Note to SouthWest Trains…

…There is such a thing as too punctual.

I had to get a ticket this morning (I know, I know but who – really – goes down on a Sunday night to renew their ticket when they could do it at the last minute like everyone else?). Of course, this being Monday, when I got to the nice quiet ticket machine at the back entrance to Vauxhall it was being worked on by an engineer (either that or it was in the process of eating him, either way it wasn’t about to sell me any tickets). So back I went through the underpass to the front entrance where the queue at the ticket windows was almost out the door, and the one for the machines only a little shorter. Then it seemed either everyone trying to buy their tickets at the machine – or else perhaps the machines themselves – was having a bit of a Monday morning moment: at one point, simultaneously, the two women trying to buy their tickets at the two available machines decided to cancel where they’d got to and start from scratch because they were so confused. It was only after much theatrical sighing, impatient fidegting and synchronised eye-rolling on the part of the waiting queue that they were persuaded to try their luck elsewhere. I ended up with my ticket and my paper with technically just over a minute to spare but some instinct made me sprint for the platform anyway. And lucky I did because the doors on the 7:41 slammed shut well before its allotted time and the train pulled out of the station as the clock said 7:40:59. A bit tough for anyone who had arrived at the platform merely on time.

No such problems this evening, of course, when the busiest train of the afternoon peak suddenly decided to be half as long as it ought with no prior warning. Having to cram four extra carriages worth of commuters in through the last set of doors does tend to slow things down, I find. I’m just not entirely sure that it was much of an improvement…


5 responses to “Note to SouthWest Trains…

  1. Slightly different problem here – all the bus stops at the bus/rail station have state-of-the-art electronic boards announcing times of departure, and the current time. (Very important when whatever connection you want leaves no more than two minutes after arrival of the first). And all drivers totally ignore these boards and leave by the ancient station clock, which is nearly five minutes fast…….

  2. yeah well you can’t be trusting those new fangled digital things. Not when there’s a good old-fashioned not-very-accurate clock to be using instead…

  3. these ticket machines an electric clocks need a good kicking its the only language they understand.
    cheers john

  4. There is something to be said for having your ticket delivered to your door by post every month 😀

  5. John – indeed
    TMC – you clearly don’t have our postal service …

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