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Help with Train Tickets (Bologna, Florence, Padova, Venice)

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Aug 11th, 2005, 11:29 AM
  #1
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Help with Train Tickets (Bologna, Florence, Padova, Venice)

Hi, I'm starting to think about train tickets again as I'm leaving in three weeks. I'll arrive on Sept. 2 and leave on Sept. 5. Is it ok to buy tickets when I get there? Are there advantages to buying in advance?

I've checked some old threads by clicking on GAC, and I see this:

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...2&tid=34600867

If you travel on an Intercity (IC) train between Venice and Florence, instead of the Eurostar Italia (ES) train, you can opt for the 15 Euro special promotional discount "Freedom to Travel" described in the Trenitalia website.

I see more info on freedom fares here:

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...2&tid=34554549

Will the freedom fares be useful? (I've not yet checked the fares yet, but I don't think that they're very expensive, so I suspect that the freedom fares won't be really useful.)

Also I see some info on fares that start from 29 euros:

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...2&tid=34548227

These are the train tickets I expect to buy:

Bologna -> Florence
Florence -> Padova
Padova -> Venice
Venice -> Bologna

Thanks.

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Aug 11th, 2005, 11:34 AM
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Another question -- from taking a quick look, the special offers are subject to amendment fees if I miss the train -- if I understand correctly.

Now, if I buy my train tickets in Italy and miss a train for some reason, what's the fee to take the next one? I assume I'd lose the reservation fee for the train -- and how much is this typically? Do IC trains need seat reservations?

Thanks again.
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Aug 11th, 2005, 11:55 AM
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No required seat reservations for IC. Therefore you can get on any IC for the route of your ticket. At popular travel times, you may end up sitting in the hall or standing. You can pay a few euros extra for a reserved seat if you want. It will be a separate ticket showing a specific seat on a specific train. If you miss that train, you lose the reservation, but you can still use the regular ticket on any train for that route.

For your popular routes there should be plenty of trains available once you're there. You might purchase all your tickets at your first stop.
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Aug 11th, 2005, 12:17 PM
  #4
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Thanks ellenem. Just what I need to hear.

But if there're ways to save by buying tickets in advance, I'm interested in hearing them too.
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Aug 11th, 2005, 12:30 PM
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I don't think many of your routes will cost more than 25E with several only 10-15E. That's alot of train travel in 3 days. Of course you can save more money taking R trains but with your limited amount of time I would spend the few Euro extra for the faster trains.
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Aug 11th, 2005, 12:44 PM
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You won't save any money on these routes with the promotional fares.

Indeed, from Padova to Venice and from Venice to Bologna, you can save even more money by taking one of the Regionale (R) or Interregionale (IR) trains (no seat reservations possible) instead of the more expensive Intercity (IC) or Eurostar Italia (ES).

Buy the tickets once you're in Italy, either at the ticket window of the train station, or at an automated ticket machine.

If you opt for an ES train, your seat reservation comes automatically with the ticket. If you opt for an IC train, requesting a seat reservation is not a bad idea, particularly if travelling in second class. If you miss your IC train, you can take a later IC train, but you'll need to purchase a fresh seat reservation for an additional 3 Euros per seat (or risk standing on the later IC train).

Worst case, without a seat reservation on an IC train , you'll stand one hour between Florence and Bologna, and 30 minutes between Padova and Venice.

From Florence to Padova, I recommend that you go ES with an automatic seat reservation. The incremental cost over a reserved seat on the IC train is miniscule.

From Venice to Bologna, I'd take either an ES or (to save money) an IR without a seat reservation.

If you have an ES ticket and miss your train, DON'T simply board the next ES train. You'll be required to pay a fine of 8 Euros (because you've boarded a train for which you don't have a reserved seat, where all seats are reserved). Instead, go to the ticket window and EXCHANGE your ticket for a new ticket on the later ES train. This is free of charge.

If you have an unreserved ticket for a IC, IR or R train, you can board any such train. The ticket itself is valid for two months, or for 6 hours once it's been "validated" (punched in the little yellow machine).

Don't forget to "validate" your ticket (except an ES ticket, which does not need to be "validated"). If you forget, you COULD be fined 25 Euros!
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Aug 11th, 2005, 01:14 PM
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I know, ky. Actually I'm also thinking of going to Siena, so there'll be a bus ride too.

I also may take advantage of the special Bologna offer (50 euros for hotel + train rides) -- if so I'll have to make an additional round-trip between Bologna and Florence.

But in February, I was in four cities on the same day, so I've done this sort of thing before.

And thanks, GAC. I was hoping you'd respond, and as usual, your response is clear and speaks for itself.

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Aug 17th, 2005, 02:39 PM
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I've just checked the trenitalia website again and I thought that I would share the fare information for these routes. Fares: 2nd/1st

Bologna -> Florence
ES* 13.17/18.59; IC: 10.75/13.48 (if the seat reservation is 3 euros, then IC + reservation looks more expensive).

Florence -> Padova
ES* 22.47/32.02

Padova -> Venice (Sta. Lucia)
IC 7.44/8.58
IR 2.5/3.75
ES* 8.98/11.88

Venice -> Bologna
IR/D 7.9/12.55
IC 15.09/19.94
ES* 18.33/26.75

I only checked the trains I'm interested in, so there isn't complete fare info for all fare classes. But it looks like there're some savings to be made for Padova -> Venice and Venice -> Bologna with an IR train.

Thanks again.
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Aug 18th, 2005, 11:30 AM
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A quick question on missing trains. GAC wrote:

"If you have an ES ticket and miss your train, DON'T simply board the next ES train.... Instead, go to the ticket window and EXCHANGE your ticket for a new ticket on the later ES train. This is free of charge."

Now, but if the next train after the ES is IC, say (or IR or whatever). Can I go to the ticket window and say I want that train? Or am I restricted to taking ES trains if I buy an ES ticket? Can I get it refunded in that instance?

Thanks again.

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Aug 18th, 2005, 12:19 PM
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Technically you need an IC ticket for that route.

However,

Once we were ready to get on a train almost an hour before our ES departed (Florence-Rome). We decided that rather than wait, we'd just get on the IC that was about to leave and search for an empty 2nd class seat. (We knew our 2nd class ES tickets cost more than the IC tickets.) The conductor paused a moment when he saw our tickets, didn't say a word, punched them and moved on. Did we do the right thing? Who knows? But this particular coductor didn't seem to care. We'd overpaid a bit for our seat, but didn't have to wait.

I know this doesn't really answer your question. . .
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Aug 18th, 2005, 12:30 PM
  #11
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Well it does, in a way. I could obviously do the same, but it'd be nice to know if that's kosher in general.

But there're obviously cases when you just don't have very much time to head to the window and you just want to get on some train, which is why I'm asking now.
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Sep 1st, 2005, 04:28 AM
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Hi, another quick question -- it's never cheaper to buy a round-trip ticket, is it?

Just asking in case I decide to do a roundtrip between Florence and Bologna (to check out nightlife in Bologna).

Thanks!
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Sep 1st, 2005, 06:17 AM
  #13
ira
 
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Hi OP,

In Italy you pay by the km, so RT is not cheaper.

It is more convenient to by a RT.

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Sep 1st, 2005, 06:25 AM
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Thanks. I guess I'll buy r/t if I decide to venture out at night.

When I was in Copenhagen, though, I actually should have bought a one-way ticket from the airport as I subsequently bought some sort of Metropolitan ticket that covered the return. Of course I bought r/t then thinking that it'd save me time.

This won't happen for Italy though.
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Sep 1st, 2005, 01:25 PM
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You say a fine of 25 Euro might be imposed if your ticket is not 'validated'.

May I ask what is the proceedure for validating the tickets?
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Sep 1st, 2005, 01:33 PM
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Somewhere in the train station or on the platform, there will be a yellow box with a slot in the front mounted on the wall. Stick the end of your ticket all the way in the slot and the box will print the date and time on the ticket. This validates the ticket for use.

Since tickets for all trains not requiring reservations are good for any train along the same route, by validating the ticket you ensure that the ticket won't be reused on another day. (Sometimes the conductors don't get around to punch your ticket.).
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Sep 1st, 2005, 01:35 PM
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To validate a train ticket in Italy you will see smallish yellow boxes by the tracks. You put ticket in this box and the ticket gets stamped.
You will find these boxes easily. Just don't forget to do it!!
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