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Unread 12-01-2009, 12:00   #1
bamurf
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Default Assorted ramblings of a new rail commuter

I'm one of the lucky ones, I now have a viable commuting option by rail from the newly opened station in Park West, which is about 3 minutes walk from my front door, to Hazelhatch, from where my employers provide a shuttle bus for the last bit of the journey. Because I take an out bound service in the morning and an in bound service in the evening, there are no crowds to contend with and there are always seats.

When the station opened in august, I started taking the train a few days a week. It meant leaving the house earlier in the morning and hanging around Hazelhatch for 15 to 20 minutes (through no fault of IR) but the real advantage comes in the evening where the limited service means I can't stay late because I have to go to get my train, there simply is no better excuse for getting out the door in the evening. Getting home at a guaranteed time every day is great. Getting out of the car also makes for a less stressful day, even though I never really had to encounter any nightmare traffic because of my reverse commute (outbound in the morning and inbound in the evening). That's the good bits covered, the ones that led me to sign up for an annual ticket, now for the ones that make me regret that decision...

1. Timetables v's Reality how can it be that the train is almost always late getting to the first stop out of Heuston? I can recall only one incident when it came on time since last august. Coincidently that happened when the clocks went back an hour in October. Are all of the clocks in IR so bad that the only time they align when they're synchronised in spring and autumn when the time changes, only to drift out of synch until the next changing of the clocks?
2. Timetables a major factor in my decision to purchase an annual ticket was the promised improved service for '09, alas the timetable was published just days after the cutoff date for ordering annual tickets and there was absolutely no change to the service. I'm stuck with a single viable train in the morning and the same in the evening, great for use as an excuse to leave work on time but some flexibility would be nice.
3. Annual Tickets my annual ticket came with a wallet to keep it safe so I placed my annual ticket in the wallet to keep it safe. The first time I took my annual ticket out of the wallet, a significant portion of the ink from the annual ticket was left on the inside of the damn wallet. Is it too much to ask that they either use an appropriate ink and media combination that will give a level of permenance equal to, or longer than the period the ticket is valid for? I have no doubt that a ticket inspector will question whether the photo on the ticket is really me before the end of the month, and who could blame them, it's next to impossible to tell already.
4. Rain Covers on Ticket Validating Machines You build a new train station, with a roof, inside which you put turnstyles (or what ever the correct terminology is) operated by automatic ticket validating machines. All perfectly fine and what you would expect in any normal country and from any normal rail company except IR have decided in their infinite wisdom that each of these ticket validating machines needs a rain cover, an ill fitting plastic shroud which the ticket crashes into each and every time it exits the machine. It's a nuissance with single tickets because the turnstyle does not open until you wrestle the ticket out but it's even worse for an obviously fragile annual ticket getting battered twice daily by this contraption. The whole thing smacks of utter incompetance.
Did they not specify the requirement for the roof to keep out the rain? Was it the failure of the architects, the builders, the contractors? Did they bother to snag the station? Did they consider treating the underlying cause rather than a symptom? Was there any clause in the contracts to force those responsible to rectify the roof? Even if it's not possible to treat the underlying cause, could they consider using a rain cover that did it's job without adversely impacting the functionality of the machine or put a canope over the machines instead of the stupid rain cover?
If this is the model for new stations, god help us all.

We downsized from two cars to one last august because we should have been able to survive with one combined with the train and bus services. I'm afraid that we're going to be returning to being a two car family very soon. I'll continue to use the train to commute to work when I can but I'm doubtful as to whether its worthwhile renewing my annual ticket next year, even with the tax breaks, it's reliant on how much use I make of the ticket outside of the daily commute for it to make financial sense. I wanted this to work but I'm left disappointed.
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Unread 12-01-2009, 12:19   #2
Donal Quinn
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welcome to the board bamurf

thanks for the comments - we can definitely identify with them

unfortunately we don't have easy answers but the daily frustrations that face commuters are a key part of what we are about

stick around - explore the board and contribute
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Unread 12-01-2009, 21:27   #3
Oisin88
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bamurf View Post
3. Annual Tickets my annual ticket came with a wallet to keep it safe so I placed my annual ticket in the wallet to keep it safe. The first time I took my annual ticket out of the wallet, a significant portion of the ink from the annual ticket was left on the inside of the damn wallet. Is it too much to ask that they either use an appropriate ink and media combination that will give a level of permenance equal to, or longer than the period the ticket is valid for? I have no doubt that a ticket inspector will question whether the photo on the ticket is really me before the end of the month, and who could blame them, it's next to impossible to tell already.[b]
Same thing happened to mine. Ticket checker had a strange look at it the other day and just asked me when it was up. You can hardly see the station names on it. Funny thing about the photo is that they have been using the same picture of me for about 3 years and it is now quite faded.
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Unread 13-01-2009, 09:23   #4
Thomas Ralph
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Same thing happened to mine. Ticket checker had a strange look at it the other day and just asked me when it was up. You can hardly see the station names on it.
You can get it replaced on the spot at the travel centre in Abbey Street (even though it says it's closed). There also may be a form that stations may have which you may be able to fill in, then pick up a new ticket at your choice of station sometime in the next fortnight.

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Funny thing about the photo is that they have been using the same picture of me for about 3 years and it is now quite faded.
Whoever buys the ticket at your company is able to upload a new picture if he/she wants to.
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Unread 14-01-2009, 20:24   #5
Oisin88
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You can get it replaced on the spot at the travel centre in Abbey Street (even though it says it's closed). There also may be a form that stations may have which you may be able to fill in, then pick up a new ticket at your choice of station sometime in the next fortnight.
Thanks. It's good to know that. Funny that none of the Irish Rail staff were able to advise me of that when they saw my dodgy ticket. When is Abbey street open? I am never home until after 6pm on weekdays.

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Whoever buys the ticket at your company is able to upload a new picture if he/she wants to.
I have my own access to do this. Seemingly you need the new picture uploaded well before the ticket is renewed. Also, there is nothing wrong with the picture (apart from that I now have a beard) but it just fades more ever year, as if someone was just photocopying it or something.
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Unread 15-01-2009, 12:48   #6
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My photo 'stretched' over the years. It now looks like I'm in a hall of mirrors, or if the rest of me was to scale then I would be about 8ft tall.

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Unread 17-01-2009, 16:53   #7
bamurf
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My latest gripe... the information signs in Heuston. I was at platform 1 at Heuston earlier today waiting for the 15.35 Newbridge train. I had come in from Limerick and my train had been delayed because of debris on the tracks due to the storms so I was expecting delays and understood they would have been inevitable. I was in plenty of time, I got to platform 1 at 15.15 to check the information sign which said it was on time even though it wasn't waiting at the platform so I decided to wait there despite the inclement conditions. Had it been delayed, I'd have gone for a cup of tea or even a hot whiskey in that weather.
Roll on to 15.35, there was no sign of a train but the sign still said it was on time. Low and behold, at 15.36 this sign proclaimed the 15.35 had departed and was soon announcing that the 16.05 was on time. Do IR have some kind of stealth technology?
The train finally arrived in at 15.45, an IR staff member arrived down in a golf cart, I asked him why the sign had said the train had departed when it quite obviously hadn't? His reply was that the signs were not connected to the track!!! I replied that in that case they might as well turn them off.
The train eventually departed at 15.55. If I had known at 15.15 that I'd be waiting for more than half an hour, I wouldn't have hung around on a wet and windy platform. What's more, I'd probably have purchased some (hot) refreshments, adding to IR's profits at a time when they could badly do with them. I'm sure many others would have done the same. Once again IR's incompetance not only pisses off customers but also costs them money.
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Unread 21-02-2009, 12:15   #8
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Well it finally happened, after less than 2 months, my annual ticket has given up the ghost. It got rejected by, and stuck in, the ticket validator in park west on thursday. When the guy came out to check it he said that they don't go through the machines at all, even thouth I've put mine through about 100 times. It would be ridiculous for IR to issue tickets that couldn't be used in their ticket machines but it's nearly as bad for their staff to be so ill informed as to think they couldn't. It's a joke.
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