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Swiss using UK transport rip-off tactics

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It would seem that the Swiss rails companies have taken up the UK method of making big money by ripping off customers.


They must have been here and seen how it is being done and thought 'wow, lets put our machines out of order and then accuse the passenger of theft', we can pay big bonuses and have Christmas parties just like the British railways companies employees.


In practice, it has become a rancorous public relations disaster, and all because of a Byzantine logic over what constitutes a valid ticket, and a policy of issuing huge fines to passengers who do not have one.


Take, for example, the young man with a ticket which must be date-stamped by a machine on the platform. The machine is out of order, so he carefully writes in the date by hand, gets on board, and is fined by the conductor for not having a valid ticket.




There is the pensioner, out for a day with his grandson, who kindly bought both their tickets on his mobile phone, but it turns out you are only allowed one e-ticket per person, so poor old granddad is fined.


And then, there is me. One frosty morning I arrived at my local station to find that the ticket machine was broken. No matter, I thought, I have got a smartphone, and I hurriedly set about buying my ticket that way.


This was not as easy as I had hoped, fiddling between credit card and phone with freezing cold fingers, but, by the time I got on the intercity to Geneva I had an e-ticket and I proudly showed it to the conductor.


Unfortunately she was less than impressed and told me in no uncertain terms that my ticket was not valid. Why, only became clear several weeks later when a letter arrived from Swiss railways euphemistically named "revenue protection service".


The good people there tell me the formal payment for my ticket from my credit card company arrived four minutes after my train left the station. That means, they say, that I bought my ticket on the train - and that is not allowed.


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