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Thread: Beware of Ataf

  1. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
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    Angry

    We also had a very bad experience last week in Florence, when we went there to watch a football game. When we arrived at Florence Mainstation we watched out for Bus Line Nr. 11 to drive to our hotel. My friend and me saw the bus at the bus station and jumped in. The doors closed directly behind us and we took a look back outside to see, where our three fellows travelling with us were. They didn´t managed it to get in the bus and the bus drove on. I talked to my friend what to do now (driving on without our friends or hopp off on the next station). My friend said that at first we should buy a bus ticket. I told him that we can do that at the driver. Exactly in the same moment a man stepped beside us and asked for our bus tickets. He showed us an ID card and something like a sheriff star, like in a western movie or from a carnival shop. We told him that we want to buy it at the driver. But he said, that this is not possible and he wants to see our documents. He was very aggressive and rude, shouting out, that he will call the police an we will get arrested, if wo don´t show him our documents. I told him, that he should please call the police, I won´t do anything without police. He took out his mobile and began to make a call.

    We went off the next stop (after perhaps 150 meters at Piazza della Stazione) with these three „ticket-inspectors“, they where meanwhile. We got a lot of loud and hectic discussions and they always repeated, that it´s not possible to buy a ticket onboard a bus in Italy (which is a lie, I did it on two more trips at the same day for 2,00 € at the driver). Finally we gave them our ID card and they began to write something like a fine ticket on an official looking pad of paper. I told them, that I will not pay or do anything without the police. When they where finished, they gave us back our ID cards and wanted my friend to sign on his fine ticket. He said, that he won´t sign anything he doesn´t understand because all was written in italian. At this moment, they packed in all there staff, said something like „ok, your problem“, one inspector showed something about 240 € fine at the back of he papers. They jumped into the next bus standing an the Piazza della Stazione and drove away. End of action…

    What will happen now? We didn´t sign anything, we got no copy of our fine ticket and police didn´t came, because we waited a few minutes at the Piazza della Stazione thinking about what to do now. I´m still not sure, if they were real ticket-inspectors. This sheriff-star looked quite strange and on their ID card there was only a photo and a long number, but no badges or signs of ATAF. They also had no official ATAF clothes. I saw them a few hours later at the cathedral and took a picture of them. Sadly only one of them is good to see…

    It was disgusting how they threatend us. They made a big scene and weren´t friendly at all. I asked them, if this is the way they welcome tourists in their city, being so annoying and not helping people at all. For me it seemed like a tourist ripp-off. They only talked to us at the bus, not to any locals. And from the moment we entered the bus until the „inspectors“ came to us, it took not longer than 10 seconds (seriously!).
    Last edited by Stindl; February 28, 2017 at 03:32 AM.

  2. #12
    DonnaDenise is offline Super Moderator - DiscoverTuscany Team
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    Default Ataf

    Buongiorno,

    I can not guarantee, but if they didn't give you anything then it sounds as if it wasn't a ticket. However, as far as their clothing go - normally they DO NOT dress officially - so that they can catch the evaders unprepared. What type of ID did you show them? Something with an address??

    Unfortunately not all buses will allow you to purchase a ticket on board. They "should" be prepared, but now that you can purchase a ticket through your phone with a text message many are not prepared to sell paper tickets. (Send a text message that says "ATAF" to phone numbre 4880105 ... however I believe this will only work if you have an Italian number).

    Buon Viaggio,

    Donna Denise

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
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    2

    Default

    Hello Donna Denise,

    thank you for your answer. We showed them our german personal ID´s, where also the adress is on. This was not very clever, I think afterwards. We should have waited for the police...

    Have you ever heard of things like sheriff stars of the controllers to identify thenselfs? And there was no badge of ATAF on their ID cards, only white with long number and photo. Looked not really official, could be anything. I´m still wondering, why they left the scene when my friend told them, that he would not sign the fine ticket. They said nothing more, nothing about 240 €, paying at the ATAF office, waiting for police or something like that. Just went into the next bus and then up and away.

    Regards,
    Stindl

  4. #14
    DonnaDenise is offline Super Moderator - DiscoverTuscany Team
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    Default Official ID

    Buongiorno,

    I use the bus and train quite frequently, but to be honest I have never seen them flash their ID...but I am going to be looking for someone to use it. I want to see what it actually looks like and then make a description, so guests can be prepared.

    I can't say if they were "real" or not - however, your description makes the whole situation sound rather suspect - which means it has nothing to do with ATAF and the public transport system but rather crooks and thieves.

    Buon Viaggio,

    Donna Denise

  5. #15
    Askital is offline Junior Member - Learning about Tuscany
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    Default ATAF fine,

    Having travelled all over Italy throughout the years with no issues regard public transport we found ourselves in a similar position to the above concern. We arrived in Florence for our first time a week past Sunday. We bought 4 tickets to get back to the airport (the ones that last 90 minute duration) - 2 tickets for the bus and 2 for the tram, we were leaving Florence to fly home and as we were staying further up in st Lorenzo and had cases we decided not to walk to the train station/tram service as there were too many tourists and a lot of the pavements are narrow. The bus is a very quick journey about 10 minutes maximum.

    My husband put our 2 tickets into the machine on the number 7 bus to validate, the machine clicked but we failed to check the ticket to ensure it was stamped, failure to check they were stamped was our fault but due to the fact we had 2 suitcases, 2 hand luggage and I also had a handbag plus the driver drove away before we were sitting and I almost fell with the jolt+and we had to hold our luggage to avoid them falling over leav8ng us with no free hands it was practically impossible to check them in such a short space of time also , (the day before I did fall backwards and hurt myself falk8ng onto the hard part of the back seat due to the driver moving off before we were sitting/stroke holding onto bars) . Anyway we would never have thought to check if they were stamped as we heard the clicks.

    We were almost at the bus terminus when 2 inspectors came on the bus. They approached me and I told them to go to my husband on the opposite side of the bus adjacent to me as he had the tickets which they did accordingly. They checked our!! tickets and one of them approached me holding the tickets up to my face and said the tickets hadn’t been validated.

    We told the inspectors the tickets were put in the machine, we heard the machine clicking each time and as the machine was right beside the driver and he was our witness. Instead of approaching the driver with us going with them to speak to the driver both inspectors got off the bus with our tickets and told us to stay on the bus, they were off the bus for over 5 minutes?? Standing talking on the pavement, they came back on then told us to get off the bus and said we had to pay a fine (didn’t mention the cost).

    However I asked them to speak to the driver as he was a witness to my husband putting the tickets in and to also check if the machine was working. Regarding asking him to speak to the driver as a witness for us the inspector said this has nothing to do with the driver ( off course it isn’t technically but I wanted to hear him asking the driver to confirm he saw us putting the tickets in the the machine). To me that is a valid request.

    Anyway they asked for 100€ in cash (we did not have that money in cash as it was well spent in Florence, he the said we had to pay by card now which we felt we had no option to do so and no time to discuss further because we were in a hurry to get to the airport. I notice in the above post that you have 15 days to pay and can appeal if you haven’t paid (we weren’t advised that either)

    I asked him who we should complain to and he said go to the office 8&9 tomorrow as it’s closed on Sunday and they might give us some money back. I pointed out that he could clearly see we were going home(he could see that anyway due to our suitcases and bags), I asked for contact details who to complain to when we were home and he pointed to a url on the back of the ticket.

    I also pointed out why would we do this when we were leaving Italy and the tickets would be of no value or use to us after we left. We felt the inspector knew by that point we were genuine but still went ahead with the fine.

    I feel we were set up and we have been robbed as we found it very odd that the inspectors got off the bus with our tickets (the bus wasn’t full) they could have easily walked up to the driver on the bus) with bus in tow.

    it was also clear we were leaving Florence and why would we not get the tickets stamped when they were no use to us afterwards.

    I noticed on another forums an American lady who was traveling with 10 other members of her family claimed she put all 11 tickets into the machine and they were also not stamped and was facing a fine of €1100 but when the inspector saw she had an Italian surname the fines were dropped.

    We are so disappointed and due to this we don’t think we will ever come back to Florence ever again, this has spoiled our holiday and in fact it has put us off Italy altogether now. I have emailed segreteria@ataf.fi.it ( I hope this is the correct email address).

    Me and my husband are law abiding citizens, have never broke the law, never been fined till this ridiculous situation occurred. Also they were so busy picking on us the rest of the bus from the middle to the drivers end didn’t get checked. Is there any other advice or help anyone can give us, we saved hard for this week holiday and it was ruined by this experience and if not fixed we will never step foot in Tuscany ever again. This seems to be happening to quite a lot of people

    Thanks in advance

  6. #16
    Lourdes's Avatar
    Lourdes is offline Administrator - DiscoverTuscany Team
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    Default

    Askital - with bags in tow on the way to the airport, it was surely easy to tell you had bought the tickets and were not going to use them again. They clearly picked on you and unfortunately this seems to be what ATAF chooses as their policy towards everyone, but takes advantage of the language difficulties in particular with visitors. I am sorry to hear it happened. In any case, it is likely the driver was not going to take your side at all, saying too many people get on to recall who stamped tickets or not.

    Did you already pay and how did you pay with a card? I'm curious because it seems to me they particularly take advantage in asking for cash on the spot, when it is your right to refuse to pay it.

    The email you wrote to is the correct one, they have 30 days to get back to you so you'll have to wait to hear back. I would suggest you use their social channels - including the city mayor's one (his name is Dario Nardella) to write to and complain about this event, considering how much the city depends on tourism I wish they will change their approach to customer service. Not to say that you didn't make a mistake, but the way they handle each situation always seems to me to be quite rude and unnecessarily unkind.
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  7. #17
    Askital is offline Junior Member - Learning about Tuscany
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Lourdes View Post
    Askital - with bags in tow on the way to the airport, it was surely easy to tell you had bought the tickets and were not going to use them again. They clearly picked on you and unfortunately this seems to be what ATAF chooses as their policy towards everyone, but takes advantage of the language difficulties in particular with visitors. I am sorry to hear it happened. In any case, it is likely the driver was not going to take your side at all, saying too many people get on to recall who stamped tickets or not.

    Did you already pay and how did you pay with a card? I'm curious because it seems to me they particularly take advantage in asking for cash on the spot, when it is your right to refuse to pay it.

    The email you wrote to is the correct one, they have 30 days to get back to you so you'll have to wait to hear back. I would suggest you use their social channels - including the city mayor's one (his name is Dario Nardella) to write to and complain about this event, considering how much the city depends on tourism I wish they will change their approach to customer service. Not to say that you didn't make a mistake, but the way they handle each situation always seems to me to be quite rude and unnecessarily unkind.
    Thank you’re kind words Lourdes, we paid by credit card, he asked for cash but we had spent a fortune in Florence and only about €20 euros left for a coffee and a cake in the airport.

    There was no mention of the option of not paying/refusing to pay on the spot/appeal.

    I got the impression the young inspector may have been a trainee because the older one asked if he could speak English, they then spoke for ages in Italian before turning round and saying we were getting fined. We were in complete shock and totally embarrassed even although we had nothing to be embarrassed about as we hadn’t done anything wrong

    We had used the bus, trams and trains throughout the week and knew how to validate them, so we 100% didn’t make any mistake and as it appeared the ticket machine was working I can only presume it maybe had ran out of ink)or whatever they use to put the time/date on it, the driver looked a bit embarrassed to be honest.

    Obviously we don't very highly of this system as I’m sure the older one was old enough and wise enough to be able to work out who’s genuine and who's not.

    Here’s the thing we were up in the Michaelangelo gardens Piazza):earlier in the week and we intended walking down but due to the heat I felt a bit unwell so,my husband went over to the number 13 bus (we didn’t have tickets) just our card and the lovely young driver got out his drivers seat to assist, so there was i very impressed and thankful and thinking ATAF was great only for that horrible incident to make me change our mind.

    You're correct about dependence on tourism and if they continue to behave like that they will lose tourists.

    When we get a reply from ATAF I’ll let you know fingers crossed we do as its clear to see in our case anyway, we weren’t cheating at all and we’ve been left with not a good impression.

    Re social media,I took a look at it yesterday and my goodness the amount of people this is happening to is astonishing and not everyone will have posted or can’t post about this carry on.

    Thanks again and I’ll keep you updated

    Askital

  8. #18
    Lourdes's Avatar
    Lourdes is offline Administrator - DiscoverTuscany Team
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    Default

    Askital - any updates from Ataf yet?
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  9. #19
    Askital is offline Junior Member - Learning about Tuscany
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    Default Fine appeal

    Quote Originally Posted by Lourdes View Post
    Askital - any updates from Ataf yet?
    Got nowhere,
    They said because the fines were signed, we agreed to the fine, I pointed out couldn’t read or speak Italian and that my fine had been written incorrectly making it invalid (only noticing when I got home and we were in a hurry to get to the airport and as they had held us up by about 30 minutes we had no time to dispute it properly. I wrote back but over a month ago have heard nothing, not even an acknowledgement .

    Have you any idea what I can do next especially as the conductor said to go to the office the next day to get some refund .

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