Thursday, 22 February 2007

Travel Trouble

I expected trouble.

The guy currently being served had been at the counter ten minutes already. Another chap - who was only queuing for a measly car park ticket - had given up in despair.

Despite my tiredness at the end of a long day, I knew I had to be switched on, be very explicit and to leave no room for error. Finally, my turn.

Handling over my existing ticket, I asked "Can I renew this for another week, please?", quickly adding "can you make sure its a first?" to ensure the guy didn't fall into the common trap.

All was well, it looked like the guy pushed all the right buttons. Until, that is, the ticket actually popped out and I saw that my requested seven-day ticket had been issued only for six days.

When I questioned him, the chap said he'd issued it for the same day. What use would a season ticket up to London be to me at eight o'clock at night? Especially as I already had a ticket, my existing season ticket, that would enable me to make that journey should I have been wild enough to do so?

Okay, I'm dealing with an idiot here. But it was when the guy started arguing with me, telling me not to worry and that the ticket would last the full seven days (the largest piece of text on the ticket was the expiry date, in six days' time) that the station manager came to sort things out...

The chap who had started trying to serve me was left muttering feebly, "I only started this job two days ago".

Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not sure I'd be too keen on working one of those ticket machines. The combinations of options must be enormous and there is a huge potential to cock things up.

But don't you just hate it when people start arguing with you and you know you're in the right?

And wouldn't you have thought that British Rail would have the sense to actually train people before to do something properly before they let them loose upon unsuspecting passengers?

Dare I ask how much training the driver has had?

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