London, Sept 28 (ANI): A British professor has been left feeling disgusted after he was ordered to pay 155 pounds as fine for getting off his train one station before the destination on his ticket.
Martyn Evans had disembarked at Darlington, near his home, rather than waiting until Durham, where he works at the university's philosophy department.
However, when he tried to leave the station, the automatic barrier would not let him out. Station staff told him his ticket was invalid because he had got off the train too early.
The father of two had bought three advance first-class single tickets from East Coast to cover his triangular journey from Durham to London, London to Birmingham and then back to Durham.
"Anyone would understand that you'd be liable to pay extra if you stayed on the train too long. But by getting off early, you aren't even using all of the product that you've paid for," the Daily Mail quoted him as saying.
The state-run East Coast train company said ticketing regulations meant he could get off only at the stop he had paid for - and nowhere else.
"Like most people, it did not enter my mind that I was in default of the terms and conditions by getting off the train early," Evans said.
"The whole process made me feel like a wrongdoer from the beginning and that disgusted me more than just the money itself.
"It's absolute madness - no-one would anticipate you'd be at fault for getting off too early," he stated.
He was ordered to pay 155 pounds, the price of a full first-class ticket from Birmingham to Darlington, but after he complained, he was allowed to sign an invoice and told he must pay the penalty later.
Now East Coast has cancelled Evans' penalty as a 'goodwill gesture', but insisted that the policy was standard across the train industry.
"The terms and conditions of the advance purchase first-class ticket - the ticket which Professor Evans had used for his journey - clearly state that breaking a journey en route, or starting from an intermediate station, is not permitted," a spokesman said.
But transport campaigners warned the restriction risked driving passengers off trains and back into their cars.
"The Government has promised us fair rail fares, but being charged excessively for getting off a stop early doesn't seem like a fair deal," Alexandra Woodsworth, from the Campaign for Better Transport, said.
"Passengers need greater flexibility if they are to choose the train over driving or flying, and information about ticket restrictions needs to be made much clearer," she added. (ANI)