Thursday, July 25, 2024

Pre-booked seats causing confusion on packed trains

A Mullingar man has spoken out about what he sees as deficiencies in the way Irish Rail run services from Sligo to Mullingar.
Jackie Kiernan, who often travels to Mullingar with his son, who is disabled, said that the pre-booking system that currently exists is causing havoc for passengers who use the service.
He also questioned why extra carriages where not made available during busy periods, citing the Easter holidays as an example and the recent Longitude Festival also saw trains packed to capacity.
“If I was running a business like that, I would make sure I knew what was going on in Dublin. Someone should be looking at what events are on,” he suggested.
He said he was critical of the pre booking service as there is no indication as to which seats are booked until a moments before the train departs . “There is a little window with each of the four seat numbers and the name pops up on that. Before I sit down I take a picture of the little window to prove it’s blank because 10 minutes before the train departs, the driver turns on and off the engine and all the seats that are booked then come up. Why don’t they come up before he opens the train? The doors should not be opened until people know which seats are booked. To me it looks like they are trying to improve departure time, and I applaud them for that, but it is causing havoc.”

Arguments and rows
Jackie said that in the above photo, his friend had actually pre booked a seat for the train, but due to the amount of people on the train, he was unable to find it. “That picture was taken in Enfield or Kilcock and we still had to come to Maynooth,” he commented.
Jackie said that he, as with most passengers, would not take a pre booked seat, but has refused to move on numerous occa- sions, on principle, and produces photographic evidence if asked to move. “I said to the driver once that they could throw me off the train, but there would be a photo on Twitter in a couple of minutes showing that I got on the train at a 2.45pm and there wasnosignofanamein the panel. I wouldn’t have sat there if the name was there. It’s an Irish Rail problem,” he remarked.
He suggested that more planning around large events such as the Longi- tude Festival, would mean less conflict between passengers and that offering priority seats to passengers and designated carriages for pre bookers would mean less confusion.
“The 9am train out of Sligo on Saturday is the first train, so that has a knock on effect by the time it gets to Mullingar. At Easter, I got off the train in Maynooth, it was that bad, and caught a commuter twenty minutes later instead. There was a lot of people standing in the carriages and no one could move and there was a lot of families and people trying to get on and off with buggies,” he said.
Another commuter said that he witnesses daily arguments when pre booked passengers ask
those seated to move. “The system for booking tickets has never really taken off, judging by the amount of arguments, rows and moving off seats that takes place. There are just constant arguments in relation to the seats because there is no way of knowing which seat is booked. There is no designated carriage and it’s just a complete mess.”
He said the current system means that even passengers who take their seat up to an hour in advance of departure often have to move. They could have had their pick of any other seat on the train, if they had known which seats were not taken but now they are left standing!”

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