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Re: BBC commentary on Swiss Railway Ticketing

Dave Edmondston <davee@...>
 

The BBC article made it into 20 minutes in CH this morning.

I'm still slightly doubtful of the journalist's claim of the web ticket timing - the workflow for this is unlikely to be in place to check every ticket. My gut feeling is that it has been exaggerated to add some colour to his story; maybe not, but having worked for some large organisations (Swiss and UK), I'm slightly sceptical here. An SBB response would be good to clear it up.

For the record, I've travelled many times on SBB in the last few years since moving here, and never had a problem, as I've always had a ticket before boarding. I would also suggest that most, of not all, stations have multiple date stamp machines, so the chance of them all being out of service at once is unlikely. Anyone know if single installations are common on the SBB network?

Cheers,
Dave


Re: BBC commentary on Swiss Railway Ticketing

gordonwis
 

Well put Max.
 
One could simply argue that the BBC journalist in question should have been better prepared.
 
After all, there is a train every half hour from Bern to Genève
 
And I looked up the details of the journalist. She is meant to be the BBC stringer in 'Geneva' but the piece she wrote suggests she lives near Bern...


Re: BBC commentary on Swiss Railway Ticketing

gordonwis
 

When my GF comes from Germany, she sometimes uses a Mehrfahrtenkarte
for Basel Bad - Zürich. The problem is that Basel Bad being a German
station, there aren't any Swiss cancelling machines on the platform,
Presumably the 'powers that be' would expect someone in this instance to buy a German ticket to Basel SBB which solves the problem.


Re: BBC commentary on Swiss Railway Ticketing

Max Wyss
 

I am just hooking into the discussion here.

The discussion shows many examples "from the past". They are all as
is, and non-contestable.

However, the regulations have changed, and the last serious change was
when the SBB decided that in order to legally get on a train of the
non-regional services, you must be in possession of a valid ticket.
This regulation is essentially the same as it has been now for years
for regional and S-Bahn trains.

Many people used to just jump on a "non-regional" train without ticket
and buy it from the conductor. This habit is now simply no longer
working.

So, the sudden argumentation that "the ticket vending machine is not
working" is a bit weak, because where it is crucal to have a working
ticket vending machine, the regulation has been in force for some time
already (that's a small station; a major station has either more than
one machine and staffed ticket offices. Also, it is easy for the SBB
to verify whether a machine is inoperational. In this case, the fee is
repaid without much ado. The same applies for many other situations.

The rules and regulations are given. And it is a common understanding
that it does not matter whether you know the rule or not, you have to
follow them.

The conductor does have some leeway, but much less than in the past.
And the era of the "honorable fare evader" (who simply shells out the
money without discussions) is over;

Max.


Re: BBC commentary on Swiss Railway Ticketing

Andrew Moglestue
 

A few years ago I bought a one way ticket to the airport and forgot to stamp it before getting on. The conductor kindly wrote the date and time with a pen in the box and went on. Maybe he knew he >couldn't do much with me since I was leaving the country.
When my GF comes from Germany, she sometimes uses a Mehrfahrtenkarte for Basel Bad - Zürich. The problem is that Basel Bad being a German station, there aren't any Swiss cancelling machines on the platform, at least none that you can run to quickly and get back onto the same train. So she asked the conductor what to do, and he said it's okay if you fill in the date by hand.
 
The next time round she did this again and the inspector on the Zürich train told her off for not stamping, saying she would have had enough time while changing trains at Basel SBB to stamp it, and that she would get a fine next time round.
 
So it does seem to me that the rules for such loopholes and special situations are not applied evenly across the board, or if they are that they are too complicated for the average occasional user to fully understand.

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Re: was: BBC commentary on Swiss Railway Ticketing - now Conditions of Carriage

Krist van Besien
 

On Wed, Feb 6, 2013 at 10:51 AM, glenn allen <glenn_rhb@yahoo.com> wrote:


I wonder how the SBB will deal with people who pay for a season ticket by Company Cheque?
If they are to penalize a person whose credit card payment is not transferred until 4
minutes after their train departs, what about a payment transfer that takes 5 days to clear from one bank to the Railway's bank?
I haven't seen a cheque in the last 25 years. I doubt they are still
used much here in Europe, and I'd be surprised if SBB still accepts
them.

Is there anything in the SBB Conditions of Carriage? I would have thought that there would be a clause in there about travelling from a station that has no ticket issuing facilities that are operational.
I've been studying them, and found a few interesting things.
- When the validator is not working you are supposed to enter the date
on a timecard yourself.
- You can buy a mobile ticket for several persons. You have to travel
together (obviously...), however I remembered that I had trouble
adding a passenger with a halbtax. I need to mention that to SBB.
This does put some doubts on other things mentioned in the story...

Krist

--
krist.vanbesien@gmail.com
krist@vanbesien.org
Bern, Switzerland


was: BBC commentary on Swiss Railway Ticketing - now Conditions of Carriage

glenn allen
 

I wonder how the SBB will deal with people who pay for a season ticket by Company Cheque?
If they are to penalize a person whose credit card payment is not transferred until 4
minutes after their train departs, what about a payment transfer that takes 5 days to clear from one bank to the Railway's bank?

Is there anything in the SBB Conditions of Carriage? I would have thought that there would be a clause in there about travelling from a station that has no ticket issuing facilities that are operational.


Re: BBC commentary on Swiss Railway Ticketing

Krist van Besien
 

On Wed, Feb 6, 2013 at 7:09 AM, Nick Raven <Nightrocker79@hotmail.co.uk> wrote:

That is the point. Try to put yourself in the position of the
conductor. It is not always easy to distinguish
between an intend to defraud and an honest mistake. How should a
conductor make the call?

Surely though, in the case of someone purchasing a ticket as they travel (by say phone or laptop), the conductor can make a judgement call and allow this without further penalty.
How does the conductor know that the person in question wasn't just
waiting for a conductor to show up before finalising the purchase?
I mean, just start the whole process, just don't press the final buy
button. If no conductor comes, you've just travelled for free. If a
conductor comes you just quickly finish the purchase... Could save you
quite some money, and cost SBB a bundle. No wonder they won't allow
it.

Krist

--
krist.vanbesien@gmail.com
krist@vanbesien.org
Bern, Switzerland


Re: BBC commentary on Swiss Railway Ticketing

Nick Raven <Nightrocker79@...>
 

That is the point. Try to put yourself in the position of the
conductor. It is not always easy to distinguish
between an intend to defraud and an honest mistake. How should a
conductor make the call?

Surely though, in the case of someone purchasing a ticket as they travel (by say phone or laptop), the conductor can make a judgement call and allow this without further penalty. The passenger can prove that they had no intent to defraud by showing him/her the transaction on the device concerned - even if the ticket check occurs whilst the transaction is still processing. If the transaction fails or is cancelled, then (and only then) a penalty can be issued. Such issues are surely better resolved at the point of sale or time of travel - passengers do not appreciate lengthy procedures having to claim back fines etc, and this can only ultimately lead to people turning to other forms of transport where they have a choice to do so. Revenue protection methods do seem to vary widely from one country to another. I too have had experiences in Holland, where I have been unable to board the first available train because the machines only accept coins or local debit/credit cards and thus on two occasions had to request local businesses to change down large notes so that I had coins available and could thus travel without incurring a fine - this is hardly user friendly in an age where technology should be making life easier!! I have never anywhere else come across machines which do not take all major cards. But this does simplify things for on-board staff. No ticket = fine, regardless of reason. On the other hand, in France - a country which makes it clear everywhere that you must find the conductor immediately if you do not possess a ticket - it's a more flexible approach which relies on the passenger's honesty to avoid a fine. A couple of years ago I was staying in the south of the country where I had to use an un-manned station which had no ticket machine, and a very sparse service. I stuck within the rules and train conductors always issued a ticket on-board without fuss, and on one occasion even let me off part of the fare because he did not have sufficient change for the note I offered. However, at around the same time a revenue squad was circulating in the area with a brief to find fare dodgers, and I witnessed them quite rightly hauling two lads from a train and handing them straight over to the police - I overheard the conversation and the two lads clearly had no intention whatsoever of paying a fare, and a special stop order was made at Lyon in order to remove them from the train (the service was not timetabled to call there). Now in my mind this is the way to go - the rules are clear, but the on-board option still exists, and genuine passengers are not penalised if they stick to those rules. Perhaps it should be the way to go in Switzerland also? Nick




















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Re: BBC commentary on Swiss Railway Ticketing

Krist van Besien
 

On Tue, Feb 5, 2013 at 4:44 PM, Guerbetaler <muesche2-swissrail@yahoo.de> wrote:

I expect conductors to distinguish between people without ticket at all
and people having bought a ticket but perhaps the wrong one or having
forgotten something. If I forget my Generalabonnement at home, I will
pay CHF 5.00, which is a fair price for my fault. But paying the whole
journey only because the hotel has retained the passports, *is* wrong.
The conductor can verify the "I've forgotten my GA" story, as he can
look that up in the system. All you need to do is show an ID. However,
the conductor cannot verify the "the hotel has kept our passports"
story. That is the different.
If we tell conductors to accept a good story at face value we again
open the doors for all kinds of possibilities to defraud the system.

Krist

--
krist.vanbesien@gmail.com
krist@vanbesien.org
Bern, Switzerland


Re: BBC commentary on Swiss Railway Ticketing

Krist van Besien
 

On Tue, Feb 5, 2013 at 9:52 PM, David Adams <dca24@sky.com> wrote:

I do not want to travel in countries that enforce a Gestapo type approach on the innocent.
I don't either. The UK however is a lot worse here. The Eurostar check
in procedure is a nice example...


Replacing ticket offices with a machine which might at some stage become faulty and then penalising the customer for being unable to use it is not acceptable. Neither is the expectation that passengers should be further inconvenienced by having to apply for a refund. Customers are not well informed rail enthusiasts and never will be.
The fact is that the machines are very reliable. I have only
encountered one faulty machine in 10 years.

Target the fare evaders by all means but common sense must prevail on the occasions when it is easy to distinguish between an intent to defraud and a situation where there is obviously no such intent as has been described on this forum.
That is the point. Try to put yourself in the position of the
conductor. It is not always easy to distinguish
between an intend to defraud and an honest mistake. How should a
conductor make the call?

Krist

--
krist.vanbesien@gmail.com
krist@vanbesien.org
Bern, Switzerland


Re: BBC commentary on Swiss Railway Ticketing

John Lovda
 

--- In SwissRail@yahoogroups.com, "David Adams" wrote:

Following the many comments made on this subject in recent days I would add the following.
It appears the SBB is more interested in catching someone than keeping him off the train in the first place. I have been to Switzerland over 15 times using Swiss Passes and the conductors looked at the date for three seconds and gave the document back to me. I have taken the S Bahn from Greifensee many times at night and only once was I caught in a ticket "sweep." Again, no problem with my Swiss Pass. A few years ago I bought a one way ticket to the airport and forgot to stamp it before getting on. The conductor kindly wrote the date and time with a pen in the box and went on. Maybe he knew he couldn't do much with me since I was leaving the country.


Re: BBC commentary on Swiss Railway Ticketing

David Adams
 

Following the many comments made on this subject in recent days I would add the following.

Those who have actually read what was written by the journalist have made some very valid points. There are, however, wider issues that conflict with SBB's current stance in trying to solve the fare evasion problem, namely the long term effect it could have on Switzerland's tourist industry. On my arrival in Switzerland as far back as 2005 I presented my valid Swiss Pass to a revenue protection inspector (RPI) shortly after departure from Basel SBB and he just stood and looked and looked and looked at it. It does not take more than a few seconds to identify if a ticket is valid so after a full minute I asked if there was a problem. No was the response but I felt that he was inspecting every last word and punctuation mark in a desperate attempt to find some minor fault he could pull me up on. I found that experience intimidating, unwelcoming and totally unnecessary. I do not want to travel in countries that enforce a Gestapo type approach on the innocent. It is bad customer relations which can have serious consequences for a business, not to mention the Swiss economy, and I cringe when I see people trying to defend it. Of course de-staffing many stations has not helped the cause. Replacing ticket offices with a machine which might at some stage become faulty and then penalising the customer for being unable to use it is not acceptable. Neither is the expectation that passengers should be further inconvenienced by having to apply for a refund. Customers are not well informed rail enthusiasts and never will be.

I have had considerable experience of RPI teams in the UK both as a railway employee and a passenger. There will always be a small number who think that they have taken on the powers of the Police and delight in causing as much aggravation to customers as possible. Unfortunately they do far more harm than good but are seldom rooted out. Target the fare evaders by all means but common sense must prevail on the occasions when it is easy to distinguish between an intent to defraud and a situation where there is obviously no such intent as has been described on this forum. Of course I do not want to see those evading payment get away with it but there are more subtle and effective ways of achieving this. Is SBB really interested in stamping out fare evasion or would they rather continue to allow situations where trains can be readily joined without a ticket and then catch people out by imposing over the top penalties? In the UK the reappearance of ticket barriers at many busy stations in more recent years, especially those with heavy commuter flows, has resulted in a significant reduction in fraudulent travel. I have never seen a ticket check of any description being made at an SBB station before entry to the platform is allowed, not even a blitz by an RPI team which happens randomly in the UK.

So hopefully we shall see some moderation in the way this enforcement has been handled to date in the interests of the innocent law abiding majority and the SBB retaining their stature as a model of near perfection in rail travel which hitherto has been acclaimed worldwide and is readily acknowledged by nearly every foreign visitor.

David A.


Re: BBC commentary on Swiss Railway Ticketing

csipromo
 

I remember arriving in Basel in October 2003 on the last ICE from Frankfurt. I had minutes to make the connection for the last train to Zurich and could not find any personnel at the station. I got on the train with my Swiss Pass. I thought that I would buy a ticket if I had to, but the conductor looked at my Swiss Pass and told me that it was okay as long as I officially activated it in the morning at Zurich HB.
On a previous trip, in the summer of 1985, when arriving in Switzerland from Paris, the conductor filled out my Swiss Pass on the spot and activated in between Basel and Zurich.
How times change. It seems that the current policy is not as forgiving.

Regards

Mike C


Re: Moderation or Censorship

Andrew
 

--- In SwissRail@yahoogroups.com, "tudoryork" wrote:
Hello Andy,
I`m confused. You told us on 4th August 2012 that your then message
was going to be your last ever on the site and that when you got home
you were going to unsubscibe from the group.
Bernard
May be i can help you with your confusion.

Just like me, several people who had previously posted what we believed to be valuable information on this group became very unhappy and have since left the group. This in my opinion is sad.

In my case, several members contacted me directly asking me to review my decision to leave the group.

As a result of their comments, i still read the messages from time to time and may post messages if i have an observation or opinion.

I trust this clears up your confusion.

Andy


Re: 2 Landslides on Saturday

OL.Guerbetal
 

Am 05.02.2013 09:44, schrieb Cliff Jones:
Do you have any further information regarding the closure at Oberalp?
They said there was snow. Much snow.

Markus, G�rbetal


Re: BBC commentary on Swiss Railway Ticketing

OL.Guerbetal
 

Am 05.02.2013 11:39, schrieb Krist van Besien:
What else do you expect SBB conductors to do? Be more lenient to old
white couples, but more strict to young Africans? Imagine the uproar
if they did that..
I expect conductors to distinguish between people without ticket at all and people having bought a ticket but perhaps the wrong one or having forgotten something. If I forget my Generalabonnement at home, I will pay CHF 5.00, which is a fair price for my fault. But paying the whole journey only because the hotel has retained the passports, *is* wrong.

Am 05.02.2013 09:28, schrieb DAVID STEVENSON:
I'm starting to get angry now at the complacency shown here by those
who know and totally understand the system and the assumption that
Joe Public should know better. They do not, they never will and why
should they? All they want to do is to get on a train, pay the fare,
before boarding IF possible and get off at the other end.
I can only agree with this. It is most interesting to note that not all Swiss railway companies have joined SBB in their new policy!!

Markus, G�rbetal


Re: Moderation or Censorship

OL.Guerbetal
 

Am 05.02.2013 15:39, schrieb Andrew Moglestue:
My complaint is more that the moderation is a bit random. I admit
that I have on some occasions quoted a little more than was
necessary. But I see others quoting far bigger chunks than me and
their posts come through faster than mine.
There may be cases of members who normally edit their messages but once forget it. They are set as unmoderated and their single faulty message goes through. That's what can happen. No system is perfect. As the moderation of this group isn't a paid job for Stefan and me, we try our best. It still is our hobby.

And I only answer the various points in this discussion hoping that a few members might switch to a long-term unmoderated mode! Apply for this at
<SwissRail-owner@yahoogroups.com>

Markus


Re: Moderation or Censorship

Andrew Moglestue
 

My complaint is more that the moderation is a bit random.
 
I admit that I have on some occasions quoted a little more than was necessary.
 
But I see others quoting far bigger chunks than me and their posts come through faster than mine.


[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


Re: BBC commentary on Swiss Railway Ticketing

Andrew Moglestue
 

But the problem is when someone comes with a story that the conductor
himself cannot verify. Do you expect the conductor to make assumptions
on your honesty based on your appearance?
I myself have witnessed countless situations with conductors being soft on people who I wouldn't have been so soft on.
 
So my impression is that they are doing all they can to accomodate mishaps and honest mistakes.
 
Also, if you do get fined you can complain to SBB customer service department and ask for the case to be reviewed. I know several people who either got part or all of the fine money back.

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