Tuesday, August 16

Man fined £750 after bus driver waives £1.50 fare



A businessman in London ended up with a £750 bill over a £1.50 bus fare row.

Robert Rowland, 50, told how he had forgotten his wallet one morning and offered to pay in cash for the Routemaster trip in Hammersmith, but the bus driver said not to worry, and that he could travel for free.

But as he was about get off the bus at Green Park, a ticket inspector accused him of beinga fare-dodger.

He was forced to give the inspector is name and address, and then received a summons in the post and an order to pay a fine of £225.

Despite saying he reached levels of “stratospheric apoplexia”, Mr Rowland decided to plead guilty to “make it go away”, whilst also explaining what had happened in two pages of mitigation.

However, he then received a letter from Lavender Hill Magistrates’ Court in September telling him his case had been heard and ordering him to pay £756.50.

This included a £500 fine, the original ticket price, costs of £225 and a “victim support surcharge” of £30.

According to the Daily Mail, Mr Rowland said: “I was in shock. The whole thing is a Kafka-esque nightmare.

“The ticket inspector was the most officious, uncooperative, most unreasonable guy. He did not even want to begin to listen or show any sympathy.

“All this for a £1.50 ticket. It is just ludicrous.”

He decided to appeal, and a date was set for next month. However, TfL have now assured Mr Rowland that they won’t be contesting the appeal and the situation will be dropped.

A spokeswoman for TfL told the Standard: “An error was made during a review of the case papers. Meanwhile Mr Rowland separately pleaded guilty direct to court which resulted in the prosecution process taking place with neither party present.”

She said as TfL will not contest the appeal, the original ruling will be overturned.

Steve Burton, director of enforcement and on-street operations, said the company apologised “unreservedly”. He told the Standard: “We have undertaken a rapid review of this case and it is now clear that Mr Rowland was given permission to make his journey by the bus driver.

“We apologise unreservedly to Mr Rowland and will not be taking the matter any further. We will also ensure that Mr Rowland is not left out of pocket.”