Euston to Heuston - and beyond...

Luas trams

Because of the Celtic Tiger and the EU, Ireland has a fabulous public transport infrastructure. The trams, trains and buses - and stations - are all spanking new and comfy. What's more, they have a state of the art ticketing and reservation service. To get from Brighton to Holyhead and over to Dublin I needed eight tickets: one there, one back, and a reservation for each leg of the journey. To get from Dublin to Tralee, changing at Mallow, I was surprised to find that I only needed one ticket - it would have been six in England! Genius...

Irish rail ticket

What's more, when I got on the train I discovered that my seat had my name on it (I'd booked the tickets online and picked up the ticket from a machine by keying in a number)! How cool is that!

Named reservation

So, no arguments like you get on English trains. On the way there, the Chester to Holyhead leg was on a tiny two-coach Arriva train... and yes it was crammed - standing room only. On the way back, the Holyhead to London Virgin train was five coaches instead of ten, and the reservation system had broken down! Plus there was hardly any space for luggage - on a route known for holiday makers. They did add five more carriages at Chester, but by then people were very cross.

There have been several blogs lately (here's another one) proposing to redesign UK rail tickets to make them more understandable and concise. Well, look no further than Ireland - they're already doing it.

Tralee to Mallow train, at Tralee


Zeno said...

Pipes Alan:

Sorry, couldn't resist that since that's the name they gave you on your ticket and seat! Why can't they put your first name first?

But I'm not convinced that putting your name above your seat is a good idea: I can't see it's necessary and there are possible Data Protection issues. There are many people who would feel vulnerable having their name displayed for all to see, particularly women - there would have to be a very strong argument for displaying names, but I just can't see what that is. If you name is on your ticket, that should be enough for any ticket inspector.

fredblog said...

Good point! I also thought they could put the seat number in lights too as in black type it's hard to read. I've seen so many arguments on UK trains over seats - someone will insist a seat is there's until everyone waves their tickets and they discover they're in the wrong carriage! More often than not, Virgin or whoever take away carriages at short notice and the whole system is abandoned... Something that Irish trains don't do is say which end of a carriage are the high numbers, and which the low - so you get people getting on the wrong end and dragging their huge suitcases the length of the coach.