Revenue Protection Policy

Fraudulent travel on our services is not fair on people who pay. It is estimated that fare evasion costs the rail industry over £200 million a year. In response to feedback, you can be assured that we are making every effort to eliminate fare evasion throughout our services. When fare evasion amounts to deliberate fraud we always bring criminal proceedings.

You must buy a ticket valid for the date and time of your journey before you travel. It is your responsibility to buy/collect your ticket before boarding the train. You must carry this ticket with you at all times and have it available for inspection or to use automatic ticket barriers. Keep your ticket safe. It is your ticket, not the receipt for it, which gives you the right to travel.

The National Rail Conditions of Carriage set out the legal contract you have with us when you purchase a ticket and travel with East Coast. You can pick up a free copy from all our stations or from our Customer Relations team. You can also download them from

If your ticket is in breach of the terms and conditions associated with the ticket type, your ticket will be invalid and you will be asked to purchase a new ticket or pay an excess fare. Please read the terms and conditions of your ticket carefully before boarding the train and check for any restrictions that may apply. Details of the ticket types available, their terms and conditions, and any restrictions can be accessed here.

If you get on a train without a ticket you will have to pay the anytime single fare for your journey. In these circumstances you will not be able to use a Railcard, unless you have a Disabled Persons Railcard.

The exceptions to this are:

  • If you are unable to buy a ticket because the ticket office is closed.
  • If a self-service ticket machine that accepts cash is not working.
  • If you are unable to access our ticket retail facilities as a result of your disability.
  • If you’re entitled to concessionary fares without a Railcard, such as permanent wheelchair users.

In these circumstances you can buy any ticket available on the train, on the day of travel, including Railcard discounts if applicable.

Travelling without a valid ticket

If you travel without a ticket, where none of the exceptions above are applicable, you will be requested to purchase a ticket at the full Standard or First Class single rate. No Railcard discount will be given.

If the ticket you hold is not valid for the journey you are making, depending on the ticket held, you will be requested to either pay an excess fare or purchase a new ticket.

Below are examples of some of the situations where you may be asked to pay an excess fare or purchase a new ticket.

  • You hold an Advanced Purchase ticket, but board an alternative service to the one shown on your reservation coupon, or you do not hold the corresponding seat reservation coupon to validate your ticket.
  • You travel on a peak time service with an off-peak ticket.
  • You hold a ticket purchased with Railcard discount but are unable to produce a valid Railcard during your journey to validate the discount applied to your ticket, or you have not met the conditions of the Railcard.
  • You travel in First Class accommodation but hold a Standard class ticket.
  • You are aged 16 years or older, but hold a Child rate ticket.
  • You travel beyond the destination of your ticket.
  • You travel with a ticket valid only on an alternative Train Operator.

If you are unable to make payment immediately, an authorised member of staff will issue you with an Unpaid Fare Notice.

What is an Unpaid Fare Notice?

An Unpaid Fare Notice is issued to passengers who travel without a valid ticket and are unable to pay for a new ticket or excess fare, whichever is applicable. Unpaid Fare Notices are very different from Penalty Fares Notices and make no extra charge, penalty or fine in the first instance. The amount owing shown on the notice is only the correct fare for the actual journey that has been made. Simply, the passenger has completed their journey and now has a bill to pay because a valid ticket was not available for inspection when they travelled.

An authorised member of staff (Train Guard, Revenue Protection staff, Station Platform staff) will ask you for your name and address and complete the Unpaid Fare Notice with details of the journey made. In order to avoid non-refundable administration fees being added to the amount owing, payment must be made within 21 days of the date of issue. Failure to provide your name and address or giving false details is a criminal offence and may lead to prosecution.

How to pay for an Unpaid Fare Notice

When issued with an Unpaid Fare Notice you have 21 days from the date of issue to make payment in full to Revenue Protection Support Services (RPSS).

The following payment methods are available:

  • By Cheque or Postal Order made payable to Revenue Protection Support Services (RPSS), with your Unpaid Fare Notice reference number (six digit number prefixed with ECM) endorsed on the reverse and posted to:

Revenue Protection Support Services (RPSS), PO Box 89, Portsmouth. PO1 1EG.

Please allow enough time for the payment to reach RPSS within 21 days from the date of issue.

  • By Credit/Debit card, using either:
    • Telephone Payment – Telephone 0871 559 2997 within 21 days from the date of issue.   Please note RPSS do not accept American Express or Diners Card. 
    • Web Payment – To make an online payment visit here and follow the instructions on the Payment page.
      • Please note you will need the notice number printed on the Unpaid Fare Notice (six digit number prefixed with ECM) in order to complete the transaction. If this method is unavailable please use one of the other payment methods.

What happens if you don't pay within 21 Days?

If payment is not received within 21 days following the issue of the Unpaid Fare Notice, a debt recovery process will commence. This will lead to non-refundable administration charges being applied to the outstanding amount.

Following this process, if the debt remains outstanding, legal proceedings may be brought against you under the appropriate legislation which includes the Railway Byelaws and the Regulation of Railways Act 1889, Section 5.3(a). Any decision to prosecute will be based on the merits of each individual case. 

How can you appeal?

If you wish to appeal against the Unpaid Fare Notice you should do this within 21 days of its issue. Your appeal must be made in writing, please include the following information:

  • A copy of the Unpaid Fare Notice
  • Why you could not produce a valid ticket or authority to travel when requested
  • Where you started your rail journey
  • The exact date and time you were travelling
  • Any other relevant information or documents such as tickets and booking confirmations

Your letter should be sent to:

Revenue Protection Support Services (RPSS) PO Box 89, Portsmouth, PO1 1EG.

The appeals service is independent of East Coast Main Line Company Limited (East Coast) and will consider your appeal based on the facts of the case. Please note that appealing does not negate your liability to pay the amount owing within 21 days of the notice being issued.

What to do if your appeal with Revenue Protection Support Services is not successful

If your appeal is unsuccessful and you wish to appeal further please contact Passenger Focus, an independent ombudsman, who will liaise directly with East Coast Main Line Company Limited.

Passenger Focus
PO Box 5594
Southend on Sea

Tel: 0300 123 2350


Tel: 0300 123 2350

What to do if your appeal with Passenger Focus is not successful

Unfortunately, if your appeal is unsuccessful with the ombudsman, East Coast Main Line Company Limited have reviewed your case and made a final decision. If you are still unhappy with the decision you may wish to seek legal advice.