Caveat emptor, or…


Warsaw cares, but PKP doesn’t give a fig!


All day ticket for Warsaw

I had a series of meetings all round Warsaw and chose to travel by public transport. I took a Sybka Koleje Miejska train from Warszawa Zachodnia to Warszawa Ochota, a tram to Warszawa Gdanska, the Metro from Gdanska to Polytechika, a bus to Saska Kempa, a bus to Powisle, another bus to Polytechnica, the Metro to Centrum and finally a tram to Warszawa Centralna.

My journeys – 8 journeys in all – would have cost me some 17 zloty (approx £4) using the appropriate tickets for the single hops. But thanks to the ticket accord in Warsaw, negotiated by the Mayor of Warsaw with the city’s public transport operators, a single 9 zloty (£2) City Transport Department (ZTM) all day ticket sufficed for all my wanderings. Top marks Warsaw for making public transport easier.

In the evening I travelled to Lodz. Now its no doubt my fault that, as a Polish transport commentator, I had not picked up the news that PKP Przewozy Rejonalne (PR) – who had handed over all their long distance Pospieszny trains to PKP InterCity – have just introduced three of their new InterRegio (IR) long-distance trains between Warsaw and Lodz.

It transpired that my chosen train – the 19.45 from Warszawa Centralna – was in fact one of the PR IR services. So, together with some 20 other passengers who had made the same mistake, I had to have my IC ticket endorsed and pay 28 zloty for a brand new ticket complete with 5 zloty surcharge for buying a ticket from the guard. Don’t worry, he said, show your unused tickets to the cashier at Lodz Fabryczna and your cash will be refunded.

In Lodz the lady in front of me in the refund queue explained patiently that when she bought her ticket in Warsaw she specifically said that she was travelling by the 19.45 and couldn’t understand why she was being made to pay a penalty because she had been sold the wrong ticket. She was told that she should have told the cashier that she wanted an InterRegio ticket. She countered that you shouldn’t need a Ph.D. in railway transport economics to travel by train in Poland. In my case I was refused a refund because I had paid for my tickets by credit card and had not kept the credit card receipt. I will be taking this up with the authorities!

PKP, if you want to survive in the cut throat world of passenger transport, you really must learn to look after your customers.


One Response to “Caveat emptor, or…”

  1. Gavin Whitelaw Says:

    You would THINK that they would learn by the mistakes that other transport regimes had made over the years. British privatisation, Beeching etc, but no, they have to go their own little Polish way about things and get it wrong, wrong, wrong … .

    All except Warsaw and there they seem to have got it right – well, with the pricing anyway. Something wrong there. Are they not Polish there then? :-) Or have they just got someone in charge who knows what they are doing?

    Unfortunately this is happening all over Poland and they will realise all too late what opportunities they have missed. Transport seems to be run by a Polish version of the General Assistance Department. See The Men from the Ministry.

    (Try and get copies of the programmes they are rather good! I am far too young to remember TMFTM on the BBC first time round, but listen to episodes in my car on the way in to work.)

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