Interrail dates- NMBS issues

Discussion in 'International Transport' started by rg177, 14 Jan 2020.

  1. rg177

    rg177 Established Member

    Messages:
    2,536
    Joined:
    22 Dec 2013
    Location:
    Newcastle/Sheffield
    Another Interrail related thread as I conclude my trip across Europe as I was seriously caught out this morning.

    I boarded the 8:54 Blankenberge to Genk train at its terminus. First train of the day and I'd just been staying at the Mercure over the road so I wasnt quite awake yet. Sat down, wrote in the journey and that was that.

    Then I realised my physical ticket didn't have the date on yet so I started writing that in as the conductor come down. He saw me doing this, stopped me, and snatched the ticket out of my hands.

    He clearly thought he was onto something as I was subjected to a load of patronising nonsense about how I was trying to get away with not writing in a day (how I was going to achieve that, considering the hawk-like nature of SNCB/NMBS staff, I do not know), and then stung me for €11 for a journey to Brugge.

    I suppose this is rather similar to the Carnet situation in the UK where the slightest thing being amiss leads to RPIs getting rather penalty fare happy.

    No amount of offering him my Eurostar ticket to prove that I wasn't trying to diddle him and was genuinely just not fully awake yet and had been attempting to rectify my omission would work and he started to become rather threatening so for fear of him trying to cancel the day on the ticket altogether, I paid up and was given a "regularisation" electronic card. I believe I was charged the full fare then a surcharge?

    I know this was technically the "correct" application of the rules in the most draconian sense, but not how I wanted to start my day considering that the ticket had cost €505 in the first place.

    Also rather annoying as I've been religiously completing the travel diary that's now on its sixth page!

    Has anyone else been charged for this kind of thing before?
     
  2. Registered users do not see these banners - join or log in today!

    Rail Forums

     
  3. radamfi

    radamfi Established Member

    Messages:
    8,767
    Joined:
    29 Oct 2009
    In Belgium you have the Rail Pass, Go Pass and Key Card which are all based on writing on the ticket in pen, so guards are really used to the concept.

    In Britain, carnet irregularities seem to be punished by confiscation of the ticket and prosecution, so somewhat more severe than 11 euros.
     
  4. ashkeba

    ashkeba Member

    Messages:
    969
    Joined:
    13 May 2019
    Not been charged for it but I always write the date on upon arrival at the first station of the day (as soon as I've seen trains are really running), before boarding, as required by the terms of use.

    It's not the most draconian by far. As far as interrail pass terms are concerned, they could have fined you up to €200 too, so I'd just be glad NMBS is less harsh than that.
     
  5. mikey9

    mikey9 Member

    Messages:
    83
    Joined:
    19 Aug 2013
    I wasn't even clear if I had to put the whole day's journey's - one line at a time - or simply a start and destination for each day we used a 10 days in 2 months pass (we did the latter with no problems)

    As we had 4 in total (family inter-rail) - it was enough to fill them all in anyway without individual trains/trips. No issues in UK/FR/GER/SUI/AU/IT.
     
  6. rg177

    rg177 Established Member

    Messages:
    2,536
    Joined:
    22 Dec 2013
    Location:
    Newcastle/Sheffield
    One to bear in mind for the future.

    I usually do it as soon as I'm sat down on the first train of the day- Blankenberge is pretty exposed and it was pouring with rain this morning hence me not doing it earlier.

    I haven't had any another issues with it, ever, usually its conductors moaning my travel diary is too long (or they don't know what I've just given them)

    I've complained to NMBS anyway on the advice of their Twitter as the bloke was less than pleasant about it all, even if he was applying the letter of the law.

    @mikey9 that is seriously not recommended in some parts of the world- CZ/SK etc will expect individual journeys.
     
  7. ashkeba

    ashkeba Member

    Messages:
    969
    Joined:
    13 May 2019
    How can you be not clear about this? It is every train. One per line. See https://www.interrail.eu/en/interra...l/how-use-your-interrail-pass#journey-details and I think it is the guide with the pass too.

    I think you could have been fined many times over so you should be happy at how much you saved and not the one time the rules were applied.
     
  8. rg177

    rg177 Established Member

    Messages:
    2,536
    Joined:
    22 Dec 2013
    Location:
    Newcastle/Sheffield
    I think the only country I've had where nobody has cared, ever, is the Netherlands. And that's because everything is usually electronic I assume- instead it's a cursory glance of the ticket itself. Everything filled in just in case though.
     
  9. Mag_seven

    Mag_seven Established Member

    Messages:
    5,702
    Joined:
    1 Sep 2014
    Location:
    here to eternity
    The rules about filling in the date (and the consequences of not doing so) are quite clear:

    https://www.interrail.eu/en/interra...l/how-use-your-interrail-pass#journey-details

    So put it down to experience - the €11 surcharge you received on this occasion will probably ensure you don't forget again. :)
     
  10. Mike99

    Mike99 Member

    Messages:
    292
    Joined:
    4 Mar 2011
    Location:
    Burbage, Leicestershire
    Can I ask, do you need to put in the destination on your ticket?say you join a train in Berlin, I fill in the date (first train of the day) but I don't know my destination maybe Dusseldorf maybe Munich is it ok to leave the destination blank?
     
  11. rg177

    rg177 Established Member

    Messages:
    2,536
    Joined:
    22 Dec 2013
    Location:
    Newcastle/Sheffield
    I usually put in where I think I'm going in small enough text to allow me to strikethrough and change it if needs be. A blank destination will be treated with bewilderment at best.
     
  12. Mike99

    Mike99 Member

    Messages:
    292
    Joined:
    4 Mar 2011
    Location:
    Burbage, Leicestershire
    Thank you for your swift response, I'm having my first Interrail trip in October, 15 days continuous ticket. I'm formulating a trip plan and reading on here other peoples experiences. I'm really looking forward to it.
     
  13. 43096

    43096 Established Member

    Messages:
    6,317
    Joined:
    23 Nov 2015
    Ah, the utter pointless, stupid rigmarole of Interrrail travel diaries. It is just an idiotic requirement.
     
  14. rg177

    rg177 Established Member

    Messages:
    2,536
    Joined:
    22 Dec 2013
    Location:
    Newcastle/Sheffield
    My best advice is to print off some spare travel diary pages and staple them to the back of your pass seeing as you're doing 15 days. I've had mine like that and keep it in a plastic folder. Harder to lose that!

    In all seriousness, enjoy. My experience this morning is very rare indeed. Four times yesterday I had conductors on SNCB/NMBS ask about my travels and what I'd been up to. Most staff will at worst be slightly baffled by your ticket! A lot will relish the opportunity to familiarise themselves with the pass as they're rarely seen.

    When I used ODEG between Rostock and Sassnitz a week or so ago, the staff were all in pairs and one was talking the other through how to read one and correctly stamp it.

    Even when staff don't speak English, its rare that they'll not know at all what it is. A couple of times in rural Hungary I've had my pass lobbed back at me by a couple of stroppy old conductors :lol:
     
  15. ashkeba

    ashkeba Member

    Messages:
    969
    Joined:
    13 May 2019
    Indeed, it should all be some sort of contactless card (NFC, barcode, whatever) by now but we cannot even get one working for a UK-only pass yet so what chance Interrail?
     
  16. Flying Snail

    Flying Snail Member

    Messages:
    977
    Joined:
    12 Dec 2006
    Britrail consecutive passes now have the option of a M-ticket QR code pass on phone/PDF or the traditional airline size paper ticket in a wallet, the flexi-passes are still paper only, except for the Scotland only tickets which are flexi-passes and only available as M-tickets.

    I always preferred Britrail over Interrail for UK as there is no travel diary requirement with them. They come with a tear-out diary that folds/glues into a freepost letter but it is not part of the ticket validity to fill it in, easier to just remove it before travelling.

    I have used an Interrail in UK without filling in the diary and was not challenged but there is always the chance of crossing paths with a checker that will look for reasons to make trouble. Britrail also has no mention of passports on the ticket, only a space for passport number on the wallet, as I prefer not to carry one that makes it much less likely I will be asked to show something I don't have.
     
  17. Mike99

    Mike99 Member

    Messages:
    292
    Joined:
    4 Mar 2011
    Location:
    Burbage, Leicestershire
    Thank you again for your comments and advice, all greatly recieved
     
  18. mikey9

    mikey9 Member

    Messages:
    83
    Joined:
    19 Aug 2013
    Just on one day - travelling from Switzerland to Venice - i think we used 6 trains - I think the ticket itself only has about 12 lines on it. I simply entered Saas - Venice along with the date. - which saved me writing all the individual train segments (one was about 6 minutes) 4 times and using up all the remaining lines. We had failed to bring along the accompanying guides (we brought 1) which I later found had a copy for further lines.

    I can only say what I found - perhaps because were travelling as a family - perhaps because and I had all the tickets - perhaps because of the total faff that the tickets are - which were falling apart by Switzerland - perhaps because we were more typically on reserved seats on fast trains.......but whatever - we had not a bad word- stroppy conductor or any issues at all on 10 days in 23.
     
  19. mikey9

    mikey9 Member

    Messages:
    83
    Joined:
    19 Aug 2013
    If anyone remembers the Mad-March and Fabulous-February fare promotions back in the late 80s (£12 max fare anywhere on the BR network) - I managed to get Southampton station to do me a "Circular fare" from Southampton to Kyle out via Cardiff - return via London........It tool me three full days - was clipped to a tea strainer and even confiscated once....
     
  20. Spoorslag '70

    Spoorslag '70 Member

    Messages:
    225
    Joined:
    29 Oct 2017
    Location:
    Duisburg
    The 11€ don't quite match the 3,10€ fare (single Blankenberge>Brugge) + 7€ "boordtoeslag" I would expect...

    Nevertheless, I guess contacting the NMBS customer service might have some effect (possibly they would refund the extra ticket [from what I heared, they somtimes send out day rovers that are not normally aviable as a good will gesture, but I have not experienced that myself]).
     
  21. dutchflyer

    dutchflyer Member

    Messages:
    578
    Joined:
    17 Oct 2013
    The REASON why youre supposed to write it all down is daft easy: youre also invited to send it in after expiry (and since a few yrs they even promise to send it back after checking it-which indeed happens in about 95% of cases-with a small present-lately it was a USB-stick with IR-motif, but this may have chnaged by now) and from that they do indeed stuff it all in the magic computer and after the yr has been done they start to calculate what country gets how much out of the total revenue. IR is sold most often in the north and used in the south-so those southern railways started complaining. A year or 2 ago Roma-Firenze was the most heavily used linesector and FRance still tops the bill for most KMs made on SNCF.
    But, yes, it does vary an awful lot as to how strict conductors check it all, in my own experience the UK was the most lax and HU/MAV is often called MAVia just for this: fining you if you make even the tiniest of errors and then in the past offering ´no written note, lower fee!´. It also seems to me that straight-through INTernational trains are far more strict about it as the regional local ones. But then most of the new generation IR-users mostly restrict themselves to the usual circuit to visit many countries without changing too much, have it all prepared long before, have everything on their fones/apps and get the tremors if anything goes not the way it was planned.
    Perhaps in BElgum there just was a note to all conductors to pay attention to it, I dont know, but those rules fade as time passes by-untill another incident happens. Many of you also seem to be working on various british railcompanies, so must be used to get directions to pay attention to this or that every week or so.
    (having just ordered a full 2-month with the 10% discount-making it cheaper as a normal network 2-monthly in NL/NS and still having some empty of the old style much longer travel-diaries lying around-better to copy those! As long as they dont check it, I keep on using the same lines for next trains, at least inside 1 country.
     
  22. 43096

    43096 Established Member

    Messages:
    6,317
    Joined:
    23 Nov 2015
    Yes, I know, but as no doubt numerous people have told numerous grippers in numerous countries when told you have to send it in, the reply is: I just file it under bin. I've done plenty of Interrails over the last decade and never sent one in. And if they really want to see information on the journey I'm doing, I have a moves book which has what they require and much more besides.

    It must cost them a fortune in processing the stuff starting from deciphering illegible handwritten scrawls to re-keying it all in the computer, so far better to come up with something better - maybe a website where you can record your trip with details of the journey you make. Make it entirely optional - it might appeal to the young interrailers who are their target market and want to record their trip. They're probably less bothered about people like me and the fact that I did Niebüll to Westerland with a pair of required Rabbits on the SyltShuttle+ and then came straight back again because there was another required loco on the next one back.
     
  23. Mike99

    Mike99 Member

    Messages:
    292
    Joined:
    4 Mar 2011
    Location:
    Burbage, Leicestershire
    I added a question/information in post 9 and am intrigued and very interested in the comments other posters have made so far, thank you to all contributors.
     
  24. rg177

    rg177 Established Member

    Messages:
    2,536
    Joined:
    22 Dec 2013
    Location:
    Newcastle/Sheffield
    It was 11,10€ and in First Class, I should add.

    I watched the guy do it on a machine and load it onto a "regularisation" card and saw the amount appear on the screen.
     
  25. Spoorslag '70

    Spoorslag '70 Member

    Messages:
    225
    Joined:
    29 Oct 2017
    Location:
    Duisburg
    In first class it is exactly the right price (a 1st single from Blankenberge to Brugge is 4,10€, the 7€ supplement remains the same).
     
  26. 37201xoIM

    37201xoIM Member

    Messages:
    134
    Joined:
    29 Apr 2016
    It already is entirely optional to return it - but there are good reasons to do so, as explained by Dutchflyer (but perhaps not if you've done any moves with iffy validity!!).

    You can download extra diary pages here:
    https://eurailgroup.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2017/09/Additional-Travel-Diary-Lines.pdf
     
  27. Gerald Fiennes

    Gerald Fiennes Member

    Messages:
    520
    Joined:
    7 Jan 2009
    In my experience, many conductors in Germany will check (and then grip) each line of the diary but most other countries don't seem bothered. The only other (polite) grief I have had was between Arth-Goldau and Luzern in CH two years ago, where the SOB conductor on the Vor-Alpen Express was very unhappy that I'd marked the trip I was taking down as Lugano-Basel, and wanted to see an Arth-Goldau-Luzern line in the diary. He said that this was because he wanted to make sure that SOB got the revenue for the trip (fair enough) rather than SBB (which he clearly didn't like)....
     
  28. Flying Snail

    Flying Snail Member

    Messages:
    977
    Joined:
    12 Dec 2006
    Just tell them that you will not be submitting the diary so it is of no matter.

    I seriously doubt any revenue allocation is made from these anyway, no way is there going to be an individual payment to each line based on returned diaries. There may be some sort of small annual adjustment from the base % of split to each operator based on the overall figures but even that sounds a bit unlikley. Is there really an office with people employed to digitise and correctly allocate usage to individual services based on these handwritten lists? Either way people are people, I doubt if more than a small % of them get returned.
     
  29. 43096

    43096 Established Member

    Messages:
    6,317
    Joined:
    23 Nov 2015
    Yes, I know all that. I was talking about making the requirement to fill the thing in optional. Still not seeing that there is much incentive to send it in.
     
  30. Gerald Fiennes

    Gerald Fiennes Member

    Messages:
    520
    Joined:
    7 Jan 2009
    OK, but the motivation to return the diary is the risk that one or more countries withdraw from the Interrail Scheme in future if they don't get what they consider to be adequate revenue from it. Although it has been in place since 1972, there is no requirement of any kind for any country to continue participating...
     
  31. Alfonso

    Alfonso Member

    Messages:
    159
    Joined:
    22 Jul 2017
    A long time ago you got back about 5%(?) of the ticket price. I guess they are happy with the amount that get sent in at the moment or they would increase the incentive.
     

Share This Page