Saturday, 5 May 2012

Ticket Fiasco

If you haven't read the last couple of posts, please do.

That's not because I want more hits/followers/readers/whatever. I just want everyone to follow, understand and perhaps even smile or laugh at the ridiculousness of this situation.

We all need to bear in mind the context of course. A planet under threat from climate change, whose citizens are being urged to do all in their power to save energy, reduce their carbon footprint and green up. Who cling to their four wheeled carriages of independence with pride, looking down upon those who believe public transport, those slightly grubby looking vehicles that turn up late, in threes or not at all, are the key to our future and the sustainability of the planet.

I do of course digress.

I make it to Platform 11, throw myself on the Abbey Flyer, get out my yoghurt and banana (this is a train right - surely it is okay to eat here...?) I open up the Metro - how I have missed you - and prepare to enjoy my ten minute journey to Bricket Wood.

A ticket inspector asks to see my ticket. He has a ticket machine - clearly designed for the sale of tickets - around his neck. Oh joy! Hallelujah! Amazing - it is possible to buy your ticket on the train. By my calculation this allows me several minutes of grace at Watford Junction should the 320 arrive slightly later than expected, should there be a queue at the ticket machine, should I find myself unable to rival Usain Bolt's personal best whilst sprinting to Platform 11.

I engage him in conversation. Something he appears not to be comfortable with, his body language suggests he would prefer to be moving on through the train, scanning the tickets of others flying towards the Abbey. I express my delight and appreciation that it is possible to buy a ticket on the train, dreaming of the time saving possibilities this offers.

He crushes my carbon saving dream in an instant. No, madam, you cannot buy a ticket from me.

Unless.

Unless you are boarding at North Watford. Or Garston. And why might that be? Because they do not have ticket barriers.

I explain in a very nice, pleasant, amenable and co-operative sort of way that getting to the Junction for 08.04 is a challenge, and ask him, as if I didn't know, when the next train might be. As expected, because I already know the answer, he tells me it is at 09.01. So if I miss this train, unable to board it because of a bus delay, a queue at the ticket machine, or an inability to run fast enough, I am delayed an hour. Even though I have got up at six am, done half a days work, walked to a bus stop and paid a stupid amount of money to share the bus with others who have chosen, or have no choice and are therefore taking the green route.

I'm not sure I need to say any more. You can probably guess what he said. There is no option, I have to queue and buy a ticket at the junction.

As it happens when I get to Bricket Wood I still have to walk down the road, over a bridge, across the common, along a country lane with no footpath, back into the flooded entrance to the business park.

"How was your journey?"

"Much better. Thank you."

3 comments:

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