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-   -   Can't buy the ticket I need (http://www.railusers.ie/forum/showthread.php?t=15685)

danm14 06-04-2018 00:51

Can't buy the ticket I need
 
I wish to travel from Dundalk to Kildare.

Normally I would buy a ticket from the ticket office in Dundalk before travel instead of buying online - as a student it's 25.90 for a return in the station vs 38.76 online.

On this occasion, I arrive at Dundalk and the ticket office is closed. The ticket machine does not have Kildare listed, just the stations on the lines from Connolly.

It's 12.86 more expensive to buy the ticket online, but even if it was the same/similar/lower price, maybe I only have cash and no money in the bank, or maybe I'm not sure what day I need to return so I need an open return, or it's less than two hours before the last train of the day so the first service I can buy a ticket for is tomorrow.

It's 13.10 more expensive to buy separate tickets for each leg of the journey.

What is the correct thing to do in this situation?
Can I board the train without a valid ticket because I tried to buy one but couldn't without paying more and/or being restricted to returning a specific day?
Do I need to buy the more expensive and/or more restricted ticket, and somehow claim back the extra cost and/or have the validity extended to that of a walk-up ticket?
Or do I just need to swallow the extra cost and/or restrictions, unless I can go to the station earlier in the day when the ticket office is open?

Mark Gleeson 06-04-2018 11:03

You are entitled to

1. The most appropriate ticket
2. Your entitlement (if such is possible) to a through ticket to avail of the protections and rights of EU rights.

In the case of Dundalk - Kildare a single ticket for the entire journey is the cheapest ticket and includes the Luas

We have had this argument with Irish Rail, on paper you can travel without a ticket, but I would advise you carry a previously used ticket for investigation

We are aware of others who tried to enforce their rights but got fined.

danm14 06-04-2018 23:19

So I phoned Irish Rail today to ask what I should do in this situation, more out of interest as to what I'd be told than for actual guidance.

According to their Customer Services:
If the ticket office is closed, and the ticket machine won't sell me the ticket I need, I must buy the ticket online. If I can't/won't buy it online, I must buy separate tickets for each leg of the journey. Leaving Dundalk on the 21:20 train, I have "11 minutes wait in Connolly and 19 minutes wait in Heuston" which is more than enough time to buy a ticket in each station. If this costs more than one through ticket, so be it. The onus is on me to buy a ticket before travelling, there is never any circumstance whatsoever in which I can board a train without a valid ticket.

According to the Information Desk in Heuston:
If the ticket office is closed, and the ticket machine won't sell me the ticket I need, it'd be best to buy it online if possible, but not if it's more expensive or I need an open return. If I don't buy it online, I can board the train without a ticket, but it'd be advisable to take a photograph of the closed ticket office and the machine not having my destination listed. There's no guarantee I won't be fined, but it'd be very unlikely as long as I make it clear I wanted and tried to buy a ticket. I should try purchasing a ticket at every station I get on or off a train at (i.e. Connolly, Heuston and Kildare). If none of these stations can sell me a ticket, I travel for free. The ticket machines all have every station listed though, that must just be an issue with the machines in Dundalk (which I know is not true)

I couldn't get through to Connolly Station.

Two completely different pieces of advice, one "pay as much as you have to above the normal fare, nothing you can do about it", the other "don't pay any more than the correct fare, but you might be fined although it's unlikely"

As a related but separate question, I am assuming that if I don't have a rail ticket valid on the Luas I need to touch in and out or buy a Luas ticket for the Connolly-Heuston leg regardless of what the reason for not having the rail ticket is?

Mark Gleeson 08-04-2018 18:07

We are following up on this

It is unacceptable

For Luas you must pay or have a valid ticket, an Irish Rail issued ticket will state 'IFS' to indicate Luas valid

James Howard 16-04-2018 14:18

For what it's worth, the last time I checked, only Sligo line destinations were available at the ticket machine in Edgeworthstown so the lack of through tickets on the machine is not confined to Dundalk.

Online tickets seem to have become a complete waste of time. Through tickets are more expensive and day returns are the same price. It's only singles or returns that involve an overnight that are any way cheaper.

James Shields 16-04-2018 14:27

Not just connections. There are direct trains from Dundalk and Drogheda to Bray, but the TVMs don't offer any destinations south of Pearse.

Would it be unreasonable to expect the TVMs to make it possible to buy a ticket to any station in the country, especially since many stations have vastly reduced the ticket office opening hours since TVMs went in?

Jamie2k9 16-04-2018 20:47

Quote:

Originally Posted by James Howard (Post 79364)
For what it's worth, the last time I checked, only Sligo line destinations were available at the ticket machine in Edgeworthstown so the lack of through tickets on the machine is not confined to Dundalk.

Online tickets seem to have become a complete waste of time. Through tickets are more expensive and day returns are the same price. It's only singles or returns that involve an overnight that are any way cheaper.

They removed any destination which is not on a particular route. Why I have no idea.

danm14 18-04-2018 00:21

Quote:

Originally Posted by James Shields (Post 79365)
Would it be unreasonable to expect the TVMs to make it possible to buy a ticket to any station in the country, especially since many stations have vastly reduced the ticket office opening hours since TVMs went in?

Not in the slightest bit unreasonable. If I go to a ticket machine in the UK, not only can I buy a simple train ticket to any station in the UK, I can also, among many other things:
  • Buy a ticket to any port or railway station in Ireland, covering the train in both countries as well as my choice of ferry route. Likewise for the Isle of Man, Isle of Wight, Netherlands and Scottish islands.
  • Buy a PlusBus ticket that allows me to use town bus services in the town I'm departing and/or arriving in by train
  • Buy a ticket to certain places without a railway station that covers rail travel to the nearest rail-connected town, and onward bus travel to my final destination

Closest thing we get to any of that from a ticket machine is the Luas/Bus 90 add-on, and there's a fixed price for that. The rail revenue stays with Irish Rail.

In the UK, some of the tickets above need revenue shared between participating bus companies, ferry companies, all the various UK train companies, the Dutch/Irish train companies, etc.

Inniskeen 18-04-2018 09:17

Unfortunately Irish Rail's ticketing, online and TVM, is idiotically restrictive in terms of the tickets you can buy. The Irish Rail approach appears to be - if our our online/TVM system can't sell you a through ticket for you journey that is your problem, get out and buy a second ticket irrespective of the time or cost penalty.

Traincustomer 18-04-2018 19:00

I thought the Customer First programme, which the NTA have apparently splashed millions on, was supposed to address issues such as that raised in this thread?

Aside:
Quote:

Originally Posted by danm14 (Post 79376)
Not in the slightest bit unreasonable. If I go to a ticket machine in the UK, not only can I buy a simple train ticket to any station in the UK, I can also, among many other things:
  • Buy a ticket to any port or railway station in Ireland, covering the train in both countries as well as my choice of ferry route. Likewise for the Isle of Man, Isle of Wight, Netherlands and Scottish islands.

It has been my experience that tickets to ports and stations in Ireland can only be issued from staffed booking offices in the UK or purchased online.

danm14 21-04-2018 22:17

Quote:

Originally Posted by Traincustomer (Post 79380)
It has been my experience that tickets to ports and stations in Ireland can only be issued from staffed booking offices in the UK or purchased online.

I've never bought one at a machine, just online, but I do know the Merseyrail ticket machines in Liverpool (at least used to) list DUBLINPORT STENA, DUBLIN FYPT IF and BELFAST NI as destinations, and have the correct fares - I went all the way through the motions of purchasing one to see whether it'd work, and got all the way to paying (didn't actually pay as I already had a ticket).

Not sure how they'd work as regards a ferry reservation for a specific sailing as it didn't ask me to pick a time, but even though it's compulsory the reserved sailing time is generally unimportant for a non-advance ticket once the day is correct and can easily be changed by phone so it mightn't matter if you don't get one.


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