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Unread 14-07-2012, 04:19   #1
Colm Moore
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Default [Article] Healy Eames to appeal fine for boarding train without ticket

http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/...320064809.html
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Healy Eames to appeal fine for boarding train without ticket
GENEVIEVE CARBERY

A FINE GAEL Senator is appealing an on-the-spot fine for boarding the Galway to Dublin train without a ticket.

Fidelma Healy Eames yesterday said she was “shocked” to learn she could not purchase tickets on board the train. The Galway West Senator said she had done this only two weeks earlier and had produced counterfoils to prove it.

Details of the incident spread quickly across online forums yesterday and caused much angry reaction, after it was first posted by a user on website Boards.ie.

Anonymous user Captain Darling said he had been on the train. He claimed that when the inspector asked for a ticket Ms Healy Eames said “that she is a Senator and that she makes the law”. “She took bloody strips off him,” the user wrote. Such claims were yesterday denied by a party spokeswoman.

A statement from Fine Gael last night said Ms Healy Eames boarded the 6.50am Dublin train at Athenry station last Thursday “in a rush”. A spokeswoman said the train was early and already in the station when she arrived. She had boarded “on the understanding that she would be able to purchase a ticket on board, as she had previously done on recent occasions”. An inspector from the company’s revenue protection unit asked her for identity, the statement said.

“She produced her Seanad ID card. She offered to buy a ticket as normal. He told her she could not buy a ticket from him and fined her €100,” the statement said.

Last night Ms Healy Eames thanked another witness, Chris Tierney, for giving his “accurate account” on Twitter. Galway photographer Tierney took to the social networking service to counter allegations about her reaction.

“I was on the train next to the Senator; she wasn’t arrogant, didn’t use the ‘do you know who I am’ route,” he tweeted. Mr Tierney told The Irish Times her behaviour could at most be described as “righteous indignation”. The Senator “should have been let away with it” because the train had been early. Although he was not “ideologically aligned” with her, he wanted to “quash a witch hunt”. He tweeted a photo of his ticket to prove he was on the train.

The original post by Captain Darling was later deleted by the user, who declined a request for interview by The Irish Times.

Iarnród Éireann’s website states: “Tickets can only be purchased on the train if the ticket office is closed and if the ticket vending machines are not in operation.”

First elected to the Seanad in 2007, Ms Healy Eames ran for a Dáil seat in the last three general elections.
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Unread 14-07-2012, 04:44   #2
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http://fidelmahealyeames.ie/2012/07/...medium=twitter
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Clarification Re: Senator Healy Eames’ Train Journey
July 13, 2012

“Senator Healy Eames boarded the 6.50am train to Dublin in a rush, at Athenry station yesterday morning (Thursday). She did so on the understanding that she would be able to purchase a ticket on board, as she had previously done on recent occasions. She was approached by an officer from the revenue protection unit on board who asked her for ID. She produced her Seanad ID card. She offered to buy a ticket as normal. He told her she could not buy a ticket from him and and fined her €100.

Senator Healy Eames was shocked to learn this as she had purchased two tickets on board just weeks earlier, in June. She showed the RPU officer the counterfoils which proved that they were both purchased on the train. Senator Healy Eames has appealed the fine.”


Emma Hynes
Fine Gael National Press Office
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Unread 14-07-2012, 04:54   #3
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The original thread: http://www.boards.ie/vbulletin/showt...p?t=2056700153
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Unread 14-07-2012, 05:41   #4
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I thought a vending machine in operation was not enough and there had to be a ticket office open?

If the same rules apply to Senators as TDs, she could use immunity if she was heading to an Oireachtas sitting.
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Unread 14-07-2012, 07:31   #5
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The key claim here "in a rush"

No sympathy, if the booking office was staffed (and there is no claim it wasn't) bang Irish Rail have a case

I'd guess Irish Rail have made damn sure they are in the clear right now and will probably make an example of the case. As to the on train behavour claims made in several locations, the CCTV will be interesting

I'd give short odds that the fine will be paid quickly to shut the story down

Last edited by Mark Gleeson : 14-07-2012 at 07:37.
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Unread 14-07-2012, 09:56   #6
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Was on the same service a week previously. Doubt the train was early unless it left Galway early. In my experience most provincial locations do not dispatch trains ahead of time unlike Cork which does so as a matter of routine. The timing from Galway to Athenry is reasonably tight especially with the ongoing 5 mph restriction on the Lough Attalia bridge and it is thus relatively difficult to get to Athenry ahead of time.

Not so sure that Irish Rail's case will prove that rock solid. On the day I travelled the booking office at Athenry was open (as is normal) and the ticket machines appeared to be operational also (I saw people collecting tickets). I suspect that the ticket checker on the train sold a ticket (or tickets) although as I was a few bays away I am not 100% sure on that point.

I have definitely seen "regular" ticket checkers selling tickets on board inter-city trains on recent trips. It is also common for for tickets to be issued at the barriers at some stations, particularly in the Dublin suburban area. Like so much about Irish Rail the approach is not consistent.
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Unread 14-07-2012, 12:24   #7
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The Oranmore station (closer to her I believe) will likely be unstaffed... although she still may have to schlep to Athenry depending on the stopping pattern adopted.
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Unread 14-07-2012, 14:48   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Gleeson View Post
The key claim here "in a rush"

No sympathy, if the booking office was staffed (and there is no claim it wasn't) bang Irish Rail have a case

I'd guess Irish Rail have made damn sure they are in the clear right now and will probably make an example of the case. As to the on train behavour claims made in several locations, the CCTV will be interesting

I'd give short odds that the fine will be paid quickly to shut the story down
Couldn't agree more, she will need to set the alarm clock earlier in future...
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Unread 14-07-2012, 17:45   #9
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I think that if she is true in saying that she bought a ticket on board two weeks previous, then bits worrying that there's no uniformity in the system given that if you could buy a ticket on a train previously you'll think you can do it again.

This needs to be clarified.
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Unread 14-07-2012, 18:10   #10
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No sympathy if matters are as described. If she was shown discretion in the past, that is nice but she has to obey the law like everyone else.
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Unread 15-07-2012, 19:21   #11
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The problem is which kind of IR employee you encounter first on a train.

If you encounter a ticket checker (or train guard/host), then you will usually be offered the opportunity to purchase a ticket on board.

However, if the a member of the RPU gets to you first then you will get a fine.

This is completely inconsistent and causes confusion such as this case.

Presumably, the senator encountered a ticket checker in the first case and a member of the RPU in the second case.
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Unread 16-07-2012, 14:18   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by plant43 View Post
The problem is which kind of IR employee you encounter first on a train.

If you encounter a ticket checker (or train guard/host), then you will usually be offered the opportunity to purchase a ticket on board.

However, if the a member of the RPU gets to you first then you will get a fine.

This is completely inconsistent and causes confusion such as this case.

Presumably, the senator encountered a ticket checker in the first case and a member of the RPU in the second case.
this seems to be the problem onboard, although it is plastered everywhere that you MUST have a ticket BEFORE boarding the train.

there is an exception - the ticket office being closed and at the same time no Ticket Vending Machine being in operation at the station.

However, the mere presence of ticket issueing staff on the train will give rise to the impression that you can avail of that option, and, indeed, further, that if there is a regular ticket seller on that service, you may have grounds (slim) that you expected such a service to exist and you were willing to avail of it.

Guess that means the end of ticket vendors on trains so.
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Unread 16-07-2012, 14:36   #13
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I don't think that it should mean the end of on train ticket vendors but I think the system needs to be changed to be more consistent.

In other countries (I am thinking of France here in partcular) if you board the train without a ticket, you can purchase one off the on board ticket inspector (for a supplement) if you present yourself to them immediately after boarding. If you don't do this and a ticket inspector finds you without a ticket then you get a fine. I don't see why this system couldn't be brought in for Irish Rail.
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Unread 16-07-2012, 15:06   #14
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I really thought a TVM was not good enough. Considering they can't issue some types of ticket (family, child) and that they can be fussy about some cash payments (e.g. You can't pay with 2 €50 notes for a Dublin-Cork return), there has to be some kind of allowance made.
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Unread 16-07-2012, 16:16   #15
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The legal issues about ticket machines needs to be sorted out, as I understand there is some debate about whether you are obliged to use them if available as you are obliged to use a booking office.

The introduction of tag on tag off systems needs some clarification- if I cannot tag on at the start of my journey through no fault of my own(arrived in good time, but all readers are broken) then what? Am I guilty of not having a ticket?
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Unread 16-07-2012, 17:23   #16
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Would it not be possible to fit a TVM on the trains rather than relying on the availability of machines at a station? At least that gets rid of the too late excuse and makes it easier for the checker to verify whether or not the machine is working.

The present situation is both too strict and too lenient - you can get done for €100 but the application of this appears to be highly variable. But this fine is not much more expensive than a lot of tickets so in some cases it might be worth taking your chances. A rule that is inconsistently applied is inherently unfair.

Also, in a lot of cases, it is highly predictable when there will be a checker on board so if you pick your trains carefully, you need not bother with a ticket at all.

Last edited by James Howard : 16-07-2012 at 17:28. Reason: Missed a bit off a sentence
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Unread 16-07-2012, 18:34   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by plant43 View Post
I don't think that it should mean the end of on train ticket vendors but I think the system needs to be changed to be more consistent.

In other countries (I am thinking of France here in partcular) if you board the train without a ticket, you can purchase one off the on board ticket inspector (for a supplement) if you present yourself to them immediately after boarding. If you don't do this and a ticket inspector finds you without a ticket then you get a fine. I don't see why this system couldn't be brought in for Irish Rail.
I'm with the Senator on this one - in the New York area in the U.S. Metro North and Long Island Railroads do on-train ticket sales as a matter of routine - but there's a significant penalty, 10-20% for doing that, v.s. quoted prices at the station, and I think there are discounts of about 5% for buying ticketes online, or at least there used to be. Note that the online ticket shop IIRC is just a mail order service, there's none of that variable pricing nonsense as they already have a simple but effective peak/off-peak system that works very well.
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Unread 16-07-2012, 20:15   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by James Howard View Post
The present situation is both too strict and too lenient - you can get done for €100 but the application of this appears to be highly variable. But this fine is not much more expensive than a lot of tickets so in some cases it might be worth taking your chances.
Just to note that it's a 100 euro fine plus the fare that you should have paid.
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Unread 17-07-2012, 10:59   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by James Howard View Post
Would it not be possible to fit a TVM on the trains rather than relying on the availability of machines at a station? At least that gets rid of the too late excuse and makes it easier for the checker to verify whether or not the machine is working.
although thats a good idea, it goes against the principal of not gettign on a train without a ticket. You cant have both.

I think that clarification has to be made on this, and at the moment we have this typical irish solution. If you are not allowed to get on a train without a ticket there should be no ticket sellers on the train. That is just plain logic. Otherwise you can get on the train without a ticket because there is a ticket seller on board to sell you tickets.

It is, I agree, totally arbitary. There is a ticket seller on the 0505 limerick-nenagh-dublin train, although on one occasion that i was using it he never left the drivers cab. However, I have never seen a ticket seller on any other of the ex-cork/limerick trains i have used in the early morning. If, for some reason, my only train was the 0505 and i was was buying tickets off him every day and the day he never left the cab i get done at the ticket barrier what defence do I have? None according to the rules as they stand. I have boarded a train without a ticket. Perhaps some of the other stations on the line are unmanned and have no TVM's, like Boombridge. Roscrea, however, is manned, although if i arrive right on time, it will be unmanned as the ticket seller is also the signalman.

What has to be done is -

1. Put TVM's into each station which is going to be unmanned, and make them issue all tickets and also accept all notes (as posted above) - it should also by default offer you the best value ticket.
2. In those stations where a TVM is not going to be safe, a notice in big letters to the effect that passengers from this station may pay on exit will be displayed. I undertsand that IE sometimes have staff in Boombridge handing out little validation slips to prove you are there.
3. No ticket sales on trains.

The other alternative is to have TVM's on trains, and you just know some smartass will be saying how they were on the Dublin-Cork train last month and used one, and when he got on the four car DART there wasnt one and thats why he has no ticket, so you can see why it may not be a runner.
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Unread 17-07-2012, 11:40   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas J Stamp View Post
...

1. Put TVM's into each station which is going to be unmanned, and make them issue all tickets and also accept all notes (as posted above) - it should also by default offer you the best value ticket.

...
Completely agree. The TVM's should be smart. If time is peak-time, display a peak-time ticket otherwise display an off-peak ticket. In the case a few months ago when the 10E return tickets Cork/Kerry were available, I do not understand how these could not be simply added to the TVM. If after 0930, display 10E ticket... Surely the user interface on the backend of this system is not that complicated to allow IÉ to add/remove tickets and set up rules, e.g. time rules.
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