Deprived of a BlaBlaCar bus connection, five women were forced to spend the night outside at the Perrache station

” It was terrible “. A few days after her accident, which happened in Lyon on the night between 30 and 31 October, Cristina Picallo laughs yellow. What has she gone into, she wonders again. This mother of a family living in Geneva spent the night outside “in the cold” after an incredible combination of circumstances. Forced to wait for hours to go, stuck at the foot of Perrache station. With her, her 14-year-old daughter Myriam and three other comrades in an accident she did not know until then. Including Morgane Lelièvre, a 31-year-old woman from Toulouse who is returning from a stay of several years abroad.

Everyone had bought a Paris-Geneva bus trip through the company BlaBlaCar. With a planned connection in Lyon around kl. 19.30. “In the beginning, we were stuck in traffic jams on the outskirts of Paris. I was not worried because I thought the company was used to it and that it had planned broadly,” says Morgane, who had paid 55 euros for the trip . “During a break, the driver called the exchange to warn of our delay and to warn that we would arrive at. 20.30 instead of kl. 18.50, Cristina continues. 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 in an hour”. “We were 11 to be on the floor, six boys and the five of us,” the two travelers explain. The company offers to pay 80 euros for hotel accommodation and suggests that customers take the necessary steps themselves. “I could not believe it, but everything was complete. The only room we found was for 1,880 euros per room. night, ”Cristina testified.

“We called for hours, we were looking for solutions. The only available train to Geneva was also full, so we contacted customer service to suggest that they order a taxi for us, complete Morgane. Every time, the same chorus: we call you back. And nothing, in the end. “

No hotels available, no trains or taxis

The small group thus waited four hours and made several phone calls. In vain. The boys decide to go on their own. “At 12.08 exactly, they finally called us back to tell us that a taxi would arrive in ten minutes,” says Cristina. The minutes go by. No taxi on the horizon. At half-past twelve the five women are asked to leave the station, which closes and is alone in the middle of the night with their suitcases. Forced to sit on the station’s escalators, not knowing where to go or what to do.

The taxi will never come. “The reason 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. “It is. The group does not feel ‘comfortable’ and reassures themselves as best they can.” There were men around us, some sleeping on the stairs. We had no place to pee, except in the middle of the street, ”describes Morgane, still sad. “The worst time was at 3 in the morning when we had to set our clocks an hour back,” Cristina recalls. Waiting an hour more was “a hammer blow”, the family mother continues, torn by the sight of her daughter “sleeping on the floor”. “Luckily no one was aggressive. But if someone had pulled out a knife, what should we have done?”

Filing a complaint

However, an email was sent to them at. 02.00 to inform them that seats had been reserved for them for the next correspondence at. 06.30. Annoyed, the four women and the teenager find themselves in a Flexibus, which leaves Perrache an hour earlier. “Honestly, we could not wait any longer. Luckily we all stayed. We stay together. It was great that the girls were there,” breathes Morgane, who intends to file a complaint against the company this Thursday for compensation. “If it can at least save other travelers from experiencing the same nightmare,” she argues.

An isolated case? Cristina, however, testifies to knowing a friend who has lived in the same accident in Annecy. “The cold had given him frostbite. Despite the medical statements he was able to present, his case was dismissed. He ended up throwing the towel in the ring and dropping the charges. Believing that this is what BlaBlaCar is looking for,” she said. that she will end this story. “I just want to recover the amounts I have committed, not to get a voucher,” she warns.

“An unfortunate situation”

Contacted by 20 minutes, the company BlaBlaCar regrets a “regrettable situation” and presents its “excuses” to travelers. “The passengers in question were on several occasions during the evening in contact with the ‘control tower’ of BlaBlaCar buses, which were trying to find a solution to get them to their destination,” she clarifies, stating that the “normal procedure in a such a situation “is to book a hotel night for the passengers and have them travel with the first bus the next morning, or to offer them” an exceptional taxi ride “.

“As we could not find a solution with a hotel or a taxi this long weekend, despite many discussions, we were finally forced to ask them to wait for the very first bus that went to Geneva,” the company admits. “Their journey will be fully reimbursed. We will work to improve our procedures to better cope with such situations,” the company concludes.

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