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Complaints over prices charged by Irish Rail

We received this e-mail from a ValueIreland.com reader who had some recent problems with the weird pricing model used by Irish Rail.

Yesterday I went back to my house in Dublin from the train station at Ballymote Co. Sligo where I spent Christmas with my parents. I had got a lift to my parents but there was no-one I could get a lift back to Dublin with so decided to get the train.

I wanted to go one-way so that the next time I visited Ballymote for a weekend I could pop there and back with one ticket purchase. I was told that I was as well to get a return ticket as they are priced the same, in other words I’m being charged €44 to go one way from Ballymote to Dublin.

Its a monthly return but I wasn’t planning on returning until say Patricks Day or Easter. This morning I checked on-line and it is actually possible to book a one-way fare from Dublin to Ballymote for €20 but this can’t be done the other way around.

Its bad enough that the price of a ticket has risen nearly €10 since the Greens got into power but can’t they give everyone a fair one-way option. Where is this money going?

There was no one on the train checking tickets, and it was an Arrow Commuter train which are no more comfortable than a bus. Can you let me know if anyone else is unhappy at these train prices, surely someone else has complained.

We’ve received a few mails about this kind of issue in the past, and I’ve posted about this before as well. I see that this issue has also been raised recently on AskAboutMoney.com.

Unfortunately, the short answer to all of this is that there’s not a whole lot that consumers can do about the pricing models employed by Irish Rail. Our only real option is to either use their service, or as mentioned on the AAM site, avoid using them.

Though, I suppose we could lobby our local politicians to have them lobby the Minister for Transport to see if he could get Irish Rail to change their pricing policy – though I can guess how successful that might be.

As it turns out, on the same Sunday evening, our reader could have flown from Sligo to Dublin, one way, for €25 – almost half the price of the one way train journey. Not the most obvious competition for Irish Rail, but effective on this occasion.

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