Permit me, if you will, a small rant about trains.

Well, not strictly about trains, per se. More about train tickets. Travel passes in particular.

I’ve got an annual travel pass for my commute to work. It costs, as you’d expect, quite a lot of money.

Why then does the blasted thing stop working so quickly?

Seriously, I’ve had about ten replacements so far this year. Sometimes the new pass lasts for a couple of months, other times it’s packed in after about a week. This latest one? Ten days.

Now, I’ve never had a problem getting a new pass from the station, but inevitably get a comment along the lines of “oh, that’s not lasted long, has it?”

No. No it hasn’t. Now, why do you think that might be?

And it’s pain having to get in early enough to have time to go and queue up to get a replacement.

I’m really careful with the pass. It lives in the plastic folder they gave me, in my bag. Away from anything magentic which might affect it.
As my pass often isn’t working in the machines, I have to queue up to wave my pass at the guy manning the barriers. One of them, without fail, asks everyone in the queue to put their ticket through the barrier before he’ll swipe them through.

“Take your ticket out and put it through the barrier.”

“It’s not working.”

“Put it through the barrier.”

“Right, fine.”

Put ticket through the barrier. OH LOOK. IT’S NOT WORKING.

Grunt. Swipe.

If it was working, why would I be queueing up? Surely I’d use the ticket in the barrier?

*deep breaths*

Why not give people with an annual or 6 monthly pass one of those plastic cards that the officials at the barrier have. Bit like an Oyster card. They seem to work quite well down in London, eh?

I’d even be happy to pay a little extra to get a card which I don’t have to replace every month.

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