Trenitalia Changes Fare Structure – Mini Fares Are “No More”

2012 06 11 Trenitalia logo thumb Trenitalia Changes Fare Structure   Mini Fares Are No MoreAs of June 10, 2012, with the introduction of the new schedules and rate changes, Trenitalia has implemented a new pricing structure. Less than 3 months ago, the Trenitalia website went through an update that led to many purchasing challenges. The biggest change – the introduction of three new pricing levels: Super Economy, Economy, and Base.

The other big change… the VERY popular discounted ticket – the MINI ticket – is NO MORE!

Let’s talk about these three new pricing levels, which interesting enough looks a lot the price structure of their new competitor, Italo. These three levels all come at different price options and restrictions. Below, we discuss each. Here’s a partial snapshot of the Trenitalia website for a train headed from Rome to Florence. You can see the “new” price options for this 2nd class ticket.

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Super Economy Tickets

These are the least expensive option. Trenitalia, just like the now-defunct MINI fare, will control the amount of Super Economy tickets available. When you buy this least expensive option you need to be sure of your purchase. That’s because these tickets are NON-Refundable and changes, once purchased, are not allowed. Here’s a breakdown of the “new” Super Economy ticket:

_____________________________
Advance Purchase Required: NO
Reservation Changes Allowed: NO
Refunds Allowed: NO
Availability : NOT ON REGIONALE TRAINS.

The Super Economy tickets are available in 1st and 2nd class of high speed trains that require reserved seating. The only exception would be on the newest four-class trains Frecciarossa trains for the “Executive” class level of service.

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Like the MINI ticket before it, if you miss you train, even by a minute, you are out of luck. Your ticket is worthless and now you’ll have to purchase a new ticket on the next train available to you at the best price you can get… which will probably be FAR MORE costly than your now-worthless Super Economy ticket. So as suggested often times on this site (and many travelers), these are perhaps NOT the tickets to buy on the same day as you arrive by plane. Now if you get a 9€ fare, you might be willing to take the risk… but again, if your plane is late and you miss your train, you’ll lose ALL the money spent on those tickets.

If you DO see a 9€ fare on the Trenitalia website, it will most certainly be a Super Economy ticket. The 9€ fares – if you can find one for a high-speed, reserved seat train – are limited to the Super Economy ticket.

Just like the MINI, there are no children’s discounts when using the Super Economy promotional ticket. For this reason, it may be less expensive to purchase an “adult” Super Economy promotional ticket for your child then a full price child’s ticket. Remember, children under 4 do ride free, but are not guaranteed a seat. So if they train fills up, your two-year old would have to ride in your lap.


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Economy Tickets

Like the Super Economy ticket, the Economy tickets are considered a promotional ticket, are thus capacity controlled by Trenitalia, and will be less expensive than the “standard” Base ticket. Unlike the Super Economy ticket, you are allowed ONE change, if necessary. Here’s a breakdown on the “new” Economy ticket:

_____________________________
Advance Purchase Required: NO
Reservation Changes Allowed: ONLY ONCE

With the Economy ticket, you get one change prior to scheduled train departure, but NOT AFTER you train has left the station. If you do use this ONE opportunity to change your Economy ticket, you must pay the difference between the cost of your Economy ticket and the NEW fare you are purchasing at the Base ticket price – That could be almost 50-60% more than your original Economy ticket! You must keep the same class (so no jumping from 2nd to 1st class) but one new positive change is that you can change to an earlier or later departing train!

Again, if you miss your train, your  Economy ticket is worthless with one exception: , You missed a connection from another train where the minimum time frame is respected.

Refunds Allowed: NO
Availability : NOT ON REGIONALE TRAINS.
_____________________________

Just like the Super Economy ticket, the Economy tickets are available in 1st and 2nd class of high speed trains that require reserved seating. The only exception would be on the newest four-class trains Frecciarossa trains for the “Executive” class level of service.

Again, if you change your mind – or need to make a change to your Economy tickets – you get one change PRIOR to the departure time of your train. You’ll have to pay the difference between the Base ticket and your pre-purchased Economy ticket. So you will lose all your savings, but you do get ONE chance to change your itinerary.


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Base Tickets

The properties of a Base ticket, the “standard” pricing level for a Trenitalia ticket, remains relatively unchanged.  This is the default option in the ticket purchasing process and has less restrictions than the promotional, capacity controlled Super Economy and Economy tickets. If these tickets are unavailable on your selected train for say 2nd class… then this train is FULL in that section of the train! Here’s a breakdown on the Base ticket:

_____________________________
Advance Purchase Required: NO
Reservation Changes Allowed: UNLIMITED

With a Base ticket you can make unlimited changes PRIOR to your train’s scheduled train departure. You can even make a ONE-TIME change after the train has left the station (only up to ONE HOUR AFTER scheduled train departure). Thus is you missed your train, you STILL have a one-hour window! There are no fees or penalties that fall in these timeframes.

Refunds Allowed: YES

Before your train leaves, there’s a 20% of the ticket price fee up until the scheduled train departure of your train; Then, even if you miss your train, you still have a one-hour window to gain a partial refund on your ticket. During this one-hour “grace” period, you lose 50% of your ticket price. No refunds are allowed if the ticket price is 10€ or less.

Availability : NOT ON REGIONALE TRAINS.
_____________________________

One benefit of the “new’ system is the proposed 5% reduction on Frecciarossa and Frecciargento trains. In the small box above you can see the Base ticket price for the Rome to Florence run posted at 43€. Prior to June 6, 2010 these tickets were priced at 45€ — so the 5% reduction is in play.


 

Other Tickets

So these are the primary options for most visitors. There are still many, many other types of tickets. For example, if your travel plans are more fluid, you could purchase – at a premium price, a FLESSIBLE ticket. The FLESSIBLE tickets allow reservation changes free of charge until departure like the Base ticket. But after departure you have a 24 hour grace period with a FLESSIBLE ticket and you still can get a partial refund.

Again, the Familia Ticket is also still available. It gives you a 20% discount for adults in the group;  50% off for the children (under 12) in your group. You are limited to five people in a “group” when purchasing a Familia Ticket. (If your group is larger, just place separate orders!).  Again, these “promotional” tickets are capacity controlled by Trenitalia., You may not be able to get these on the day of your train travel. You are allowed one reservation change and a partial refund prior to the scheduled departure.

Unfortunately, as of June 10, 2012 the MINI ticket is no more. You can no longer purchase this type of ticket – although in the short run you still may see references to this ticket on the Trenitalia website. They’re working furiously to eradicate any references to this ticket type. If you have already purchased your MINI ticket – and have your PNR codes – then your ticket is STILL good! No worries… 

Header: Trenitalia IC Train – Photo by Wikipedia

 


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4 Responses to Trenitalia Changes Fare Structure – Mini Fares Are “No More”

  1. Ron in Rome says:

    Marija – Thanks for the update – great information!!!!

  2. Marija says:

    Since I have used a lot of info from this website to orient myself in Rome, here are couple of fresh tips back (probably better suited to “Arriving by Train – Roma Termini” and “Purchasing a Phone or SIM at FCO Airport” postings, but the comments on those are closed).

    The Smart Phone shop on main floor of Termini station is closed – I have not seen the “planned opening” date on it (not that I would rely on such info, but hey, you never know). TIM (on gallery floor) and Vodaphone shop (on main floor) are still working, and not as busy as I expected in August.
    SIM card can be purchased in TIM shop (if you are using your own quad-band phone from North America) – price is still 10 euros with 5 euro credit (and 1 minute of conversation is 0.16, 1 local SMS is 0.16). Unless you want to talk a lot, this could easily get you through. If you are looking and talking like foreigner, they will default you to “international” plan – unless you plan to call abroad, no need. TIM shop at Termini never asked us for “codici fiscale” (even though I had one prepared and given to the store clerk – they simply refused).
    Now, for all the data freaks (like me): the 5 euro credit can be used to purchase data option for your phone – 2.50 euros is option for 250MB and lasts a week. Be mindful that Blackberries are fully supported (and recognised upon activation), to the point that mine connected to my corporate email and started downloading… Also 250MB plan does not allow tethering (not that is would mean much at such a low MB count). Also, Blackberry BES used by TIM blocks third-party apps on BB, so you are likely out of luck if you want to use it for more than just internet search and browse. Examples of what was out of commission for me (and, believe me, I’ve tinkered with APNs and such): Google Maps, Google Talk, GMail (as an BB email account, worked as an independent app), Skype, Disney Wait Times (just used for checking connection). What worked: XE currency converter (it switched over to WAP2 protocol, so it got around BES), GMail client (being soooo slow, likely WAP2 workaround too), internet browsing (with occasional hiccup), YouTube player (like I needed that). I did not consider calling tech support, as I know these kind of BB problems are notoriously hard to fix (even for me in native Canada, with my insider telco experience), and I have no clue how to explain any of this in Italian. BB users, just be mindful of likely limitation.

    Now, on my husbands iPhone: we bought microSIM which is 20 euros with 10 euro credit included. It is not advertised on their website, but it is available. No issues with lack of inventory in store in our case. Now, most of the sales people will insist that “smartphone” data options are for iPhone, and tablet data options are for iPad, ignore them. That same story is heard all over the world, but save for few exceptions (like AT&T in US) has no meaning in reality (or in another words, network does not have limitations on type of device for the type of prepaid plan). Since we were planning to use same microSim for both iPhone and iPad, and wanted to use tethering (hey, 2 phones and 2 iPads – too many devices), I have picked tablet 1GB plan (in August they had double GB promotion for same price, so we ended up with 2GB). And no worries, switching SIM between iPhone and iPad works fine, voice and SMS still work (0.16 per minute) on iPhone, tethering works (but iPhone drains battery quickly and heats up dramatically), and pulling volumes of guide books and MBs of maps on iPad works fine.

    The network is 3G, but speeds are not stellar – if you are coming from big city, you might consider this to be on slower side. Also, 3G coverage will vary greatly, in middle of Tuscany you might be left with edge coverage only (which will make you BB work very hard and likely affect battery life).

    Activation was within minutes (BB) or nearly instantaneous (iPhone). The leaflets mention “activating SIM” by typing some PIN and PUK codes – non of our phones asked for any of that during activation. Simply loaded SIM in and started the phone. And within 5 minutes, confirmation SMS has come that data is enabled, so we started browsing for destinations before we left Termini.

  3. Ron in Rome says:

    Vicky,
    You get can all your info on the trains from Civitavecchia and Roma Termini on the Trenitalia website. Most trains headed to Civitavecchia are Regionale trains and you can buy your tickets in advance at any train station with a kiosk or counter. I’d avoid buying online as your Regionale ticket is then locked to a specific train and you lose the flexibility of the Regionale ticket. For “strike” info, see our post on Strikes… usually they are posted 6-8 weeks in advance so may still be too early for late October.

  4. Vicky L. says:

    I need expert advice about the train track used from Termini to Civitavecchia. Also, I read your info about new pricing of tickets – where can I get info about current prices/times of this ticket (Termini to Civ) and can they be purchased in the train station the day we travel? Also, are any travel disruptions planned for Oct. 27 & 28?Thanks for your help.

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