I Need Training to Help me Understand Ticket Machines

It’s frustrating because I’ve fallen into the trap a couple of times now… buying the wrong rail ticket At the machines on a station platform.
Now, I’m quite prepared to admit that it might be because I’m thick; but I don’t think I’m that thick and my wife was with me this time and she’s definitely not thick.
I have to say there are a couple of recurring themes here. The first is Stansted Airport. Back in the first week of April I wrote about a miserable guy on the station and the ticket machine was, indeed, on the platform at Stansted. The second recurring theme is my inability to get the ticket I need. A recent blog covered the subject of the EasyJet website.
Let me explain what happened. I needed a Stansted Express ticket for my wife and I. Going to London one day and coming back the next.
I scanned the options and an Off Peak Return seemed to be just the thing because we were travelling during the middle of the day.
Going into London was fine, no problem but when I stuck my ticket in the machine to come back to Stansted the ticket rejected. I showed it to the barrier fella and he piped up ‘oh, this ticket is out of date.’
‘But it’s a return!’
‘Yeah, but you have to go back on the same day…. not to worry, just go to the ticket office and they’ll issue a new ticket and you can just pay the difference.’
Okay… annoying, but okay.
But in the ticket office there was bad news. You can only change your tickets and pay the difference if you notice your cock up within an hour.
I had to buy two more tickets – singles this time – at a cost of £24 each.
When I got back to the barrier and explained to the muppet that you couldn’t change the ticket as he suggested he just shrugged his shoulders and said ‘oh, well, I just work the barrier’.
That’s just an aside, the real issue was the fact that I didn’t notice that it was a Day Return rather than an Open Return… I missed it, my wife missed it and I wonder if anyone else has had the same issue. I thought ticketing was supposed to be becoming clearer and easier but I can’t remember the machine being clear.
But then, clearer and easier has to take into consideration an idiot like me.

1 comment for “I Need Training to Help me Understand Ticket Machines

  1. David Reeve
    23 May, 2012 at 11:19

    Did the same thing travelling off peak from Hastings to London and as I was travelling with someone, had to pay for two expensive single tickets to get back the following day, about £41. Also you have to specify now, whether you want to go to Charing Cross or Victoria from Hastings- I just want a ticket to London at the same price! I don’t want to wait half hour for another Charing Cross train if missed by seconds, but want to get the Victoria train leaving 5 minutes later! Something to do with Southern rail or South East rail having each franchise.

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