Ticketless train travel?

Old Feb 7th, 2005, 07:47 PM
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Ticketless train travel?

I'm now working on purchasing train tickets in Italy using trenitalia.com. I have studied numerous posts, esp. by GAC, so I think I am ready to proceed, but just want to make sure I have this right. It seems that one can successfully bypass the "x" that indicates "not available" and get promotional rates. Am I correct in understanding that, with ticketless travel, you simply board the correct train and car, and bring your e-mail receipt with you? Also, how early to arrive ahead of time in Florence, Rome, Venice? This makes me a bit nervous, so I want to be sure. Thanks for your patient replies!
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Old Feb 7th, 2005, 08:17 PM
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Natalie, I can only comment on the last bits of your post - yes, you board the train with your email confirmation, hand it to the conductor who compares it to a handheld computer (or something) and prints out a confirmation, right on the spot. Easy.

I've trained out of Rome, Florence and Venice - 30 minutes prior to departure is fine for Florence and Venice but being me, I'd be at Termini in Rome 60 minutes ahead of time (but I tend to be too early for everything).

Cheers,
Linda
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Old Feb 7th, 2005, 11:18 PM
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Natalie, we really enjoyed the Eurostar train in Italy. There's a dining car too, and we took turns eating in the dining car, always leaving some of the family in seats to watch our luggage.

You may have already been warned, but don't leave your luggage unattended for even one second. Also, there aren't any porters, so if somebody is trying to help you carry your suitcases, they are either a thief, or else they are some random person who wants a tip, and believe me, they won't leave without the tip...they are very aggressive. Don't give your luggage to anyone.

Bring change to use for the bathrooms in the train station. There is an attendant in some of the train station bathrooms.

WATCH YOUR LUGGAGE IN THE TRAIN STATION!

On the train, if you want to eat in the dining car, there are several courses, and you don't have to order all of the courses, you can order a la carte for a cheaper meal. We thought the food was decent in the dining car.

The trenitalia web-site isn't so easy to use. I did succeed after many tries. It helps to keep an Italian/English translator open in case you run into a problem. Also once you buy tickets, there's a way you can go back on the site and check to see what you actually purchased, it should show all your purchases.

While I was purchasing train tickets on-line somebody somehow managed to try to use my credit card to charge a couple hundred dollars worth of pager charges (we don't have a pager). My credit card company caught it, was suspicious, called me, and we had to cancel that card.

Have a great trip. If you are prepared you can really relax and enjoy.
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Old Feb 8th, 2005, 05:42 AM
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Hi Natalie,

>It seems that one can successfully bypass the "x" that indicates "not available" and get promotional rates.<

I'm not aware of this. Could you elucidate, please.

> with ticketless travel, you simply board the correct train and car, and bring your e-mail receipt with you?<

For ES* trains, that is correct since your ticket is for that train only.

For IC trains, you have to collect your ticket at the station.

>Also, how early to arrive ahead of time in Florence, Rome, Venice?<

About 15-20 min so that you can get your bearings, find the tracks, etc.


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Old Feb 8th, 2005, 06:11 AM
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Some IC and ICplus trains in Italy now offer Ticketless travel as well as ES trains. You have to look carefully on the Trenitalia site to determine which specific trains offer ticketless travel. Even for those which do not, you can still purchase in advance through the website and obtain your paper ticket at the train station before boarding the train. This is true on all night trains, for example.

Obviously, if you choose to use the ticketless option on an IC or ICplus train, you will have a reserved seat on a designated railcar of that train (no different from an ES train).

Ticketless travel is great: no standing in line to purchase a ticket or obtain a paper ticket from an e-mail confirmation; you go directly to the train track and board your reserved train. The ticket agent on board identifies you by your confirmation number, and then prints you a paper ticket at your seat!

Apparently, the software on the English version of the Trenitalia site has not been completely fixed; nevertheless, the site does indeed work, and you can indeed purchase through the site.
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Old Feb 8th, 2005, 06:24 AM
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Hi GAC,

>It seems that one can successfully bypass the "x" that indicates "not available" and get promotional rates.<

Does that mean if the promo is Xed on the English site, one goes to the Italian site?



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Old Feb 8th, 2005, 10:20 AM
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In response to Ira's question...I just booked tickets successfully and got the promotinal eurostar rates without going to the Italian site. On the English site, enter date & time, select trip, etc. It will then present you with the itinerary and price (full fare). Beneath this, click on "other fares and promotions." A screen with all the special fares will come up, however, the Saturday special fare and eurostar 29/39 promo have an "x" next to them, so they look unavailable. I simply entered the number of tickets I wanted, ignoring the "X" and it went through with no problem. The purchase was confirmed by e-mail so I assume I'm o.k. The first time around I assumed that the "x" meant not available, but it didn't seem to. My price for tickets from Florence to Rome dropped from 45 euros to 29 euros! Hope this is helpful.
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Old Feb 8th, 2005, 10:24 AM
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Thank you, Natalie.

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Old Feb 8th, 2005, 12:24 PM
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Natalie (as well as many others, I'm sure), have figured out the software snafu on the English language version of the Trenitalia site, with respect to the "Eurostar a 29 Euro" promotion! The problem seems to be cosmetic in nature, and limited to the English language site. Tickets are indeed available at the discount rate of 29 Euros, at least for travel through April 30, 2005 (and perhaps beyond, time will tell).
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Old Feb 9th, 2005, 07:54 AM
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I've been looking at Trenitalia too for our trip in April. We had planned to buy our tickets after we got to Italy, but I'm wondering now if we would save a good deal of money by booking now & getting the online promotional rates. We're not likely to get those if we wait, right??

Ellen
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Old Feb 9th, 2005, 08:38 AM
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With GAC's assistance, I was able to finally book my tix for a couple of upcoming trips, but only on the italian version. My only concern is that I never rec'd an e-mail confirmation which I believe I'm expected to present to the conductor after boarding. At the time of booking, however, I printed out the pages showing that I had purchased my tix and then was able to go to the summary of requests and print that off too. So, I have my confirmation #s, seat/car #s and the payment has already gone thru on my Amex. Even after sending an e-mail to Trenitali's Help address with no reply, I'm hoping that as long as I have proper ID along with my confirm #s (and the plethora of paper I just mentioned above) I should have no problem on the train. If anyone has had a similar experience or any suggestions, I'm all ears. Final thought: I might actually be able to get a paper ticket at one of their machines as long as I have a confirm #...Anyone? Thanks.
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Old Feb 9th, 2005, 09:21 AM
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Kansas: yes, you should be able to get paper tickets before boarding your train, either from one of the automated ticket machines at the station, or from a live ticket agent behind the ticket windows.

Ellen: you MAY not be able to get the discount rates if you wait until a couple of days beforehand. It depends on the season of travel and specific itinerary. My suggestion is to lock in early if your savings are substantial and your travel plans are fairly definite. You may be able to switch to a LATER train up to one hour prior to the departure time of the originally scheduled train, if there are seats still available on the LATER train at the promotional rate. You would need to pay a reservation change fee of 5 Euros per ticket, however.
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Old Feb 9th, 2005, 01:28 PM
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GAC: Thanks for the response, I thought getting a paper ticket was still an option...of course that kind of defeats the purpose of ticketless, but no worries. I'm sure all will go swimmingly and I really appreciate your "alerts" to deals on the trains, it saved me a lot of money in the end.
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Old Feb 9th, 2005, 01:32 PM
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I think that the 'x' you are talking about appears because the web pag doesn't fing the associated image file while displaying. It has got notheing to do with ticket inavailability.
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Old Feb 9th, 2005, 01:50 PM
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kansas59: Happy to have helped you save some money. That's my most sincere hope in posting my many messages.
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