I arrived in the Train station in Warsaw after a nasty experience on the train.
Apparently the Polish rail system accepts student discounts only for polish nationals. However, their railway desk had sold me a student ticket, having accepted my student ID (ASU Sun Card) and taken down my student number. I boarded the train and had no issues until the Railway conductor asked for my student ID with my ticket. She didn’t speak any english and I didn’t speak any polish so I had to rely on a young Polish girl as translator. The railway conductor was upset and expressed through our translator that my student ID was not valid and that I would have to pay a fine on the ticket of 150 Polish Zloty. When I refused and asked the translator to explain that their offices had taken down my ID number and had sold me the ticket and that I had accepted it in good faith of its validity. As such I was in no way responsible for the violation of the rules nor was I going to pay her 8 times the ticket price in a ticket.
The conductor became rather upset at this and after some heated yelling at me and my translator in Polish, my translator told me that she now wanted my passport and that the ticket would be 200 zloty. I refused to give her my passport at which point she screamed a bit more in polish and then started saying Police Police. My translator then informed me that she was threatening to call the police if I didn’t pay the fine and that they would meet me at the station. She then asked me for my passport again so she could write me the 200 zloty ticket.
I stood my ground and refused her again. Noting again that their offices had sold the ticket and that it was a problem between those offices. If she felt there was such a big issue we could discuss it at the PKP station in Warsaw with someone who spoke english. After 5 minutes of me repeating my offer she yelled again at my translator and stormed off. My translator then told me that in two hours, when we arrived in Warsaw the police would be waiting for me at the station to arrest me.
I sat for the rest of the train ride in relative suspense, knowing I was in the right and sure that I wouldn’t be punished for doing nothing wrong. In my mind I kept telling myself that I would be vindicated by the police. The constant positive reinforcement boosted my mood and I took video using my Flip Video camera of myself on the train with the ticket explaining the situation just in case.
I disembarked the train to the call of two Polish police officers dressed in solid black with night clubs and guns waiting for me.
We repeated the same dance as I had on the train. I staing firmly that I was in no way responsible for the mistake and would not pay. I especially wasn’t going to pay a fine for a violation I had not committed nor was I going to pay a fine for a fine for that violation. I showed my student ID and expressed my concern that I was being taken advantage of as some kind of a gimmick against travelers.
By this time I was also quite aggrivated and over an hour late for my check in at my hostel.
After some more back and forth the officers finally gave up on trying to get me to pay for violation and instead tried to explain to me that I had to pay for their appearance. IE: I had to pay the costs of their being called and coming to sort this out. At this point I insisted that I didn’t violate any rules, the Issue was one between the two PKP offices and needed to be sorted out there, as such I was not responsible for the Conductors decision to call the police.
Finally the officers gave up and just walked away and left me to wander to my hostel a full hour and a half after my check in appointment.
I checked in, Had a drink and walked down Nowy Swiat (new world) street in Warsaw before having a traditional polish meal and calling it a frustrating day.
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