A long time ago – and a very long time ago in internet time – I blogged about registering my oyster card. I filled in the form and handed it in, I waited a couple of weeks, I set up my online account and then I blithely went down to Vauxhall to buy myself a monthly season ticket, only to be told my card wasn’t registered. I got a weekly ticket, I waited, I tried again. Same result. A few weeks passed, then a few months. I got the odd email warning me about line closures, but I still couldn’t buy a monthly ticket. Finally, realising that buying a ticket every week was not only costing me money, it was costing me time and inconvenience, I tried again. I had a chat with the nice man at the ticket office in Kennington (apologies to those people in the queue behind me), and I filled in the form, and I waited. Same result.
So last night I decided to harness the power of the internet. I went on to TfL’s site and I went to ‘Ask Oyster’ and I tried to log in using the account that I had set up originally, which didn’t work. After a bit of headscratching and having them emailing me my account details I realised that I didn’t have an account with Ask Oyster, I had an account with the Oyster On Line Shop, so I logged into that, discovered (surprise surprise) that my card still wasn’t registered. I looked around for some more information, thinking that perhaps there was some other form of registration than filling in the ‘register your oyster card’ form and handing it in, and I followed a link back to the ‘Ask Oyster’ site, where I found a link where I could email oyster (I’d rather email a person than a bivalve, but I suppose they try and keep these things cuddly) with my question. Which I did. Whereupon it asked me to log in or create an account. Which (after some rather desperate scratching around to see if there was another way) I did. So now I have two accounts: An ‘Ask Oyster’ account and a ‘Pay Oyster’ account, yet still no ‘Get a reasonable length of Season ticket on Oyster’ account that I could see. I have also filled in two separate forms for one card, something that worries me a little. It is exactly that kind of behaviour that causes automated systems of very little brain to get terminally confused (Amazon’s wish list held me in a similar loop for three days after I had the temerity to move house) and become impossible to disentangle without talking to a human, as opposed to a bivalve. But perhaps I’m being harsh.
This morning, of course, I got stuck behind possibly the slowest ever user of an Oyster card machine who would have been there probably indefinitely if I hadn’t shown him the slot to put his bank card into. I need to be able to buy a monthly ticket, and I need it now. They have promised me a response in two days. If you see someone sitting on the train slowly going purple from lack of oxygen, that’ll be me, holding my breath.