Chiswick mum finds oyster card a turn off

Court summons over £1.20 bus fare

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Chiswick resident and mother of two Jo Cahill has received a court summons for non payment of her bus fare.

The chain of events began when the 41 year old PA boarded the No 94 bus to take her from Chiswick to her place of work in Marble Arch.

Cahill claims that she passed her Oyster card, which she believed carried more than enough credit for her journey, over the reading machine and was completely unaware of any alarm being raised. 

Further into her journey she had her card examined by ticket inspector Stewart Gibbs who informed her that the Oyster card reader had failed to register her £1.20 fare and that she only had 50p worth of credit.

Ms Cahill's offer to pay the fare were declined by the inspector and she has subsequently received a court summons that could result in a £1,000 fine if she is found guilty.

She told the Evening Standard "I am a professional person, not a fare-dodger and have never been in trouble.  I am so angry - if they had sent me a penalty fare I would have paid it for a quiet life." 

London TravelWatch, London’s statutory transport watchdog, told "While we cannot comment on this particular case, it does seem that there seems to be a real confusion about the regulations on London's buses. It would help passengers enormously if TfL were clearer on what the different circumstances in which they issue penalty fares and when they prosecute immediately."   

Transport for London could also not discuss this case because of the legal proceedings but did comment that the Oyster card readers rarely fail.

Ms Cahill will appear before magistrates in November where she will defend herself and plead not guilty.

October 21, 2005