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Trenitalia Ticket Machine Quirk: check your schedules ahead of time!

Trenitalia Ticket Machine Quirk: check your schedules ahead of time!

Oct 1st, 2009, 08:56 PM
  #1  
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Trenitalia Ticket Machine Quirk: check your schedules ahead of time!

Prior to a recent train trip from Parma to Venice (all trains seemed to connect in Bologna), I had found via the Trenitalia website a connection of two regional trains one Parma to Bologna, another Bologna to Venice that was about $15 cheaper than taking a combination of the IC, ES, and regional trains. About 40 minutes before departure, I showed up at the Parma train station to buy my ticket from the handy yellow Trenitalia ticket machine...only to find that the two regional trains were not listed as a purchase option! The next best option given was an IC train leaving 30 minutes later from Parma and connecting (with less layover) to the same regional train I had planned to take - but costing $15 more. There was an earlier option too that cost about $30 more.

Puzzled, I went over to the Trenitalia ticket window and simply asked to purchase a ticket to Venice leaving at 8:30. He seemed to know it, didn't even look at a schedule and just rattled off the connection and times. Yep, that's the one I wanted. So I bought it. I took the trains without issue.

So why didn't the ticket machine offer me this cheaper option, when their own website did? Any ideas? Maybe it was just a quirk - but I think it pays to check ahead of time to know what train options there !
Andrew is offline  
Oct 1st, 2009, 09:27 PM
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Perhaps the machine was showing the fastest connections. Did you try selecting Parma/Bologna and purchased and then Bologna/Venice as two separate ticket purchases?
kybourbon is offline  
Oct 1st, 2009, 10:04 PM
  #3  
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Yes, I tried buying Parma-Bologna and Bologna-Venice separately on the machine. Both the regional trains were offered - just not as a combination. (I didn't try to actually purchase - maybe the combined price of two tickets would have cost more than buying just one, not sure.) If their website shows this combination, surely the ticket machine ought to as well?
Andrew is offline  
Oct 2nd, 2009, 06:22 AM
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I'm sure the cost would have been the same. When you have to change trains like that you have to have two tickets issued - one for each train.
kybourbon is offline  
Oct 2nd, 2009, 06:29 AM
  #5  
GAC
 
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Might be a systems limitation of the automated kiosk machines. Might also be a "sneaky" way of generating more revenue. Maybe you can't "connect" two regionale trains going in different "directions". I too have noted this about the automated machines: they don't always show the cheapest combination of trains to a particular destination. That's why it is sometimes better to stand in line at the teller window and request the train combination you want. In any case, good catch, Andrew.
GAC is offline  
Oct 2nd, 2009, 08:27 AM
  #6  
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kybourbon, FYI, when I purchased my Parma-Bologna/Bologna-Venice ticket from the guy at the ticket window, he issued me only a single ticket that said Parma-Venezia S.L. on it. Perhaps is the same cost as booking two separate tickets - like I said, I didn't check that.

GAC, I too wondered if this wasn't a way for Trenitalia to recover more revenue from me. It wanted to sell me for $15 more the IC train for the first leg instead of the regional train that was virtually empty as it turned out but would have had me take the same (crowded) regional train from Bologna to Venice. Anyway, just an FYI to travelers who care about this sort of thing. It is a good idea to have some basic idea of what train you might want to take on a particular day and note that before arriving at the station to purchase the ticket.
Andrew is offline  
Oct 2nd, 2009, 09:19 AM
  #7  
J62
 
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My guess is that it's a quirk of the computer system. I see the same thing when I try to find flights using something like orbitz or even an airline website. It won't show me all the combinations of flights from A to B to C if I do a search for A to C. Sometimes I want to find an earlier flight to force a longer connection. To do that I need to enter a multi-city request A-B then B-C
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