Piotr Bein's blog = blog Piotra Beina

24/10/2018

To RENFE (Spanish railways) complaint department

Filed under: Uncategorized — grypa666 @ 01:18

I am a 72 year old Canadian. I have done tens of thousands of miles in bicycle/train travel in diverse cultural regions, never having experienced anything like the following in Spain.

On Sep. 14, 2018, I took the train from Portbou to Figueres to buy an inner tube for my bicycle that got a flat tire on the road from Cerbere. I was to continue by train to Barcelona thereafter.
I was directed by local people to a bicycle store, but it was closed. I decided to repair the punctered tube at the station for its coolness and clean ground.
I took the bags off my bicycle and put everything neatly under a wall of the station waiting room where it would not be in anybody’s way. I took the wheel and tire off and began reparing the tube.
Shortly after, a Pro-Segur security guard ordered me to leave the station premises. When I refused, he grabbed the wheel and tried to grab me and physically remove outside, by force. I protested and warned not to touch me nor the bike parts (wheels about $1000 each). As the guard’s request seemed unjustified and illegal, I insisted the guard call the police. Instead, he called a RENFE security guard for help. But the RENFE guard also behaved in a brutal and rude way.
At one point, when the station manager returned from a break, both guards were physically restraining me from entering his office to hear my complaint. Instead of explaining that only one party can be in his large office at a time, they pulled me physically and made rude remarks about my supposed lack of civility. There was no sign that only one party is allowed inside at a time, and the manager by his desk did not object to my entering.
Eventually I took the bike outside the station, while my bags were allowed to stay inside.
The station manager and the station “Factor” Mr. Rodriguez were helpful and accomodating. Mr. Rodriguez explained that Pro-Segur decides on the rules while station management has nothing to say in this regard. If so, why there are no signs that repair of passemgers’ bicycles is not allowed on the premises?
Mr. Rodriguez took me to another store to buy a tube and showed an outdoor area at the station where I could finish the repair. I’d like to again thank him.
He also tried to justify the guards’ behaviour: they deal with rogue local bicyclists who cut short through the station area. Why did I became a victim of the guards’ hate of local bicyclists?
The Pro-Segur guard used bogus arguments to justify his reprehensible behaviour. The glue that I had no chance to use is a “chemical to which station customers might object”. When my spare tube exploded after being over-pumped in the tense situation, to him it was an “explosion that could frighten the customers”. It occured while I was outside the station, as ordered, trying to continue repairs. I felt like a terrorist suspect… When I returned inside to prepare a pumctured tube for patching, he forbid me to do that.
That guard broke a record of absurdity and paranoia. Instead of being done in 15 minutes, the incident took couple of hours of my and the staff’s time, and numerous customers wondering about the strange scenes at the station.
The nice attitude of the station management has not healed my traumatic experience. I could not forget it for weeks of travels in Spain and later in France and Germany. Recollections of the incident still stress me, evoking a strong feeling of disgust with this brute, rude, discriminatory handling of a Spanish Railways customer.
It is appropriate for me to ask for:
1. A written apology from both guards and their managers for the reprehensible way my need to repair the tube during train travels was mishandled.
2. A material compensation in the form of a RENFE Spain Pass fopr 10 journeys in the Preferntial Modality, and one of RENFE luxury tourist train packages.

Piotr Bein

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