Penalty Fare Notices, in differing formats, are issued for a variety of reasons. One example of this is when transport providers operate Penalty Fare Schemes as part of their overall Revenue Protection strategy to reduce ticketless travel. On routes where stops are frequent and trains or buses are busy, it's not always possible to check every passenger’s ticket between every station or every bus stop.

Where such Penalty Fare schemes apply, a valid ticket or other authority to travel must be displayed or made available for inspection when requested. Failure to either advance-purchase correctly or, failure to buy correctly from available ticket purchasing facilities before travelling may make a person liable to pay a penalty fare. The Best Practice Guidance, that can be found in Documents, provides more detailed information.

A Penalty Fare Notice must be paid or appealed against within 21 days of the day after the date of issue to avoid further costs, or action being taken by the Transport Provider to recover the debt. If the penalty fare notice was issued on a Transport for London service you have 21 days from the date of issue to make payment or appeal.

All rail penalty fare schemes comply with the Railways (Penalty Fare) Regulations 2018 while Transport for London (TfL) notices are issued in accordance with the Greater London Authority Act, 1999. Please visit Documents for further information and a copy of the schemes.

Train operators work in a number of different ways to tackle ticketless travel. In addition to operating a Penalty Fares Scheme, they may issue passengers with an Unpaid Fare Notice if they fail to pay the full appropriate fare or fail to produce a valid ticket when requested.

An Unpaid Fare Notice is not the same as a Penalty Fare Notice. Where the incident is considered to fall outside of the scope of the Railways (Penalty Fare) Regulations 2018, Unpaid Fare Notices are issued in accordance with the Transport Provider's Policy & Procedures and the National Rail Conditions of Travel.

An Unpaid Fare Notice must be paid or appealed against within the stated time in order to avoid further costs or action being taken by the Transport Provider to recover the debt.

For more information, download a copy of the current National Rail Conditions of Travel by visiting Documents.

Transport providers issue these notices as part of their overall Revenue Protection strategies. The issue of a notice can occur when a passenger is unable to present a valid ticket or other valid authority to travel when requested to do so. A ticket will be considered invalid for a number of reasons including; presented without supporting document (e.g. valid railcard or photocard), out of date or, in the case of Oyster cards, for being un-validated or without sufficient funds.

A valid ticket must be presented when travelling. Clear advice and instruction in this respect is given at the point of ticket purchase. If you neglect to carry your valid ticket with you when travelling or, if you fail to collect a valid ticket prior to departure then you will be treated as having joined the service without a valid ticket regardless of any supporting evidence you present. To avoid potential fraudulent use, receipts, print-outs and booking reference numbers are not accepted for travel on their own and it is only the actual valid ticket that will be accepted.

As a company that is independent of the issuing company, we are unable to comment on the reason as to why another passenger has been offered an opportunity to purchase a ticket and not issued a Penalty Fare Notice. We are only able to assess if a Penalty Fare Notice has been issued correctly and if there are any circumstances for the appeal to be approved.

Appeals must be put in writing and cannot be made by telephone or in person. Appeals can be made online from Make an Appeal, where you may also download an Appeal Form for post, or fax appeal purposes.

You should explain why you were unable to produce a valid ticket or other authority to travel and provide any further information or evidence to support your explanation when appealing. The Caseworker will not be able to obtain evidence or contact witnesses on your behalf so it is important that you include everything that you feel will help to support your appeal.

It is in your best interest to send everything together when appealing but, if you do send anything separately, it must be within 21 days after the date of issue for penalty fare notices and within 21 days from the date of issue for unpaid fare notices and it must clearly be marked with the relevant penalty fare or unpaid fare notice number for cross referencing purposes.

AS Caseworkers will consider your appeal facts and evidence together with that of the issuing company where appropriate. However, as mentioned above, the Caseworker will not collect evidence for you. You should not, for example, say in your appeal: “If you want more details please contact xxx or check my ticket history records”. Due to Data Protection legislation AS is restricted in what information it is able to collect about you and as such you must provide the evidence that you want to have considered.

Please ensure that you include all the details and all the supporting evidence at the time of appealing. You may upload documents at the appropriate point when appealing through this site. Please do not submit appeal information or supporting evidence via other routes or via the IRCAS website.

If you are appealing within the time limit allowed there is no need to pay your notice before submitting your appeal. Once your appeal is received by AS your notice is placed on hold. Once a response has been issued and if a payment is required you will be given a further period of time to make payment.

Each penalty fare or unpaid fare notice indicates the time available for appeal, in the case of penalty fare notices this is 21 days from the day after the notice was issued, unpaid fare notices and penalty fare notices issued by Transport for London it is 21 days from the date the notice was issued. Appeals received in writing within this time will be considered and transport providers will make available to AS all requested information or evidence necessary for a fair and full assessment to be made. Appeals received outside of the stated deadline cannot be considered without mitigating circumstances and in most cases the right to appeal is effectively forfeited.

Online

Online payment is available by using ‘Make a Payment’ or by visiting www.ircas.co.uk direct. IRCAS accept all major credit and debit cards

By Phone

You can call our Automated Payment Line on 0870 067 1303 to pay your balance in full with any major credit or debit card. Calls to our 0844 numbers cost 5p per minute (ppm), 0845 numbers cost 7ppm, 0871 numbers cost 10ppm and 0870 numbers cost 13ppm; all plus your network access charge(s).

By Post

Alternatively, you may post cheques or postal orders to IRCAS, PO Box 212, Petersfield GU32 9BQ. Please ensure that you make cheques and postal orders payable to IRCAS and that you write the number of your Penalty Fare Notice or Unpaid Fare Notice on the reverse. Please ensure that you keep the Postal Order receipt for reference. It is your responsibility to ensure that postal payments are received in time and to obtain proof of posting.

If you have received a letter addressed to you but you did not make the journey in question then you must contact IRCAS by email at debt.recovery@ital-uk.com or by post to PO Box 212, Petersfield GU32 9BQ. Please include your date of birth within your correspondence, include a brief description of yourself, and provide supporting documentation such as a document with your signature on (ie. driving licence, passport, or reverse of a debit/credit card).

It may be possible that an imposter has used your details and any supporting information or evidence you supply will therefore be treated confidentially and solely for the purposes of correctly identifying the person giving your details fraudulently. We will do all we can to assist you and, importantly, we will gather as much pertinent information as possible in order to help the transport companies identify the use of false details in the future.

You should not open post that is not addressed to you however, if you have opened the letter already in an attempt to resolve the issue then you must now return the letter to its envelope and re-seal it. You must return the letter to the post office by clearly writing on the envelope "not known at this address" and putting it, unopened, into any post box. Royal Mail does not require any additional stamp or postage to be paid for this return service.

However, if the person to whom the letter is addressed is known to you or you are aware of their correct or forwarding address then please provide this. Please write on the reverse of the envelope the address that you believe to be correct for the person concerned. You must still clearly mark the front of the envelope 'Not known at this address' for Royal Mail purposes. We will ensure that any additional information you provide is recorded in order to help avoid any repetition of the wrong use of your address in the future.

You can only appeal via our website if you have a valid Penalty Fare or Unpaid Fare reference number. If you did not receive a copy of any notice when stopped then it is possible that you were not actually issued with a Penalty fare or Unpaid Fare Notice on this occasion. The transport provider may be dealing with the matter in a different way and, if this is the case then you must wait to hear from them directly. AS is not able to intervene in anything other than Penalty Fare or Unpaid Fare Notice issues.

However, if you still believe that you were issued a Penalty Fare or Unpaid Fare Notice but you did not receive a copy or, have subsequently lost it you can appeal by downloading the Appeals form or post or fax submission. If you complete the form as fully as possible the AS team will search for your notice details and assess your case when a match is made. Alternatively, you can appeal by sending a written appeal to AS, PO Box 267 Petersfield GU32 9FH giving as much information as possible to enable the AS team to search for your notice details.

Please include details of the date, time and place where your journey began and ended and the passenger details given at the time of issue.

You can also contact Customer Services via the IRCAS website www.ircas.co.uk to obtain your Penalty or Unpaid Fare Notice details.

When appealing online you will be required to provide your email account details and to create a password. You will be sent a secure link for verification purposes from which you will be able to track the progress of your appeal online.

Every appeal received by AS, whether online, by post or by fax is recorded upon receipt and a complete electronic case file created. This allows a paperless working environment for our Appeal Caseworkers and also ensures that accurate and PDF secure copies of all correspondence, notices, case notes and financials are stored securely and appropriately.

Appeals are allocated to Caseworkers and a response issued within 10 working days of receipt. If a Caseworker requires further information from yourself or from the company responsible for the issue of the notice you will be notified of this within 10 working days of receipt of your appeal. If you are required to provide further information or evidence you will be given a further stated period of time in which to provide this either by post or by using the upload facility within the online Track my Appeal section of the AS website.

Please avoid using the IRCAS website for providing additional appeal evidence as this site is for payment processing only.

Once an appeal has been fully considered a response will be issued indicating the outcome together with any further action that may be required. Advice on appealing further or referring the matter for review will also be given.

AS issue responses to appeals within 10 working days. If there is a requirement to either pay an outstanding fare or to pay the whole penalty fare the date by which this payment is required is clearly indicated in the AS response.

Failure to make payment or to appeal further within the given time may result in the issue of a Reminder Letter to which administration fees will be applied.

IRCAS, working on behalf of the issuing company, will produce Reminder Letters and Final Reminder Letters on outstanding cases and, if necessary, refer cases for external debt collection consideration, or to the issuing company to consider prosecution.

AS is unable to assess second or third stage appeals that are received late. If you receive a Reminder Letter or Final Reminder letter from IRCAS this is because the period of time given to you for payment or further appeal purposes has passed. The matter is out of AS hands once they have issued their appeal response and they cannot get involved further with a case when neither appeal nor payment has been made within the required and notified time. Late appeal submissions will not be considered and AS is unable to waive administration fees that may have accrued as a result of late appeal or payment submission.

Failure to re-appeal in the allowed time means that the right to further appeal has therefore been forfeited and it is now necessary to pay the full outstanding balance (including any administration fees) in order to avoid further action being taken by the issuing company to recover the debt.

If you have appealed and are unhappy with the outcome then you have the right to have your case reviewed either by AS or by the TfL Enforcement Team in respect of TfL issued notices. Details on how to further appeal a TfL issued notice will be given in your first appeal response.

You can submit a second rail related appeal by selecting 'Make an Appeal' from the website homepage, or by selecting 'Make an Appeal' at the top of this page. Please ensure you supply any appropriate evidence that was not submitted in your first appeal.

Please note, as stated above, AS is unable to consider second stage TfL appeals as these are considered by the TfL Enforcement Team. Details for re-appealing to them will be given in the first appeal response issued by AS.

A different AS Caseworker will consider the facts and evidence presented and must come to a conclusion based on this information. If the facts of your case do not amount to a valid ground for appeal then the Caseworker cannot allow the appeal. The Caseworker has no power to allow an appeal simply because of mitigating circumstances alone and all cases are assessed in accordance with an approved Assessment Criteria ensuring all appeals are considered fairly and consistently.

AS ensures that all appeals are fairly and consistently assessed in accordance with an approved Assessment Criteria. However, if you have further information or evidence that has not been previously submitted, you may submit a 3rd and final appeal to the Independent Appeals Panels. The panels are independent of the issuing company and AS. They are appointed with the approval of the statutory watchdog organisations, Transport Focus and London TravelWatch. They will consider your 3rd appeal using the same appeals criteria and will respond to you directly. Their decision is final.

Information regarding submitting a 3rd and final appeal can be found from your 2nd stage appeal response issued by AS or TfL.

If you believe that AS, or TfL, have failed to process your appeal correctly then you may refer the matter to either Transport Focus or London TravelWatch as appropriate. Both act as independent statutory bodies to protect the interests of passengers. Although they are unable to overturn an appeal decision made by AS or TfL, they will consider whether they have acted correctly in the handling of your appeal.

The Revenue Inspectors are employed by the train operating company or TfL. Any complaints regarding their actions, when issuing a Penalty or Unpaid Fare Notice, must be addressed directly with the company that issued the notice.