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?