats being added to rail routes up and down the country and passenger numbers increasing, the government thinks the current system could be made fairer.

Rail minister Claire Perry commented: "More people are using our railways than ever and passengers rightly expect that we take strong action against fare dodgers. But passengers penalised through no fault of their own must be treated fairly.

"That's why we have listened to passenger groups and are working with the rail industry to improve the system so it is clearer, fairer and easier to use."

Several potential changes have been put forward, which include establishing an independent body to make final decisions regarding appeals, meaning passengers would not have to pay their fines until this stage of the appeals process was complete.

In addition, the government wants train operators to stop threatening individuals with criminal sanctions if they are travelling without a proper ticket, as it believes this is inappropriate.

What's more, operators and appeals bodies would be required to provide the Department for Transport with regular data relating to penalties so the government can check they are complying with the updated code of practice.

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