Overnight Trains in Prague

Nov 19th, 2007, 04:45 PM
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Overnight Trains in Prague

Just thought I would share my Prague story. I hope it's helpful to couples travelling together on overnight trains.

My spouse and I heard stories of people being robbed in sleep compartments on overnight trains out of Prague. We didn't want to spend the money on a double sleeper, so we did the next best thing - we paid for a triple. They sold us the ticket, knowing full well we were a male/female couple.
But when we boarded, we were promptly told by the conductor that male/female couples were not allowed to stay in a triple - the triples were only for same sex travellers. He told us that he would kick us off the train if we didn't pay for a double room.

Since I know the language a little, I thought he was trying to scam us, so I went to the ticket counter... only to discover that they shouldn't have sold us tickets for a triple sleeper in the first place, as we were not same sex. However, the tickets were non-refundable and they wouldn't let us upgrade! Basically, the only thing we could do was hand over the difference for the tickets in cash to the conductor (a.k.a. a bribe). Needless to say, the guy was really nice to us after that...
zevon is offline  
Nov 19th, 2007, 06:40 PM
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If I understand you correctly, a triple is somehow cheaper than a double (probably because it's not private and they can sell the other space). So someone sold you a space they shouldn't have, and then the conductor caught the mistake and said you must pay for a double, and you paid the difference. You are calling that a "bribe" for some reason. Why?
Christina is online now  
Nov 19th, 2007, 07:50 PM
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We took a sleeper from Prague to Krakow, and didn't run into this problem. We have a child, though. So I guess we had 3 for a 3 sleeper? Mixed genders though.

I found the ticket purchase process in Prague very confusing, and just trusted the ticket agent. I suppose we were lucky.
christycruz is offline  
Nov 20th, 2007, 12:32 AM
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The rules for booking sleepers are the same throughout most of Europe.
The commonest form of sleeping compartment has three berths but can be configured to have one, two or three berths, with with unused bunks folded away.
If one person wants exclusive use of a compartment, they must pay the high price for a single-berth compartment.
If two people want exclusive use of a compartment, they must pay the price for a two-berth compartment.
If you pay for only two berths in a three-berth compartment, you may have to share with a stranger.
Shared compartments are single-sex: all male or all female.
If three people book a three-berth compartment, their gender is irrelevant.
Therefore, a couple (male and female) booking in three-berth compartments, will be in separate compartments: the man sharing with two other men, and the woman sharing with two other women.
GeoffHamer is offline  
Nov 20th, 2007, 03:50 AM
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Hi Z,

You tried to get out of paying for a double sleeper by booking a triple at a lower rate, were caught at it, and are now complaining that you had to pay a bribe?
ira is offline  
Nov 20th, 2007, 05:23 PM
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Sorry I might have missed a huge piece of the story.

We told the original ticket sales person (in Czech) that we were travelling together and asked how safe the 4 bunk compartments were as we didn't really like sleeping in seperate rooms. HE suggested we share a triple, which was fine with us, because it was cheaper than a private, and we could stay together. We knew there was a good chance we would have a 3rd traveller with us, and that would not have been a problem.

Once we realized our mistake I tried to upgrade to a 2 bunk compartment at the ticket counter and they wouldn't let us. I wasn't trying to get a good deal, I just didn't know about the policy, as this was our first overnight train.

Regarding the 'bribe', I don't know what else to call it. There was a very nice young lady who worked at ticket sales who tried to help. She explained to me (in Czech) that technically the conductor couldn't kick us off the train because we had purchased tickets, but if he did kick us off, no one would do anything about it. She explained that the guy wasn't asking us to purchase a new ticket, he was asking us for the cash. She walked me to the cash machine, where I took out the additional money and put it in the conductor's hands. The money went directly into his pocket and with a great big smile, he let me back on the train. If bribe is the wrong word, please let me know...
zevon is offline  
Nov 21st, 2007, 12:49 AM
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Train reservations are made on a computer system. Bookings normally close about two hours before the train starts its journey. For sleeping cars, a list of bookings in printed for the carriage attendant. Once that has been done, you cannot change reservations at the ticket office. Only the attendant on board the train can make any changes to bookings, or sell any berths that have not already been booked. Some sleeping cars have an illuminated sign on the outside to indicate if berths are available; any last-minute passengers have to pay the attendant for berths.
This is normal procedure on trains everywhere. The attendant is not taking a bribe: he is only doing his job in charging passengers who have not paid the correct fare.
GeoffHamer is offline  
Nov 21st, 2007, 06:17 PM
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Thanks for the clarification
zevon is offline  

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