Southern Rail has come under fire for a 'condescending' advertisement aimed at customers whose phone has died.

A post on X - formerly known as Twitter - appeared to show an advertisement board by the train company showing a phone with 0% battery and the phrase "My phone's died!" next to it. 

At the bottom, Southern Rail stated: "No ticket? No excuse.

"It's your responsibility to be able to show a valid ticket on board. If you are unable to do so, you could be fined up to £1,000."

In response - which we can't show due to profanity - @TomatoJamSald posted: "it would literally be so easy for these sour c**** to provide emergency charging facilities lmao.

"condescending w******** train contractors honest to god. i yearn for violent revolution."

The vast amount of people in the comments agreed that train companies shouldn't steer customers towards digital tickets if they weren't prepared to support them in times of crisis. 

"This poster actually makes me want to fare evade"

"As I see it, if you've paid, you should be allowed to ride. Back in the days when a paper ticket was the only proof, I can see how 'no ticket no excuse' made sense (even then I bet they used discretion!). These days, it's all electronic - *they* have a record of your ticket too," someone commented.

Another pointed out: "The amount of people on this thread speaking as if they've never been caught short in an inconvenient situation. We live in a digital world. Passengers are actively encouraged to go online, whether that be by closing ticket desks or cheaper online tickets."

"This poster actually makes me want to fare evade tbh," replied another.

One individual addressed train delays and how that can impact phone battery: "what happens if i buy a ticket on my phone at 20% charge but they cancel every train in the next hour because of a light drizzle or leaves on the line"?

Newsquest has approached Southern Rail for comment.

Southern Rail policy

How much is a Penalty Fare?

A Penalty Fare is £100 plus the price of the full single fare applicable for your intended journey. However, if it is paid within 21 days, the Penalty Fare is reduced to £50 plus the price of the single fare applicable

When can I be charged with a Penalty Fare?

You may have to pay a Penalty Fare if you:

  • travel without a valid ticket
  • are unable to produce an appropriate Railcard for a discount ticket
  • travel in First Class accommodation with a Standard ticket
  • are aged 16 or over, travelling on a child rate ticket
  • travel beyond the destination on your ticket.

If you are a disabled passenger and are unable to easily purchase a ticket at the station where the journey starts, then the appropriate fare, including a discount if applicable, can be paid en route without penalty.

If you travel on the railway intending not to pay the fare, then you may be prosecuted for fraud. The current maximum penalty upon conviction is £1,000 fine and/or 3 months imprisonment.

You are required by law to provide your full name and address to the inspector even if you pay the penalty fare in full. They can check these details and will know if the details you give are not correct.