Padlocks, GPS trackers… Faced with luggage theft on trains, travelers are getting organized

Padlocks, GPS trackers… Faced with luggage theft on trains, travelers are getting organized
Padlocks, GPS trackers… Faced with luggage theft on trains, travelers are getting organized

We see more and more suitcases or bags attached with locks, others place GPS trackers to monitor any unexpected movement of their bag. Because thefts are numerous.

The modus operandi is often the same. When a train is at the station, one or more thieves board the train and discreetly and in a few seconds take a bag or suitcase placed in the dedicated slots.

Often, the traveler sees nothing but light because these locations, generally located at the end of cars, are out of sight of the rows of seats.

“I went to the toilet 5 minutes before stopping at Caen station. My luggage was still in its place when I returned. I realized the theft shortly after stopping,” says one of them to the Presse de la Manche.

It is difficult to measure the extent of the phenomenon. Nearly 400 thefts take place each month on SNCF trains, according to the last known figure, certainly underestimated, a figure that the SNCF has not confirmed to us.

But on social networks (which certainly have a magnifying effect), similar testimonies are numerous. Whether it concerns thefts from TGVs but also and above all from TER trains which make many stops on their journeys, there are so many opportunities for thieves. So the travelers get organized.

400 flights per month

The most anxious people keep a close eye on their luggage at each stop and return to their seats when the train leaves. The lucky ones were able to store their bag in a closer location (among the cars) but they are often mobbed.

Others then opt for more radical methods and attach their bags to the racks with an anti-theft device, as noted by train driver BB27000. A practice that would become widespread.

Still others place GPS trackers in their luggage. If they are moving, the traveler immediately receives an alert on their smartphone.

If tying up one’s luggage aims to prevent theft, others also do it to prevent incivility from other travelers who do not hesitate to change the place of others’ bags to store their own…

Is this authorized by SNCF? When asked, the company has not yet given us a response but according to our information, nothing prohibits it. But what if the luggage is forgotten?

Furthermore, remember that putting your luggage outside authorized areas is prohibited and punishable by a fine.

No responsibility for SNCF

Faced with theft, the customer is often helpless. The SNCF emphasizes that it is not responsible in the event of loss or theft of luggage, therefore no compensation is possible on its part.

“It is up to you, and you alone, to supervise them. The carrier is, in principle, not responsible for the fate of this baggage that you take with you on board the trains. Whether you have kept it with you or whether you have left them in the luggage lockers (at the end of the car or above your seat), even if it was at the invitation of an agent of the carrier, they are under your entire responsibility and the free provision of spaces reserved for baggage storage for the duration of the journey does not place on the carrier any contractual surveillance obligation. Loading and unloading operations are likewise carried out by the travelers, under their entire responsibility. “, underlines the Transport Quality of Service Authority (AQST).

The only solution in the event of theft is to file a complaint or use your insurance if it obviously covers this type of loss.

However, the railway operator ensures that it implements means of protection through the presence of railway security agents or even cameras on board certain trains which can subsequently make it possible to identify thieves (if a complaint has been made). been filed).

Monitoring or recording

But the advice that is repeated is “not to leave (the) luggage unattended”. Flight attendants remind us of this very regularly through their announcements during the journey. And also label them with your name, first name, address and telephone number (this is mandatory) in case of forgetting.

“When traveling by train, keep your luggage close to you as much as possible. At each stop, keep an eye on it (even if it means walking around the carriage to monitor your luggage, which is in the spaces provided for this purpose). Avoid worrying about it. separate from your valuable goods, including your microcomputers even in 1st class”, adds the AQST.

Another solution is baggage check-in. “If you have the possibility, check in your baggage: responsibility then falls to the SNCF within the limits provided for in the contract. Remember to always keep written records of your exchanges with the SNCF,” continues the Authority.

Olivier Chicheportiche Journalist BFM Business

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