Thursday, April 12, 2012
A Littleham social worker has complained after she and her friends were fined for fare dodging on a train between Exmouth and Exeter.
Karen Fereday, of Littleham Road, says the incident happened when she and two friends caught a 6.51pm train on a Saturday night.
They expected to pay on the train, but did not see a conductor, so, along with passengers from other stations, went to pay on arrival at Exeter.
However, Karen says she and the other Exmouth passengers were taken to one side and fined on the spot for fare dodging, even though they had intended to pay.
There is an automated ticket machine at Exmouth station, but Karen says she did not think to use this as she had always previously paid the conductor, and, as the main station building was closed for the evening, she had parked her car in the car park and walked straight on to the platform without going past it.
In response, First Great Western says that passengers from Exmouth are expected to use the automated machine, and that there was a conductor onboard the train, although Karen says they did not make themselves known to passengers.
Karen said: “I think it’s absolutely outrageous. The whole train was piling up to pay on the platform but only people from Exmouth got fined.
“It looked like a set up because there were four penalty officers there – it looked like they knew they were going to issue those penalties.
“There was a group of three teachers on the train with us, and they were in tears. They were so upset, and we were incredulous.”
A First Great Western spokesman said: “The ticket machine was operational at Exmouth, and there was a conductor on board the service between Exmouth and Exeter.
“In this situation, the onus is on the customer to purchase a ticket at their origin station. If they don’t buy a ticket, they then have a second opportunity to purchase a ticket by seeking out the conductor on board.”