An elderly lady and her daughter have been hit with a bizarre £308 train ticket fine. Great grandmother Susan Oliphant and daughter Sandra Holmes were travelling from Newcastle to Devon to see relatives who had flown in from around the globe. A family member had bought the tickets as a gift via the website www.thetrainline.com.
Their problems began when they were confronted with an inspector on the train. Susan, 79, and Sandra, 55, were told their tickets were not valid because they were not able to produce the credit card used to purchase them in Devon. The rule was spelled out in small print, they were told, and meant they were now liable for fines of £154 each.
Given the tickets had been fully paid for, the inspector advised them to appeal in the hope of the fines being waived. Yet their appeal was turned down, leaving the mother and daughter facing a possible court summons if they do not pay. Susan, of Monkseaton, North Tyneside, said: “I’m on a pension now and I’m coming up to 80. It’s a lot of money and it’s very unfair. We told them they could see the credit card when we arrived, but they wouldn’t have it.”
A spokesman for www.thetrainline.com said: “As part of the booking process, however, we do advise rail passengers who are travelling with Print Your Own tickets that they must travel with the credit card the tickets were booked with. Regarding their Unpaid Fare Notices, thetrainline.com does not issue penalties; this is controlled by the train operating company which, in this case, is Cross Country.”