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Understanding Revenue Protection


Everyone travelling on the Merseyrail network is expected to pay the correct fare for their journey and be respectful of other passengers and members of staff. The vast majority of our passengers do just that.

Our revenue protection policy is in place to eliminate ticketless travel, making it fair for everyone.

In addition to fare evasion, we have zero tolerance to anti-social behaviour towards our passengers and members of staff. Any behaviour that causes discomfort, distress or injury is unacceptable and may result in a prosecution.

On this page you will find information on enforceable offences, prosecution criteria, policy details and frequently asked questions.

Enforceable Offences

  • Entering any train for the purpose of travelling on the railway without a valid ticket.
  • Failing to hand over a ticket for inspection and verification when asked to do so by an authorised person
  • Travelling on the railway without previously having paid the correct fare and with the intention to avoid payment.
  • Having failed to pay the fare, giving a false name and/or address to an authorised person.
  • Being a person liable to pay a penalty fare did fail, at the time, and in response to an authorised officer did give a false name and/or address.
  • Presenting an altered or counterfeit ticket(s) or knowingly using any ticket which has been altered / forged in any way.
  • Smoking or carrying any lit item on any part of the railway.
  • Any person discovered by an authorised person to have their foot/feet on a train seat/seat structure.
  • Any person believed by an authorised person to be unfit to be on the railway due to a state of intoxication.
  • Use of any threatening, abusive, obscene of offensive language on the railway.
  • Behaving in a disorderly, indecent or offensive manner on the railway.
  • Any other unacceptable behaviour such as soiling any part of the railway, damaging or detaching any part of the railway, spitting, dropping litter, molesting or wilfully interfering with the comfort or convenience of any person on the railway.
  • Any other travel offence in contravention of the Regulations of Railways Act 1889 or Railway Byelaws 2014.
  • Penalty fares in accordance with the Railways Act 2005 where the offender has failed to pay a penalty fare due within the requisite time scales.

The above list is not exhaustive and Merseyrail may prosecute other offences relevant or incidental to fare evasion and fraud, criminal damage, anti-social behaviour or assault on employees, outside of the list of offences set out in this policy.


We recognise that a conviction in the court is a serious matter which could have ramifications in both your personal and working life. We will ensure that all the evidence and mitigating factors are investigated and considered before any such action is taken. If the offence is deemed very serious it may be passed to the British Transport Police to investigate and possibly prosecute.

General Principles

  • Each case is unique and must be considered on its individual facts and merit.
  • Any decision to prosecute must be fair, independent and objective. They must not be based on any personal views about ethnic or national origin, disability, sex, religious beliefs, political views or sexual orientation of the offender, victim or witness.
  • Any decision to prosecute must not be affected by improper or undue pressure from any source.
  • Any decision to prosecute must be in the Public interest with a conviction a realistic outcome. However although there may be public interest factors involved in a particular case Merseyrail could proceed with the prosecution but put these factors before the court prior to sentencing.
  • Merseyrail will make every effort to adhere to the Data Protection Principles set out within the Data Protection Act 2018 and the UK General Data Protection Regulations.

Prosecution Criteria

Merseyrail regards the following as aggravating factors.

  • Previous conviction for similar offences.
  • Substantial revenue loss or offences persisting over a prolonged period of time.
  • Being previously warned for a similar offence.
  • Using abusive or threatening behaviour towards any person on the railway.
  • Any behaviour which is deemed to be anti-social and falls within the Railway bye-laws.


Decision to Prosecute

Merseyrail recognise that any court conviction is serious and may possibly be life changing, therefore the decision to prosecute will only be made after careful examination of all the evidence and mitigation Such a decision will be made subject to the satisfaction of the following criteria.

  • The evidence shows that a conviction is a realistic outcome.
  • Reliable evidence relating to the identification of an alleged offender.
  • Relevance and admissibility of the evidence available.
  • Reliable observational evidence of the alleged offender.
  • Reliability of any confession and admission, verbal or recorded in the authorised persons notes or report of ticket irregularities and byelaws offences statement.
  • Reliability of a Prosecution Witness.


  • Merseyrail’s Prosecution team in the event of any court proceedings will comply with the Criminal Procedure and Investigations Act 1996 and the associated Code of Practice in the disclosure of prosecution materials.
  • Merseyrail’s Prosecution team will endeavour to preserve and retain all relevant evidence that may form part of the prosecution’s case.
  • Merseyrail will disclose any evidential material requested by a Defendant or their legal representative.

Prosecutions Frequently Asked Questions

If I was stopped and questioned by a Byelaw Enforcement Officer/Ticket Inspector, what happens next?

If you were approached by a Byelaw Enforcement Officer/Ticket Inspector and cautioned under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (cautioned means that you have been read your rights). The Byelaw Enforcement Officer/Ticket Inspector will use his/her handheld device, recording details obtained from you on the day in question. A letter will be dispatched showing the date that the alleged offence was committed and informing you of what you need to do next.

What are my options?

If you receive a letter from the Prosecution Department claiming that an offence has been committed, you may be offered an out of court settlement. The standard penalty is £60.00 for a breach of a byelaw, and £125.00 for a Railway Regulation Act 1889 section 18.2 offence. 

How do I pay?

You can pay the penalty by debit/credit card online by visiting Merseyrail | Payment Centre (, over the phone (the telephone number will be provided within the letter sent to you) or by postal order. Cash will not be accepted. All postal orders are to be made payable to Merseyrail with the back endorsed with your MR reference number (this will be on the letter sent out to you).

Why have I received a summons to attend court?

You have received a summons to attend court because you have failed to pay the out of court settlement.

What do I do next?

If you fail to pay the out of court settlement before the court date, your case will go through the prosecutions process. If found guilty of a Byelaw offence, you could face a fine plus additional court costs. You have the right to submit a plea prior to the court date.

Will I get a criminal record?

If found guilty of a Railway Regulation Act offence, then this will show up on any CRB check. If you settle out of court, then this will not appear on any CRB check.

Can I appeal?

If you feel that you did not commit an offence, then you may plead your case to the magistrates on the day that you are summonsed to court. If you have any further questions, or require any more information, please email us at [email protected]

Penalty Fare Frequently Asked Questions

Why have I been issued with a Penalty Fare notice?

A Penalty Fare notice has been issued because when asked by an Authorised Collector you were unable to show a valid ticket for your entire journey. You have travelled from a station operating within the penalty fare system where ticket-issuing facilities were available.

Why can I not purchase a ticket on the train?

On Monday 15th June 2009 Merseyrail introduced a “Buy before you ride” policy, which means you must purchase your ticket before you board the train. Tickets can be purchased on the day of travel or you could save time and money by purchasing your tickets in advance or by investing in a weekly, monthly or annual rail pass. Please speak to any member of staff for details.

How much do I have to pay?

A penalty fare is £20.00 and is an on-the-spot penalty. You have 21 days beginning the day following the day of the Penalty Fare being issued to pay or appeal.

How can I pay?

Payment can be made on-line with a credit/debit card by visiting paymynotice, or with a credit/debit card by calling 0151 434 4535. We also accept postal orders sent to Merseyrail Electrics 2002 Ltd, P.O. Box 6576, Liverpool, L69 1XZ.

How do I appeal against your decision?

To appeal you need to contact the independent appeals body, Penalty Services Limited, you should visit Alternatively, you can appeal by post to:

Penalty Services
PO Box 1258
PE30 9GJ

Appeals must be received within 21 days beginning with the day following the day on which the penalty fare is charged. The appeals body will aim to answer your appeal within 10 working days.

What will happen if I don’t pay the Penalty Fare?

If you fail to pay or your appeal is unsuccessful this may result in legal action being taken against you. Please be aware that the penalty is likely to increase with administration charges being added.

How can I avoid getting another Penalty Fare Notice in future?

To avoid receiving another penalty fare, please purchase a valid ticket prior to travelling and ensure that you keep it with until you have exited your destination station. Tickets can be purchased from any Merseyrail ticket office or a self-service ticket vending machine.

Policy Details

Merseyrail will review the policy periodically to reflect any changes in the law, regulations, Byelaws or internal policies.

  • National Rail Conditions of Carriage, Section 1(a) Sub-section 1(b): Tickets remain the property of the relevant train company each is issued subject to the applicable byelaws
  • Fare evasion on Merseyrail is contrary to: Either the Regulation of Railways Act 1889, or the Railway Byelaws 2014.
  • Serious fraudulent practice, persisted fare evasion, the use or production of forged or counterfeit tickets or revenue fraud may be prosecuted in accordance with the Fraud Act 2006.
  • Assaults against Merseyrail staff or contracted staff employed by Merseyrail are an offence contrary to the Criminal Justice Act 1988 and the Offences against the Persons Act 1861.

For more detailed information please see the downloads at the bottom of this page.

Merseyrail will review the policy periodically to reflect any changes in the law, regulations, Byelaws or internal policies.

Contact Us

If you require further information please email our Prosecutions team on [email protected]