Concrete examples

handled by the Mediator

Discover the scope of action of the SNCF Voyageurs Mediator through several concrete examples.

Commercial cases

TER delay and missed business appointment

The customer reported that the TER he had travelled on between Reims and Charleville-Mézières in June 2023 had been delayed by 1h40, and that this delay had affected the rest of his journey, which consisted of a first section between Paris- Est and Épernay, then a second between Épernay and Reims, a third between Reims and Charleville-Mézières, and a final section between Charleville-Mézières and Joigny-sur- Meuse. Because of the delay on the first TER, he missed the departure of his last train to Joigny-sur- Meuse, where he had a business appointment.

The Customer Relations Center granted him a refund for the ticket affected by the delay, but the customer requested a full refund for all his tickets. After reminding the customer that full reimbursement of his tickets was not possible, insofar as even if his journey had been disrupted, he had still been able to reach his destination, the Ombudswoman noted that his tickets had been the subject of four separate orders, and that no connections had been provided by SNCF Voyageurs at Charleville-Mézières station.

Consequently, she was unable to grant his request.

Smartphone battery down and no ticket presented

The customer indicated that he had a monthly Navigo pass loaded onto his smartphone. In November 2022, while at La Garenne-Colombes station, an agent asked him to show his ticket for inspection, but his smartphone battery was down. He had to regularize his situation on the grounds that he was travelling “without a ticket” (“sans titre de transport”) and requested reimbursement of the amount paid.

The Ombudswoman reiterated the basic rule that, in accordance with the French Transport Code, passengers must be in possession of a valid ticket. She also pointed out that the Tarifs Voyageurs, SNCF Voyageurs’ general sales conditions, stated that “the passenger is required to be in possession of a cell phone in good working order, and in particular to ensure that it has sufficient autonomy to allow all ticket control obligations to be met“.

It turned out that the customer was indeed the holder of a valid monthly pass. The Ombudswoman therefore proposed reimbursing half of the adjustment.

Purchase of a ticket after the train’s departure

The customer stated that she had been ticketed for travelling “without a ticket” (“sans titre de transport”) during her TER journey between Dijon-Ville and Beaune in November 2022, even though she had been able to present a ticket purchased online to the ticket inspector. She contested the reason of the offence and requested reimbursement of the ticket.

After noting that the claimant’s ticket had been purchased online 4 minutes after the train’s departure, the Ombudswoman’s office pointed out that it is the passenger’s responsibility to anticipate his purchase in order to be in possession of a ticket before boarding the train, since, although TER tickets are in principle valid all day long, they are only valid for trains departing after purchase.

Consequently, the refund was not granted.

Reimbursment by bank transfer following events making travel impossible

A customer was due to travel between Paris-Gare-du-Nord and London-Saint-Pancras, in May 2020, before the Brexit. She was unable to make her journey due to restrictive measures linked to the Covid 19 health crisis, and therefore cancelled her tickets, for which she received digital vouchers valid until June 2022.

However, the subsequent Brexit introduced a new passport-holding rule for travel to the United Kingdom. As the claimant did not have a passport, she therefore wished to have her Eurostar tickets refunded by bank transfer.

Eurostar told her that she could no longer obtain this refund, as the time limit for consuming the vouchers had expired.

After investigation, it turned out that the claimant had requested reimbursement of her tickets before the expiry date of her vouchers, but that she had received no response from Eurostar’s Customer Service, despite several follow-ups. In view of all the evidence, the Ombudswoman proposed that the vouchers be cancelled and that the claimant be reimbursed by bank transfer.

Penalty Notice cases

Crossing access controls 

The claimant stated that he had been fined at the station for “crossing access controls(“Franchissement de contrôle d’accès”), even though he had a “Passe Navigo Easy“. He explained that he was unaware that this pass did not allow him to travel in all Île-de-France fare zones, unlike the monthly or annual Navigo all-zone passes.

The Ombudswoman noted that the claimant had acknowledged the gate had beeped as he passed through, without his paying any attention, and reminded him that the offence consisted in the simple fact of passing through the gates at the platforms without validating a valid ticket.

The Ombudswoman therefore decided to uphold the ticket.

Scooter traffic in the station

The claimant was ticketed in July 2023 for “unauthorized non-pedestrian traffic” (“Circulation non piétonne non autorisée”) for riding his scooter on a platform at the Gare-du-Nord in Paris. He claimed that it was difficult to walk while keeping his scooter on his side, that his speed was lower than pedestrians, and that he stopped immediately at the injunction of the ticketing officer. He contested the amount of the fine.

The Ombudswoman reminded the claimant of the provisions of article R 2241-9 of the French Transport Code, which states that “in areas and vehicles used for the public transport of passengers or goods, it is forbidden for any person to ride, without authorization, on motorized or non-motorized vehicles, with the exception of means of transport used by people with reduced mobility“. It also informed the claimant that all stations have signs informing passengers that scooters are prohibited.

Given the danger of this type of traffic for other passengers, the Ombudswoman proposed that the amount of the fine should not be reduced.

Non-presentation of dematerialized ticket for lack of internet connection

The claimant appealed to the Ombudswoman’s office to contest a ticket issued against her in May 2023 for travelling “without a ticket” (“sans titre de transport”), while she was travelling on a TER between Lyon-Part-Dieu and Bellegarde-sur-Valserine. During the control operations, she was unable to present her dematerialized ticket, as she did not have an internet connection on her smartphone.

After pointing out that, when passengers choose not to print out their dematerialized tickets, it is up to them to ensure that they have access to them both during their journey and when they board the train (battery, internet connection, etc.), the Ombudswoman nevertheless noted that the claimant did in fact have a ticket purchased before the train’s departure, valid for the right route and on the right date.

She therefore proposed to reduce the amount of the fine.