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Sunday 3 December 2023 Dublin: 0°C
Eamonn Farrell/ File photo

Irish Rail introducing measures to deal with reservations not appearing over pre-booked seats

Customers have expressed frustration at their reservation name or number not appearing above the seat they have booked.

IRISH RAIL IS introducing a number of measures to improve its reservation service after complaints about bookings not appearing above pre-booked seats.

A number of customers have expressed frustration at their reservation name or number not appearing above the seat they have booked, often arriving to find another passenger sitting in their seat.

When asked about the issue, an Irish Rail spokesperson said: “While we have improved reliability of the system significantly, we are in the process of equipping a range of regional stations with new automated access points which will ensure the reservation details are uploaded automatically.

“This will happen prior to the start of the journey when the train ID is inputted in the cab, and will mean that there be less human intervention required. We will continue to monitor the system reliability on an ongoing basis.”

They added that the company is also introducing “customer service officers” across Intercity services “who can assist customers with seat reservation issues, including advising which seats are reserved, and addressing issues when other customers sit in pre-booked seats”. 

Apology and refund 

Irish Rail recently apologised to the Irish Naval Association (INA) and refunded the group €360 after members boarded a train from Dublin to Sligo to find their booking reservations were not displayed and other passengers were sitting in their seats.

In a letter sent to Transport Minister Shane Ross in October, a spokesperson for the group said they pre-booked seats because some of their members are elderly and/or have disabilities. has seen this letter, and other complaints sent to Ross about Irish Rail, via a Freedom of Information request. Ross and his department are not involved in the day-to-day running of transport services but members of the public sometimes contact them about issues they have experienced.

The letter noted that after “a lengthy walk” to the train “at the far end of the platform” at Connolly Station, INA members found that “many of our seats were already occupied” when they boarded the train.

letter shne ross iva DTTAS DTTAS

The letter stated that there was “no indication” the seats were books and members had to “with embarrassment” explain to other passengers that they were occupying their seats.

‘Technical problem’

An official on the platform reportedly said the issue was caused by “a technical problem outside his control”.

The letter said that ‘Irish Naval Association’ appeared over the seats more than 25 minutes into the journey on 20 September, “but by then we were scattered all over two carriages”.

On the return journey on 23 September, the same issue happened. The group travelled to Sligo to attend a ceremony commemorating the fallen of the Spanish Armada in 1588.

When contacted about the issue, Terry Cummins of the INA confirmed that members have since been refunded by Irish Rail after an initial delay. 

“I am happy to report that Irish Rail were good enough to give our group a full refund to our satisfaction.”

Cummins said that when INA members travelled from Dublin to Waterford and back in November, there were no issues and the reservation name was correctly displayed over their pre-booked seats. 

“We are happy whatever problems existed in the past seem to have been resolved,” Cummins said.

In relation to this specific incident, the Irish Rail spokesperson noted that the company had apologised and “refunded the group in question due to a seat reservation display issue which meant that there were then seat availability issues”.

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