Transport for London tells woman who forgot to pay congestion charge on day she had a MISCARRIAGE that it ‘recognises it was distressing’ but she STILL owes £160 fine
- Cairis Hickey, of south London, told TfL she would pay £11.50 charge next day
- But she suffered a silent miscarriage and was overcome with grief and forgot
- Transport for London refused to waive fine until Mayor Sadiq Khan intervened
London transport bosses were forced to apologise after fining a woman who forgot to pay the congestion charge because she had a miscarriage.
Cairis Hickey told Transport for London she would pay the £11.50 fee for travelling through the city centre the following day as she got home late.
But the next day she discovered she had suffered a miscarriage and was overcome with grief.
When she was issued with a £160 penalty charge she tried to reason with TfL, but they said while they ‘recognise it must have been a distressing time’ she still had to pay the fine.
Upset and outraged she took to social media to slam transport bosses and try to raise awareness of the devastation caused by losing an unborn child.
Cairis Hickey (pictured) has slammed Transport for London for failing to be compassionate when she appealed a congestion charge fine incurred the day before she miscarried
When she was issued with a £160 penalty charge she tried to reason with TfL, but they said while they ‘recognise it must have been a distressing time’ she still had to pay the fine
She wrote: ‘Thank you @TfL for acknowledging my miscarriage would have been a ‘distressing time’ & I’m sorry that whilst I was pregnant I did not pay for the congestion charge before anticipating I would miscarry!’
It was only when Mayor Sadiq Khan discovered what had happened that TfL reversed its decision.
After one user asked: ‘Sadiq Khan is this really how they should be treating women who are experiencing the horrors of pregnancy loss?’
He replied: ‘No it shouldn’t. TfL will be issuing an apology and waiving the fine.
‘I have also asked them to ensure issues like this are treated with sensitivity and humanity they deserve in the future.’
Ms Hickey offered to pay the £11.50 fine but transport bosses refused until London Mayor Sadiq Khan intervened
Helen Chapman, TfL’s Director of Licensing, Regulation and Charging, then told MailOnline: ‘We are extremely sorry for the highly insensitive letter that we sent Ms Hickey.
‘It is clear that we handled this incorrectly. We have cancelled the penalty charge notice with immediate effect and we will deal with any similar future case with much greater sensitivity.’
Ms Hickey, a environmental expert from south east London, had threatened to make a formal complaint about the insensitive tone of the letter she received.
It read: ‘In your representation you have stated that you were planning on paying the charge the day after working at the garden museum (as you were home pretty late) but you had discovered you had suffered a silent miscarriage the day after.
‘You mentioned that everything else was forgotten in your grief and that you are happy to pay the £11.50 and you have attached the discharge notes as proof.’
It was only when Mayor Sadiq Khan discovered what had happened that TfL reversed its decision
But the spokesman continued: ‘Whilst TfL recognises that this must have been a distressing time for you, there is a responsibility for the appropriate charge to have been paid for the use of a vehicle on a road within the Congestion Charging Zone.
‘We have considered fully the issues raised and decided that on this occasion we are unable to exercise discretion and the PCN will not be cancelled.’
Posting an excerpt of the letter she was sent, Ms Hickey added that she ‘assumed’ the person who wrote it ‘was a man’.
The Twitter post was met with an outpouring of sympathy from her followers.
Liberal Democrat peer Sal Brinton wrote: ‘I am *so* sorry to hear of your miscarriage. Those who haven’t suffered miscarriage just don’t understand.
‘Look after yourself & my thoughts with you. Well done for speaking up. Let others now shout out for you via Twitter. @TfL the tone of yr letter is dreadful. Reconsider.’
Ms Hickey, of south east London, later confirmed she had been sent an apology and her PCN is being cancelled
Someone else posted: ‘Furious that our country and its ‘systems’ have lost sight of all humanity.
@TfL this is a disgrace. It cost more to send this appalling letter than to show some common sense and compassion.’
Another person commented: ‘Oh Cairis, I am so sorry. I cannot even begin to imagine just how horrible it must have been to receive this soulless rejection. Totally outrageous!’
Ms Hickey later confirmed she had been sent an apology and her PCN is being cancelled.
She also called on major retailers to stock sympathy cards especially designed for women and families who have suffered the loss of an unborn child.