Disappointing Travel Experience: Misinformation and Rude Staff on Biel to Zurich HB Route
Hey fellow passengers,
I wanted to share my recent travel experience from Biel to Zurich HB and express my disappointment with the treatment we received. As first-time travellers to Switzerland, we had high expectations for a smooth journey, but unfortunately, we encountered misinformation and unhelpful staff that marred our experience.
We purchased three first-class super saver tickets for 135 CHF. Since we were travelling with a sick 4-year-old boy, we arrived at Biel train station early. We showed our tickets to the station staff, who repeatedly confirmed that boarding early incurred no additional cost. They even provided explicit instructions on which train to board, which was information we couldn’t have figured out on our own.
Based on their guidance, we confidently boarded the train, believing we were following the correct procedure. However, upon reaching Aarau, a conductor informed us that our tickets were invalid due to specific restrictions applicable to super saver tickets. This sudden revelation caused frustration and inconvenience for us.
We immediately explained the situation, emphasizing the assurances we had received from the staff at Biel. But instead of acknowledging the mistake made by their colleagues, the conductor shifted the blame onto us, insinuating that it was our responsibility to double-check the restrictions. He was extremely rude and condescending. To make matters worse, the conductor charged us an additional 108 CHF on the spot.
The absence of English signage only added to our confusion, making it difficult to determine the correct train independently. As tourists, we rely heavily on accurate guidance, especially when faced with language barriers. This reliance made us feel like fare evaders in front of fellow passengers, causing embarrassment and humiliation that deeply affected us.
Upon reaching Zurich HB, we sought assistance from the SBB customer service centre. While they acknowledged that the staff at Biel likely made a mistake, they were unwilling to address our concerns or provide any assistance. Such inconsistencies within the organization raise concerns about staff reliability and competence.
In an attempt to address the issue, we sent an email to customer service, detailing our experience and expressing our concerns about the station staff’s misinformation. However, their response simply regurgitated the same reason provided by the conductor, failing to acknowledge our legitimate concerns. They literally endorsed the conductor’s rude behaviour and said they were doing us a favour.
We would have patiently waited for the correct train if we knew about the additional cost. Unfortunately, due to the misinformation provided by the staff, we were unjustly charged. It’s important to emphasize that we followed the instructions given to us in good faith, and we should not be held accountable for the resulting consequences of the staff’s error.
We embarked on our journey with high hopes and a positive outlook, but the mishandling of this situation has left us deeply disappointed with our experience in Switzerland. This will be the first and last time we will visit Switzerland due to this encounter.
Thanks for taking the time to read about our experience. If anyone has encountered a similar situation or has any advice to share, please feel free to chime in.