An 84-year-old Mullingar man has spoken of his dismay at being charged €12 when he tried to book a train seat online using his free travel pass.
Earlier this month Ardmore Road resident Brendan Doherty asked a relative to make an online booking for him with his travel card as he had recently spent time in hospital and was eager to secure a seat for his trip Dublin. The retired psychiatric nurse was shocked when his relative said that it would cost €12 (€10 booking fee, €2 transaction fee) to do so, while there would be a further charge of €1 if it was a credit card payment.
Speaking to the Westmeath Examiner, Mr Doherty said that he felt it was unfair that pensioners with travel cards would have to pay to use the online service.
“That’s not free travel for me. I didn’t bother with it. I’ll take my chance to go down and get the ticket in the office.
“I wanted to make sure that I would get a seat. I’ve been in hospital three times since Christmas and I didn’t want to be coming in and standing.”
Cllr Aidan Davitt says that it is a “disgrace” that pensioners with travel cards such as Mr Doherty are being charged “exorbitant fees” for trying to book online, when Irish Rail are encouraging people to do so.
“Many pensioners are struggling to make ends meet and their travel cards are vital benefits that enable them to meet family friends.
“At a time when were are constantly being told about the dangers of social isolation and loneliness amongst the elderly, pensioners should be able to book their seats online for nothing and enjoy their free travel pass without this.”