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-   -   Cross-border annual tickets (http://www.railusers.ie/forum/showthread.php?t=15749)

Padna 07-12-2018 08:19

Cross-border annual tickets
I live in Dundalk and work in Belfast. For the past four years I have bought an annual Irish Rail point-to-point ticket valid for travel between Dundalk and Belfast, and it has worked well for me. I pay cash upfront for the ticket as the Taxsaver scheme doesn't apply to those working in Northern Ireland. Neither is it an option to buy an annual ticket from Translink/NIR - they only sell annual tickets for journeys within NI, although they do sell monthly and weekly tickets for cross-border journeys.

I have heard that these annual Irish Rail tickets have now been replaced by personalised Leap cards and that the stations between which the tickets is valid will no longer be printed on the card. I am wondering how Translink staff are meant to know if such Leap cards are valid or are their card readers compatible with Leap cards?

It should be noted that I don't always travel on the Enterprise trains; because the first northbound Enterprise each morning only arrives in Belfast at 09.45, I sometimes drive to Newry to catch an earler train from there. This in turn gives me the option of getting off in another station such as Great Victoria Street and returning to Newry on a loal Translink service in the evening. I have also been able to use my Irish Rail ticket for travel on these non-Enterprise services for the past four years, but am now unsure if I will be able to do that in future.

Any thoughts?

Inniskeen 07-12-2018 18:07

What form does your ticket take now ?

There are a lot of locations on Irish Rail that don't have barriers so I am not sure that a leap card format would no origin/destination information would be ideal there either e.g Dublin to Athlone probably has a few daily commuters likewise Dublin to Thurles, Dublin to Ballybrophy.

Padna 07-12-2018 18:22

It's an Irish Rail Smart Card (credit card style) with my photo and name on it. It also has 'Dundalk-Belfast' and 'Dec18exp' printed on it. It will open the barriers in Dundalk but can't be read by the scanners in Newry, Lanyon Place or Great Victoria Street. Staff on the trains (whether Enterprise or Translink) can't scan it either, but at least they can read the info printed on it and be satisfied that it's a valid ticket.

Inniskeen 08-12-2018 08:36

The ticket I have is very similar, it is also a rail smart card in exactly the format you describe. In my case though the ticket is not valid in NI.

I might be wrong but as far as I am aware Leap cards are already issued for point to point annual tickets even though one end is outside the Leap card area. Note sure if these have the point to point validity printed on them.

From the Irish Rail web site

Taxsaver Leap Cards
Taxsaver Leap cards are also available through participating organisations in the short hop zone. We have also recently launched Leap Point-Point ie Drogheda-Connolly, Wicklow-Pearse, Sallins-Heuston etc.

I haven't seen any of these point to point Leap tickets. While it might be good to have Leap functionality on point to point tickets it seems daft using a card that is not distinguished in appearance from a standard Leap card. It would certainly provide an opportunity for punters to chance their arm outside the Leap card area. I will try and get a look at one over the next few days.

James Howard 08-12-2018 09:32

My last pass which expired a year ago was a point-to-point and was loaded on a leap card. There was nothing on the card to indicate where it was valid but the ticket collectors on Sligo seemed to have a device to read Leap cards. They never checked me since I know them all.

The point-to-point leap cards started at least 3 years ago for me so if you still have one of the old-style tickets, I suspect you'll continue to get one since everyone in my office move to leap-style tickets several years ago.

Perhaps they use them for anyone cross-border for the very reason that you've raised - the NIR staff can't read them.

Padna 08-12-2018 21:11

I was told by a Taxsaver staff member that they would no longer be issuing me with an 'old-style card' with the station names and expiry date printed on it. I guess they have totally eliminated them now and all new point-to-point tickets will be loaded onto Leap cards.

I guess the only option will be to keep the receipt I get when I buy the 'Leap card' annual ticket and bring it with me every day to show to Translink staff along with my Leap card.

It doesn't seem like the brightest idea to however to switch the cross-border tickets to Leap cards - or am I incorrect to presume that the Leap cards are unreadable in the North?

Inniskeen 08-12-2018 23:50

If that is the case I would insist on them giving you a covering letter referencing the Leap card number and explaining the validity.

James Shields 11-12-2018 12:46

I've had my annual Drogheda-Dublin point-to-point loaded on to a Leap card for several years (I'd guess the last 4). Prior to that I had an Irish Rail smart card with the ticket details printed on it, and prior to that a plastic magnetic card.

As you say, the Leap card doesn't have the station names or validity date printed anywhere. The other problem with it is that revenue protection staff only have a scanner that tells them whether I tagged on or not. This means that the Leap card isn't really suitable if one of the endpoints doesn't have a tag-on/tag-off point, which to the best of my knowledge is still the case in many rural stations.

Up to now, the Irish Rail smart cards have always been an option if you regularly use a station without a reader. If Irish Rail are taking away this option, they need to offer an acceptable alternative for people using stations without smartcard readers.

This issue isn't limited to cross-border passengers.

Mark Gleeson 11-12-2018 14:32

The current issue Leap reader has two features, a simple green/red to confirm tagged on. However if you are not tagged on they can see on the screen the ticket information.

I have routinely travelled on an annual ticket without being tagged on and it has never been an issue.

An Android based phone app for transport operator use is apparently floating around. The existing top up app is actually usable as a revenue protection tool if pushed as it has your tickets and balance on it and last 5 tag on/off events

Enterprise staff should have a Leap reader already

comcor 11-12-2018 14:49

Even if you don't have Android, you can call up the Leap website with other operating systems, and that has details of the loaded tickets, plus the Leap Card number, so there is that evidence.

However, can you load a ticket in Dundalk station? Or does it become as painful as trying to sort out bus commuting on a Leap Card?

Mark Gleeson 11-12-2018 22:33

Dundalk has full exit validation gates

The Android app requires no details just present the card to the phone.

comcor 12-12-2018 08:06

I understand that, but few people are going to change their phone operating system just because of a better Leap Card app.

Mark Gleeson 12-12-2018 20:48

The point is the phone issued to the on train staff, not your phone,

The next gen on train portable equipment will be fully spec'ed up for this

Padna 13-01-2019 22:22

1 Attachment(s)
My Leap card finally arrived in Friday's post. I have downloaded the Android app, which can read the card OK on my phone. It shows the Origin as 'Dundalk' although it quite unhelpfully shows the Destination as '2228' rather than as 'Belfast', 'Belfast Lanyon Place' or 'Belfast Central'.

Mark Gleeson 17-01-2019 12:06

This actually make some sense

2 = Irish Rail
228 = Holywood (Furtherest point valid?) Central is 225 I think

Leapcard app doesn't have the NI station list in it

James Shields 17-01-2019 14:42

Make sense, maybe, but not very customer friendly!

I'm guessing someone forgot to upload the NI station names to a lookup table.

Mark Gleeson 17-01-2019 15:04

Yup and those codes will make no sense to a Translink employee

Padna 17-01-2019 18:57

The Leap card certainly raised a few eyebrows among the ticket checkers in Lanyon Place this week. It looks like Translink management was aware of the change but news of it had not filtered down to the staff who actually check the tickets in the station.

I did ask one staff member in Lanyon Place, who seemed to be well aware of the change, if the Leap card would be OK to use on non-Enterprise trains as well. In the past (with the old ticket) I often drove to Newry in the morning to catch the 07:30 service to Portadown so that I could arrive in Belfast at a reasonably early hour. He told me that he didn't see any reason why I couldn't continue doing so and I plan to do so next week. I imagine that the staff in Newry station will be familiar with the new Leap cards (as many commute from Newry to Dublin), but I'll be pleasantly surprised if the conductors on the Translink trains are!

Mark Gleeson 17-01-2019 19:14

We have raised this previously, Enterprise train managers are not a huge number so know the score, Translink conductors not so.

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