Transport Case – Irish Rail

Case Study: Protecting revenues through automation for Irish Rail

About Irish Rail

Irish Rail (Iarnród Éireann) operates the 
Republic of Ireland’s national railway network providing both extensive passenger and freight rail services right across the country. Irish Rail makes it possible for local passengers and tourists to enjoy good value and reliable public transport.

The challenge of lost revenue

With more than 50 million passengers making Irish Rail journeys in 2019, revenue losses can be substantial even if just a small percentage of passengers fail to pay for their tickets. Irish Rail Revenue Protection Officers (RPOs) have to manually check all passenger tickets and travel cards for each journey. On top of this they have to issue a written paper fine (Fixed Payment Notice – FPN) when identifying a non-payment or misdemeanour on the train. For RPOs these processes are slow, frustrating and ultimately inefficient as a way of stopping revenue losses. The overall goal for Irish Rail was to reduce the incidence of fare evasion infringements across the network and lost revenue.

Project objective

Irish Rail was looking to adopt a faster and more accurate method for validating tickets and a switch to the automatic issue of printed fines instead of manually written ones, saving time and effort for RPOs on the passenger frontline. The goal was also to ensure that each FPN issued would be automatically saved on back-office systems rather than having to be manually entered after the fine was paid. This would also reduce significant time and resource wastage.

Theta solution delivers smoother processes and reduced revenue loss

After clearly understanding the business and technological issues facing Irish Rail, Theta developed a more rigorous end-to end ticket validation process. This included implementation of a new software application so that RPOs could issue FPNs ‘on the go’ either on-board trains or at the station as well validating tickets more quickly and easily. Theta’s software application was integrated for easy use with a light, hand-held ticketing validation hardware provided by Famoco taking the RPO step-by-step through a simple to follow process. Famoco’s FX205 devices are built and custom designed with a sole focus on robust revenue protection via the rapid issue of new tickets and fines.

Together with Theta’s customised, intuitive and easy-to-manage application, Irish Rail RPOs really do have a powerful solution ‘in their hands’. They can now validate many more tickets with a secure and speedy process. FPNs can be easily issued both at stations and on-board trains. The fully automated and digitalised system synchronised in real time with a main central server has also reduced time-consuming back-office manual work, as handwritten fines no longer have to be keyed into the system. Back-office administration is now much easier with an online reporting interface so that supervisors and the Finance department can review the ‘takings’ for a particular time period and when required have all necessary information and images for any public dispute of the fine. 


The application developed by Theta is contributing significantly to protecting revenues, reducing costs and making processes more efficient at Irish Rail. Passengers will now have to think twice about skipping ticket payments or other fineable misdemeanours before travelling.

Click here to read more about our partner Famoco

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Transport Case
Irish Rail

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