Penalty fares

If there is a queue at the ticket office, can I still board the train without a valid ticket?

No, it is your responsibility to allow yourself enough time to purchase a ticket before travelling.

Automatic self-service ticket machines are provided at the majority of c2c stations as an additional method of purchase and tickets can also be bought in advance of travel from ticket offices, the tele- sales office on 0345 744 4422 option 6 or via our online booking section.

What if I have purchased a discounted ticket with a Railcard, but cannot produce the Railcard on the actual journey?

You are liable to pay a Penalty Fare, as the discounted ticket is only valid on production of the Railcard.

What if I discover that I've forgotten my Season ticket and/or photocard once I've boarded the train?

The on-train staff will issue you with a Left Season form for the journey that you are undertaking at the time. This form must be forwarded to the address on it, with a clear photocopy of your Season Ticket and photocard. You will still be required to purchase a daily ticket for any subsequent journey.

What should I do if I have forgotten my Season ticket and/or photocard?

You should purchase a daily ticket to cover your journey before travelling. You may subsequently apply for a refund on this daily ticket at the ticket office where you purchased your Season Ticket. Only two such refund applications will be considered in a 12 month period and an admin fee may be charged.

What if I travel beyond my normal destination?

It is your responsibility to purchase any additional tickets that you require to make your original ticket valid for your entire journey before travelling; otherwise you may be liable to pay a Penalty Fare.

What if I want to buy a Season ticket and the ticket office is closed?

Provided that you have a Photocard, you can purchase a Weekly Season Ticket from the automatic self-service ticket machines. However, if you wish to buy a Monthly Season Ticket or longer, you should purchase a single ticket for your destination or a Permit to Travel and then buy your Season Ticket at your destination.

The cost of your single ticket or Permit to Travel will be deducted from the cost of your Season Ticket.

If I pay a penalty fare on the train, does it cover the remainder of my journey from the next stop?

How much is the penalty fare?

If you board a train without a ticket valid for your entire journey or a valid Permit to Travel, you will be liable to pay a Penalty Fare of £20 or twice the appropriate single fare(whichever is the greater) to the next stop. You will also have to pay the appropriate full single fare to complete your journey as necessary.

Who can charge a penalty fare?

Any member of staff who has been trained as an Authorised Collector and is carrying an authorised collector's ID badge can charge Penalty Fares.

What if I am unable to pay the full amount of the penalty fare on the spot?

You do not have to pay all of the Penalty Fare immediately. Authorised Collectors may require a passenger to make the minimum payment that is equal to the normal fare payable for the journey which you are making.

You are required by law to provide your full name and correct address, you will then be given 21 days to pay the remaining amount of the Penalty Fare.

What methods of payment can I use to pay a penalty fare?

You can use cash or credit/chargecard (MasterCard, Visa, American Express, Maestro or Delta) with Chip & PIN (where accepted). However, we do not accept Solo or Electron cards or personal cheques.

Is there a right of appeal against a penalty fare?

If I don't have a ticket, will I automatically have to pay a Penalty Fare?

Yes. You are responsible for buying a ticket that is valid for your journey before travelling.

You have 21 days to appeal (from the date following the date of issue) against the Penalty Fare charged by contacting the Independent Penalty Fare Appeal Service (IPFAS). This can be done online by visiting, or in writing to Appeals Service, PO Box 267, Petersfield, GU32 9FH. From April 6th 2018 the process in appealing a Penalty Fare has been updated:

At the First Stage, customers can appeal a penalty fare through our appeals providers If you are not satisfied with the decision made at the first stage this can be escalated to a 2nd stage.

A Second Stage appeal will be conducted as a review of the case, but will consider any additional information. If you are not satisfied with the decision made at the second stage this can be escalated to a third stage.

A Third Stage appeal will be conducted by an independent panel and will review both previous cases and will also conduct a "sense check" for fairness.

What if the ticket office is closed or the station does not have a ticket office and the automatic self-service ticket machine is out of order?

There is a further automatic machine called a Permit to Travel machine that looks similar to a 'Pay & Display' car park machine and is normally located near the station entrance/exit or on the station itself.

You should insert the maximum number of coins you have with you into the Permit to Travel machine, up to the value of your journey. Press the button and you will be issued with a car park style Pay & Display permit, that should be exchanged for a valid ticket at the first opportunity, be that on the train or at your destination before leaving the station.

The Permit to Travel must be exchanged for a valid ticket within two hours. The amount paid for the Permit to Travel will be deducted from the value of the ticket you require.

Can I buy my ticket at the destination if I am in a rush?

No. If you board a train without a valid ticket you will be charged a Penalty Fare