THEY cost more than €9m to install, but Irish Rail's new electronic ticket checkers have been hit by a "Noah's Ark" scam with fraudsters beating the system by going in "two by two". The new validation machines for Dart and commuter rail services are being effortlessly outsmarted by those who want to get away without purchasing a ticket.
The problem is the time lag of two seconds when the doors are left open after a paying customer walks through. Others can then take advantage by rushing through the still-open turnstile without having to insert a valid ticket.
Security at the station have confirmed that commuters of all ages, including groups of friends and even entire families are trying to outsmart the newly installed devices.
One security man at a city station said "I'm seeing dozens of people trying to do it every day, families and everything, all types of people. But we catch them once they're on the platform because we have two or three people waiting there to check that everyone has their tickets. And when we do, we send them straight over to the desk where they get fined €50."
Although a number of security staff have been posted to keep an eye on commuters as they use the machines, he admitted peak times are proving to be the most difficult period to spot scammers among the crowds.
"At rush hour it's harder to see them doing it. Some of them are a lot cleverer than you'd think but others don't even know where to put the ticket."
Another staff member said that clever commuters are also wising up to another way of dodging the machines.
"Quite a lot of people have copped on to the fact that if you block the beam [which controls the gates], the doors stay open, so you sometimes catch two or three people trying to come through at a time, while their friend stands in front of the beam. You could stand there for ages and let loads of people through."
But Jane Cregan, a spokeswoman for Iarnrod Eireann, denied that the company has been experiencing significant problems with people taking advantage of the expensive new machines.
"We have a person assigned to each validation area so it is not a problem that we are experiencing and, although tailgating is hard to quantify, there has been a noted reduction since the machines were first introduced," she said.