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Luas ticket prices

I have just received a printed copy of the fares for the new light rail service in Dublin, the Luas. It’s very strange – it costs more to buy a ticket from a machine at a station than it costs to buy the same ticket from a shop.

How can that be right? Surely the commission payable to a shop for selling a ticket is going to be a lot greater than the cost of operating vending machines?

The Luas website seems to be a bit of a mess. It doesn’t have the same prices as the printed brochure (it doesn’t mention the discount for buying through a retailer).

A lot of the critical information is contained in PDF’s. They tell you to ring them if you can’t open the PDF, and they will send it out to you. But what’s the point in that? That will just drive fares higher.

The customer charter is in the mysterious PPS format, which is about as proprietary as you can get. It’s hard to understand why, because all it is is a standard page, about A4 size.

They commit to respond to written comments within a week. But they don’t have an email address or even a fax number. It looks like they are trying to deter customers from making written comments.

I don’t mean to unduly criticise what is happening on the Luas. The Dublin City Council website is far worse, for example. But it isn’t a great start.

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  1. my guess: they’re funding the ticket machine contract through sales of those tickets alone. very bizarre.

    I’ll be interested to see how they get on with fare evasion; the part of Melbourne I lived in was one of the few parts where the tram inspectors would not board a tram in groups of less than 4 due to some rather unfriendly responses in the past, and *nobody* paid the fare. (except for me, because I’m overly law-abiding, and the other tourists. 😉

  2. I hear that the plan is that they will board trams in groups of 4 or so.

    I really wish them luck getting the honour system to work in Dublin. I hope they can get it to succeed, because it would make be a great way of operating other public transport services.

  3. The reason for the disparity in prices has been mentioned frequently in press reports. It’s to encourage people to buy their tickets in advance from shops and newsagents and not queue at the machines.
    I too have serious reservations about the honour system here. I lived in Belgium for a long time and plain clothes ticket inspectors would often board buses or metro carriages in a group and once the doors had closed they would announce their presence. I remember one evening, rush hour was coming to an end so while the carriage wasn’t jam packed it was still quite full. A team of inspectors got on at one station. By the time they reachd the next station they had checked everyone and hadn’t found a single fare dodger. I somehow don’t think that will happen here.
    The thing I worry more about though is if they do catch a fare dodger and take him/her to court what will happen?
    Dodger: But your honour, the tram driver didn’t ask me to pay.
    Judge: Fair enough. Case dismissed.