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Trains in Italy: Reading Your Train Ticket - Onboard

Alice Twain

This section updated October 2004 because the regulations have changed. Now you MUST purchase your ticket before you get on a train or face a 25 euro fine (unless you are getting on a local train and the ticket office is closed or the machine broken).

Ticketless Travel on the Eurostar

For people traveling on the Eurostar trains who purchased online (ticketless), a ticket like the one below will be printed on the train by the conductor. Wait for the conductor to come to your seat and show him the printout of the email from your purchase (it has the code number) and he will print a ticket for you.

Click to see larger image

Upgrading Your Train Ticket Onboard

If you happen to be on a crowded train with a non-reserved second class Intercity ticket or a Eurostar ticket, you can move to first class and ask to pay the difference plus a 8 euro fee. You will be issued the kind of ticket shown above. The image above shows such a case. I had missed my train and on the following train I could only find a first class seat, so I paid the difference and fee.

Remember that you can travel first class with a second class ticket with no need to pay any difference in price as long as you don't sit down. Sometimes I have done this on short trips when even the corridors in second class were too crowded.

You Must Buy Your Ticket Before You Get On the Train

It is a whole different situation if you didn't have the time to buy the ticket prior to departure. Until September 2004 tickets could be issued on the trains with a modest fee of 5 euro. Starting October 2004 the fee is 25 euro. You must pay the fee and pay for the ticket, then you will be allowed to travel to your destination.

The fine does not apply on Regionale, Diretto or Interregionale trains in case you have boarded the train at a station that does not have a ticket office, whose ticket office is closed, where there is no ticket machine, or where the ticket machine is broken. If this happens, start looking for the conductor as soon as you board the train and ask him to issue the ticket, explaining that you could not buy it anywhere at your departure station.

Written by Alice Twain, a regular on the Slow Travel Forums. Alice is Italian and lives in Milan. Read her blog in Italian: A Typesetter's Day 3.0. See her Slow Travel Member page.

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