BONN · According to the Stadtwerke Bonn (SWB) this case is an isolated issue: A Bonn man buys a digital ticket, the inspector does not accept it during a ticket-check. The point of contention: A two-minute time limit.
No waiting in front of the ticket machine, no searching for exact change. Whoever buys his ticket via his smartphone only needs a few clicks before he can hop on the bus or tram. But for Markus Goller this wasn’t that easy-peasy. „After successful payment the customer gets the information that his ticket is immediately ‚valid‘. Despite this official info by the SWB app the inspectors do not accept the ticket if it was not bought within two minutes prior to entering the tram“, Goller recounts.
What he experienced: The Bonn man entered the tram of line 61 at 3.34pm on a day at the beginning of June at the stop Uni/Markt. The ticket was bought at 3.31pm via the mobile app by the SWB called „SWB Easy.Go“. One stop later, at the Juridicum, SWB inspectors came through the tram and checked his ticket. Due to the brief time window between purchase and inspection they did not accept the ticket as valid and imposed a fine.
„I have filed a written objection against the increased transport fee. After I did not hear anything from the SWB in a week, I requested at least a confirmation of receipt“, says Goller.
But how does the irritation about the two-minute time-limit which is not mentioned in the app at all come about? In the app it is merely stated that the ticket needs to be purchased before entering the public transport vehicle. The two-minute time limit is a guideline for the inspectors to be able to retrace when a ticket was purchased, as Michael Henseler, spokesperson for the Stadtwerke, explains. This limit rules out that a passenger only buys a ticket once he sees the inspector in bus or tram.
SWB employees are orientated towards a similar app called „Handy Ticket Deutschland“. To avoid fare evaders purchasing tickets last minute, on that one a clock runs in the background. After the purchase it counts from 0:00 up to 2:00 minutes. When this time limit is reached, the clock stops and flashes. This has no effect on the validity of the ticket though.
Markus Goller’s ticket was thus valid. „The problem here is, that the ticket was sent between the stops which led the inspector to believe that it was only purchased upon seeing the staff members“, Henseler explains.
In this particular case the inspectors had misjudged the situation. The Stadtwerke Bonn have contacted Mr Goller, apologised for the inconvenience and discontinued the fine proceedings. „This is the first time we have been confronted with a case like this“, says Henseler.
So far the only problems in connection with mobile tickets were due to connection failures, especially in underground-train areas with a weaker internet service.
(Original text: Sabrina Bauer; Translation: Mareike Graepel)