No Train Timetable From January 20th
January 4th 2013
Today, Rail Users Ireland (RUI) condemns Irish Rail's failure to allow sufficient time to plan and obtain approval for its 2013 intercity and regional rail timetable . As it stands today,it is not possible to obtain any information from Irish Rail with respect to any scheduled train services beyond 20 January 2013.
Passengers should have at minimum 4 weeks notice of a major timetable change, 6 weeks being preferable. Across Europe 3 months notice is normally given. As is so often the case, Irish Rail lags well behind the higher standards in Europe. Failure to give adequate notice of timetable changes has become almost an annual problem in recent years.
Irish Rail published the draft timetable for all services on routes served by Heuston station on November 29th with a consultation period of approximately 4 weeks, given the Christmas break and the necessity for timetable approval by the National Transport Authority, to assume that this could be approved and implemented by January is fanciful at best.
The reality is that Irish Rail should have started the consultation by the first week of October, if the new timetable was proposed to start on January 20th, this would allow for 4 weeks passenger consultation, 2 weeks for changes, and 2 weeks for National Transport Authority to approve, thereby giving passengers 6 full weeks notice of the new timetable.
Irish Rail failed to plan in a professional and effective way and as a result has left passengers in the uncomfortable position of being in limbo unable to plan and book journeys and those looking to purchase annual and monthly tickets unsure if their preferred trains will continue running in the new timetable.
Anyone who does a timetable search or attempts to book a seat online is simply shown a blank page, with no warning or notice to state that there is a pending timetable change is the reason that has blocked their request. Yet again, another example of Irish Rail failing to plan and acknowledge this situation could occur. That a company in a loss making position is refusing to take bookings is absurd.
Rail Users Ireland, calls on Irish Rail to immediately
1. Standardise the annual timetable change dates in line with the rest of Europe, which is fixed as the second Sunday in June and December. 2. A consultation period and a minimum of 6 weeks notice of changes should be given.
Mark Gleeson, spokesman RUI said "We asking for nothing more than the accepted norm across Europe, at least 6 weeks notice of timetable changes and that those changes are made at a well known and fixed date each year."