Please sign in to post.

Friendly reminder - avoid a fine & validate your RER day passes!

Returned from Versailles the other day, and while I had just purchased a couple regular ticket for there and back, another family had to learn the hard way when they purchased their day passes. To my knowledge, they purchased a 1-day travel pass for the RER so they could do Versailles, and then afterwards back in Paris, see more sights. Well, they thought that upon purchasing that was validation, and did not see that on the little ticket pass itself, there is a spot to put your name, the date, etc. When ticket collectors came around to check tickets, they checked the group and realized that they had not filled out the card (a.k.a. validated it) and were charged a fine. Apparently, it's supposed to be 50 Euros, but they only charged 30 something.

So just a word of warning I thought I'd give for those that don't notice the little form section on the day pass ticket - validate it before, because they won't tolerate you filling it out upon discovering you've not done it at the inopportune moment.

Posted by
11507 posts

Unfortunate but I guess if one does not fill it in ( it needs to be dated) .. then people could buy a one day pass and just use it day after day.. cheating the system. The really sad part is if bought from a machine one may not realize it has to be done.. and if bought from a manned window I think staff should point that out to the buyer.. most especially when its obvious the buyer is a foreigner and likely not familiar with rules! Mean staff.. it would only take one minute to say something on purchase!

Posted by
29 posts

Pat, apparently, they even purchased from a ticket agent that spoke English but didn't tell them anything about writing on it. I totally understand why they have you do it though, but I could understand how the family didn't notice it on the ticket. They're tiny little lines and I guess if you haven't made an effort to learn some basic French transportation phrases, you wouldn't notice it. Anywho, just a tip for those who might miss it like these people did.

Posted by
11507 posts

Good tip.. and I agree.. its not nice that the staff are so lazy .. and I think that's what it is.. laziness.

Posted by
9895 posts

That stinks!! The agent was happy to take their money but not to explain to them the full requirements of using the pass (this sounds like a Mobilis ticket maybe). I'm sure they are really soured on their experience!!

Posted by
3800 posts

How do we know that the staff person was "lazy," "mean" etc.? For all we know, it was said but the family did not understand or did not hear or the employee at the ticket window spoke English but not well. If you have done enough research to know about the Mobilis pass, I don't know how you blame the ticket seller for not telling you about having to complete it before first use when it says in the description of the pass that you have to add your name and address before first use.

Posted by
5697 posts

However, if I were in the ticket line behind them while the agent took the time to explain how to fill out the pass .... might be annoyed at the delay from the "helpful" agent.

Posted by
29 posts

It's definitely just a situation that, unfortunately for them, can only be remedied by planning beforehand, and reading up on awesome sites such as this one!

Posted by
11507 posts

In the stations the manned booths often have signs that say "English spoken".. so I assume most folks who do not speak English would go in those lines.
I also assume that not everyone goes on forums like this.. if you don't believe me.. ask your friends .. how many of them go on forums.. most of mine do not.

I am sorry.. but I DO think its lazy to not explain the very basic " please fill out the pass to make it valid". If they did not understand you say " pardon me" or "I do not understand". Their mistake if they were told.. but it seems they were quite surprised by the news.. but , I wasn't there .

And , btw.. "lazy and mean".. if you don't believe there are workers like that in French rail /metro stations then you have not travelled enough.... lol ..( yes. . there are nice helpful ones.. but the others exist !)

If they only got one 30 euro fine they were very lucky indeed.. the worker who issued the ticket was being kind. They could have recievced fines of 30 euros. each.. ( perhaps they did?)

Posted by
29 posts

I think in their case they luckily got by with only one lower fine for the group, because 50 per head would've added up for a group of five!

I do agree though that while I always promote online resources like these forums as well as others, most people don't do their due diligence. I'm usually the go-to for friends when they have travel questions, and every time I encourage them to join these forums or buy Rick's books themselves, they always say, "But you have access to all the information...and you actually enjoy it." I always have to remind myself that planning and prepping for trips is not everyone's favorite thing!

Posted by
8889 posts

Pat, it is not lazy not to explain all the rules to everybody that buys a ticket. Most of the people buying a ticket will know the rules for that ticket as they have bought it before.
Unless you know that person is a first-time purchaser and has not read the rules, you will just be wasting your time and the time of everybody else waiting.

Posted by
20474 posts

Unfortunate but I guess if one does not fill it in ( it needs to be dated) .. then people could buy a one day pass and just use it day after day.. cheating the system.

Not quite right, as it has a magnetic strip needed to operate the turnstiles so would time out at the end of the day. This would be to prevent using it to get your money's worth out of it, then "selling" it to someone else, or just donating it for the remainder of the day, thus costing the RATP valuable revenue.

I failed to fill my VGN day ticket and the conductor just handed me a pen.

Posted by
3800 posts

I don't think that anyone on this thread has suggested that lazy and mean people do not exist in France. If you don't think that people usually make themselves look blameless when they tell a story, then you have not met enough people and that is why I am not assuming that the employee is lazy, mean, etc.

Posted by
9895 posts

Most of the people buying a ticket will know the rules for that ticket as they have bought it before.

Yes, but surely it's obvious to the ticket seller when s/he has a family of five tourists in front of him/her who probably don't fit into this category and could use a little extra help.

Look, I'm the first one to say that you should do all the research you can to get the most out of your trip. The simple truth is that most people don't. And it doesn't take much longer to say "don't forget to fill out the front of the ticket with your name and date before using it the first time, or it won't be valid" than it does to tell the person it costs €11.50 a person for zones 1-4 and that's €57.50 total, please."

It's certainly not a way for the most touristed country in the world to make tourists feel welcomed -- when they've gone to the trouble to pay quite a bit of money for a pass to get them there -- only to be told that they are at fault and have to pay more. I know it's just one bad egg in the ticket booth, but it leaves an impression on those folks.

Posted by
29 posts

Thankfully, these folks took it all with good humor, and were happy not to have been all charged with a fine. They even laughed it off, and said, well, now you have a special souvenir! (The ticket checker signed his ticket with a special signature that denotes a fine and he even got a receipt for paying said fine...woopee!)

Posted by
3941 posts

I guess we had nice ticket checkers...our first visit to Paris in 2010, we were a little outside the core (I can't even think where we stayed now - I know we got a taxi from la Defense to the hotel and it took about 20-25 min into the city). We got a 3 day pass for the metro I believe and didn't realize the date had to be put on...it wasn't really obvious. The first trip in, the ticket checker pointed it out and gave us a pen to fill it in...no fines. Guess we were lucky!

Posted by
29 posts

That's what I figured - when I asked them, couldn't you just fill them in then, they said the agent kind of looked like she wasn't having the best day, so she wasn't having it. It was the end of a busy Versailles day, so I'm sure everyone was a bit grumpy at that point.

Posted by
165 posts

That's true for all train tickets (except reserved GTV, I think). You need to have them stamped before you get on the train. We were going to Fontainbleau in June. the conductor did not charge us because we were clearly tourists, but she charged a nearby french woman - I think it was $50. You also need to hold on to your metro tickets in Paris until you leave the station. You can be asked for your ticket. We were just lucky to have them in our pockets the one time we were asked. sue

Posted by
8240 posts

We have been buying tickets this past week for transport, and other purposes and each time we have bought (in Vienna and in Prague) the agents have carefully explained the product. I do think that when faced with a group of obvious newbies the agent should point out the basic rule for using the ticket.

Our weekly pass in Vienna did not need to be composted even once, which is a first for us in our travels. The agent clarified this; we were checked the first time we used it (along with everyone else exiting then) and it was nice to know that buying it was all we needed to have done.

We had a situation at CDG one time where our departure gate was in a satellite requiring at least an hour to get to and the check in agent did not mention this when handing us the boarding passes. We had lots of time and wanted to get breakfast, but decided to find the gate first. When we got there the gate agent insisted we had to get on the bus 'right now' -- and lucky thing -- as there was a huge bus jam and it took nearly an hour to get to the satellite gate by bus. If we had gone and spent half an hour grabbing coffee and a roll knowing our gate was 'nearby' we would have missed our plane. The check in agent probably got a little thrill knowing that some of the people she dealt with would miss their planes as she didn't point out this odd quirk in the system.

Part of good customer service is to point out this sort of thing at the point of purchase; it doesn't take much time and they KNOW that these are mistakes that are made every day by newbies.