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Trenitalia vs Italiarail vs Bahn schedule views

Question: could someone either confirm that the scenario described below is consistent Trenitalia behavior, or educate me on what I'm doing wrong?

Having run out of things to plan for my June 2016 trip to Italy, I was idly browsing train schedules for the rail trips I will book in 3 months when booking opens. I noticed a discrepancy. Trenitalia will ONLY show longer/slower routes when starting from a smaller town (w/o Frecce service). Italiarail shows the fastest routes by default, but will show the same slower routes if you check 'slower trains'. Bahn shows the fastest routes, though some different routes than Italiarail, and will show the slower routes as well, if you uncheck " Schnelle Verbindungen bevorzugen" ("prefer faster connections"). There is no combination of check boxes or standing on my head that will make Trenitalia cough up the faster routes.

My one data point was this trip:
Terni --> Firenze S.M.N. March 19, 2016, one-way

TrenItalia only shows transfers at Orte and/or Foligno, then on to Florence by Regionale or InterCity. It will not show a less direct but faster route. The other two sites show Terni to Rome (Tiburtina or Termini), then Frecciarossa to Florence. That cuts a solid hour off the trip, for only about $5 more in SuperEconomy fares.

My hypothesis is that TrenItalia is programmed to only show the most direct routing, while the others use a total time algorithm. If someone can confirm this, I think it could be a valuable tip to our community to always check multiple scheduling sites before booking train tickets in Italy. I certainly prefer the faster route, which I may therefore have to purchase through ItaliaRail instead of TrenItalia

Comments appreciated.

Posted by
16894 posts

Trenitalia has an "all trains" choice, but that's not likely to solve it for you. I expect the main issue is that some train schedules are not yet published past the Dec. 13 annual schedule change. Either look at an earlier date or wait a month to go through this exercise.

Posted by
1057 posts

Thanks, Laura. I neglected to mention that I had tried the search for this week, with various combinations of All Trains / Frecce / Regional check boxes - same results, only the slower routes appear on Trenitalia. Plus, it seems odd that ItaliaRail could find the routes if Trenitalia hadn't published them yet. So it's a mystery. Not earth shaking, but I am glad I discovered there is a faster alternative, and thought others might use the tip too to find alternate routes (if this is consistently the case). I think I'll do a wider search next time I mess around with train schedules. Anyone else seen this before?

Posted by
16894 posts

Interesting. I now tried a test on the Terni-Firenze SMN route on Trenitalia for this week and saw the same results you describe (e.g., 3h45 to 4h45 travel time at 9:00 a.m., instead of 2h51 via Rome). I can't say that I've ever noticed Trenitalia prioritizing directness over travel time. It looks more like a glitch in the shopping cart. If I try another "mixed service" route, like La Spezia-Venezia S. L., I don't have the same problem. A possible work around at the time of buying tickets would be to book ahead only for the faster, reserved train, and get the regional ticket later. But the web site also changes every year, so you may see improvement by then.

Posted by
4637 posts

Booking opens 4 months in advance, which I think is less than 3 months from now.

Trenitalia has many booking issues so this does not surprise me. For example, Italiarail will book multiple people in different ticket buckets at the same time, for example the last supereconomy ticket at 9 euros and then an economy ticket at 19 euros-- trenitalia can only book the same fare class, 2 tickets at 19 euros. even if there is one cheaper ticket remaining. So it is always worthwhile to check Italiarail also.

I haven't noticed the old adage about the June and Dec schedule changes affecting anything anymore, even if maninseat61 still lists it on his website as a current issue. Booking issues today seem to be usually technical issues with the software.