Unacceptable treatment

  • 3 augustus 2016
  • 45 reacties
  • 6108 Bekeken

I am writing to report what unacceptable treatment by the NS. This occurred on Tuesday August 2nd, 2016 on the 8:02 train from Haarlem Central Station to Amsterdam Central. I normally take the 7:17 train and never experienced any issues over the last several years.

The 8:02 train was late and arrived in Haarlem around 8:07. I boarded a carriage which was a mix of 1st and 2nd class seats. I went into the 2nd class part and it was full. There were no vacant seats. The 2nd class aisle was also packed and there were no places to stand. 1st class had a lot of unoccupied seats and was not full. I followed instructions from NS employees who told me on several occasions that if 2nd class was full it was okay to sit in 1st class. So, I went into 1st class and took a seat.

What happened next was unbelievable. Around 8:15 or later, the middle door to 1st class flew open followed by an aggressive conductor. Three people near me jumped up and tried to run out of the 1st class area. The conductor behaved like a predatory animal going after a heard of prey. In the commotion I got up and tried leave. The conductor went after 4 of us, rounded us together, and demanded our NS cards. Worse yet, a few minutes later another person (an elderly gentlemen) also tried to leave the 1st class area. The conductor ran after aggressively him and started yelling. He demanded the elderly man to submit to his control and tried to force him verbally to return to 1st class. The man refused and a loud argument ensued. After a few minutes the conductor gave up and walked back to the 4 of us who were easy prey.

The conductor checked our NS cards and then asked for our IDs. One of his 4 captives was a pregnant lady. He gave back her NS card and did not fine her. The conductor then asked for my details like home address, and so on. I tried to explain that I had been told by NS employees that if 2nd class was full it was okay to sit in 1st class. He was really rude and said back to me “if you mother says it is okay to take a cookie that does not mean you can you can always have a cookie”. I said I had ridden on the train since 1998 and was unaware that riding in 1st class when 2nd class was completely full was not allowed. He would not listen to me and just handed me paperwork for a fine of 53.60 euros.

What happened next was beyond anything I could ever imagine. He told me to shut up. He said it that talking in that 1st class carriage was not allowed even though he was talking and arguing the whole time. I asked a question. He then told me if I said one more word he was going to fine me an additional 90.00 euros. Henceforth, I stopped talking while he continued to talk while writing the other 2 captives a ticket.

The conductor’s misbehaviour continued. At Amsterdam Sloterdijk, I went out of 1st class area. I walked down the stairs, and stood against a wall for support. The conductor could not restrain himself. He also went into my area and then asked me why I left 1st class after I had paid for a ticket? I emphasized the importance of customer service, that I was a paying customer of the NS, and had a right to be treated with respect. He said he was just doing his job. I told him I had a hip injury which required physical therapy and also needed to sit. He said I needed to carry a letter from my doctor. He ranted, raved, and said he was he was just doing his job.

The conductor then exaggerated. He said there were plenty of 2nd class seats to be found on the train. Why did I not walk around and look for one? This was absolutely an untrue statement. Again, he went on about just doing his job. He then said “if you are in IT you don’t use a sledgehammer to break the computer.” He kept going and saying ridiculous things. Even after the train arrived in Amsterdam he got out, followed me, and continued to try and argue with me.

After this incident, I contacted NS customer service by phone several times to get more information. The NS representative told me that if 2nd class was full it was okay to sit in 1st class. I found out I will receive a letter from the NS by mail within a week and need to pay a 53.60 fine. Finally, I found out that getting a fine puts a mark against me. If I receive another mark I could be in BIG trouble with the NS.

What are you going to do to fix this problem?

45 reacties

Reputatie 5
Badge
Dear RUKiddinMe,

With the ticket you've got for sitting 1st class was the conductor right. Because if I read this story I didn't see anything about an announcement of the conductor that you can sit 1st class with a 2nd class ticket. That's because the rule "2nd class is full, I can go 1st class" unfortunatly doesn't exist. That means you can already get a ticket when you are standing in the 1st class. BUT if the train is busy he can make an announcement that everyone may sit 1st class. This depends on the conductor of the train.
All this doesn't take away the way the conductor was working. It sounds pretty rude and I don't think this is the right way to work. (The part about your mother and cookies. Etc.)
The part he tells you are in a silence compartment. For what I know you can't be fined in a silence compartment and are you sure that it was a silence compartment? (Were there Stilte stickers on the windows?)
Also that he followed you at Amsterdam CS is a feeling I wouldn't like to have.
I would contact Customer Service again to do a complaint against the conductor and do your story.
This is what I can tell you. Maybe a Moderator can help you further. (Employee of NS)

Regards,
GroeneRuiter
Welcome to the NS Serviceforum, RUKiddinMe.

First of all, I am sorry to read that you experienced this. However, you're not allowed to sit in the 1st class with a 2nd class ticket, as GroeneRuiter also mentioned. The conductor will indeed give you a fine, those are the rules. In this case, you as a traveler should have looked for another seat in the 2nd class or, if you really wanted to sit 1st class, you should've buyed a 1st class ticket or you should have discussed this with the conductor before taking place. Unfortunately, due to the information which you've gained before, this wasn't the case this time. Hopefully you now know that you can't do this without permission from the train personnel.

Besides everything I have stated above I do understand that you're not happy with how you've been treated. I wasn't there, so it is also really hard for me to imagine everything, but I would like to forward this complaint. Could you maybe send me a private message (click on my name and send message) with your name, date of birth, zipcode, housenumber, telephone number and as much details of the situation and the conductor as you have.

The NS representative told me that if 2nd class was full it was okay to sit in 1st class.
Can you explain where and how they gave you this information? Because all employees should know that this is not allowed without permission. If you can give me a little more details I can forward this to the right department.
Reputatie 7
@Groeneruiter je kunt wel bekeurd worden in een stiltezone; op basis van artikel 72 van WPV 2000,

Strafbaar feit is dan: het dusdanig geluid voortbrengen dat ander hier ginder van kunnen ondervinden.
Dear RUKiddinMe,

With the ticket you've got for sitting 1st class was the conductor right. Because if I read this story I didn't see anything about an announcement of the conductor that you can sit 1st class with a 2nd class ticket. That's because the rule "2nd class is full, I can go 1st class" unfortunatly doesn't exist. That means you can already get a ticket when you are standing in the 1st class. BUT if the train is busy he can make an announcement that everyone may sit 1st class. This depends on the conductor of the train.
All this doesn't take away the way the conductor was working. It sounds pretty rude and I don't think this is the right way to work. (The part about your mother and cookies. Etc.)
The part he tells you are in a silence compartment. For what I know you can't be fined in a silence compartment and are you sure that it was a silence compartment? (Were there Stilte stickers on the windows?)
Also that he followed you at Amsterdam CS is a feeling I wouldn't like to have.
I would contact Customer Service again to do a complaint against the conductor and do your story.
This is what I can tell you. Maybe a Moderator can help you further. (Employee of NS)

Regards,
GroeneRuiter


The conductor has discretion over whom he fined. There were 5 of us who did not have a 1st class ticket. He choose 3 of us as I mentioned. I went to my doctor last week about a long-term hip injury followed by physical therapy. If the conductor took the time to listen about my condition he might have been more reasonable.

I am comfortable sitting in 2nd class and I have no desire to be in 1st class. Hence, I rarely sit in 1st class unless that is absolutely no other alternative. It was a wise decision on my part to find a place to sit. There just physically was not a safe place to stand in 2nd class. I took care of my own personal safety and wellness by moving to 1st class and occupying a seat. I do not regret my decision.

Thank goodness the days of paper tickets is long gone. I can remember how the conductors treated passengers back then. With the ov-chipkaart things go much smoother. In this case, however, the conductor treated us like zwaartrijders. This was not the case and we are paying customers.

In the end the conductor will only earn 3,60 for the NS at the expense of a lot of bad feelings. There has to be a balance between rules and good customer service. The NS cannot on one hand expect to give customers fines, be rude to them, and put marks against them and other hand arrive late with no place to sit or stand on the train.

I have not idea if the it was a silence compartment. I can only assume it was.

Bottom line for me is I will never again sit in 1st class under any circumstances. Never!!

If I can avoid sitting in a silence compartment I will also do so.
Reputatie 3
You didn't have a ticket for 1e klasse, so you were a zwartrijder, you didn't pay for 1e klasse.

However if NS Customer Service told you otherwise, NS will have no problems with paying the fine back to you.

If I were you I would write a letter about the behaviour of the conducteur as it seems very strange behaviour.
Welcome to the NS Serviceforum, RUKiddinMe.

First of all, I am sorry to read that you experienced this. However, you're not allowed to sit in the 1st class with a 2nd class ticket, as GroeneRuiter also mentioned. The conductor will indeed give you a fine, those are the rules. In this case, you as a traveler should have looked for another seat in the 2nd class or, if you really wanted to sit 1st class, you should've buyed a 1st class ticket or you should have discussed this with the conductor before taking place. Unfortunately, due to the information which you've gained before, this wasn't the case this time. Hopefully you now know that you can't do this without permission from the train personnel.

Besides everything I have stated above I do understand that you're not happy with how you've been treated. I wasn't there, so it is also really hard for me to imagine everything, but I would like to forward this complaint. Could you maybe send me a private message (click on my name and send message) with your name, date of birth, zipcode, housenumber, telephone number and as much details of the situation and the conductor as you have.

The NS representative told me that if 2nd class was full it was okay to sit in 1st class.
Can you explain where and how they gave you this information? Because all employees should know that this is not allowed without permission. If you can give me a little more details I can forward this to the right department.


Wonderful, what a way to treat customers!!

I called someone at NS customer service at 18:28 yesterday. That person said it was okay to sit in 1st class if 2nd class is full. That was also said to me over the years by different NS personal. Sorry, I do not have the time and dates of those occurrences. Obviously, there is really not a clear rule. The cookie analogy is correct--you receive a fine depending on someone's temperament.

Your website says your mission: "People want to be able to move around without having to worry. Fast, safe, simple and at any time...."

My travel is now just about worry. I need to protect myself and never do anything remotely wrong. Otherwise a fine, public abuse, and then a mark against my name.

No sitting in the wrong seat even if I don't give a damn if it 1st class. No talking in the wrong area or a 90 euro fine.

Who protects customers from the NS?
I got this e-mail from the NS.

Geachte heer,

We zijn blij dat u met de trein reist én we vinden het leuk dat u zich heeft aangemeld voor NS Extra. Graag willen wij u hiervoor bedanken met een cadeautje.

Upgrade naar de 1e klas cadeau

U ontvangt van ons een Upgrade naar de 1e klas. Geniet met uw Upgrade van een heerlijk ontspannen treinreis in de 1e klas, voor de prijs van een 2e klas reis.

Hoe werkt het?

Ga voor 31 augustus 2016 naar www.ns.nl/couponcode om uw gratis Upgrade naar de 1e klas te verzilveren en vul uw persoonlijke kortingscode in. De Upgrade is maandag t/m vrijdag geldig na 9.00 uur en op zaterdag en zondag de hele dag, voor treinreizen met NS in Nederland en in combinatie met een geldig 2e klas vervoerbewijs. U kunt t/m 30 september 2016 gebruik maken van de Upgrade, daarna is hij niet meer geldig.


Ron Schneider, Directeur Consumentenmarkt, and NS, no thanks!!

I have never had the desire to sit in 1st class. I only sat there for my own personal safety given the over capacity of the train that particular day.

Furthermore, there is no way given the behavior of the conductor I would even consider accepting this gift.

I will never, ever again sit in 1st class on one of your trains.
@Groeneruiter je kunt wel bekeurd worden in een stiltezone; op basis van artikel 72 van WPV 2000,

Strafbaar feit is dan: het dusdanig geluid voortbrengen dat ander hier ginder van kunnen ondervinden.


How many passengers in the history of the NS have received a 90 euro fine?
Conductors have to listen to excuses every day. Trying to get away when the conductor walks in is a clear sign for them that you know very well you aren't supposed to be there, and this behavior can be seen as an act to prevent the conductor from doing his work. You can't entirely blame the conductor from being annoyed with people who prevent him from doing his job in my opinion.


It's also pretty normal, specially in the trainsets that consist of six cars, that one end of the train is half empty while the other half is nearly full. And this can be even more extremes at times, I sometimes heard an announcement where the conductor apologized for the overcrowded train, while in the first car more then 75% of the seats were empty. Unfortunately, there is no way for passengers to see this from the back of the train, so you just have to try your luck and pick a direction to go and find a seat, with the possibility to end up in an even more crowded part.
Conductors have to listen to excuses every day. Trying to get away when the conductor walks in is a clear sign for them that you know very well you aren't supposed to be there, and this behavior can be seen as an act to prevent the conductor from doing his work. You can't entirely blame the conductor from being annoyed with people who prevent him from doing his job in my opinion.

It's also pretty normal, specially in the trainsets that consist of six cars, that one end of the train is half empty while the other half is nearly full. And this can be even more extremes at times, I sometimes heard an announcement where the conductor apologized for the overcrowded train, while in the first car more then 75% of the seats were empty. Unfortunately, there is no way for passengers to see this from the back of the train, so you just have to try your luck and pick a direction to go and find a seat, with the possibility to end up in an even more crowded part.


Handling people well is about being reasonable, treating people with respect, and taking time to communicate. He did none of those things. He chased aggressively after us in a crowded train, argued and yelled at us, told me to shut up, and went on and on saying non-sense about cookies and using a hammer on a computer. None of what he did is acceptable behavior from an employee of a private company.

No one was in danger by several of us traveling in 1st class from Haarlem to Sloterdijk and myself from Haarlem to Amsterdam Centraal. And, even though extra seats were taken by some people with 2nd class tickets there were still plenty of seats in 1st class. Furthermore, the conductor clearly discriminated between different people in regards to whom he fined.

If the train were empty and we sat in 1st class I could understand him being annoyed. However, the train was not only late but overcrowded. I have to pay a fine of 53,60 but what fine does NS have to pay. There is clearly negligence on their part. It was their job to make sure we arrive safe, sound, and happy. Don't you hold them accountable for that?
Reputatie 5
Badge
@Slidestops
Bedankt voor de extra info.

@RUKiddinMe It is understandable that you had to sit because of your condition. For this reason signs in the trains ask people to stand up for people when they have immobilities. I would have done that to be honest. Or discuss it with the conductor, which unfortunatly had a rude way of doing his job.
Don't you hold them accountable for that?
I didn't hear his side of the story, so I can't judge on that. Judging from your posts, I have the feeling there is more to this story, for example you say that he was chasing you through a train, that sounds like you deliberately tried to get away from him. That sounds weird for someone who has an injury and thinks he is allowed to sit in the 1st class.
@Slidestops
Bedankt voor de extra info.

@RUKiddinMe It is understandable that you had to sit because of your condition. For this reason signs in the trains ask people to stand up for people when they have immobilities. I would have done that to be honest. Or discuss it with the conductor, which unfortunatly had a rude way of doing his job.


@GroeneRuiter, thank you for your concern. My injury is in the abductor muscle. It occurred 9 months ago and comes and goes. So, I can stand during the train ride but given the speed of the train I always try to lean against something solid.

When I boarded the train that day I walked through 2nd class. There were no available seats. The aisle was so crowded that there was no available place to stand where I could lean against something solid. It was a split second decision to continue walking, open the door to 1st class, and sit in the first seat on the left. I did not think "hey I am going to rip off the NS and sit in 1st class while my maandtrajectvrijkaart is only for 2nd class."

It was more like a responsible adult decision to find a safe and secure place to the train to ride to Amsterdam on that particular day.
Don't you hold them accountable for that?
I didn't hear his side of the story, so I can't judge on that. Judging from your posts, I have the feeling there is more to this story, for example you say that he was chasing you through a train, that sounds like you deliberately tried to get away from him. That sounds weird for someone who has an injury and thinks he is allowed to sit in the 1st class.


@Beminded, you seem to want to blame me for what occurred. Be my guest to find the conductor's side of the story.

What happened that day was I opened the door to 1st class, and took the first seat on the left. Had I known it was not allowed I would have never done so. It was an honest mistake. Furthermore, I have no desire ever again to ride in 1st class on an NS train.

I was only sitting in my seat for a few minutes. I then noticed a commotion. It was like a parent quickly opened the door to a child's bedroom to find them doing something wrong. Several people to the right of me jumped out of their seat and tried to go out of 1st class. The conductor moved fast to block those people from leaving. Like I said he was a predator and we were his prey. All I did was stand up and he was immediately upon me and blocked me from leaving. A few minutes later an elderly gentlemen tried to leave 1st class. The conductor ran down the aisle and started screaming and yelling at that passenger. It was loud, it was rude, it was awful.

No person ever deserves to be treated that way. To be crystal clear: the running, yelling, and screaming in that confined 1st class part of the carriage that day was from the conductor. His behavior was unacceptable and no way to treat adults who are paying NS customers.
Reputatie 5
Badge
@RUKiddinMe As I said, if you need to sit or have to lean against something solid. You are allowed to ask persons who are healthy and got a place you need. On the train's infotainment system is shown that people are asked to stand up for people with injuries/disabilities if they need it.
It might be a tip for when you travel again in a full train.
If the customer service gave you the wrong information I do understand that you thought it was legal and I'm sorry to read that they've told you this.

My travel is now just about worry. I need to protect myself and never do anything remotely wrong. Otherwise a fine, public abuse, and then a mark against my name.
We don't want you to worry during your travels, but if you're not following the rules you can indeed get a fine. Public abuse is not how we would like to see it and it's not the normal way of working. That's also why I would like to forward your complaint to the right department, but as you mentioned you are going to write a letter (RUKiddinME has sent me a private message).

Furthermore, everybody is here to inform you and we, moderators, are also here to help you further. You made a mistake accidentally, that does not mean that we can do everything for you, but we can always take a look at your fine and see if we can do something for you. Hopefully you do understand that everybody on this forum is just trying to inform you about the rules and they are also trying to understand this specific situation.
@Beminded, you seem to want to blame me for what occurred.
I'm not blaming you for everything, I'm just noticing that you keep changing your story every time and always blame everything on the conductor while it is clear by now you were violating the rules yourself. Now you say you were being prevented from leaving immediately after getting up, last time you talked about being chased through a crowded train.

Also you are trying to make it appear that a conductor preventing people from fleeing is a bad thing. It's not: it's his job. People who are knowingly violating the rules but refuse to take responsibility for it are making the conductors job hard every day. Imagine I steal your wallet, and when you catch me I give it back, would you be fine with it then?
Reputatie 7
Now you say you were being prevented from leaving immediately after getting up, last time you talked about being chased through a crowded train.
Also you are trying to make it appear that a conductor preventing people from fleeing is a bad thing. It's not: it's his job.


@RUKiddinME
Regarding this comment, just factual and looking at only this, from the law:

If you do break the "rule" of sitting 1st class with a second class ticket, the conductor will do a thing called: "staande houden".(translates into "keep at place". Which means he officialy(by law) summons you to identify yourself. During this process you have to comply with identifying yourself, to prevent commiting other felony's and getting arrested for not identifying yourself, or getting fined for not doing so.
Now you say you were being prevented from leaving immediately after getting up, last time you talked about being chased through a crowded train.
Also you are trying to make it appear that a conductor preventing people from fleeing is a bad thing. It's not: it's his job.


@RUKiddinME
Regarding this comment, just factual and looking at only this, from the law:

If you do break the "rule" of sitting 1st class with a second class ticket, the conductor will do a thing called: "staande houden".(translates into "keep at place". Which means he officialy(by law) summons you to identify yourself. During this process you have to comply with identifying yourself, to prevent commiting other felony's and getting arrested for not identifying yourself, or getting fined for not doing so.


Thank you. That is good to know. Is the conductor an officer of the law? Is he constrained by any rules?
Reputatie 7
In the Netherlands you have a BOA, all conductors are BOA, which means they are indeed partially officer of the law. They can fine you and arrest you.
@Beminded, you seem to want to blame me for what occurred.
I'm not blaming you for everything, I'm just noticing that you keep changing your story every time and always blame everything on the conductor while it is clear by now you were violating the rules yourself. Now you say you were being prevented from leaving immediately after getting up, last time you talked about being chased through a crowded train.

Also you are trying to make it appear that a conductor preventing people from fleeing is a bad thing. It's not: it's his job. People who are knowingly violating the rules but refuse to take responsibility for it are making the conductors job hard every day. Imagine I steal your wallet, and when you catch me I give it back, would you be fine with it then?


@Beminded, are you a shill for the NS?

Read what I said. I said the conductor chased after us. He was did all the moving, yelling, and running around. He ran aggressively from one end of 1st class to the other creating an atmosphere of chaos. He could have chosen to be calm, cool, collected, and polite but he did not.

It's his job? The conductor works for a company which provides transportation services to customers. Part of his job is treating customers with respect. Wake up! This is the year 2016! Look at all of the disruptive companies which are causing old school monopolies to lose their markets. They provide better services for cheaper and will win in the end. I understand now when I talk with some co-workers why they prefer to drive.

Furthermore, look at the tariff:
- 2e klas vol tarief € 4,20
- 1e klas vol tarief € 7,10

The difference it cost NS for that one day was € 2.90. Are you saying that one single mistake to sit in 1st class which cost the NS € 2.90 justified the behaviour of the NS conductor?
Now you change the story again, and again it becomes more insane, if you try to imagine the situation you describe it's almost like a cartoon now. First he was chasing people, then he was blocking them, and now he was running around. I believe he might have moved a bit faster then usual, running in a crowded train is almost physically impossible though. But if he would have stayed calm and continue his round of checking tickets, probably at least 3 people without a valid ticket would have gotten away from him.

Also, I can't help but notice that you still don't want to fully admit you were wrong, now by saying it was only €2,90, that's like saying stealing one item from the supermarket is not a reason for them to stop you.
Now you change the story again, and again it becomes more insane, if you try to imagine the situation you describe it's almost like a cartoon now. First he was chasing people, then he was blocking them, and now he was running around. I believe he might have moved a bit faster than usual, running in a crowded train is almost physically impossible though. But if he would have stayed calm and continue his round of checking tickets, probably at least 3 people without a valid ticket would have gotten away from him.

Also, I can't help but notice that you still don't want to fully admit you were wrong, now by saying it was only €2,90, that's like saying stealing one item from the supermarket is not a reason for them to stop you.


You describe it perfectly. It was just like a cartoon. He entered the car and was chasing after people so he could block them. A few minutes later he ran after someone else and started screaming. The conductor was not blocked from running around faster than usual since there were still seats available in 1st class and the 1st class aisle was free. Those 3 people paid at least the daily rate of €4,20 to be on that train. What is the price they need to pay for breaking the rules?

You are right that I do not want to fully admit I am wrong. Like I said the conductor had the discretion to fine someone. He chose to punish some customers and not others. Furthermore, the NS did not lose anything because those customers were sitting in 1st class. The NS got revenue from them for a 2nd class journey. The lost opportunity cost for the NS in this case was zero. There were still seats available 1st class for 1st class customers.

In the case of stealing an item from the supermarket the opportunity cost is the full amount of €2,90. So, yes, you should stop them but of course not harm someone over a measly €2,90. The conductor's actions would be more justified in a supermarket because physical items are being removed in order to profit. In a service-oriented business his behavior is pure disaster.
It's a fascinating read! it's a shame that the NS Customer Service here (the "moderator"?) cannot just simply say "sorry, there was a mistake, we will try to correct it" , instead you get the ik kan niet doen mentality immediately. Clearly the NS employees gave wrong information, I was also told many times it is OK to sit in 1st class if trains are overcrowded, nobody told me that I need to listen for the conductor to allow to do so 1st. Reading this post is seems that RUKiddingME is being the pray again, attacked by a wolfpack of NS lovers... In any case, things are not good, take it on board please NS, we have no other option, you cannot handle a simple customer inquiry well, no wonder you get fines and warning from the government: http://www.dutchnews.nl/news/archives/2017/04/dutch-railway-operators-fined-and-warned-by-minister/
Well, they gave me my money back so that is okay. I also never go in to first class and would never take a seat again in first class even if the train is overcrowded. The operator is really making a lot of money operating the train as they do. From reading your article it looks like they will face some competition in the future. At that point maybe customer service will become more important.

Reageer