Thursday 25 May 2017

Man charged over early train stop

A professor was asked to pay £155 for getting off an East Coast Mainline service a stop early
A professor was asked to pay £155 for getting off an East Coast Mainline service a stop early

A university professor who got off his train a stop early was stunned to be asked to pay £155 for breaching the terms of his ticket.

Martyn Evans got off the East Coast Mainline service at Darlington, near his home, rather than stay on to Durham where he works at the university's philosophy department.

The train operator East Coast later waived the excess fare charge, as it accepted he made a genuine mistake. But Prof Evans, professor of humanities in medicine, wanted to be cleared of any wrong-doing and said the experience made him feel as though the company thought he was a fare-dodger.

Prof Evans, who is married with two teenage sons, used three first class tickets booked by the university to cover a trip from Durham to London, London to Birmingham, then Birmingham to Durham.

As he lives in Hurworth, near Darlington, he got off at Darlington, but his ticket would not let him pass through the automatic barriers at the platform.

When he spoke to a station employee, she told him he had to pay £155, the cost of a first class ticket from Birmingham to Darlington.

Darlington and Durham are around 20 miles apart and a typical single train fare costs £4.70 between the two.

Prof Evans complained to her supervisor, thinking the boss would see sense and see that she had been "over-zealous", but the manager was adamant he had travelled without a valid ticket.

He eventually persuaded the employee to allow him to leave if he signed an invoice for the £155, which Prof Evans stressed he would challenge. After receiving his complaint, the train company said it would waive the charge as a gesture of goodwill.

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