In the past I’ve been a big fan of Verrus, the chaps who run the pay-by-text/phone system for most railway stations here in the UK. Is it still them?
However I think the system could (press one) be a lot (for help, press zero) eas-(press one)-ier. Take this example. This chap here in the picture got on the train with me this evening. He’s got an iPhone. The first thing he did was dial Verrus and stick his iPhone on speakerphone so the whole sodding carriage gets to listen to the bollocks system. He didn’t have an account. It took him five minutes of to-and-fro to create an account. Then he managed to pay, exclaiming words to the effect of, ‘Flock me that was hard’. He had to write down the phone number for the system and the four digit location identifier on the back of an envelope. Hardly useful. He eventually paid for parking up until 11pm. Three quid. You should be able to text 7401 (for your location) then your car number plate and be whacked immediately for 3 quid on your phone bill. After 10am, that 3 quid should last you until midnight. Or similar. It’s hugely annoying that this whole system isn’t frictionless. There should be an iPhone application for this. There should be a Blackberry application. And so on. Mobile Operators should have sorted this. Built the functionality straight into your handset. Why are we still arsing about with parking. Parking! Why is it such a total arse? whatever your answers to this – pointing out the various issues – allow me to raise you this point: it sucks. I want to pay for parking – for goodness knows how many sundry items and services – simply. Via my handset and operator account, ideally. Stop trying to make money out of me by charging me nearly 50p a minute to call cross-operator (I’m looking at you, Vodafone) and start taking a decent percentage of my monthly expenditure.