New PKP IC Ticketing tested – part 1

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‘Rafal’ and the PKP IC website: http://intercity.pl/pl/

(Click image to go to website.)

Early in Febuary, PKP IC launched a new website which encourages passengers to purchase and print their own tickets via the Internet. Two months later, on 15 April, IC introduced the e-bilet, electronic ticketing – no paper ticket is necessary, just show the conductor the ticket code on your laptop, tablet or smartphone.

Nobody likes hanging around in ticket queues, and at busy stations it can take half an hour or more to research one’s journey (at a separate window!) so the new ticketing system – if it delivers – will make life easier for Internet-savvy passengers. PKP IC boss, Janusz Malinowski, is expecting the new system will help to boost ticket sales. So having given PKP IC a fair bit of time to iron out any bugs, BTWT’s own veteran software tester, took a look at how well the system performs in practice.

Googling ‘PKP IC’ takes the one to intercity.pl/pl/.  There is a button to go to the English language version of the system intercity.pl/en/ on the top right hand corner of the page and Rafal a ‘virtual assistant’ on the left. Rafal, like many flesh and bone employees of IC, is very courteous, but not much help! The first journey that I tried to set up was Lodz to Krakow Perhaps Rafal can help? Here is my ‘conversation’ with him translated into English. (Rafal is not available on the English version of the website.)

Rafal. Remember that if you want to talk, I’ll be here to answer your questions.

BTWT. Great! How much is a ticket from Lodz to Krakow?

Rafal. The price of railway tickets depends on the length of the journey and the number of changes. Ring the railway information office and you will quickly discover the price of a ticket.

BTWT. If I wanted to ring the railway information office I would not be asking you!

Rafal. The telephone numbers of the railway information office are: 19 757 from a landline phone and 42/20 55 007 from a landline. The cost of a call, irrespective of telephone operator, is 1.05 zloty ex Vat (1.28 zloty inc, VAT).

BTWT. Let’s try again. From which station in Lodz can I catch a train to Krakow?

Rafal. I’ve filled in your destination in the route planning system, just fill in the other fields and click ‘Find a connection’ to obtain the results.

BTWT. But I want to travel to Krakow!

Rafal. I’ve filled in your destination in the route planning system, just fill in the other fields and click ‘Find a connection’ to obtain the results.

BTWT. That’s better. Thank you!

Rafal. The pleasure is all mine.

Hmm. I’m not sure that I can take much more of Rafal, polite as he is. Let’s see what happens as I start typing in ‘Lodz’ as my starting point.

In spite of the fact that the bulldozers are flattening Fabryczna as this article is being written, it is the system’s first choice as a starting station for journeys from Lodz.

Predictably clicking ‘Szukaj Polaczenia’ (Find a connection) comes up with a warning ‘No connection found’, but there is no prompt that Fabryczna is no more, nor any hint that one should try inputting the journey details again starting from another station.

These days most trains from Lodz start from, or run through, Kaliska, so let me try that.

(Click to enlarge.)

Some ghastly choices. All three remaining connections would get me into Krakow about quarter of an hour before 11pm and there is no facility to buy tickets for any of them! I think I’ll skip the journey to Krakow this afternoon and check out the Polski Bus timetables instead.

…to be continued.

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One Response to “New PKP IC Ticketing tested – part 1”

  1. Podroznik Says:

    IC is making much of the “improvements” to the e-ticketing system, but it is mostly “putting lipstick on a pig”, the pig being the existing online booking system that has been around since circa 2006(?).

    Sure, now you don’t have to print out your ticket on paper. That’s good.

    However, you still cannot book a connection involving more than one IC train.

    You cannot book an EC train for a domestic journey (eg BWE from Warsaw to Poznan).

    You cannot book a train and take advantage of the IC family fare.

    You can now book an international ticket. To Berlin. To Berlin and back. But not a single ticket from Berlin to Poland.

    You can book a cheap promotional ticket on the new Gdynia-Berlin train from, say Gdansk to Berlin. But put in Bydgoszcz-Berlin, and only the standard fare is displayed. (They don’t tell you about the trick of booking a cheap Gdansk-Berlin ticket, and getting on in Bydgoszcz, or Inowroclaw, or Gniezno….)

    There was an article in Rynek Kolejowy the other day. IC sells about 10% of its tickets online – 10% after 6+ years!

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