BBC commentary on Swiss Railway Ticketing


Don Newing
 

The BBC has today published an adverse commentary on the present ticketing arrangements in Switzerland.

See: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-21294241

The original radio programme on which this appeared was "From Our Own Correspondent" on 2nd February. This is available for free download from:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/series/fooc
and also (free) on Itunes. The item in question starts at about 18 minutes into the programme.

For the benefit of non UK members of this site, "From Our Own Correspondent" is broadcast woldwide and is very widely listened to. Not the sort of publicity that SBB needs!

Don Newing


bs177@...
 

--- In SwissRail@yahoogroups.com, "Don" wrote:
For the benefit of non UK members of this site, "From Our Own Correspondent" is broadcast woldwide and is very widely listened to. Not the sort of publicity that SBB needs!

Don Newing
Frankly I doubt if SBB will worry too much.

We have far higher fare evasion in the UK and the penalties are less severe. UK has a lot to learn from SBB in this respect. I expect that the journalist who wrote it is one of many in the UK who consider it beneath them to actually queue up and buy a ticket.

Provided that there is a system for appeal/recompense which is seen to be fair, it will all blow over.

Cheers

Bruce


DAVID STEVENSON
 

On 4 Feb 2013, at 17:22, bs177@ggbooks.plus.com wrote:
--- In SwissRail@yahoogroups.com, "Don" wrote:
For the benefit of non UK members of this site, "From Our Own
Correspondent" is broadcast woldwide and is very widely listened
to. Not the sort of publicity that SBB needs!
Frankly I doubt if SBB will worry too much.

We have far higher fare evasion in the UK and the penalties are
less severe. UK has a lot to learn from SBB in this respect. I
expect that the journalist who wrote it is one of many in the UK
who consider it beneath them to actually queue up and buy a ticket.

Provided that there is a system for appeal/recompense which is seen
to be fair, it will all blow over.
Sorry Bruce I think you are wrong on this, the journalist involved is not some kind of rabble rouser, far from it. I've heard quite a few stories already about this stupid scheme of SBB causing issues. I think SBB will be concerned as well they should. To give you one very simple example, a tourist arrives at the unmanned station, the ticket machine does not work, his mobile phone does not work. In comes the train, what is he supposed to do?, please don't say he should have planned for this. If he is fined how is he supposed to appeal outside of the country? Frankly why should he, it's SBBs responsibility to provide ticket machines not his.

DAVID S


Don Newing
 

--- In SwissRail@yahoogroups.com, bs177@... wrote:

I expect that the journalist who wrote it is one of many in the UK who consider it beneath them to actually queue up and buy a ticket.
If you listened to the Podcast, you would discover that the journalist is a BBC correspondent who lives in Bern.

Don Newing


OL.Guerbetal
 

Am 04.02.2013 18:22, schrieb bs177@ggbooks.plus.com:
Provided that there is a system for appeal/recompense which is seen
to be fair, it will all blow over.
Has anybody pointed this man to
<http://www.fahrplanfelder.ch/en/explanations/office-of-the-ombudsman-for-public-transport/#c187> ?

I would be interested to know the result as I don't think SBB is on a good way in this respect...

Markus, G�rbetal


gordonwis
 

For me this smacked of a typically hyperbolic pieec of sensationalist journalism from a non specialist transport journalist.


DAVID STEVENSON
 

On 4 Feb 2013, at 20:43, Gordon Wiseman wrote:
For me this smacked of a typically hyperbolic pieec of sensationalist
journalism from a non specialist transport journalist.
I hate to disagree with you but I'm sure you are wrong. Listen to the podcast. I think you are forgetting that she is a member of the public who is struggling to understand why, when she is unable to buy a ticket from a broken machine, she is somehow the one who is at fault and is guilty of an offence through no fault of her own. Similar things happen in the UK through different rules applying to different railway companies. My 25 year old fell foul of this, one company at Worcester does one thing another does something different, she doesn't know or understand about the difference, to her it's a train. This journalist has entered a Kafka like world where because she is unable to buy a ticket as there is no working machine she is unable to travel and if she does because she wants to go to work she is guilty of an offence, think about it, what would you do??

DAVID S


bs177@...
 

--- In SwissRail@yahoogroups.com, DAVID STEVENSON wrote:
Sorry Bruce I think you are wrong on this, the journalist involved
is not some kind of rabble rouser, far from it. I've heard quite a
few stories already about this stupid scheme of SBB causing issues.
I think SBB will be concerned as well they should. To give you one
very simple example, a tourist arrives at the unmanned station, the
ticket machine does not work, his mobile phone does not work. In
comes the train, what is he supposed to do?, please don't say he
should have planned for this. If he is fined how is he supposed to
appeal outside of the country? Frankly why should he, it's SBBs
responsibility to provide ticket machines not his.
Surely the problem is in SBB's enforcement rather than the withdrawal of the facility to purchase tickets on the train. In the UK, because enforcement had been in many cases non-existent, passengers found it was cheaper to pay the occasional fine rather than buy a season ticket which cannot be right.

The difference is that in the UK, Revenue Protection Inspectors have the means to check if the passenger's story is correct and if so, issue the appropriate ticket without surcharge. If the enforcement is as draconian as the Journalist suggests, it wont be long before SBB has a long string of complaints and will have to give their RPI's discression. I would regard it as short term teething troubles.

No transport undertaking can provide ticket machines at 100% of its stations, nor can it guarantee that of those provided, 100% will be working at a given point in time so I do not agree that it is SBB's responsibility to provide a machine that works. It is how SBB reacts to the fact that there was no means of buying a ticket which is at issue.

The press will over exaggerate and quote the extreme cases but as the policy has been going for only a few weeks, it needs time to settle down.

Cheers

Bruce


racksteam <pra@...>
 

--- In SwissRail@yahoogroups.com, DAVID STEVENSON wrote:

snip
To give you one very simple example, a tourist arrives at the unmanned station, the ticket machine does not work, his mobile phone does not work. In comes the train, what is he supposed to do?, . . . . . .

snip
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Being a tourist who does not even own a mobile phone, I would get on the train and be prepared to argue the toss . . . in English!!!!!!!!!!

Mind you I would have already paid half the fare as I always carry my Swiss Half Price Pass with me.
Pete Arnold (UK)


DAVID STEVENSON
 

On 4 Feb 2013, at 21:32, racksteam wrote:
--- In SwissRail@yahoogroups.com, DAVID STEVENSON wrote:
snip
To give you one very simple example, a tourist arrives at the
unmanned station, the ticket machine does not work, his mobile
phone does not work. In comes the train, what is he supposed to
do?, . . . . . .
snip
Being a tourist who does not even own a mobile phone, I would get
on the train and be prepared to argue the toss . . . in
English!!!!!!!!!!

Mind you I would have already paid half the fare as I always carry
my Swiss Half Price Pass with me.
Pete Arnold (UK)
I think this would be interpreted as travelling without a ticket as the HalbTax Abonnement is a card enabling you to purchase a ticket at a reduced rate rather than a permit to travel. Like you I would argue but I suspect, as happened once on a train in Switzerland it would be enforced regardless. I was charged an extra 50 cents on a journey as the ticket machine I used in Geneva did not distinguish between two routes to Kandersteg, the one via Brig was 50 cents more at that time with a half fare abonnement. My companions travelling on a Tourist half-fare ticket were not charged as there was no difference in fare between the two routes using them. It took the female conductor over 30 minutes to work it out. Pedantic or what? Yes one always can come across the occasional pedant but over time this has become more common in Switzerland.

DAVID S

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


Don
 

--- In SwissRail@yahoogroups.com, "racksteam" wrote:
Being a tourist who does not even own a mobile phone, I would get on
the train and be prepared to argue the toss . . . in English!!!!!!!!!!
I could have been caught out under this 'hard line' approach when I encountered a faulty ticket machine. When the train rolled in I walked up to the conductor as she alighted on to the platform. I told her the machine was faulty and I could not obtain a valid ticket. In the spirit of customer service, I requested a ticket from her before I got on the train and she agreed to issue me with a ticket. In order not to delay the train we both got on the train and I was issued with a ticket. It worked for me and I was pleased the conductor displayed a helpful and positive approach to a tourist in need of assistance.

Don


Krist van Besien
 

On Mon, Feb 4, 2013 at 10:04 PM, DAVID STEVENSON
<bodensee.toggenburg@me.com> wrote:
On 4 Feb 2013, at 20:43, Gordon Wiseman wrote:
For me this smacked of a typically hyperbolic pieec of sensationalist
journalism from a non specialist transport journalist.
I hate to disagree with you but I'm sure you are wrong. Listen to the podcast. I think you are forgetting that she is a member of the public who is struggling to understand why, when she is unable to buy a ticket from a broken machine, she is somehow the one who is at fault and is guilty of an offence through no fault of her own.
She is not guilty of the ticket machine not working.

However, if the ticket machine isn't working than you should just go
to the conductor straightaway, and tell the conductor that. In my
experience you will not be considered a fare evader if you do that.
Going to the conductor straightaway if you board a train without a
ticket is, afaik the rule on every railway.

Krist

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


Krist van Besien
 

On Mon, Feb 4, 2013 at 10:29 PM, <bs177@ggbooks.plus.com> wrote:

No transport undertaking can provide ticket machines at 100% of its stations, nor can it guarantee that of those provided, 100% will be working at a given point in time so I do not agree that it is SBB's responsibility to provide a machine that works. It is how SBB reacts to the fact that there was no means of buying a ticket which is at issue.
I think SBB actually does have tickets machines at 100% of its
stations... However, you are also expected to arrive at the station in
time to buy your ticket. If you arrive 1 minute before departure, and
there is a queue in front of the ticket window, and one of the two
ticket machines is out of order, than you are not entitled to just
board the train without a ticket.

It's up to you to know the rules, and SBB is quite clear on them. If
they were to lenient people would start to abuse that. The examples of
"byzantine rules" the reporter gives aren't byzantine at all. They are
just common sense.

Krist

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


Bill Bolton
 

On Mon, 4 Feb 2013 20:43:02 +0000 (GMT), Gordon wrote:

For me this smacked of a typically hyperbolic pieec of
sensationalist journalism from a non specialist transport
journalist.
It sounded like a SBB *customer* who has been fined for something
which was quite plainly very, very silly behaviour on the part of SBB.

What makes you think a "specialist transport journalist" would have
reacted in any different way if they had the same poor experience?

Cheers,

Bill

Bill Bolton
Sydney, Australia


Krist van Besien
 

On Mon, Feb 4, 2013 at 8:35 PM, Don <donnewing@me.com> wrote:

If you listened to the Podcast, you would discover that the journalist is a BBC correspondent who lives in Bern.
I haven't listened to the podcast yet. However, something in the story
strikes me a bit odd. If the journalist indeed lives in Bern, and if,
as mentioned in the story, she was boarding the IC to Geneva she
boarded it in Bern main station. There are manned ticket offices
there, and I estimate over 20 ticket vending machines. There is really
no excuse for boarding without a ticket there.

Krist

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


Bill Bolton
 

On Tue, 5 Feb 2013 06:35:54 +0100, Krist wrote:

However, if the ticket machine isn't working than you should just go
to the conductor straightaway
What was it you did not understand about....

"by the time I got on the intercity to Geneva I had an e-ticket and I
proudly showed it to the conductor."?!?


Bill Bolton
Sydney, Australia


Bill Bolton
 

On Tue, 5 Feb 2013 06:44:59 +0100, Krist wrote:

The examples of "byzantine rules" the reporter gives
aren't byzantine at all. They are just common sense.
All my very law abiding Swiss friends are using much stronger terms
than "byzantine" to describe then, so there is certainly no consensus
in Switzerland that there is any thing commonly sensible about them.

Bill Bolton
Sydney, Australia


Krist van Besien
 

On Tue, Feb 5, 2013 at 8:16 AM, Bill Bolton <billbolton.email@gmail.com> wrote:
On Tue, 5 Feb 2013 06:44:59 +0100, Krist wrote:

The examples of "byzantine rules" the reporter gives
aren't byzantine at all. They are just common sense.
All my very law abiding Swiss friends are using much stronger terms
than "byzantine" to describe then, so there is certainly no consensus
in Switzerland that there is any thing commonly sensible about them.
I've been living in Switzerland for 10 years now.
All these 10 years the rule was that it was your responsibility to
have a ticket before boarding a train for local trains, S bahn train,
buses, trams etc...
This rule has now been expanded to also cover long distance trains.
It's actually not that big a change.
Really what were all these people who now suddenly discover these new
rules do before when boarding an S-Bahn?
My experience is that the complaints come from a small minority, who
will alway find something to complain about, no matter what.

Krist

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


Don
 

--- In SwissRail@yahoogroups.com, Krist van Besien wrote:

However, if the ticket machine isn't working than you should just go
to the conductor straightaway, and tell the conductor that. In my
experience you will not be considered a fare evader if you do that.
Going to the conductor straightaway if you board a train without a
ticket is, afaik the rule on every railway.
I agree with your line of thought but I observed such a situation between Vevey and Montreux:

I got on a Brig service at Vevey to travel to Aigle. I had a pass. The train was well loaded and there were no seats to be seen, so as my journey was not lengthy, I stood in the vestibule at the rear of the first coach that adjoined the second class portion.

A pair of conductors were stood by the doors on the platform. As they signalled the away a young male ran up to the train and jumped on and stood next to me.

The conductors got on and the train set off.

The young chap who was visiting from Hong Kong, asked for a ticket to Montreux and I noted he was holding a bank note in his hand, he said there was a queue at the machine, so he had not had time to buy a ticket.

The conductor agreed to issue a ticket but also fined him much to the lad's amazement.

The student did point out that had he wished to avoid payment he would have got on further down the train, he had seen the conductors and run up the platform to present himself for fare payment. They listened calmly but still fined him purely on the grounds that he had boarded the train with no valid ticket. His 'honest' action was of no interest to them.

The associated admin was not completed by the time we arrived at Montreux, so we waited for the conductor to complete his work on the platform before we continued to Aigle.

The conductors continued to stand next to me all the way to Aigle and no other ticket checks were made. Fact.

So, what was their prime objective, customer service by listening, understanding and delivering such or purely revenue collection, the easy way?

Such incidents make me view SBB conductors in a revised light these days and being a regular visitor to Switzerland, it is not better than it was a couple of years ago.

Don


Krist van Besien
 

On Tue, Feb 5, 2013 at 8:10 AM, Bill Bolton <billbolton.email@gmail.com> wrote:
On Tue, 5 Feb 2013 06:35:54 +0100, Krist wrote:

However, if the ticket machine isn't working than you should just go
to the conductor straightaway
What was it you did not understand about....

"by the time I got on the intercity to Geneva I had an e-ticket and I
proudly showed it to the conductor."?!?
What I understand is that she bought the ticket after she had started
travelling. And that is indeed not allowed. That is in fact not even a
new rule, and it would have gotten her in trouble two years ago too.
That SBB ignored the fact that the ticket machine was inoperative is
also something I find hard to believe. I have been in exactly such a
situation. And my statement that the machine didn't work was accepted
without much ado.
I must say however, that non functioning ticket machines are not
something I have a lot of experience with. I have only encountered one
in my 10 years in Switzerland, and last weekend I encountered a non
functioning ticket validator for the first time.

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