Woman issued with 115-franc fine for buying ticket 5 seconds too late

Woman issued with 115-franc fine for buying ticket 5 seconds too late

According to a report in Blick, a woman travelling from Lucerne to Zurich was charged 115 Swiss francs for a public transport ticket, despite having already bought a pass. The reason? She had bought the ticket five seconds too late.

Woman makes train in Lucerne with seconds to spare

Speaking to the newspaper, Dani, a reporter for Blick, explained that she had taken the trip to Lucerne in order to celebrate Fasnacht. After an evening of good cheer at the Lucerne Carnival, she decided that enough was enough and started to make her way back to the station to catch the next train to Zurich.

Unfortunately, the train was on the verge of departing by the time Dani arrived at the station, so she sprinted to the carriage before it took off into the night. “I had a narrow escape”, Dani told the newspaper, as the reporter got on with seconds to spare. As soon as she was seated, she got out her mobile phone and bought a ticket, just as the train was pulling out of the station. This is where the trouble started.

Swiss Federal Railways charges woman for buying ticket seconds too late

15 minutes after the train had left, the conductor began checking tickets and asked to see Dani's, but instead of scanning the pass and moving on, the conductor simply said “that will be 115 francs.” Astonished, the reporter was told that she had bought the ticket “on the order of seconds too late.” "You can clearly see that I bought a ticket fifteen minutes ago and in no way wanted to stow away," she replied.

Despite the trivial nature of the error, the controller insisted she paid the fine. After receiving and signing the bill, Dani tried to contact SBB by email, before phoning the head office. She was then told that she bought the pass “five seconds after departure.” In theory, this means she was charged 23 francs for every second she spent on the train without a valid ticket.

Fine withdrawn by SBB out of goodwill

Luckily for her, Swiss public transport providers are usually conciliatory if the ticket is bought less than a minute after departure, so despite the controller’s wishes, the fine was removed. Dani told the newspaper that while she may have been refunded, many other passengers in the same situation would not have called up the company. She concluded that anyone in the same situation should try and contact SBB as soon as possible.

Image: / Bumble Dee

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Jan studied in York and Sheffield in the UK, obtaining a master's in broadcast journalism and a bachelor's in history. He has worked as a radio DJ, TV presenter, and...

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