Countrylink online bookings...

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thadocta Chief Commissioner

Location: Katoomba

Anyone done this before?k to the old NSWGR (if they had had online back then, I know).

Just completed a booking from Sawtell to Katoomba, paid using Visa, and got the email confirmation. Was advised to print the email confirmation and carry it with me.

FIVE PAGES OF IT!

I know they needed to advise certain conditions in the email (just like the airlines do), and I know they will go by the manifest (just like the airlines go with what is in the computer), but why can't they just offer a single-page option to printout what you need to know when the train arrives at 22:18, instead of giving you five pages worth?

Sorry, rant over.

Dave

 
heisdeadjim Chief Commissioner

Can't you select which pages to print in your computer's printing application?

 
BigDaave Station Staff

Location: Newcastle

5 pages? For just the single trip or are you going return?

Return might make a tiny bit more sense. I've travelled with them once return and I had about 5 pages too if I recall correctly. Though, I agree it's a bit silly to make you waste that much paper when they print the same information in those coloured booklets they have. However you do need to show them the sheets as they're your tickets.

Perhaps you should give them the left over pages and request that they use it for recycling  Twisted Evil seeing as they claim to be environmentally "concerned"

 
taggy Chief Commissioner

Location: At Fassifern watching double Garratts.

G'day mate,

You really only need the first two pages of the email. The first one should have your name, PNR and ticket confirmation on it and the second should have the service/car/seat details on it.

I hate having to go through five pages when you really only need one.

 
Brianr Chief Train Controller

Location: Dunedin, New Zealand

Welcome to the world of online booking. I have just spent 2 months travelling in Europe and started off a with a thick folder of paper covering hotel, theatre, sightseeing and travel bookings which I happily put in the waste baskets as I go. 3 months last year in both Europe and USA had 2 folders.

I just booked Sydney - Melbourne return with Countrylink and there are 3 and a bit pages. Only one is really necessary.

I could be more selective and leave much of it on my laptop but I have a fear that it might be lost either physically or digitally.

 
bowralcommuter Chief Commissioner

Location: Asleep on an L90

Slightly irrelevant but I've been on quite a few Canberra trains to Sydney and they haven't checked my ticket most of the time. Laughing Going from Sydney is different though as they often check your ticket while waiting to depart at Central.

Agree with above post, the only info you need for tickets is name, seat and carriage, date and the service your boarding.

 
bingley hall Minister for Railways

Location: On a freight train to crazy town

Airlines are the same.

 
Gwiwer Rt Hon Gentleman and Ghost of Oliver Bulleid

Location: Loitering in darkest Somewhere

Airlines are the same.

- bingley hall

You're not kidding!

We always book online.  Partly the convenience, partly the ability to actually research the best deal without relying on an agent selling you the deal they claim is best while making the most commission.  Partly the ease of booking round-the-world flights from the home office.

A typical international airline ticket needs to carry about as much detail as will fit on half a page of A4.  A typical internet-booked airline ticket consists of between 5 and 8 pages most of which are the fine print T&Cs which one doesn't get from a travel agent anyway.

There is not always an option to selectively print the required pages and not always an option to show before printing which pages are actually required and which can safely be filed without printing.

On a more local scale we also book cinema tickets online.  Again three pages of print for each ticket and no they don't combine the booking onto one ticket; it is necessary to print out all six pages four of which are exact duplicates.  Only the bar code is actually required on entry.

We are almost at the stage of by-passing this amount of paper waste if we are prepared to trust electronic systems to reliably deliver codes to mobile phones and that they are then reliably scanned where and when required.  That is step too far into the void for me.  Give me something I can read in hard copy every time please.

 
Oldfart Chief Commissioner

Location: Right base for BK 11R

No big deal. As some have said, just print off and carry the operative page. Noticed in Europe that people book online and just use their smartphone screen as a ticket.

 
heisdeadjim Chief Commissioner

Ya gotta remember we're catering for the lowest common (stupid) denominator here. And no, not anyone here I mean out there. They HAVE to assume everyone is a blithering idiot.

"But.... but.... I didn't know this!" (Something in the T's & C's)

"Well, it was printed with your ticket...."

 
thadocta Chief Commissioner

Location: Katoomba

One thing I am worried about....

Given how ridiculously easy it would be to forge something like this....

My trip is Sawtell-Strathfield on Countrylink (reservation confirmed, details will be on manifest, price $55), then Strathfield to Katoomba, unreserved on CityRail (cost is normally $7.80, guess what, ticket value is $62.80).

But, as I said, given how ridiculously easy it would be to forge usch an email (all you would really need is a word-processing program), what happens if TO's come through on the CityRail service checking tickets?

Or am I just being a panic merchant?

(I know if they do come through, and they don't accept the email, and I receive an infringement notice, it will be easy to beat, but still just wondering).

As for other comments, I recently completed a 16 sector DONE5 with oneworld airlines, with a couple of side-trips, plus accommodation, etc. I'm hearing you about reams of paperwork, but that is understandable when dealing with five different airlines, 15 accommodation providers, plus various other rail systems, tour providers, rental car companies, and so on and so forth.

But when doing a simple Sawtell-Strathfield-Katoomba? Don't think so.

Dave

 
Speed Minister for Railways

With domestic air tickets, you can normally type your reservation number into your phone or a piece of paper than then print a boarding pass at the airport. It might mean that you have to get to the airport earlier.

Some people will "print" their boarding pass in advance and then display it on their smart-phone's screen. Airlines tend to accept these grudgingly and to warn you that they may not accept it next time.

Countrylink used to send online purchasers a PDF. I guess that you could have forged a PDF sufficiently to fool Cityrail staff as easily as you could the plain text mails that they send now.

PS: The last PDF that I got from Countrylink was in the first half of 2006. I travelled with them again in late 2006 and got a plain text mail. I'm surprised to hear that Craig got a PDF recently.

 
craigfitz1 Junior Train Controller

Last time  I did a CountryLink booking (earlier in July) it was simply a one page PDF ticket sent to my email address.

So is this 5-page print-out a new development, introduced in the past few days?

I Also noticed on a Canberra-Sydney trip two weeks ago, that two passengers in my carriage simply flashed their smartphones at the conductor, in lieu of any paper ticket. He didn't bat an eyelid at this.

Also, when he checked my ticket, he simply asked for my name and didn't bother looking at the ticket. This simple name-checking has happened on my last few trips.

What I'd really like to see on the on-line booking site is the abilty to make a seat selection, a la airlines. I know that they may not want me to make some outrageous request (such as booking myself into the last carriage of a 7 car XPT on a slow day, where I would be the only passenger in the car). Maybe some tweaking of the software would allow a person to select, say,  a window or aisle seat? Or is this harder to do than what I think it is.

 
Brianr Chief Train Controller

Location: Dunedin, New Zealand

In England, at least with Virgin, you can select window or aisle. However my beef with them is that, in both 2010 and 2011, my (window) seat had a blank wall next to it on 3 of the 4 journeys. The trains are very similar to our XPTs but the seat configuration ends up with some seats having no window. The scenery between London and Manchester is not stunning but I prefer to look out of the window. In Ireland you have a similar online setup to the airlines in which you select your seat from plan. They just show one car so you cannot choose any old car. However I discovered that reservations are not really necessary in Ireland.

I have just booked a return trip Sydney to Melbourne. Fortunately because I wanted a sleeper one way I had to use the phone and she said it had automatically given me an aisle set on the day trip but she changed it for me.

 
albert3801 Chief Commissioner

Location: Werrington, NSW

If you can request window or aisle at a Countrylink office there is no reason why it couldn't be done on line.  The Countrlink booking office staff are usually very helpful - last time on a trip to Dubbo they even offered me a choice of carriage.

 

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