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Unread 04-04-2007, 01:56   #1
andyl222
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Default contested fine to no avail.....

As you can read from my previous thread I had the misfortune of being fined 50 euro by Irish Rail. I contested the fine and emailed ( registered post would have been better but time restrictions were an issue) John Byrne. The following is my email and then his response.




To whom it may concern,

I'm writing you this email to contest a fine I received on Tuesday 20th of this month. The circumstances which subsequently led to my fine are as follows:

On Tuesday 20th of March I intended to catch the 12.50 service to Connolly Station from Coolmine train station. I commute from this particular station on a daily basis and as such know that to walk from my house to Coolmine train station takes no more than 13 minutes. I was perhaps 150 metres from the level crossing when i noticed the barrier was down, signifying a train was coming into the station. It was 12.39 and i assumed it must have been a Maynooth bound train as can sometimes be the case. As i reached the level crossing (on the Dublin bound side of the tracks) the train arrived from the Maynooth direction en route to Dublin. It was 8 minutes early and at first i thought it may have been a Maynooth - Connolly direct, but alas it was in fact the train I intended to catch. As you may well know, Coolmine Station's platform layout is not conducive to quick access to the ticket office at any time,but in the case of the early arrival of a train it is downright inconvenient. I had an important meeting with a lecturer which I could not postpone, so I boarded the train assuming I could just pay when I reached Connolly as has been common practice since I started using the commuter train route nigh on 5 years ago. As you know, there is a new booth in Connolly station, parallel to Platform 4, which to all intents and purposes is signposted and manned like a ticket booth. In the very recent past I'd been witness to many people purchasing tickets at said booth on arrival at Connolly station from numerous departure points,and as such was under the impression I could do the same. I walked to the booth and addressed the attendant, asking to buy a return ticket to Maynooth (to clarify, I live with my girlfriend in Clonsilla during the week and have a family home in Maynooth.)
The attendent then asked for my point of departure to which I responded Coolmine, I explained in a somewhat jocular manner the early arrival of the train etc. I was asked for an I.D, which I duly handed over assuming it was to show I was a student. The attendent then took details from my I.D, asked for my address and only then informed me I was being fined 50 Euro for boarding a train without a ticket.

As far as I know, a commuter train arriving early into any station, even by a few minutes can be seen to have broken or infringed on the following

1. Conditions of Carriage
2. The Customer Charter
3.Memorandum of Agreement with the DOT.

Not having a ticket is in breech of SI 109 1984 and under the Victorian railway regulation act is an offence. I also understand in full SI 576 2006 with relation to fare evasion, but I'm sure it is clear to you that in this particular case I was not in any guise attempting to evade paying my fare. I had not attempted to exit my destination ( Connolly station) without buying a ticket, I had not even passed the new 'ticket' booth, I had every intention of buying a ticket.

I understand that Joan Burton TD has already been made aware of the inconsistencies in services and customer satisfaction in reference to Coolmine Station and I will in turn be sending her a copy of this email.

There are several other matters I would like to discuss in terms of my misconception of the ticketing system of Irish Rail, misconceptions which seem rife amongst the general populus and result in penalties and fines for diligent customers such as myself. Up until very recently it was common practice to pay for your journey at the destination if for whatever reason you could not purchase a ticket at your point of departure. This seemed such common practice in fact, that as I approached the 'ticket booth' on Platform 4 in Connolly Station i was oblivious to the fact that I was in a position to be penalised, as were the 6 people behind me in the queue. It seems to the public that Irish rail are 'moving the goalposts so to speak' and are now cashing in on a public misconception.

The wording of signs about fare evasion are no more clear 'Buy a Ticket, Or Pay the Price' seems like either a simple threat or an option. The booth in Connolly Station to which I've referred to throughout this email has a sign above it stating ' No Ticket? Queue here', which would imply that tickets could be bought there, a fair assumption I'm sure you'll agree.

In closing I expect this fine to be quashed. If this does not occur I will be making a complaint to the Direct of Consumer Affairs and the Minister of Transport. I will also be extensively highlighting the matter in the media. I want a written response to this email immediately. I have been greatly distressed by the aforementioned events and feel that without quick resolution I will have no other choice than to consider my legal options.

Andrew *****







His response was as follows.

Good Morning Mr *****



I’ve read you r email in regard to you boarding the service at Coolmine on the 20th March, Firstly advertisements onboard rolling stock and at stations in tandem with onboard inspections and entry and exit checks have been ongoing for a number of years at Coolmine station. It is never acceptable to board an Iarnrod Eireann service without a valid ticket when a ticket selling facility is made available as was the case in Coolmine that morning. The ticket selling facility was available at the other side of the platform which only takes a matter of minutes to traverse. I stress again that you mention it was common practice to pay at the other end of a journey ,this was only afforded to passengers that travelled from a station without a ticket selling facility or a station was unmanned or had malfunctioning equipment . Any passenger who arrived at a station or travelled onboard without a ticket and was inspected by one of my officers has been fined and this practice has been ongoing for the last number of years .Persons who have not paid have been prosecuted through the courts over the same time frame and the excuse of not knowing has not been accepted by myself or for that matter the judges presiding over prosecutions. Prosecutions have taken under the auspicious of the Railway safety act 2005 and I attach the relevant sections below. In regard to the comments made regarding my officers in Connolly the booth has had a large poster in red reading No Ticket, No Travel, No excuse attached to it for some time. Other posters and passenger information has been made available to passengers for some time prior to the introduction of the exit validation gates in our main stations in the city centre. So I don’t accept the assumption that you could reasonable buy a ticket at the booth. In closing the fine stands and is required to be paid within the 21 day period or it will be sent for prosecution.


Sorry for the very long post, but I'd like some suggestions as to how I should respond. He has not addressed the issue of the early train which to me seems incredible as it is the central point of my argument. He seems more upset that I dare question the IE signage and their interpretation. I'm just astonished that this is the sole individual to which we as consumers can voice our concerns regarding complaints/ fcontesting fines. Ridiculous.
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Unread 04-04-2007, 04:12   #2
losexpectation
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well your case ain't that great, I think its a harsh lesson for anyone who always paid at the destination when needed to fully see this is no longer true with a 50e fine. but you say it based on the fact that the train was early, you mentioned this once but didn't come back to it really at the end, how often are the trains from there, I guess early trains can be as annoying as late ones.

Is there some sort of refund for trains not on time, follow that up and perhaps this could go towards your fine.

did the 6 people behind you get fined aswell?


I thnk people get annoyed when they see no difference between fare evasion and fare neglect.

' No Ticket? Queue here' what is that booth here, shouldn't it have sign saying queue here to be fined?

as ever its the inconsistancy, didn't that guy who said he didn't see sign saying the ticket office on the other side was open get his fine recinded over on boards.ie this seems like not too disimilar case although he knew the ticket office was open (although intended to pay for it at the destination) the spiteful rules are rules types would suggest he shouldn't get let off either...
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Unread 04-04-2007, 07:51   #3
Mark Gleeson
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This is what I expected

As I posted at the outset file a complaint with the Northern and Eastern Office in Connolly about the early train, 01 703 2613

If you get them to admit the train was early in writing

Its too late now to play the data protection trick of requesting your image boarding the train in question, that would have a timestamp

Paying up is the safest option
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Unread 04-04-2007, 08:53   #4
Colm Donoghue
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andyl222 View Post
As you can read from my previous thread I had the misfortune of being fined 50 euro by Irish Rail. I contested the fine and emailed ( registered post would have been better but time restrictions were an issue) John Byrne. The following is my email and then his response.






His response was as follows.

Good Morning Mr *****



I’ve read you r email in regard to you boarding the service at Coolmine on the 20th March, Firstly advertisements onboard rolling stock and at stations in tandem with onboard inspections and entry and exit checks have been ongoing for a number of years at Coolmine station. It is never acceptable to board an Iarnrod Eireann service without a valid ticket when a ticket selling facility is made available as was the case in Coolmine that morning. The ticket selling facility was available at the other side of the platform which only takes a matter of minutes to traverse.
If one saw an advertisement onboard a train not to travel without a ticket, how would you get off to get one?
Is there always a method of crossing the tracks to the ticket office when the level crossing is closed, lift/ramped access at Coolmine? If there was no access for persons with impaired mobility, how could you have bought a ticket, if your mibility was impaired? Irish Rail's definition of people with impaired mobility is broader you might think.




Quote:
I stress again that you mention it was common practice to pay at the other end of a journey ,this was only afforded to passengers that travelled from a station without a ticket selling facility or a station was unmanned or had malfunctioning equipment .
I have been directed onto trains without a ticket at Arklow every week during the summer of 1997 and on at least one occasion last year 2006, by a staff member of Irish rail working in the signal cabin. This station was not unamanned, yet a staff member afforded me the opportunity to pay on the train.

Quote:
In regard to the comments made regarding my officers in Connolly the booth has had a large poster in red reading No Ticket, No Travel, No excuse attached to it for some time. Other posters and passenger information has been made available to passengers for some time prior to the introduction of the exit validation gates in our main stations in the city centre. So I don’t accept the assumption that you could reasonable buy a ticket at the booth. In closing the fine stands and is required to be paid within the 21 day period or it will be sent for prosecution.
How does "No Ticket, No Travel, No excuse" apply to passengers getting on at stations where you can't buy a ticket?
How does Irish rail putting up posters which are regularly incorrect in so many respects along with incorrect information affect their truthfullness in this case?
Also if you got on at an unstaffed station, it would be perfectly reasonable to assume the ticket area was for buying a ticket to get out at Connolly.

In the end though, Andy, you need to find out if this is a strict liability law or if Irish rail need to show "mens rea" If you go to Court and spend less than 50 euros on legal advice you'll lose. if you spend enough, you'ld probably be aquitted but I dunno if you'ld call that winning.


Lastly, are the spelling and grammer mistakes a pasting error on this board or John Byrnes?
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Unread 04-04-2007, 09:06   #5
Mark Gleeson
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Irish Rail are going to find themselves in trouble for that poster.....

You are legally permitted to board if:
1. Station is unstaffed
2. Station normally staffed but booking office closed, or notice to that effect
3. A member of staff tells you to do so

If that occurs you must pay the ticket checker on train if available failing that at destination

Open question is what happens if IE refuse to sell you a ticket are they then breaking the law by forcing you to commit an offence?

Last edited by Mark Gleeson : 04-04-2007 at 10:51.
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Unread 04-04-2007, 12:07   #6
andyl222
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Quote:
Originally Posted by colmd View Post
If one saw an advertisement onboard a train not to travel without a ticket, how would you get off to get one?
Is there always a method of crossing the tracks to the ticket office when the level crossing is closed, lift/ramped access at Coolmine? If there was no access for persons with impaired mobility, how could you have bought a ticket, if your mibility was impaired? Irish Rail's definition of people with impaired mobility is broader you might think.





I have been directed onto trains without a ticket at Arklow every week during the summer of 1997 and on at least one occasion last year 2006, by a staff member of Irish rail working in the signal cabin. This station was not unamanned, yet a staff member afforded me the opportunity to pay on the train.


How does "No Ticket, No Travel, No excuse" apply to passengers getting on at stations where you can't buy a ticket?
How does Irish rail putting up posters which are regularly incorrect in so many respects along with incorrect information affect their truthfullness in this case?
Also if you got on at an unstaffed station, it would be perfectly reasonable to assume the ticket area was for buying a ticket to get out at Connolly.

In the end though, Andy, you need to find out if this is a strict liability law or if Irish rail need to show "mens rea" If you go to Court and spend less than 50 euros on legal advice you'll lose. if you spend enough, you'ld probably be aquitted but I dunno if you'ld call that winning.


Lastly, are the spelling and grammer mistakes a pasting error on this board or John Byrnes?

They're 100% thye work of Mr. Byrnes. To be honest I was a little dismayed that this was the response I would get from a business man in such a position that a grasp of the english language would seem something of a prerequisite considering the volume of correspondences he must deal with.
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Unread 04-04-2007, 14:01   #7
andyl222
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My response to his email.....

Dear Mr. Byrne,

Thank you for your prompt response to my email. I note that you did not make reference to the fact that the train in question was early. As the early arrival of the train was the sole cause of this particular incident I find your lack of reference to it surprising. I reiterate that I boarded the train with every intention of paying my fare at my destination. My unsuccessful attempt at buying a ticket is evidence of my intention. In your email you indicated that you have no discretionary authority to rescind fines for rail travellers who use the service without a ticket under the mistaken impression that they can pay at their destination. The following excerpt from one of your own emails would suggest otherwise.

Good afternoon Neil

Thank you for your mail regarding the circumstances you have outlined while travelling from Coolmine station. Firstly I will address the points you have raised

There is no change in Iarnrod Eireann ticketing policy all passengers must have a ticket prior to boarding any service when a facility is available. This has been the policy of the railway since the 1889 railway act.
To re-enforce this policy numerous amounts of signage is dotted around the network and the rolling stock. The newest poster No Ticket, No Travel, No Excuse is located on all rolling stock transiting that station and at main stations such as Connolly.

This is also accompanied by an information booklet of the same name available at stations (see attachment). In regard to Coolmine the platform on the way to Dublin has a container which houses a temporary booking office that operates at peak times in the morning. Directly across from that is the booking office that contains an automatic vending machine and ticket sales from two windows access to the ticket office is over the passenger footbridge.

The station is manned until 2130 every evening. With regard to staff informing you that you could pay at the other end this practice is only permitted if one the TVM is out of operation or two there is a power cut and we cant sell you a ticket . Passengers using the service are asked to allow themselves plenty of time to buy a ticket rather then risk committing the offence of evasion albeit un-deliberately.

In your case the standard fine is €80-100 for individuals caught attempting or accidentally evading on our services , However as I will have to charge you something the minimum I can charge is €25 giving you 21 days to pay . Please fine attached the leaflet mentioned.

You sent this email in response to a similar situation in October 2006. Clearly you accepted that 'not knowing' was an excuse in this case.

I don't intend to enter into any further communication with you on this matter. If you wish to take this further I will see you in court.

Yours sincerely,

Andrew Lynch
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Unread 04-04-2007, 14:15   #8
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Next thing is they will tell you the train wasn't early and can't be early. I know the signalling computer doesn't care about time, it worries about order, in the case of the Maynooth line it is possible to depart early, where as from Howth or Bray would require a manual override since there is a level crossing. So that pre-empts the next excuse from IE

The case is still weak but IE are starting to dig a hole
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Unread 04-04-2007, 14:50   #9
andyl222
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Gleeson View Post


Next thing is they will tell you the train wasn't early and can't be early. I know the signalling computer doesn't care about time, it worries about order, in the case of the Maynooth line it is possible to depart early, where as from Howth or Bray would require a manual override since there is a level crossing. So that pre-empts the next excuse from IE

The case is still weak but IE are starting to dig a hole
here was his response, note he does not address the train being early AGAIN.....

Mr *****



Thank you for your email. Firstly I take it that your sought permission from Neil for the attached communication that was sent in a private capacity to Mr. Brady? I certainly do not discuss individual cases with third parties. And if you did seek permission and it was granted ask him was the fine paid? Secondly if you wish to argue this point further then the proper forum is the courts which I will oblige you if the payment of the fine is not received. Also please note that unauthorised public disclosure of ongoing cases or investigations is a prosecutable offence.





Regards



John Byrne
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Unread 04-04-2007, 14:53   #10
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the proper forum is the courts which I will oblige you if the payment of the fine is not received
He's close there. The proper forum for dealing with people as rude and uncopoperative as him is (unfortunately) through politicians. Go talk to yours.
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Unread 04-04-2007, 14:55   #11
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He's close there. The proper forum for dealing with people as rude and uncopoperative as him is (unfortunately) through politicians. Go talk to yours.
my response read:

Dear Mr. Byrne,
I can assure you that I'm not privvy to any private information in regard to Mr. Brady or his case. He has chosen to put his communication with you in the public domain by posting on www.boards.ie. With regard to the unauthorised disclosure of ongoing prosecutions, surely that is down to Mr. Brady and not myself. I have no intention of discussing Mr. Brady's case any further, I was simply trying to highlight an inconsistency in your attitude re. 'not knowing is never an excuse'.
Once again I find myself surprised that you have chosen to ignore the main focus of my email to the effect that the train was early and that you in fact granted Mr. Brady a reduction in fine. An organization such as Iarnrod Eireann works on consistency and as such I find your drastic differences in attitude to 2 very similar cases somewhat puzzling.
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Unread 04-04-2007, 15:11   #12
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There are no outstanding legal proceedings against you. Its only if the fine is not struck out and goes unpaid do legal proceeding begin when a summons is issued. Also the case you quoted has to our knowledge been settled, it is public domain so its its publisher they would be after not you

See they are turning nasty

Time to get nasty, state you are unwilling to pay until such time IE admit they where wrong to allow the train to operate early.

BTW I have to power to block IE from reading threads if needs be

Last edited by Mark Gleeson : 04-04-2007 at 15:16.
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Unread 04-04-2007, 15:12   #13
andyl222
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There are no outstanding legal proceedings against you. Its only if the fine is not struck out and goes unpaid do legal proceeding begin when a summons is issued

See they are turning nasty

Time to get nasty, unwilling to pay until such time IE admit they where wrong to allow the train to operate early
I'm in the process of sending my local councillor an email.... I'll keep you updated.
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Unread 04-04-2007, 15:39   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Gleeson View Post
There are no outstanding legal proceedings against you. Its only if the fine is not struck out and goes unpaid do legal proceeding begin when a summons is issued. Also the case you quoted has to our knowledge been settled, it is public domain so its its publisher they would be after not you

See they are turning nasty

Time to get nasty, state you are unwilling to pay until such time IE admit they where wrong to allow the train to operate early.

BTW I have to power to block IE from reading threads if needs be
That would probably be wise if this issue gets any more volatile. I'm just baffled as to how someone can act as Mr. Byrne has. It would seem that the circumstances of my fine are a secondary concern to him, just behind him trying to intimidate me....

Last edited by Thomas J Stamp : 04-04-2007 at 22:24.
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Unread 04-04-2007, 15:45   #15
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I've sent an email to my local Councillor John McGinley. I attached all correspondences from Mr. Byrne and myself and asked for mr. Mc Ginley's advice.
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Unread 04-04-2007, 19:28   #16
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Does Coolmine have CCTV? If it does it could potentially be used as evidence to:
a.) Prove that the train left early
b.) That you were standing on the patform at 12.39/12.40

Similary if there is CCTV at Connolly it could be used to prove that after getting off the train you went directly to the desk to purchase a ticket and that you didn't try leaving Connolly without paying for your journey (fare evasion).

Even though I.E. have the law on their sides, in court the judge might let you off due to I.E.'s mistakes.

Another thing is if you could prove that this train was 10 minutes early it would put I.E. in a very embarassing situation and they might drop the charges.
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Unread 04-04-2007, 20:07   #17
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Originally Posted by Rushed2nowhere View Post
Does Coolmine have CCTV? If it does it could potentially be used as evidence to:
a.) Prove that the train left early
b.) That you were standing on the patform at 12.39/12.40

Similary if there is CCTV at Connolly it could be used to prove that after getting off the train you went directly to the desk to purchase a ticket and that you didn't try leaving Connolly without paying for your journey (fare evasion).

Even though I.E. have the law on their sides, in court the judge might let you off due to I.E.'s mistakes.

Another thing is if you could prove that this train was 10 minutes early it would put I.E. in a very embarassing situation and they might drop the charges.

Thats a good idea, I don't know how long they keep their footage for before formatting the tapes/disks, but if it was available it would be a key piece of evidence for me. Anyone have any idea how long they keep cctv footage for at IE????
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Unread 04-04-2007, 22:30   #18
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The on train one, no chance, the level crossing one should be in the region of 28 days and it is recorded

If they are following the best practice http://www.dataprotection.ie/viewdoc...dance/cctv.htm

It depends on the camera positioning they are normally just there to watch the crossing with no attention to the traffic really, only Merrion Gates has extra cameras to catch people, it won't work in Coolmine

For the record you could also ask for the train register entry for train P638 on March 20th, legally IE have to keep that. The register should log the trains times against signals
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Unread 04-04-2007, 22:32   #19
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If there are no incidents I'd be surpriseed if it isnt taped over within two days.

Your greatest difficulty is proving this train was early. Remember, all IE have to do is prove the TVM was working that day, hey presto you're gone.

Even if it was early... Maynooth line.... its hardly as if the next train was at 18.00 was it?

This depends on which Judge you get. Dont be intimidated by Mr Byrnes. You may get a fine or you may get lucky, dont forget District Court Judges get the train too, and suffer the various problems associated with them, god knows they may also have been in a similar situation. This is a point Mr Byrnes should consider when he reads this thread as well as the fact that you're not the usual sort of fare-doging character we find in the District Court.

At this moment i would like to say hello to Rita and Hugh, two of my colleages in the CIE Solicitors Department. Hope you're kepping well.
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Unread 04-04-2007, 23:04   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas J Stamp View Post
If there are no incidents I'd be surpriseed if it isnt taped over within two days.

Your greatest difficulty is proving this train was early. Remember, all IE have to do is prove the TVM was working that day, hey presto you're gone.

Even if it was early... Maynooth line.... its hardly as if the next train was at 18.00 was it?

This depends on which Judge you get. Dont be intimidated by Mr Byrnes. You may get a fine or you may get lucky, dont forget District Court Judges get the train too, and suffer the various problems associated with them, god knows they may also have been in a similar situation. This is a point Mr Byrnes should consider when he reads this thread as well as the fact that you're not the usual sort of fare-doging character we find in the District Court.

At this moment i would like to say hello to Rita and Hugh, two of my colleages in the CIE Solicitors Department. Hope you're kepping well.
I understand the difficulties I face in proving my case, but I'm not going to back down. I pay as much as anyone else to get the train week in and week out, to be treated like a common cri minal is an indignity I'm not willin g to accept.
I don't see how the operation of the TVM has any bearing on my situation, if the train is early regardless of how many facilities are in place to acquire a ticket, there would not have been any time to get a ticket and board the train. From the start of the dublin bound platform over the footbridge to the ticket office and back again is about 600-700m.

I can acept that there are regular trains on the maynooth line, but I also want to clarify I had an appointment and to miss this particular train would have caused me serious problems with regard to my college situation.
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