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Unread 05-01-2007, 13:32   #1
MrX
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Default Ticket collection problems.

There's a serious on-going problem with the IE ticket machines inability to read new Laser debit cards. It's starting to be beyond a joke.

Before Christmas I booked a train to Cork and arrived 25 to 30 mins ahead of the departure time at Heuston.

Tried my card in the machine, as usual it was incapable of reading it.

The 3 ticket desks seemed to be backlogged due to difficulty printing reserved tickets or something. I don't know what was going on but they all seemed to be chatting to eachother behind the counter and the queues were not moving at all.

20 mins passed.. then it became clear that I was going to miss my train.

At this point I rang Irish Rail and asked if I could collect my reservation anywhere else as I was going to miss my train and I explained just how long I'd been waiting. The person who answered, to be fair, was extremely helpful and immediately ran the information desk and arranged to have the ticket printed there and I got to my train *just* before they closed the gates on platform 7.

I just cannot understand why the machines can't be reprogrammed to deal with the 19-digit laser card numbers!?!

How difficult could it possibly be?!

AIB Laser/Masetro cards are *ALL* now re-issued and have longer numbers and I'm sure other banks have done the same. They are by far the most commonly held card in Ireland and really ought to work.

If they cannot accept Laser cards, perhaps the machines should be required to remove the Laser symbol from the front ?!
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Unread 06-01-2007, 13:23   #2
Mark Gleeson
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Default

We have a customer charter/MOU failure 100% should be served within 7 minutes at all times

I had problems with my mastercard last week, it didn't print the tickets the first time, tried again and it worked

Of course there is nothing stopping the implementation of print your own ticket of course only for journeys on strictly Heuston servicesand only where Luas or Bus connection was not tacked on, the train staff have a list of bookings
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Unread 07-01-2007, 18:13   #3
MrX
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Default The problem's specific to new-issue Laser/Maestro cards

Mark,

The problem's a on-going technical one that IE have totally failed to address. AIB, and many other banks, issued a new type of Laser/Maestro co-branded card. These are usable internationally and have extra digits to support the extended functionality.

At this stage pretty much *all* of AIB's cards have been reissued and now have 19 digits. I suspect the situation may be similar for many other Laser card issuers. The problem is that Irish Rail's system has been configured in such a way that it cannot accept more than a certain number of digits and is incapable of processing a 19-digit card number.

This problem effects all of their automatic ticket sale and collection machines. It also makes it impossible for a ticket agent to key in the Laser card number and retreive tickets. The only way of collecting them is using the booking reference number or for the ticket agent to do a manual search of the train manefest.

I have complained to IE about this and explained / discussed the problem on several occasions at this stage and they've been most pleasant on the phone / by email. However, so far nothing's been done to resolve the issue.

I've been in touch with them again in the last few days, so hopefully this time something's done.

It seems that the Luas machines are also incapable of processing the 19-digit Laser cards too and I suspect it's a vendor problem. However, there's no reason why IE can't resolve this issue asap.

I somehow suspect that they may be holding off until they're legally required to implement chip & pin on all of the TVMs i.e. they'll have to add PIN pads at some stage.

However, given the number of people who use Laser cards and the fact that their website accepts it for bookings means that a lot of people are going to discover that IE's machines don't work and assume that the whole system is a disaster. It's very poor from a PR point of view.

I'm actually amazed that we still have various credit/debit card self-service machines in Ireland that don't accept PIN yet. The bank deadline for use of PIN authorisation is approaching very rapidly. Nearly all machines in the UK have already made the transition. It just seemed very odd to roll out new TVMs that had no PIN pads...

Not accepting Laser card is a big deal .. it's a huge method of payment and a very big chunk of the market to be missing.

2005 Statistics:
No of cards in use: 1,273,228
Value of transactions €5.2Billion euro.
Average no of transactions per card per year: 63
No of transactions : 80Million

Last edited by MrX : 07-01-2007 at 18:22.
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