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Irish Rail have problems and is actively ripping off their customers.

I traveled from Limerick to Maynooth the other day. My colleague had pre-booked and bought his ticket online and had no problem getting his ticket based on his reservation code. His ticket covered Limerick Colbert – Dublin Heuston [Luas tram] Connolly Station – Maynooth.
I really don’t trust Irish rail’s pre-booking system as it has failed me in the past, a couple of years ago. Anyhow, the way things used to be was that the Good Olde Manual Ticket Office would always open 10 minutes before departure, even at the ungodly hour of 05:30 in the morning. Not anymore…. This left me trying to book and buy my ticket from one of the ticket vending machines in Colbert station. The big surprise was that the machine refused to show Maynooth as a destination, probably because the journey would require a change in Dublin, from Heuston to Connolly station, via a tram journey on the Luas

I asked two sleepy staff at the station, who were present only to check that passengers actually had tickets, but these two rail-workers could not, manually, sell me a ticket, hence my only option was to buy a ticket for just going to Dublin, and buy the next ticket when I got there.


In Dublin, at Heuston station, the ticket machines could not provide a ticket to Maynooth either. 
Eventually at Connolly station, the machines listed Maynooth, but were offline and could not handle payment with a debit or credit card, but finally I managed to get a ticket from the manual ticket sales.
Later, during my return journey, I verified that the reverse was also true, i.e. that you can’t buy a ticket for Limerick in the Maynooth or Dublin Connolly stations.


I asked the staff in Maynooth, and was told that Irish Rail have at least three different, separate, not interconnected, ticketing systems. The manual ticket offices have the oldest ticket machines that cannot print an integrated ticket. The web-based ticketing system can sell you any possible kind of ticket, as an integrated ticket that can include train and tram, changes, etc. Such a transaction results in a booking number that you then enter on the ticket vending machine in the station, and your ticket is printed. But… on the booking screen of the vending machines in each station, only stations connected directly to the station your originating from are listed. 
Finally, analyzing the cost, my colleague who bought his ticket online paid €67, including Luas. 
If you buy all three tickets offline as you go, like I was forced to do, the cost is  €47 + €2.90 + €6 = €55.90
So why would Irish Rail charge their customers almost 20% more if a customer buys their ticket on-line? Not even Ryanair would be so daft.
I think this is yet another simple and clear example that Irish semi-state companies are not joining the dots, live in cloud-cuckoo-ballygobackwards land and just focus on ripping us off. 

4 Comments

  1. >I bet you assumed you were in a country where progress took place at the same pace throughout the services industries. Ha! CIE have not gone away and neither will they. So's you know; CIE was a pretence from the word go. The original brit system was completely ripped asunder and that's the way it has remained. Feck! When the Irish took over following the departure of the brits all they saw were opportunities for personal little profits. They shut down eventually, entire networks, even sold railway tracks to the Chinese for feck sake! Then they gave contracts to themselves to build roads; so they could scoot about in their mercs. How we ever got shannon airport is an entire mystery but that's almost gone anyway. Nothing has changed; yet.

  2. >Thanks for a good comment and for reminding me about how many of the State's Institutions came about. Another petty-kingdom of the same ilk is Dublin Bus (which is basically CIE as well). During a so called industry led project a couple of years ago, we had a look at providing improved traffic information on mobile phones and smartphones, with particular focus on visually disabled passengers. After a couple of meetings with Dublin Bus (all the middle management people had CIE business cards) , it was obvious that there was absolutely no willingness or intention to change or improve. They still don't have a spatio-temporal model of their network! Routes are almost impossible to change, as this also involves changing the whole hierarchy as well as negotiations with trade unions, hence it's a no-go area. As they don't have a proper model of their network, when they create timetables they send out a driver and an inspector on a bus, probably noting the times achieved on a clipboard. That becomes your timetable. There is absolutely no integration, and you can't for example get a multimodal journey combining bus and tram (a.k.a. Luas).

  3. >This from the forum on Rail Users Ireland: "Maynooth can issue a ticket to Limerick, single, 5 day or monthly return and it will include the luas transfer.It is probably cheaper to buy a ticket to Heuston via Connolly and then one from Heuston as the system doesn't calculate the fare by leg, its by distance only so you can get stung."

  4. >Well, 53degrees (Rail Users Ireland), I asked the CIE person behind the counter in Maynooth, and he clearly explained that he could not sell me such a ticket. He stated that the ticket machine he had wasn't capable of printing such a ticket. If I have the time, next time I'm going to Maynooth, I'll video my encounters with CIE and post it here.


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