Five travelers, including a 14-year-old girl, spent a whole night out in Lyon on Saturday, October 30.
Embarked on the Paris-Geneva route, they missed their connection at Perrache station because of accumulated delay on the first part of the route.
The unfortunate people have made multiple calls to the BlaBlaCar bus company, which today deplores "a regrettable situation".
Some, who confided in
, intend to file a complaint against the company in order to obtain damages.
" It was horrible ". A few days after her mishap, which occurred in Lyon on the night of October 30 to 31, Cristina Picallo laughs yellow. What has she got into, she wonders again. This mother of a family, who lives in Geneva, spent the night outside "in the cold" following an incredible combination of circumstances. Forced to wait for the hours to pass, stuck at the foot of Perrache station. With her, her 14-year-old daughter Myriam and three other companions in misfortune that she did not know until then. Including Morgane Lelièvre, a 31-year-old Toulouse woman, returning from a stay of several years abroad.
All had bought a Paris-Geneva bus trip via the company BlaBlaCar.
With a connection scheduled in Lyon around 7:30 p.m.
“At the start, we found ourselves stuck in traffic jams on the outskirts of Paris.
I was not worried because I thought that the company was used to it and that it had planned wide, ”says Morgane, who had paid 55 euros for the trip.
“During a break, the driver called the central to warn of our delay and to warn that we would arrive at 8:30 pm instead of 6:50 pm, continues Cristina.
He was told that the correspondence would be waiting for us.
Eleven travelers on the floor
On arrival at Perrache station, two connections.
But no Lyon-Geneva bus, “already gone for an hour”.
"We were 11 to find ourselves on the floor, six boys and us five", explain the two travelers.
The company offers to pay 80 euros for hotel nights and suggests that its customers take the necessary steps themselves.
“I couldn't believe it, but everything was complete.
The only room we found was at 1,880 euros a night, ”Cristina testifies.
“We called for hours, we looked for solutions.
The only train available for Geneva was also full so we contacted customer service to suggest that they order a taxi for us, complete Morgane.
Each time, the same refrain: we call you back.
And nothing, in the end.
No hotels available, no train or taxi
The small group thus waited four hours, making more phone calls. In vain. The boys decide to go away on their own. “At 12:08 am precisely, they finally called us back to let us know that a taxi would arrive in 10 minutes,” says Cristina. The minutes go by. No taxi on the horizon. At half past midnight, the five women are asked to leave the station, which closes and find themselves alone in the middle of the night with their suitcases. Forced to sit on the station escalators, not knowing where to go or what to do.
The taxi will never come.
“The reason that was presented to us is that the company did not have a card to pay for the trip and that the taxis refused to pay on invoice.
" That is.
The group does not feel “comfortable” and reassures themselves as best they can.
“There were men around us, some were sleeping on the stairs.
We had no place to urinate, except in the middle of the street, ”describes Morgane, still upset.
“The worst time was at 3 am when we had to set our watches back an hour,” recalls Cristina.
To wait an hour more was "a blow of the hammer", continues the mother of the family, torn by the vision of her daughter "sleeping on the floor".
“Luckily, no one was aggressive.
But if someone had pulled out a knife, what would we have done?
However, an email was sent to them at 2 am to inform them that places had been reserved for them for the next 6.30 am correspondence. Annoyed, the four women and the teenager find themselves a Flexibus, leaving Perrache, an hour earlier. “Frankly, we couldn't wait any longer. Fortunately, we all stayed together. We stick together. It was great that the girls were there, ”breathes Morgane, who intends to file a complaint against the company this Thursday in order to obtain damages. "If at least it can save other travelers from experiencing the same nightmare," she argues.
An isolated case ?
Cristina however attests to knowing a friend, having lived the same misadventure in Annecy.
“The cold had caused him frostbite.
Despite the medical certificates he was able to provide, his case was rejected.
He ended up throwing in the towel and dropping the charges.
To believe that this is what BlaBlaCar is looking for ”.
She says she wants to end this story.
"I just want to recover the sums I have committed, not to get a voucher," she warns.
"A regrettable situation"
, the company BlaBlaCar deplores a "regrettable situation" and presents its "apologies" to travelers. "The passengers concerned were in contact on numerous occasions during the evening with the" control tower "of BlaBlaCar buses which tried to find a solution to get them to their destination", she specifies, indicating that the "procedure usual in such a situation "is to book a hotel night for the passengers and have them travel on the first bus the next morning, or to offer them" an exceptional taxi ride ".
“Not being able to find a solution with a hotel or a taxi during this long weekend, despite many discussions, we were finally forced to ask them to wait for the very first bus that left. for Geneva, ”acknowledges the company.
“Their journey will be fully reimbursed.
We will work to improve our procedures to better cope with such situations, ”promises the company in conclusion.
Coronavirus: Passengers in a bus coming from Italy confined to Perrache station in Lyon
BlaBlaCar announces in Lyon the launch of its BlaBlaBus coach lines to serve France and Europe