After coming off a London to Cardiff train, John Button was expecting to pay the conductor for the last, shorter leg of his journey
A train passenger was fined £471 for not paying a £2.20 fare despite having already spent hundreds of pounds on another ticket.
John Button said he bought a £216 ticket to travel between London and Cardiff Central on September 1 last year.
The 27-year-old said after arriving in Cardiff, he then boarded another train to make the short journey from Cardiff Central to Heath High Level, and said he expected to pay the conductor during the journey.
But when he reached Heath High Level, John said he was stopped by staff and he offered to pay the fare and penalty on the spot.
John claims he did not receive the fine until six months after it was sent due to moving home. He says he was forwarded a court order for £471 which was sent to his old address in Cardiff.
He said: “I accept that the letter of the law is that I should not have entered the train without a ticket, however I entered the train with the intention to buy one on there. I offered to pay for the fare and fine when I was caught and feel like it has been escalated to an insane amount of money to pay for such a small value ticket, especially after already paying £216 for the rest of the journey.
“If they had issued me a fine of £30 to £60, I would have been annoyed [but] paid it without question. Taking me to court was totally unreasonable.”.
At the time John was a postgraduate engineering student and was coming back from London to visit his dad.
After the incident John said he got a new job and moved from Cardiff to Surrey. He says the delay in forwarding the initial letter to his new address was the only reason he failed to pay the fine.
“This is an insane amount of money for the value of the ticket and I don’t know how they get away with charging this much,” he said. “I accept my mistake in not buying the ticket for that part of the journey prior to boarding and would have paid a fair fine had that been offered.
“Not even having an option to settle the dispute before court is totally unjust and something needs to be done to stop the extortionate fares and fines that train companies are getting away with charging.”
It’s not the first time, customers have unwittingly ended up with huge fines . Last year, disability support worker Jenny Shearman was given a £615 fine for being unable to buy a £1.90 ticket for a four-minute journey from Llandaf station to Cathays.
Also last year, the leader of the Welsh Conservatives raised concerns about “disproportionate penalty fares” being levied against Arriva Trains Wales passengers after a pregnant woman was ordered by a court to pay more than £600 for not paying a £2.30 train fare.
Bethan Jelfs, customer services director at Arriva Trains Wales, said: “When anyone is stopped leaving the railway network without the correct ticket for their journey by one of our revenue protection teams they have breached the National Rail conditions of travel.