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Unread 25-10-2006, 09:12   #1
Urban_Form
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Default Poor intuitiveness on the Irish Rail website

What is the story with the Irish rail website?

Somebody asks me about fares for Dart services from Connolly to Howth so I figure I'll check online.

So I go to www.irishrail.ie and notice that you can't find ticket prices unless you want to make a reservation - this is proper odd I thought, but whatever... its Irish Rail after all.

So I enter Howth and Connolly as my departure and destination point - all good at this stage, "next". A list of services pops up and I'm prompted to select which train I want to reserve a seat on - I'm thinking "any" at this stage because all I want to do is find out the cost of the fare. So I "proceed to reservation" and here I get some non-descript error message.

I'm thinking okay, this is the Dart so there's no such thing as reservations. I'm still no closer to figuring out Dart fares.

I go back to the Irish Rail homepage and search for a link that maybe I missed the first time... then I notice a link at the bottom "Commuter Ticket Sales", this must be it I figured but then the link takes me onto the Ticketmaster website where I'm being prompted to choose between a weekly or monthly ticket.

This is not what I want. I try www.cie.ie and the only link I can find that possibly relates to Dart is the link to the Irish Rail homepage - having ended up nowhere on www.irishrail.ie before there's no point in trying again.

It's only then that it occurred to me perhaps there's a www.dart.ie - ah success. It took me ten minutes to get this information when it should have only taken one or two. It's like as far as CIE is concerned online the Dart just doesn't exist. So frustrating
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Unread 25-10-2006, 09:47   #2
Mark Gleeson
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You might want to try the Luas site, it used to have a fare calculator but its been missing its a challenge even to find the station list

There is a internal power struggle in IE as to who owns the website so thats why there are 2, www.dart.ie jsut points to a page on the second site

The error message on the IE site is fairly reasonable, in order to proceed at least one reservable leg of your journey must be selected. If you try to reserve a DART journey you should get a error dialog stating bookings not possible for that combination of stations, if you hit cancel and try again it lets you move to the select train page

Why bother we have both online http://www.platform11.org/passenger_info/
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Unread 26-10-2006, 10:19   #3
wwhyte
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Gleeson
The error message on the IE site is fairly reasonable, in order to proceed at least one reservable leg of your journey must be selected.
If you mean the error message is reasonably informative, I agree.

If you mean that it's a reasonable error to give, I disagree. You should be able to book a ticket online and go to the station and print it out. And if all you want to do is find the fare you should be able to do that.

Maybe the best solution would be simply to display the fares on the page before you "proceed to reservation".
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Unread 26-10-2006, 13:23   #4
MrX
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I think the Irish rail website's way too complex for what it does. They could do a lot by just simplyfing the booking process!
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Unread 26-10-2006, 13:36   #5
Mark Gleeson
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We use the booking system to get quotes since we know it does that for certain journeys. For someone to assume that by selecting reservations that they will be quoted a a fare for a suburban journey is unreasonable, it doesn't say fares it says reservations

The anywhere to anywhere fare quotation widget has been promised but not delivered

Now what should happen is the error box pops up stating that reservations not permitted for the specified combination of stations, I've seen it pop up a few times

Funny thing is put dart fares into google...............
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Unread 26-10-2006, 15:17   #6
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I think the website is a big improvement from what used to be there and to be fair to IE I think they tried to put out an informative/user friendly website but just didn't think it through properly.

For a start there's no site map. I've my machine on 1024x768 resolution and I still have to scroll down to see what's at the bottom of the homepage.

It's better than its predecessor but still needs some work.
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Unread 26-10-2006, 15:33   #7
Mark Gleeson
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Its a rubbish website, better than the Luas one which is devoid of any reasonably current information.

There is a site map if you know where to go
http://www.irishrail.ie/home/company_information.asp

But you will find the links point to another site

Waaaaaaaaaaaay too much javascript results in werid things happening

That said if you know where to go there are some interesting pages http://www.irishrail.ie/realtimeclontarf/
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Unread 26-10-2006, 15:51   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Gleeson
There is a site map if you know where to go
http://www.irishrail.ie/home/company_information.asp

But you will find the links point to another site

Waaaaaaaaaaaay too much javascript results in werid things happening

That said if you know where to go there are some interesting pages http://www.irishrail.ie/realtimeclontarf/
But that's the whole point Mark. If you don't know where to go you should be able to refer to a site map, which should always be on the homepage.
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Unread 26-10-2006, 16:04   #9
wwhyte
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Gleeson
For someone to assume that by selecting reservations that they will be quoted a a fare for a suburban journey is unreasonable, it doesn't say fares it says reservations
I think you're being too kind to them. It's reasonable to expect that a transport site tells you basic information about how to use that transport, including the fares.
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Unread 26-10-2006, 16:15   #10
Mark Gleeson
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We have been promised a any to any fare calculator thing for a number of years now, its still missing, the Luas site had one and it vanished

Most of the information is there its just plain impossible to find, there is a bug in the javascript validation behind the journey planner it seems like only 1 time in 10 that it will pop an error if you try a stupid combination
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Unread 27-10-2006, 17:43   #11
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It's just so weird that the irish rail and CIE sites son't acknowledge Dart. I'm just so upset that I'll never get that 10 minutes of my life back wasted looking for Dart fares when it should have taken me 2 minutes at most (and that's accounting for stupidity).
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Unread 28-10-2006, 21:31   #12
zag
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Default How real time is realtimeclontarf ?

Mark,

Thanks for that link to the real time Clontarf Road page - *if* this really is realtime (like they have in the ticket office) then gone are my days of leaving the office to walk to the station and missing a train by seconds, only to see that the next peak time train isn't due for over 15 minutes.

This link alone is one of the most usefull pieces of information I have come across on the web in a long time.

Incidentally, I tried looking for other pages like realtimebray, realtimeconnolly, etc, but to no avail. Is there some train fan with a pair of binoculars trained at the platform displays on Clontarf Road, or is there a good reason IE haven't extended the concept ?

Cheers,

z
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Unread 28-10-2006, 22:23   #13
Mark Gleeson
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Actually I know a guy who has the long lens and camera

It does seem to work from Clontarf, it looks like a demo get the feeling its for the boys in the mess room in Fairview depot, the thing is it updates itself

It could be done for all stations very simple
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Unread 30-10-2006, 16:18   #14
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I hate the Irish rail website (and all its bastard children) too.

E.g.: Go to www.dart.ie and type gobbledegook into the 'from' and 'to' boxes, click 'go'
On the next page it'll tell you that the station names weren't recognised and to type correct ones in. Do this and hit Submit...
...and you get a page not found error.

(no, I don't type random stuff into www.irishrail.ie to catch it out -- I was looking for dart journey times from Monkstown - which of course it doesn't recognise and insists you type Salthill - which was how I got the error)
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