Grrr….overly complicated train ticketing

Actually this blog boils down to one thing. That if our train ticketing system is too complicated for the barriers and two different members of station staff then something must be wrong.

I was (er am) travelling back north this morning (after a couple of days with the Unity / Riksteatern company as they prepare to open Nina-a story about me and Nina Simone at the Young Vic)

The 0724 Wivenhoe to London  is delayed on the way in due to overhead line failure. So when we get to the terminus there is an ugly surge to the barriers as several trains come in simultaneously.

My adventure starts as the barrier rejects my return portion of a £104 off peak ticket (Liverpool Wivenhoe return).  I queue for a second time to be told by the gatekeeper my ticket isnt valid. I explain, but get passed onto another member of staff some 50 yards away. Naturally that 50 yards is full of people heading the other way…equally keen as I to make their connections or get to their destinations. 

After a sweaty battle against the commuter tide I queue for the 3rd time and meet my second staff member who patiently explains my ticket isnt valid. I patiently explain how I bought my ticket and how it allowed me on the 0724 for the return journey. He asks me how I’d like to purchase the ‘necessary supplement’. As a last ditch attempt I take out my tablet and on a infuriatingly slow connection which seems to take ages I load up the virgin ticket app . I hear myself saying ‘ if I’m wrong I’m wrong’, clearly doubting myself. Finally though the app demonstrates how that platform at least suggests my ticket is valid. 

I’m reluctantly let through, the staff member literally telling me he doesn’t understand. I on the other hand have to run to Moorgate and get my connection with literally seconds to spare.

This isn’t a criticism of the staff who were all polite if a little baffled and bemused. The barrier mind did rudely reject my ticket!! More it’s my opening point ….that  if our train ticketing system is too complicated for the barriers and two different members of station staff then something must be wrong. And from a customer point of view requirements for travel shouldn’t really require a grasp of our ticketing system, a healthy dose of stubbornness and the back up of an app.

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