Irish Rail apologise to customer clamped in car park despite having valid ticket

Irish Rail has apologised to a customer and refunded her the fine she received when clamped at a Cork train station - despite the car park staff taking a photograph of her valid ticket before applying the clamp.

Fabiola Lobo parked at Kent Station at 6am on the morning of November 28 last, as Storm Diane hit the country with gale force wind.

She bought a ticket, left it on her dashboard, and got the train to Dublin - only to return that night to find her car was clamped.

Ms Lobo discovered that her ticket had blown off her dashboard and landed on her seat as she closed the car door that morning.

However, Ms Lobo said a customer service representative for APCOA - the private firm that enforces parking rules at Kent Station - told her that she would need to pay a clamping removal fine, regardless of the fact that she had a valid ticket.

Ms Lobo subsequently twice appealed the fine to APCOA with no success - and the operator sent her a picture of her parking ticket on the car seat to demonstrate its argument that she had failed to correctly display it.

Ms Lobo contacted the Irish Examiner with her story having read a recent article by the newspaper which revealed that the number of cars clamped in Kent Station has risen by over 75% in two years.

This newspaper sought a response from Irish Rail, who investigated the case and offered Ms Lobo an apology and refund from APCOA.

Ms Fabiola lamented the fact that she needed to bring her case to this newspaper before it was resolved and said being clamped on a dark night during a storm was "extremely unpleasant".

She said: “But the reason for that clamping was rubbing salt into the wound – my ticket was not displayed on the dashboard. It had flown off in the wind and landed on the passenger seat - in full view, I may add.

“APCOA were not ready to listen even though they took pictures of said ticket on the seat and when I complained to Irish Rail, they tried to pass the buck back to APCOA."

"It was only because I escalated it to someone higher in Irish Rail, with a lot of help from The Irish Examiner, that they have seen the issue for what it was and are now refunding me in full.

"Do we really have to jump through hoops every time we want to be heard?”

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