Child rail pass can now be bought at machines – but only with adult ticket
Irish Rail is to introduce a new system in which children's tickets can only be bought from vending machines if an adult ticket is also purchased.
The transport company has not sold child tickets from machines at 164 stations for over two years because adults were using them to evade fares.
Commuters were greatly reducing their travel costs by purchasing a child's ticket, instead of paying the adult fare.
Irish Rail said it had no choice but to disable the 'child' option on machines in stations across Dublin's DART and commuter network.
The company decided to only sell children's tickets at service counters because of what a spokeswoman described as "a notable level of misuse".
She said the problem was centred on the greater Dublin area and the revenue lost could not be quantified.
Irish Rail said it was now setting up a new system whereby a child ticket can be purchased from a vending machine – but only when bought alongside an adult one.
"In the DART/Commuter area there was a notable level of misuse of child tickets by adults," the spokeswoman said.
"Despite our revenue protection officers focusing on penalising such fare evasion, the problem continued, and we decided, in the DART/Commuter area only, to withdraw child tickets for sale from ticket vending machines.
"We have recently increased the level of revenue protection officers operating on our network so we are now confident that misuse will not occur due to increased ticket checks."
Labour TD Sean Kenny, who raised the issue with Irish Rail, said passengers were concerned they could be held liable and fined if unable to purchase a ticket from machines for their children.
An on-the-spot fine of €100, plus the fare, can be imposed. A fine of up to €1,000 can be imposed by the district court if the penalty is unpaid.
Mr Kenny said he was "happy" that Irish Rail was addressing the problem.
A short-hop journey is €2.15 for an adult, compared with €1.15 for a child.