Yet another reminder that I’m living about 20 years in advance of most people. It’s flipping annoying, really. I wonder if I need to work hard to try and get back into the real world?
My problem this morning was sitting on the train waiting for the Southwest Trains ticket chap to walk along to my carriage so I could renew my weekly season ticket — I do weekly, because I’m often away for weeks on end.
The ticket office at the station was closed this morning. So I boarded the first train that arrived in the sure knowledge that I’d be able to renew on board. I’ve done this countless times before.
You can imagine what happened.
The chap eventually arrived into my carriage asking folk to present their tickets. I asked if he could renew my one. He stared at it with a degree of shock and disbelief, before explaining in a mumbled voice that his machine was only authorised for transactions of £100 maximum.
This is inconvenient given my weekly ticket is an eye watering £189. Or £50 return for a single.
WHY has he been limited in this way? Hugely frustrating. He was happily giving everyone else their sub-£100 tickets.
The chap then suggested I find a guy at Waterloo who’s got authorisation on his machine for me to make the transaction. This involves hunting about the busy platforms looking for the queue of dejected, annoyed commuters who’ve also been forced into this situation. You have to renew (or purchase) your tickets in this manner or face being fined.
Normally it’s not a problem. Normally I can use the ticket office. Or the guy on the train has authorisation to help me out.
I can’t use the automatic ticket machine — since the recent upgrade, they’ve screwed up the American Express process so it doesn’t seem to every work.
In this age of mobility, it’s exceedingly frustrating that the concept of Masabi (mobile rail ticketing) hasn’t quite hit the upper echelons of Southwest Trains — who, despite furnishing my rail guard on today’s journey with some expensive ticketing kit, didn’t give him the necessary ‘authorisation’ to help me out.
With Masabi, I’d be able to buy my ticket on board. Or I could have bought it last night at 2am in the morning with a few clicks on my phone.
My mistake is living in the Southwest Trains service area. I have to do it old skool. Which means I’ll need to add another 20 minutes standing in that dejected queue waiting for a guy to tap things into a handheld terminal and take my plastic card to make the payment, so he can print me out a bit of paper.
When BOTH of us in the transaction will have totally up to date smartphones. It’s ridiculous.
I look forward to a time when this sort of thing is no longer a problem.
I am still, by the way, dicking about with paper tickets and paper receipts in order to travel.