The Irish Times’s Pricewatch guy Conor Pope has an interesting blog about booking seats on Irish trains here. What I find fascinatiing is the way Iarnrod Eireann have effectively accepted that once you are on the train, you’re on your own.
” Irish Rail spokesman Barry Kenny admits that “it wouldn’t be the case that there will always be someone on hand” to assist someone with a reserved seat or to ask the cider swilling gent to move along because “we have to take account of the cost environment” He expresses the hope that a more mature passenger body, as they grow more familiar with the reservation system, might be able to look after themselves.”
It’s a very Irish solution, that the reasonable idea that having a seat number entitling one to use that seat is not the same as actually using that seat, and does require a Mad Max style willingness to possibly engage in hand to hand combat to get what you want in a world without rules or order, ie the Dublin-Cork train.
The strange thing is, I think IE’s reputation would actually go up if it, along with Dublin Bus, actually got heavy with customers. A couple of ex Polish paratroopers walking up and down the train and the problem’s solved. Same with smoking on buses. Let the driver call a number, have a jeep with four “security consultants” meet the bus at the next stop, and f**k the transgressors off the bus. The rest of us would all mutter the same thing under our breath. Proper order.