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Old 07.02.2010, 02:23
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Bribery on the trains

I'm slightly torn by this issue but wanted to lay it to see if people had experienced the same thing.

I was travelling back into Zurich at around 1 am with 3 others on a train. We all had return tickets, bought around 7pm. We were not aware that it we were required to buy night tickets to make our purchases valid.

We were requested to show our tickets, the guard noted we needed night tickets. He asked how long we had been in Zurich, to which the couple we were with replied they had been here only a couple of months. The guard responded that we needed the night tickets, and that the situation was that we would need to pay 80 chf's each, or we could work out, in his words, 'another arrangement'. Upon further questioning, he said he needed 50 chf for himself or he would make us pay the 80 chf each. I asked outright if this was a bribe and he responsded quite clearly that it was.

Now I know many would argue that we were in the wrong in the first place here, but we all genuinely thought a return ticket would work over at least a 12 hour period, not become invalid after midnight. Afterall, had I bought that at 7am it would still have been valid at 7pm. But regardless, it surely doesn't make what this guy is doing right?

We gave him the 50 chf, but I wish we hadn't.
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Old 07.02.2010, 02:26
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Re: Bribery on the trains

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I'm slightly torn by this issue but wanted to lay it to see if people had experienced the same thing.

I was travelling back into Zurich at around 1 am with 3 others on a train. We all had return tickets, bought around 7pm. We were not aware that it we were required to buy night tickets to make our purchases valid.

We were requested to show our tickets, the guard noted we needed night tickets. He asked how long we had been in Zurich, to which the couple we were with replied they had been here only a couple of months. The guard responded that we needed the night tickets, and that the situation was that we would need to pay 80 chf's each, or we could work out, in his words, 'another arrangement'. Upon further questioning, he said he needed 50 chf for himself or he would make us pay the 80 chf each. I asked outright if this was a bribe and he responsded quite clearly that it was.

Now I know many would argue that we were in the wrong in the first place here, but we all genuinely thought a return ticket would work over at least a 12 hour period, not become invalid after midnight. Afterall, had I bought that at 7am it would still have been valid at 7pm. But regardless, it surely doesn't make what this guy is doing right?

We gave him the 50 chf, but I wish we hadn't.
interesting. i thought the swiss were supposed to be incorruptible.

'paying' fines on the spot in cash is par for the course in many places.

EDIT: i wonder if it was a win-win for everybody. he's gained 50chf and you saved 110chf. now arguable, the SBB lost out on 160chf, but if he was going to let you off anyway, the SBB haven't lost out.
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Old 07.02.2010, 06:27
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Re: Bribery on the trains

Ah, quite a situation!

You instantly gained the morale high ground, I'd have turned it on the guard.
Offer the guard two options, either you can continue your trip paying nothing or he tickets you and you subsequently report him. That leaves the guard limited options.. the best for him is to let you go and then get someone further up the line to catch you.

Thats what I would do... *but* only if I were sober.

I wonder what else this piece of corruption gets up to.. 'free' tickets for his friends? Taking advantage of, or attempting to create, opportunities to commit theft? And the complete paranoid trip, if the person had access to information of the transport system that could be used by enemies of the federation.

CK
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Old 07.02.2010, 08:55
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Re: Bribery on the trains

As Phil says: It sounds like a win-win situation to me!
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Old 07.02.2010, 09:00
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Re: Bribery on the trains

I would have paid the 80 CHF's each and got studying the rules of the train tickets on SBB.

Life had taught me that going along with these "acts" justs fuels it and if you are unlucky you can find yourself in a worse situation than when you started.

Quote:
As Phil says: It sounds like a win-win situation to me!
What if the number of fines the conductor issues is a fraction of the number normally issued and SBB are suspicious and decide to monitor him. On that said night what would have the OP and friends said if they were caught in the act of paying the conductor the bribe by the police?

Just a thought.

Last edited by vwild1; 07.02.2010 at 09:09. Reason: No need for multiple posts in succession when one single post will suffice.
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Old 07.02.2010, 09:11
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Re: Bribery on the trains

Heh, wouldn't have thought that this can happen! I wonder if he tries the same with the Swiss or only foreigners. Quite bad, but certainly interesting.
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Old 07.02.2010, 09:28
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Re: Bribery on the trains

Bah. Fines are what keeps many south east asian countries running You've done yourself a favour. You knew you were in the wrong (not buying a ticket) and he's given you a cheaper option. Its morally wrong if you offer him a bride see....

I've taken the night train probably 9-10 times since I've been here and only once have I brought a ticket (usually we're rushing to get the train we don't realise). The guys have always just made us buy a ticket from them. In fact on a few occasions they've just said don't worry about it. They're pretty good blokes i recon
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Old 07.02.2010, 09:33
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Re: Bribery on the trains

Shady. I would guess threatening to tell someone (SBB hotline, manager at station, Obama) would've prompted him to leave you alone.
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Old 07.02.2010, 10:45
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Re: Bribery on the trains

Cheeky bugger. This will probably encourage him to be braver and try it on some poor unsuspecting person again but I would have paid him the 50CHF rather than get a record on the SBB database.

Bribery is common in many other places (eg: speeding on Malaysian highways can be a fine or "coffee money" for the police and his colleagues), never thought it would happen here for some reason.
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Old 07.02.2010, 11:04
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Re: Bribery on the trains

I think you should send an anonymous letter to SBB informing them about the incident, telling them exactly when and where it happened. I would also considering informing the press about the incident. SBB is being criticized lately because of their fine policies and having corruption there is not going to make it any better.
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Old 07.02.2010, 11:10
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Re: Bribery on the trains

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I think you should send an anonymous letter to SBB informing them about the incident, telling them exactly when and where it happened. I would also considering informing the press about the incident. SBB is being criticized lately because of their fine policies and having corruption there is not going to make it any better.
Send the letter, please.
I strongly believe that we should not indulge corruption. Corruption is what makes countries in the less developed parts of the world difficlut to live in --and poor.
I would have paied the 80 chf and reported him.
The whole story makes me sad and angry.
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Old 07.02.2010, 11:11
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Re: Bribery on the trains

Was this a ticket inspector, or a clever con trickster??
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Old 07.02.2010, 11:13
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Re: Bribery on the trains

Four of you against one single SBB guard!? How did he manage to make you comply with his demands in the first place? You could have called the police and held the guard by force until the next stop. I am afraid, having paid the CHF 50 was simply the worst option you could go in for.
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Old 07.02.2010, 11:26
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Re: Bribery on the trains

Held the guard until the police arrived? Then what ... delay the train, say you didn't have tickets and refused to pay 80CHF each? Say the guard wanted a bribe which he'll deny?

This isn't the end of the world. I'd pay the 50CHF after arguing about the validity of my ticket (I believe in the UK that tickets are usually valid until 3 or 4am. I think Germany is similar).
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Old 07.02.2010, 11:28
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Re: Bribery on the trains

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Was this a ticket inspector, or a clever con trickster??
This is a very interesting thought. I bet anyone in the right sort of clothing (what do they wear by the way?), looking a bit official and carrying some sort of bag for their spoils, could make a small fortune on the night trains. Asking whether someone has been in the country long might be a way of finding out which 'victims' are most likely to pay up without asking for an official receipt and it would be easy enought to sink into the background if a real ticket inspector came along.
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Old 07.02.2010, 11:32
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Re: Bribery on the trains

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This is a very interesting thought.
Interesting as the thought might be how probable is it?
I'll watch out for bogus train conductors.
I'll report back
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Old 07.02.2010, 11:43
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Re: Bribery on the trains

It had crossed my mind, but I'm almost certain he was an official guard, there was another one at the other end of the carriage working the pincer move and he had one of those machines.

Although I should probably be grateful to get away with paying less, I was pretty pissed off at the time. I even took a photo of him as he moved onto the next people in the carriage with the intention at the time of reporting him. If I do I'd have to do so anonymously I guess.
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Old 07.02.2010, 12:17
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Re: Bribery on the trains

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You could have called the police and held the guard by force until the next stop.
Don't you get into trouble for that? Just a question.
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Old 07.02.2010, 12:33
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Re: Bribery on the trains

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Interesting as the thought might be how probable is it?
I'd say it is not very probable - but on the other hand, I've never heard of ticket inspectors taking bribes either.

As JonC says there were two of them, it looks even less likely that they were 'fakes'. However, 'Could I have a glass of water for my friend, she doesn't feel well?' requests have resulted in helpful people losing money from their flat while they went into the kitchen to fetch the water. Folk have paid out money in apartement scams. 'Plumbers', 'electricians', 'postmen' have turned out to have a different way of making a living once they had gained access to a house. Here we have 'two men and 'one of those machines'...
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Old 07.02.2010, 13:08
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Re: Bribery on the trains

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We were not aware that it we were required to buy night tickets to make our purchases valid.
You seriously didn't know that after being here for over 2 years? You need to spend less moeny on taxis .

Just for next time, you know that you can buy the nachzuschlag from your mobile?

If you send a message with the text "ZVVNZ" to the no 988 you will get a text almost immediately, which is your purchase.

Also, I would seriously report him.
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