The reason I purchased my ticket after boarding the train was that I found myself in a rush to catch it. I was running late to get home and didn’t want to miss the train, which I believe is a situation many passengers can relate to. However, upon purchasing the ticket after boarding, I was subjected to a 90 CHF fine, which I find exorbitant and unjust given the circumstances.
My primary concern, however, is not the fine itself, but the manner in which the passenger attendant conducted himself during the incident. The passenger attendant, who initially communicated in German, mumbled something incomprehensible when I showed him my ticket. In confusion, I presented my ticket again, thinking his device might not have registered it. To my surprise, he displayed a screen with my name on it, prompting me to question why he was issuing a ticket when I already possessed a valid one. It was only after I expressed my inability to understand his German remarks that he switched to English.
The passenger attendant promptly informed me that I had bought the ticket after boarding, to which I responded that it had been purchased just a minute after departure. I reiterated the fact that I indeed possessed a valid ticket. However, the passenger attendant did not take into account the minimal time discrepancy or engage in a dialogue to clarify the situation.
As a visitor to Switzerland, I was left confused and bewildered by this encounter. I even took the initiative to check online to verify if such a rule existed, only to find my actions justified under SBB’s guidelines. It is at this point that my concerns extend beyond the fine itself.
Passenger attendants are the face of SBB and represent the organization to passengers. In this incident, the passenger attendant failed to display empathy or compassion, missed an opportunity to educate me about the rule, and acted as if my circumstances were irrelevant. I understand that rules are essential, but the way they are enforced can significantly impact the perception of an organisation’s commitment to customer service.
I have had several encounters with passenger attendants during my time in Switzerland, and it is disheartening that the level of compassion and understanding varies from one attendant to another. Not all passengers are fare dodgers, and it is crucial that customer service personnel treat individuals with the respect and empathy they deserve.
SBB undoubtedly aspires to encourage more passengers to choose rail travel, but this goal cannot be achieved without an enhanced commitment to customer service. This incident has left me questioning whether I want to continue travelling with SBB in the future. Presently, I travel with SBB for work-related purposes, but if the quality of customer service remains subpar, I might reconsider other travel options, including flying.
Seeing the number of complaints written here, I won’t be holding my breath.