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Missing your reserved Trenitalia Train: what happens?


Jul 26th, 2009, 10:51 AM
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Missing your reserved Trenitalia Train: what happens?

Sometimes it happens: you miss the Trenitalia long-distance train for which you hold a seat reservation. What happens in this case? The following is copied from my posting in www.slowtrav.com:

Let me give an example which should cover 95% of travellers:

ASSUMPTIONS (the results can change with different assumptions):

1. You hold a paper ticket at the "base" fare (i.e. a "regular", non-discounted ticket);

2. You are travelling on any one of the long-distance trains (i.e. NOT a "regionale" ("R") train for which seat reservations are not possible);

3. You miss your reserved train by LESS THAN THREE HOURS;

4. There is another train departing within five minutes of your arrival at the train station, which is of the "same category" as the train you missed (e.g. an "ES" train).

You basically have TWO choices:

A. Stand in line at the ticket counter to request a seat on a later departing train, which departs within three hours of the scheduled departure time of train you missed (but see exception below); or

B. "Hop-on" the later-departing train without securing a new seat reservation, but AFTER having "punched" your paper ticket in the little yellow machine by the track. (The train you "hop-on" must depart no more than three hours later than the scheduled departure time of the train you missed (but see exception below)).


If you "stand in line", you'll miss the later-departing train which leaves in 5 minutes, so you may want to simply "hop on" this train after punching the paper ticket in the yellow machine. However, you won't have a reserved seat on this new train. You'll need to flag down the ticket agent on the train, who will collect the 8 Euro "fine" (for being on a train for which you don't have a reserved seat), and direct you to the "unreserved" railcar dedicated to travellers such as yourself, you don't have a reserved seat. Not all trains have such an "unreserved" railcar, but may nevertheless have several unreserved seats.

If you don't like this choice, or don't want to pay the 8 Euro "fine", then you must secure a new seat reservation on a later-departing train by standing in line at the ticket counter. At some larger stations, you can do this directly at the departure platform for AV-Fast and AV trains only, where uniformed personnel have laptop computers on rolling tables at their disposal.

NOW, if you have an ELECTRONIC ticket, the rules above still apply, except that you don't have to "punch" the ticket if you "hop-on" the later-departing train, since this applies only if you have a paper ticket.

BEWARE: If you choose to "hop-on" a later departing train which is of a "higher category", you'll need to pay the difference in fare between the fare you paid for the ticket you're holding, and the fare for the "higher category" train. E.g: you board an AV train, but hold a ticket for an IC train. You'll also have to pay the 8-Euro "fine" described above.

BEWARE: If you "hop-on" a later-departing train of "lesser category", you won't get a refund for the difference in price, if you actually paid more than the cost of the ticket on the new train, plus the 8 Euro "fine".

BEWARE: If you hold an ELECTRONIC ticket, you may NOT "hop-on" a Regionale train, because ticket agents on these unreserved trains don't have the electonic hand-held devices to check electonic tickets. If you do so, you'll be considered as having no ticket at all, and be fined accordingly.

As you can see, the "rules" for "hopping on" a later departing train can be tricky. That's yet another reason to stand in line at the ticket counter to get a reserved seat on a later departing train.

NOTE: There is one very narrow exception to the rule that you cannot "hop-on" a later-departing train more than three hours after the scheduled departure time of the train you missed. Here is an example which illustrates the exception: you are booked on an IC train departing at 12 noon. You miss this train. The NEXT later-departing train (of equal or lesser "category") does not leave until 15:30. You may "hop-on" this train at 15:30 (even though it departs more than three hours later). There is yet another train departing at 16:30. You CANNOT "hop-on" the train leaving at 16:30.

NOTE: The foregoing discussion applies to the "BASE" fare ticket. There are different rules for discounted tickets, as well as for the "FLESSIBILE" fare ticket. Consult the Trenitalia website for further information.

NOTE: The foregoing discussion does NOT apply to tickets for regional trains (treni "Regionali" or "R"). These trains are UNRESERVED, and paper tickets don't specify a particular departure date or time. Such ticket is valid for any "Regionale" train departing within 60 days of ticket purchase (as long as the ticket is not "punched"), between the city pair specified. Once the ticket is "punched" in the little yellow machines, it must be used within 6 hours, in most cases.

click on "Trenitalia",
the fare category concerned, i.e. "Base", "Flessibile", "Amica", etc.
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