With a last minute decision taken on the same day, we chose to attend a workshop in Czech Republic, to learn how to climb trees and build tree houses. Since European Union was reimbursing us 70% of the travel cost, this time we decided to go by train and bus, instead of hitchhiking, with a total 30 hours trip by land, so that we could avoid the pollution of the most polluting mean of transportation, the airplane. We took a first night train from Rome to Vienna, where Oti experienced for the first time in her life sleeping in a couchette. In Vienna in the morning, we had to wait about 5 hours for our bus from Vienna to Brno, since the ones before were all full booked. So we passed our time in Prater park, just a few hundreds meter from the bus stop of "Student Agency" our coach comapny. When we thought it was missing 20 minutes for the bus to arrive, we went to the bus stop, and we saw from the other side of the road a yellow coach leaving. We got a little bit worried, but we hoped that was just the bus coming from Vienna and not the one going to Vienna. Eventually asking to the people around, I found out that my watch was 9 minutes late, but this mean we still arrived at the bus stop 5 minutes before the scheduled time. After 20 more minutes waiting, our hopes dropped completely. This meant that we lost not only the bus from Vienna to Brno, but also two more train connections after Brno. We decided to call the customer care number, asking at least to put us for free in the next bus, that was still having free places. Just a partial compensation, since we would have lost anyway our train connections already paid, and we would have arrived late at the training. It was their fault and it was ridiculous that the bus driver left earlier even if he knew there were people coming, since we bought our tickets in advance. After several minutes in an expensive international call with the company, Student Agency, the employee decided to call the driver and ask him, but he stated he left even after the scheduled time, clearly a lie since we even took a video of the bus on the other side of the road, with the hour of the video clearly showing the lie.
Despite this the employee didn't want to believe us, and told us that we should have paid again for a ticket in the next bus. We clearly found this disrespectful and ridiculous, and didn't want to give them any more money, so we decided to go back to our well experienced mean of transportation, hitchhiking, even when we were not planning to do it!
(UPDATE: We eventually contacted Student Agency asking for a refund and explanations, and we received a first answer after 27 days. What an amazing customer care! Even if we had video and photos with time stamp (time verified online with exact clock) they didn't take it into account and they sended a gps track and stated that the bus left 1 minute after the scheduled time (version in disagreement with what we were told at the phone that day by the customer service, that spoke with the driver stating that he left several minutes later). Plus we know ourselves that both versions are lies since we have our own proofs. So they refused to reimburse us, giving again clear evidence of what an "amazing" company they are, preferring to save 10€ and creating a bad image of their company rather than giving a deserved refund to an angry customer)
After about one hour waiting, we got a first ride from a man that was just taking us in a better position inside Vienna. He was totally comfortable carrying a plant of marijuana in the front seat, but he was worried about us using the safety belt on the back seat, because if not he could have had problems with the police! From where he left us we tried without success to catch a ride for about 2 hours, before taking a tram to a better location. It was about to get dark, but we eventually managed to get a direct ride to Brno, where the organizer came to pick us up and brought us to the training location. We eventually arrived at 1a.m. instead of the scheduled time of 5 p.m. skipping dinner, losing money, and with a lot of stress. Thank you Student Agency for the treatment you reserve to your clients! We hope this article will help other people to choose a different bus company than we did, or at least remember to go to the bus stop much earlier than supposed even if you have a ticket, because Student Agency doesn't care at all of their clients!
After publishing this article, we received another story from Niki that had a bad experience with Student Agency and were stolen an Ipad. You can read it here.