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trenitalia: "We are sorry but the chosen solution is not purchasable"

I'm trying to reserve a 2nd class ticket on a regional train from Florence to the Cinque Terre (La Spezia) on 7/20 and I keep getting the message above. Does this this mean what it says? (I wish it said something more clear like "we don't take reservations for this particular route") or that it's sold out???

Firenze, La Spezia Centrale, 20/70/2009

09:57 FI.SMN, FI.RIFR

12:19 SPEZIA

02:22 Train no.23353
Regionale 9,20 € 9,20 €

Pete

Posted by
521 posts

The Regionale train would not accept reservations, but I thought you would still be able to purchase a ticket for it in advance... although really it is not necessary to do so. Just buy the tickets from an automated machine before you depart at the Florence station.

Posted by
6898 posts

Peter, first, Trenitalia does not accept U.S. credit cards. That's why you are getting this message. Unfortunately, they don't give you the correct reason. Second, for your journey to La Spezia, you will be on at least two different trains. Most often, these will Regionale trains. No seat reservations are permitted on this class of trains. It like you local bus system on tracks. Also, Trenitalia often does not sell Regionale that far out in advance.

Don't worry about this travel. It will not be sold out. The tickets on Regionale trains are like your local bus tickets. The tickets are good for 60 days and that's the only date you will see on the tickets. No train number or departure time. That's the Regionale ticket. As long as your departure point is Florence and your destination is La Spezia Centrale, you can ride any Regionale train making that run for 60 days. Two big secrets: 1)get there a bit early to make sure that you are among the first on and the first to find a seat. 2) you can't sell out a Regionale train so the runs you see are not sold out. If no seats, you can stand. Since Trenitalia doesn't put train numbers on their Regionale tickets and they don't know which train you will be on, they will sell you the ticket. Wait until you get to the CT and see the trains and crowds there.

Posted by
521 posts

Just to correct what Larry had said, I tried it on the Trenitalia website and it did give that error message before it even got to the screen asking for a credit card - it was immediate when you tried to select the searched trip.

Posted by
6898 posts

To better clarify what I posted above, Trenitalia does not seem to sell tickets for the R trains more than one week out from the current date. I've tried it on several runs and I am provided with the offer to buy within 7 days from today. Farther out and I get the "not purchasable" message.

The reason that Peter seems to have gotten farther into the purchase is that he selected a run with the direct ES train or a run that included an IC train as one of the two trains. Trenitalia will let you purchase these runs with a date farther out. Trying to select a run consisting only of R trains more than 7 days out from the current date will produce the message. All of that being said, I have received the message on R train runs no matter what date I put in.

I have learned to play quite well on the Trenitalia website but I can certainly understand the frustration of new travelers to the website.

Posted by
167 posts

I'm a software developer and I'm always frustrated when other developers are lazy--they don't put well articulated, specific error messages in any software or website they create.

Posted by
676 posts

Peter, I too, sympathize, with your frustration with lazy computer people. However, after having lived in Italy for 2 years, get used to some frustration in your travels there! It's a beautiful country but they definitely do things differently than in the US, and sometimes it is a pain!!

Posted by
106 posts

Can anyone tell me how far in advance you can book your Eurostar tickets on the Trenitalia website? And is it true that we cannot use US issued credit cards as Larry indicated? I also tried the website and got the same message as Peter, but my trip is not until late September so I figured it may be too soon to book. If I cannot use a US credit card though, what is the best way to reserve my train travel? We will be going from Venice to Florence, then Florence to Rome and then Rome to Naples with a stop in Pompeii, and finally on to Sorrento.
Thanks for any advice,
Terry

Posted by
32273 posts

Peter,

You might just buy your tickets when you arrive in Italy, as it will be much easier and probably less expensive.

I assume you'll be in Florence for a few days? Make a short stop at Firenze S.M.N. station and buy your tickets when you arrive there. You might want to check the Trenitalia or bahn.de website to see the departure times of the trains that day, so you have some idea which one you want to take.

Be sure to specify the C.T. town you'll be staying as the destination (whether that is La Spezia or one of the five villages). That way you won't have to buy another ticket on the local train.

Happy travels!

Posted by
167 posts

We just got back!

We found that purchasing locally on the spot was not a problem for an immediate ride--only first class was full.

Thanks for all the responses!

Pete

Posted by
1 posts

Like many others, I also am having problems purchasing tickets in advance on the TrenItalia website. I would like to travel Sept 19, 2009 one way from Milan to Naples for a party of 2. A little effort to try to get this complete is worth it, I guess, because of the Super 60% off special being offered. I can only choose one passenger at a time for this rate. Credit Card Denied using the same Tren account. I tried to use two separate Tren accts (the other traveler) and again Credit Card Denied! Adding a second fare to the same record does not allow Super 60% off, but does allow 30% off. I tried 4 different cards. Like you said, it's the US credit cards causing this issue, so now I'm trying to have the person I'm renting an apartment from in Amalfi purchase it for me and I will reimburse. Just had to vent! Spent 2 hours yesterday trying many ways to get this done. The Tren website need serious help btw!

Posted by
2 posts

I too have been TRYING to get tickets on Italian trains....the best/only way I have found is to deal with www.raileurope.com Yes they will cost a bit more but you will get tickets within 3 days USA, with SEAT ASSIGNMENTs. Also, you pay dollars here so no CC fees there. Does anyone see why this isn't a good way to do it?I'm all ears as I have not actually PUSHD the buttons to buy YET. Thx for any info regarding this website. Steph

Posted by
4555 posts

Steph....most people don't want to pay RailEurope's prices and handling fees. If you're not booking a night train anywhere, and you don't NEED to take a specific train, it'll be cheaper just to make all your ticket purchases when you first arrive in Italy. For example, there's virtually one train/hour between Rome and Venice. The second class price is $98 on RailEurope, but the equivalent of $89 walkup in Rome. However, when you arrive in Italy, you may be able to take advantage of their promotional fares...15% off if you purchase 7 days or more in advance....30% if 15 days or more. On the Rome-Venice trip, a 15% discount is available, bringing the price down to $79 US. This method also gives you much more flexibility...if you want to change your times, you don't want to have to go thru the hassle of getting a refund from RailEurope.

Posted by
167 posts

For our reservation from Venezia to Firenze I had to send an email to Trenitalia with a digital picture of my passport plus other info, and they finally approved my credit card.

Posted by
1 posts

I am having a similar problem with Trenitalia but I have to book in advance because I will becoming straight from the airport in Rome and need to get on a fast train to Florence - but like everyone else I am unable to purchase my ticket on Trenitalia. What other alternatives do I have in purchasing a ticket in advance and if I do not will I be ok to purchase the ticket once I reach the train station knowing I may only have an hour of spare time? I don't know if the fast trains sell out?

Thanks.

Posted by
8700 posts

Dina,

Don't bother buying a ticket in advance. The Leonardo Express runs twice an hour from Fiumicino to Termini. Fast EuroStar Italia trains run twice an hour from Termini to Firenze. Unless you're traveling on a holiday, the chances of any of those ES trains selling out is slim to none. Buy tickets for both trains at the airport so you won't have any delays making your connection at Termini. The ticket machines have an English option and accept US credit cards. No need to stand in line at a window.

Don't forget to validate (stamp) your tickets in the yellow machines that exist for that purpose. (Actually, since you will have a reserved seat on the ES train, you aren't required to validate that ticket; but it won't hurt to do it anyway.)

Ron, a man who lives in Rome and is a regular on the Helpline, has a Web site on which he gives detailed instructions (with photos) on buying train tickets at Fiumicino. See here.