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Old April 17th, 2010, 01:43 PM   #41
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Well, whoever knows about load factors in HSR in Europe knows that Thalys is a 100% controlled access service, where no one can travel without reservations and, moreover, one of the most busy services around, with few spare seats on usual journeys (I assumed none was left today).
I've once travelled on a TGV service where a third of the passengers on board where standing, so having a few standees is not really a problem. On a single deck TGV you will not go above the maximum allowed load. Thalys could have been a bit more flexible here. SBB has meanwhile announced that for the time being hey're waiving the extra charge they normally levy on tickets sold on board...
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Old April 17th, 2010, 04:57 PM   #42
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I've once travelled on a TGV service where a third of the passengers on board where standing, so having a few standees is not really a problem. On a single deck TGV you will not go above the maximum allowed load. Thalys could have been a bit more flexible here. SBB has meanwhile announced that for the time being hey're waiving the extra charge they normally levy on tickets sold on board...
I think Thalys is wasting a good chance to generate good will among these pressed travelers by sticking to their rules so as (I suppose) not to upset their pampered regular clientele. A lot of those diverted travelers presumably normally travel by air- with Thalys giving them the cold shoulder, they are likely not to consider taking the train in the future. I don't know about the standees jeopardizing safety rule- standees are a fact of life on shinkansen trains in peak periods, I think they are allowed even in reserved cars as long as they stay in the vestibule areas near the doors.
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Old April 17th, 2010, 06:38 PM   #43
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How do you expect them to do that?

There are hunderds, if not thousands of people who want/need to get on that train, there was at least a 5 hour line at the ticket office yesterday. If you allow one on board, you need to allow them all on board. How can you possibly expect Thalys to carry all of them?
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Old April 17th, 2010, 09:23 PM   #44
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This group had started arguing 5 minutes before the Thalys train arrived with the conductor, after (probably) being told upstairs at the counter that there Thalys trains today were likely to be 100% booked. When the train arrived, it required a direct threat to call airport security to have those people, looking to be in their 30's, get off the train because they just jumped inside. They left cursing the Dutch and The Netherlands and everyone else. They took banknotes and were begging "sell us a ticket, we will pay you right now".
They should have looked into the Sail Rail train + ferry service, Hook of Holland to Harwich. Very reasonable fares available on the day and a huge ship that can carry many more people than a Thalys train

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Old April 17th, 2010, 11:14 PM   #45
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@Suburbanist, there are really stupid people out there. Watching the news from around Europe they showed most people were accepting the situation that this is mother nature and the airlines are playing the safety card for right reasons. But amongst them were always idiots that were screaming about how their travel plans are ruined. I had to laugh when some (French I think) guy was complaining about the lack of information from the airline, and loudly, swearing about them etc... what more exactly does he want the airline to say? Ring him every five minutes to say the situation hasn't changed? Maybe make a prediction on when exactly the air will be cleared of ash? Maybe update him on developments to produce a new engine that can withstand volcanic ash?

As for Thalys not allowing standing passengers, I find that quite odd. I have seen plenty of standing passengers on other high speed services like the ICE's in Germany and in Japan. If they can manage it why can't Thalys?
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Old April 18th, 2010, 02:00 AM   #46
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As for Thalys not allowing standing passengers, I find that quite odd. I have seen plenty of standing passengers on other high speed services like the ICE's in Germany and in Japan. If they can manage it why can't Thalys?
On regular situations, they do that because some of their sectors are short (in time) and they use yield management. And Thalys really strives for comfort, so having standing passengers are always a nuisance for fare-paying costumers, particularly on 1st class etc.

I guess (just guess) they are adhering to their policy because there is an astonishingly high number of strander passengers on Thaly's airport stations, among the busiest in Europe, so they couldn't manage to comfortably transport passengers around without turning it into a 4h-commuter train-like from Amsterdam to Paris. Then they would have all sorts of problems with "crowd management".

I know that Eurostar have strict overcrowding regulations due to the Chanel Tunnel evacuation safety protocols.
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Old April 18th, 2010, 03:29 PM   #47
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there are hunderds, if not thousands of people who want/need to get on that train, there was at least a 5 hour line at the ticket office yesterday. If you allow one on board, you need to allow them all on board. How can you possibly expect Thalys to carry all of them?
Of course, Thalys can't carry all of them. You do what any flexible thinking operation does- you get people in line first come first served, give them waiting list numbers and a realistic estimate of when they can get on a train. You fill the train to a pre-determined max load, and send it on. People not willing to wait can find other ways of getting to their destinations. For people who have seat reservations, you give them vouchers/a discount coupon good for future travel as a way of apology for tolerating the crowded conditions. All this seat management/revenue maximizing stuff needs to be thrown out the window in emergency situations.
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Old April 18th, 2010, 03:47 PM   #48
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Those people at Schiphol seemed to be going a rather long way round too-Paris? Surely Brussels would make a lot more sense (or the ferry as another poster said), not that these people sound particularly well endowed with sense.
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Old April 18th, 2010, 04:36 PM   #49
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Can you imagen. Just standing in a 5 hour line at the ticketoffice. The traveltime between Schiphol and Paris is only 3 hours.
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Old April 18th, 2010, 04:58 PM   #50
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A five-hour wait plus three hour travel time - by then you might as well team up and rent a car with 3-4 people. Gets you in Paris just as fast and cheaper.
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Old April 18th, 2010, 08:15 PM   #51
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On regular situations, they do that because some of their sectors are short (in time) and they use yield management. And Thalys really strives for comfort, so having standing passengers are always a nuisance for fare-paying costumers, particularly on 1st class etc.
Simply solved, only allow standing in 2nd class. That way, the people who paid extra for the comfort of 1st class keep the value of their purchased seats. But, especially in times like this, Thalys should allow standing in 2nd class to move the large numbers of people that are stranded. Sure, it maybe slightly less comfortable for those with reserved seats to have someone standing next to them, but it is still far better for the standing passenger to be moving closer to their destination than to be stranded because Thalys does not offer standing which is fully acceptable by other larger rail companies like DB and Japanrail.
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Old April 19th, 2010, 01:27 PM   #52
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I don't like this topic, especially the initial post by suburbanist, which in my view is mostly fed by xenophobia.

I'm a frequent traveler on trains, throughout Europe, but mostly in Austria and Switzerland (I own both ÖBB Vorteilscard and SBB Halbtax). Hardly ever do I see foreigners that misbehave or cause problems. And most of the time it's due to confusion, lack of information etc.

Take for instance tickets: In Austria, Germany and Switzerland, the ticket system is pretty similar and obviously the same language is spoken. Yet there are some small differences that can cause problems. In Germany ICE and RJ require an extra fee, in Austria it doesn't. That means for the same train going from Munich to Vienna, you would need to pay extra while it's on German territory and you don't need to while on Austrian territory. Both Germany and Austria have special tickets, which allow groups to travel cheaply on regional trains (Bundesländer-Ticket de/Einfach-Raus Ticket at). In both countries these tickets have a name field. In Austria I've never seen anyone write their names on it. Now in Germany conductors actually check whether you've entered it. Small differences which may cause misunderstandings and confusion.

Another potential source of confusion/conflict: Language.
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Old April 23rd, 2010, 06:41 PM   #53
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Thalys doesn't accept standing passengers because they focus on comfort. Everyone who takes the train knows that there won't be anyone standing up, meaning they can easily go to the bathroom, go buy coffee...

It's not because same volcano decided to mess with the air traffic that Thalys should get rid of their basic business idea's. They might make a lot of money now, but in the long run it would only harm their business as regular passengers will be extremely mad and those extra passengers are mostly just one-off's, they aren't new loyal customers.
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Old April 25th, 2010, 09:00 AM   #54
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I don't like this topic, especially the initial post by suburbanist, which in my view is mostly fed by xenophobia.

I'm a frequent traveler on trains, throughout Europe, but mostly in Austria and Switzerland (I own both ÖBB Vorteilscard and SBB Halbtax). Hardly ever do I see foreigners that misbehave or cause problems. And most of the time it's due to confusion, lack of information etc.

Take for instance tickets: In Austria, Germany and Switzerland, the ticket system is pretty similar and obviously the same language is spoken. Yet there are some small differences that can cause problems. In Germany ICE and RJ require an extra fee, in Austria it doesn't. That means for the same train going from Munich to Vienna, you would need to pay extra while it's on German territory and you don't need to while on Austrian territory. Both Germany and Austria have special tickets, which allow groups to travel cheaply on regional trains (Bundesländer-Ticket de/Einfach-Raus Ticket at). In both countries these tickets have a name field. In Austria I've never seen anyone write their names on it. Now in Germany conductors actually check whether you've entered it. Small differences which may cause misunderstandings and confusion.

Another potential source of confusion/conflict: Language.
Well put, rheintram. When all is said and done, the great majority of misbehavior is perpetrated by the local population- in Japan, there are always problems with drunk older men (the younger people are relatively docile) attacking train staff, causing a ruckus, etc, especially in the Kansai area. I suppose the few problems caused by foreigners are just more noticeable or memorable b/c they feed our preexisting stereotypes or prejudices.

Last edited by k.k.jetcar; April 25th, 2010 at 09:06 AM.
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Old April 25th, 2010, 09:12 AM   #55
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Thalys doesn't accept standing passengers because they focus on comfort. Everyone who takes the train knows that there won't be anyone standing up, meaning they can easily go to the bathroom, go buy coffee...

It's not because same volcano decided to mess with the air traffic that Thalys should get rid of their basic business idea's. They might make a lot of money now, but in the long run it would only harm their business as regular passengers will be extremely mad and those extra passengers are mostly just one-off's, they aren't new loyal customers.
Ok, fine, Thalys can run their business as they see fit, in this case they stick to worshiping at the altar of Mammon and ignore anything that smacks of "good will toward (your) fellow man"- after all, the bottom line is what counts, right?? The Chinese would be proud.
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Old April 25th, 2010, 02:18 PM   #56
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Not to mention all the potential customers they lose when they prove themselves too inflexible to bend the rules a little to deal with the fallout of an entire mode of transport being effectively frozen for several days.
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Old April 25th, 2010, 02:33 PM   #57
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Sydney Monorail in Aussie.. I despise how rude these people are (well, just the ethnic group)

Asian tourists make sure to sit down on all the seats and have each of their kids occupying a seat while the lady carrying two young babies or the eldery lady who doesnt have anything to hold onto has to stand!

It's like buses in AU/NZ (yes, even us youth do it) we get the hell outta the way if we see a lady with a pram or eldery passengers to give them our seats on chocka-block buses. it's a sign of respect, chivilrey and courtisy, maybe asian tourists can learn it ktnxbai
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Old April 25th, 2010, 04:44 PM   #58
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Sydney Monorail in Aussie.. I despise how rude these people are (well, just the ethnic group)

Asian tourists make sure to sit down on all the seats and have each of their kids occupying a seat while the lady carrying two young babies or the eldery lady who doesnt have anything to hold onto has to stand!

It's like buses in AU/NZ (yes, even us youth do it) we get the hell outta the way if we see a lady with a pram or eldery passengers to give them our seats on chocka-block buses. it's a sign of respect, chivilrey and courtisy, maybe asian tourists can learn it ktnxbai
Don't remember that chivalry when I worked in Sydney's Northern suburbs and got the L90 bus each day up Pittwater road to Warriewood. At one point near Dee Why, the bus completely filled up with school kids who took all of the seats leaving no space for adults, elderly, pregnant or otherwise to sit. This pissed off the bus drivers enormously, and it was an almost daily routine of the bus driver yelling out to the kids on discounted fairs to get off the seats and let full fare passengers or pensioners sit down.

Unless Australia's youth have all turned into angles in the last couple of decades I somehow doubt your statement.
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Old April 25th, 2010, 05:35 PM   #59
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Ok, fine, Thalys can run their business as they see fit, in this case they stick to worshiping at the altar of Mammon and ignore anything that smacks of "good will toward (your) fellow man"- after all, the bottom line is what counts, right?? The Chinese would be proud.
Is has nothing to do with short-term bottom line. If it had, Thalys would make a lot of money transporting full-fare paying passenger who wouldn't occupy a seat!!! Think of extra 200 passengers per ride paying the highest possible fare (Thalys is very expensive to travel on last-minute walk-on fares anyway), without expanding capacity! Thalys didn't take extra standing passengers for safety, performance (it could affect the axle load and force a reduction on speed, wreaking havoc in all the Thalys services) and to not jeopardize comfort of paying passengers who had already book their tickets, probably in advance of any volcano eruption.

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Not to mention all the potential customers they lose when they prove themselves too inflexible to bend the rules a little to deal with the fallout of an entire mode of transport being effectively frozen for several days.
They did increase capacity. They put extra trains, which were even sold at a fare that was even not the usual fare same day travel, but the the tier below that one. They helped as they could.

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Don't remember that chivalry when I worked in Sydney's Northern suburbs and got the L90 bus each day up Pittwater road to Warriewood. At one point near Dee Why, the bus completely filled up with school kids who took all of the seats leaving no space for adults, elderly, pregnant or otherwise to sit. This pissed off the bus drivers enormously, and it was an almost daily routine of the bus driver yelling out to the kids on discounted fairs to get off the seats and let full fare passengers or pensioners sit down.
Are passengers paying discount fares obliged to give up their seats if full passengers appears and there is no other seats available?
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Old April 25th, 2010, 06:00 PM   #60
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Are passengers paying discount fares obliged to give up their seats if full passengers appears and there is no other seats available?
No, not obliged, but it was an unwritten rule of respect. kids give up their seats for adults. Doesn't bother me personally, as I don't really need a seat unless I see kids sitting down and an elderly person comes on board and the kid doesn't move.

But the bus driver did have a point. A person who pays a full fare should really get the seat as versers someone who's parents paid their half fare.
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