A man is set to be taken to court because he ‘forgot’ to renew his railcard and travelled using a discounted ticket.
Michael Dunnett-Stone was travelling from Grange-over-Sands, Cumbria to Lancaster in June when he was approached by a conductor.
The 31-year-old was informed that his 26-30 railcard was no longer valid and that he should have paid the full £7.90 fare instead of the £5.27 discounted price.
Michael allegedly offered to pay the difference but it is claimed this was refused and he has subsequently been summoned to court later this month.
The letter arrived yesterday despite the conductor allegedly informing the commuter that he would be requested to submit a written explanation as to why he did not pay the full fare.
With only £2.63 owed, Mr Dunnett-Stone and his wife Oliva Utley have been left baffled by the court order, pointing out that the stamp and paper used for the letter is likely to cost more than the debt itself.
Michael Dunnett-Stone was travelling from Grange-over-Sands, Cumbria to Lancaster in June when he was approached by a conductor. Pictured: Michael with wife Olivia Utley
The letter arrived yesterday despite the conductor allegedly informing the commuter that he would be requested to submit a written explanation as to why he did not pay the full fare
The letter reads: ‘On Tuesday 27 June 2023 from Grange-over-Sands to Lancaster did travel on a railway without having previously paid the fare of £7.90 and with intent to avoid payment thereof.
‘Contrary to section 5(3)a of the Regulation of Railways Act 1889.
‘Statement of facts: A brief statement of the case is set out below. The statement will be used as a summary of the prosecution if you plead guilty.
‘On Tuesday 27 June 2023, the defendant made a rail journey from Grange-over-Sands to Lancaster.
‘The defendant produced an off-peak day return from Grange-over-Sands to Lancaster stations to with a 26-30 railcard discount, however, the accompanying railcard had expired on 27 May 2023.’
Ms Utley, a GB News correspondent, took to social media yesterday, writing: ‘Excuse me Northern Trains are you genuinely taking my husband to court over £2.63 he accidentally forgot to pay?
Ms Utley, a GB News correspondent, took to social media yesterday
‘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.
‘The details: forgetting that his 26-30 railcard had expired the previous month, he bought a discounted ticket from Grange-over-Sands to Lancaster (the full price of the fare was £7.90, he paid £5.27).
‘When the ticket inspector pointed out his error, he bought a digital railcard on the spot and offered to pay the diff 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.
‘Please explain why this is a good use of public resources.’
The post received over 16,000 likes and more than 170 comments from bemused users.
One user wrote: ‘I wonder how many other countries can boast this level of pettiness with such dreary regularity.’
Another said: ‘Genuinely bizarre how many people in the replies are siding with the train company here.
The post received over 16,000 likes and more than 170 comments from bemused users
‘However much was underpaid, needlessly bringing the case to court will cost more and take up time that could be used dealing with more serious offences.’
A third penned: ‘Actually amazing that the train turned up.
‘Over the last five years Northern Trains have had a shocking service and spend more money on ticket inspectors rather than running a good train service.
‘The impact on customer when trains are cancelled should be compensated and considered.’
A fourth commented added: ‘Usually if your railcard is invalid, you’ll pay the excess. This sounds very harsh.’
MailOnline have contacted Northern Trains for comment.