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Extra staff planned for Irish Rail trains to help deal with seating issues

Names not appearing above pre-booked seats has been an issue for some time.

Image: Eamonn Farrell/RollingNews.ie

ADDITIONAL CUSTOMER SERVICE officers will be on board Irish Rail’s Intercity services this year.

The officers are already present on the Dublin-Cork and Dublin-Belfast routes. Their role will be separate to the ticket inspectors on board.

A spokesperson for Irish Rail said the extra personnel will help customers deal with seating issues such as people’s names or booking reference numbers not appearing above pre-booked seats.

“Seat reservation displays are an area we’ve put a lot of focus on to improve, with reliability much stronger than in the past, but we are working to enhance this further.

“[The officers] will also have seating manifests so will be able to assist customers if there is any issues with displays,” the spokesperson said, adding that the move is “part of a wider programme to enhance customer service”.

It was something we had planned earlier, but has been delayed by industrial relations issues which culminated in the Labour Court pay agreement reached in December.

A spokesperson for Rail Users Ireland said, despite the presence of such officers on board the Dublin-Cork and Dublin-Belfast routes, customers have still reported issues.

“I have personally been asked to leave the coach I had a reservation in by the train host when I asked them to provide me with the seat I had booked.”

The spokesperson said the “core issue” is that reservations are “consistently” not displayed or appear five minutes before departure, when someone else is already likely to be in the seat.

They added that some customers refuse to move from pre-booked seats “through ignorance or just a plain refusal to obey the protocol concerning seats”.

Browser issues

Other issues recently reported to Rail Users Ireland include customers being unable to book tickets online due to their browsers apparently being out of date.

One woman said she was unable to book a train ticket online for this reason, despite trying to book via a number of devices, which she said had been updated with the latest software.

The online price for the Dublin to Cork ticket he wanted to buy was €19.99, but she said she ended up paying over €60 when buying the one-way ticket at the train station.

The woman said she was “in shock” at finding out there was such a price difference, noting that this could have a negative impact on tourism. She said that when he raised the issue with the ticket seller, they told her buying the ticket at a station is always more expensive.

A spokerson for Irish Rail said online and phone line fare are “promotional”. Customers who have issues booking tickets online can call 1850 366 222 to complete the booking.

“We recommend customers keep their systems up to date in line with the developer’s latest versions for all internet usage,” the spokesperson added. A list of browsers supported by Irish Rail is available here.

Rail Users Ireland said it is aware of some customers facing issues booking tickets online.

“The browser requirements are driven by the need to use strong encryption.

“There has been a major push in this area by the IT industry on this and rules for accepting credit cards … some people with older devices can’t upgrade to the more recent versions,” a spokesperson said.

Read: ‘My heart sinks’: Names for pre-booked seats still not appearing for some Irish Rail customers

Read: The boss of Irish Rail is quitting and moving to Australia

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Órla Ryan

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