Northern Trains: firm summons man to court after he 'accidentally forgot' to pay £2.63 for train journey
A man has been summoned to court by Northern Trains after he "accidentally forgot" to pay £2.63 for his train journey
A train company is taking a passenger to court after he “accidentally” forgot to pay £2.63. Olivia Utley, Political Correspondent at GB News, shared on the social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter, that her husband is being summoned to court by Northern Trains after he failed to pay the amount for his ticket on 27 June.
Ms Utley attached a picture of the letter sent by Lancashire Magistrates Court summoning her husband. She said: “Excuse me @TrainsNorthern are you genuinely taking my husband to COURT over £2.63 he accidentally forgot to pay?! The paper and stamp you’ve used on this letter is worth more than his debt. Please explain to me how this is a good use of anyone’s time.”
In follow-up posts on X, on Wednesday 8 November, she explained that her husband had forgotten that his 26-30 railcard had expired the previous month and had bought a discounted ticket from Grange over Sands to Lancaster. She said the full price of the fare was £7.90 but he had paid £5.27 at the discounted price.
She said: “When the ticket inspector pointed out his error he bought a digital railcard on the spot and offered to pay the difference between the two fares. The inspector said no, demanded his address and said he’d be required to provide a written explanation. This was in June, he never received a request for explanation, forgot about it… and has now he’s been summoned.”
One user on X said that it was “harsh” while others said they had been in or experienced similar situations. One user wrote: “A passenger opposite me on a Thameslink train had the same issue and the guard simply charged her the difference and a penalty fare on the spot.” Another said: “I had this with southeastern and a missed oyster tap. I offered to pay on the spot. Ended up being dropped two days before the court date.”
Some users defended the train companies decision. A user replied to Ms Utley’s posts saying “‘forgot about it’, that's not a legal defense”. Another user wrote: He didn’t forget. He tried to get away with a discount. I think the reason they’re taking him to court is not so much for the money - but the principle of the matter.”
Northern Railways official account on X responded to Ms Utley. The firm said: “Hi Olivia, I am sorry to hear about this. Travel without a valid ticket will make any passenger on our service liable to Penalty fares. You are entitled to appeal this”.