VR blames latest problems on ticket vending machines
Machines shut down to make sure other sales channels function
The new train ticket machines at Finnish railway stations are still out of action. According to the state-owned railway company VR, online ticket sales, telephone sales, and sales at ticket windows at train stations are operating properly. VR has increased its sales staff at stations to cope with the backlog.
VR closed down the ticket machines on Monday to avoid problems with other ways of acquiring tickets. The machines account for about ten per cent of railway ticket sales.
“The machines have been kept out of use deliberately because we suspect that they might have something to do with this capacity problem”, says Mika Heijari, head of communications at VR.
VR is not guessing when the machines might be in use again.
Heijari denies that the problems facing ticket sales would have caused financial losses for VR. He says that ticket sales have actually increased.
“From Wednesday last week when this new system was opened, we have sold more tickets than ever before.”
Commenting on reports that people have been able to ride trains for free because conductors have not always had time to sell tickets to all of those who were not able to get tickets from the station, Heijari noted that millions of people travel on VR trains each week. “If there are 10, 20, or 50 people riding for free, it won’t bankrupt us.”
The new system has brought greater variation in ticket prices, and conductors have had to spend time explaining the new pricing system to the passengers.
Previously in HS International Edition:
Finnish state railways VR is to launch demand-based pricing (2.9.2011)
Rail ticket woes continue (20.9.2011)