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New train tickets aim to beat black market

New train tickets aim to beat black market

Published: 01 Sep 2009 16:48 GMT+02:00
Updated: 01 Sep 2009 16:48 GMT+02:00

Swedish Rail (SJ) will on Wednesday move to broaden its personalised ticket system in a bid to thwart the black market in cheap tickets and improve customer service, the company said in a statement.

From one o’clock on Wednesday morning most tickets (with some exceptions) for the Swedish train company will be personalised and will contain the text ‘Personal ticket’. Travellers with these tickets must show their identification on board for the ticket to be valid.

The second-hand market in train tickets on auction sites such as Tradera (the Swedish version of eBay) has caused problems for the Swedish rail authorities over a long period of time. SJ has been particularly concerned about the opportunistic purchasing of cheap tickets for on-selling to the public at inflated prices.

“We want people to have the chance to get cheap tickets, not for people to profit on the black market,” Ulf Wallin, vice head of SJ’s press office told The Local.

The move will put an abrupt stop to the online private sale of SJ train tickets, even for those who wish to sell tickets they find they are no longer able to use. However, SJ will continue to offer excess tickets for auction on the Tradera website, Wallin said.

All tickets that are designated as either ‘changeable’ (‘Kan ombokas’) or ‘not changeable’ (‘Kan ej ombokas’) will be personalised. Tickets that are designated as ‘refundable’ (‘Kan återbetalas’) will not be personalised. All travel on a SJ commuter card (Pendlarkort) in Mälardalen, or with ‘single’ tickets (‘enkelbiljett’) purchased in LOKA (the blue automatic ticket machines) will remain non-personalised.

“Personal tickets make it easier for us to inform travellers of, for example, timetable changes and traffic problems. Moreover, through recording the traveller’s name in connection with the booking it reduces the possibility of speculative second-hand selling,” said Nina Hornewall, SJ sales director, in a statement.

Most tickets sold by the rail company are already personalised, Ulf Wallin said: “Already today, for 60 percent of SJ tickets you need to show an SJ card, such as ‘ticketless’ tickets, last-minute special-priced tickets for students and the elderly, and e-tickets. So from tomorrow, you will have to show your ID for all tickets. So it’s not a revolution.”

“It is a further step forward which will mean better service. Personal tickets will the benefit both SJ and travellers,” said Hornewall.

Stuart Roberts (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

17:49 September 1, 2009 by eZee.se
Hmmm, pity i didnt know about these cheaper tickets, and now its too late :(
18:31 September 1, 2009 by Lea
Cheap tickets will still be there, they will only become "personal", so no big deal.

However, i wonder if this has any effect on return policy, such as, before that an unfortunate traveler could have sold his/her ticket to someone else for at least some money. If SJ return policy is harsh, after this change the money will be just lost. Is it a part of the risks related to a "cheap ticket" anyway?
23:16 September 1, 2009 by henry.bn
In Sweden as in Britain, train ticket pricing is far too complicated. Just two rates are necessary - standard and peak. This optimises revenue and leaves things simple. Train operators can easily predict which trains will be heavily loaded.

Seat reservations should be separate from travel tickets, and it would be a good idea if window seats were just that and did not have obstructed visibility.

Again, as in Britain, SJ needs more carriages. Trains should be made up with the right number of seats to suit the expected number of passengers, even if this means using older carriages at busy times.

This is nearly impossible with fixed formation units like the X2000 which in general can only be either 5 or 10 cars long. It means having locomotives and carriages, which is cheaper anyway due to the amount of high-tech equip for signalling etc.in modern driving cabs - which is wasted when the driving cabs end up in the middle of a two-unit train. This happens when you get a double unit X2000 or UK Voyager.

So SJ, please order a fleet of additional carriages and off the peg locomotives such as the Bombardier TRAXX to power them.
04:49 September 2, 2009 by RoyceD
Well if they know exactly who owns a ticket then it is possible for them to refund you for exactly how many days you had left on the card at a per day rate. But no they manipulate the system to essentially reclaim what they consider lost revenue.

What erks me is that their spokespeople claim it is to defend the people against a "dubious black market", ignoring the obvious truth that it is that exact business plan they have themselves. The existence of a fair trade market underminds their perfect monopoly on the transport system.

This city could not function without the workers who use "public" transport to get to work, it simply could not function without cleaners, waiters, sales people, construction workers, teachers, nurses, ANYONE who needs to use it because their job doesn't pay enough to cover everyday expenses plus a car, carspace, garage rental, gas, insurance etc so they are forced to use the trains and buses as simple reality of the class system we live in.

So why are we being forced to bend over backwards just to protect the profitability of one of the companies that is suppose to be working for us? No one should be profiting from the governing of something as intergeral to the infostructure of the city as the public transport system. Just because it was sold to a private company to run for the city, does not make that the best thing that should have happened, or that it should stay that way either really.
13:56 September 2, 2009 by David S
hmmm ... I think it's got nothing to do with black market. It's got to do with people like my sambo and I. Neither of us use a monthly ticket enough to need it for ourselves, but it is economic for us to share it. Won't this mean we either have to by 2 tickets, or the more expensive single tickets.

This really sucks. A lot.
17:34 September 2, 2009 by Beavis
"SJ has been particularly concerned about the opportunistic purchasing of cheap tickets for on-selling to the public at inflated prices"

Nonsense.. their far more concerned with ripping their customers off with ultra high prices and want to milk the consumer for every last possible cent

Is this legal?
18:36 September 5, 2009 by richardbw
I do not know if purchasing the ticket second hand is illegal in Sweden. However, if there is not specific law governing the resale of train tickets then you are allowed to resell the tickets. If you have someone else's ticket and SJ staff challenge you I recommend that you request them to identify what law you have broken and if necessary request that they call the police. They may use the argument that the original passenger bought the ticket 'agreeing to the terms and conditions', but this is not a legal contract and can be challenged.

Of course I am just being an argumentative Englishman and I believe in the right to anonymity so I find it horrific being asked to identify myself.
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