Commuter Jenny Shearman, a 46-year old who works at Cardiff University, has spoken out about a shocking £615 fine she received for hopping on a train to work without buying a ticket. She said: "people get fined less for GBH".
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Shearman took the train from Llandaff Station to Cardiff, as part of a regular commute. She usually buys her ticket on the train for £1.90, but there was nobody selling tickets that day. As a result, when she got to Cardiff, ticket inspectors noted that she had no ticket.
According to the Daily Mail, she received a letter, informing her of a fine. The letter said she could appeal, so she did so. The next letter said they had received her appeal, but that it had failed. She then received a court summons, and then finally, the massive penalty from the Magistrates Court
She took to Facebook to complain. She wrote: "Regardless of it seeming unfair as they sell tickets on the train (not that day though of course) and you can't exit the station at the other end without paying, it just seems vastly disproportionate. People get fined less for GBH."
She was actually fined £440, with an additional £44 victim surcharge, costs of £130 and compensation of £1.90. She says she was not given the opportunity to pay a spot fine or settle before the final fine. She told The Sun she would challenge the fine on the basis that she was never given a chance to pay a fixed penalty.
The train company responded that everyone has a duty to buy a ticket before they travel - if there is a ticket office or a functioning machine at the station.
It's another reminder of just how serious penalties can be for failing to buy a ticket, and why it's essential that we set aside the extra travel time to pick one up before we board the train. Shearman is far from the only train traveller to have faced a shocking fine recently. There have been several high-profile cases so far this year.
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1. Back in February, Lauren Bolt, a pregnant 23-year-old from Barry, was fined £616.30 by Cardiff Magistrate's Court, after failing to buy a £2.30 ticket. She says the ticket machine wasn't working at the station, so she had been forced to board without one.
2. A few days later, a group of seven passengers were fined a total of £4,500 for travelling from Beverley to Hull without a ticket. Again the fine came after the passengers were taken to court for failing to pay.
3. In one day in Teesside Magistrates Court, meanwhile, nine fare dodgers were fined more than £5,750 between them, for journeys that would have cost a total of £50.
4. In January, a fare dodger who told the rail company 'catch me if you can', on Twitter, was caught when an employee of the rail company came across his Twitter feed. He was taken to court and fined £1,225 - as well as the price of the 12 journeys he Tweeted about - at a cost of £48. He was also ordered to complete 120 hours of unpaid work.
5. Another commuter, meanwhile, was fined £682.20 for failing to buy a £2.20 ticket - despite being able to prove he had never missed a payment before - and having the cash in his hand ready to pay the inspector. He was used to getting on at a station without a ticket machine and paying on board, but ran into trouble when he boarded elsewhere, and instead of being allowed to buy a ticket, he was issued with a fine.