On 9 August I used the Underground for the first time in six months. I entered Royal Oak Station at about 4.30pm with the intention of buying a Travelcard to travel to Aldgate East then homeward to Rayners Lane. There was no staff to be seen.
To purchase my ticket I needed
to change a pounds 10 note. As far as I was then aware, ticket machines accepted nothing higher than pounds 5 . Believing that I had no other option (apart from going by bus) I boarded the train to Aldgate East. As I approached the Excess Fare window with my pounds 10 note, intent on buying a Travelcard, I was apprehended by an extremely rude employee who demanded pounds 10 and said it was too bad that I was unaware machines had been altered. Despite further demands for pounds 10 I insisted on paying only the cost of a Travelcard and was eventually issued with an inappropriate travel document (another cause for complaint) and a demand for the balance of pounds 10.
The 1994 LU Customer Charter says penalty fares are 'to protect the honest fare-payer from fare-dodgers'. A leaflet, Penalty Fares, states they 'are not there to catch the innocent', adding 'staff are trained to use discretion and treat every incident fairly'.
I wrote a detailed letter to London Underground. Mrs Miller's curt reply takes no account of this but demands pounds 10. By refusing to accept my explanation,
London Underground suggests I was behaving dishonestly. I am prepared to defend this gross slur on my character through the courts if necessary. If I end up in
prison perhaps Mr Webb will come and visit me]
John Baldwin Harrow