The End of the Road…

Rather than attempt to resuscitate Fyra for all of its customer service hassles and its nightmarish technical problems, authorities in the Benelux have dispatched Fyra to the railroad hereafter.

No announcement was made about the fate of Inga.


The Refund – And Why Didn’t They Tell Inga?

ingaGot an email from NS Hispeed–to my surprise, offering a full refund for the ill-fated 855 Fyra to Brussels, and indicating that such refunds are standard policy.

On the surface, that’s great.  But they aren’t off the hook yet.  The refund may be appreciated, but this validates the previous point that NS Hispeed must suffer from dismal internal communication. For a high-visibility agent like Inga, who must encounter several hundred Fyra passengers in the course of a normal week, not to know that Fyra offers refunds for excessive delays is nothing short of astounding!

The refund is appreciated.  But I would really appreciate it if someone told Inga.

Kan Ik U Helpen?

fyra 1Having looked forward to my inaugural journey on the long-awaited, comically delayed Fyra “hispeed” train service between Amsterdam and Brussels, the bright color poster of a shiny new train and a smiling service agent with the words “Kan ik u helpen? (Can I help you?) seemed reassuring. But alas, it has proved an ominous portent…

For my 0855 train to Brussels was unceremoniously cancelled at 0834, vanishing silently from the departures screen on Track 5 at Schiphol Airport station, my nearest rail hub.

A comedy of outrageously unhelpful “service” has thus ensued, as I write this an hour later. My immediate reaction was to return to the shiny color picture that promised “helpen”.

The “helpen” consisted of a gruff bark ordering me to go to the International Tickets desk. That is where I made the acquaintance of “Inga” at desk 11, my morning antagonist.

I asked for compensation, a refund, and a seat on the more frequent, reliable, and half-empty Thalys service going in the same direction. Inga flatly refused, offering only a stamp making me eligible to wait two additional hours for the next anticipated Fyra departure.

After posting some fulminations on facebook, I started to look up the HiSpeed website.

I found two things. First, that HiSpeed is not interested in high speed customer service, offering only a postal address for complaints. Second, a notice that this delay was announced at 0750 and which offered instructions for an alternative routing, which, naturally I was unable to make due to my late discovery of the instructions.

Returning to “Inga” at Desk 11, the response was exquisitely dismissive when I asked her to translate the directions from the Dutch. “It said to take the train via Breda”. I asked why she didn’t tell me this over an hour after Hispeed announced the service disruption. She said “we didn’t know”.

Now, the Dutch public sector, while generally competent, isn’t completely immune to bad internal communication, or for that matter, utter lazy recalcitrance, so I can’t pass a verdict. But I can pass a verdict on “Kan ik u helpen”. Total, categorical and comic fail. Just like the sordid history of the Fyra experience so far.