It's been a while since I had a service-related rant on here. That's probably because I've mellowed a lot recently, but also because I've been well looked after by the brands I've invested my time and money into.
National Rail and TfL are the brands have the fame of having ended that.
This is a train ticket I bought from a machine at Tunbridge Wells train station yesterday:
I used a ticket machine to buy it because there was no-one in the ticket office on the side I was at. There were people checking tickets, but no-one selling them.
As I was going to Farringdon, I pressed the button labeled: Farringdon Underground. Now, to me, this means I get to Farringdon using the underground, thought no more about it and put the ticket in my pocket. The ticket cost me about an extra £4 on top of a single train journey so I presumed that was for a tube journey.
I get to Cannon Street (the destination of the train) and try to jump on the Circle Line to Farringdon. When I put the ticket through the gates to get onto the underground, it beeps and I get the familiar 'Please Seek Assistance' red message. Thinking the ticket had bent in my pocket, I go to a guard nearby. He looks at my ticket...
"You can't use the underground with this ticket, mate."
"Eh? No underground? But the ticket is for Farringdon Underground."
"Yeah but it says here 'no underground' - see?"
"Oh yeah. I didn't notice that... but why is the destination 'Farringdon Underground' then?"
"Maybe you should have got the direct train there and not used the underground."
"There is no direct train."
"What about Thameslink trains?"
"Well there is one, but the National Rail Enquiries site told me to get the underground. There was a half hour wait to change trains."
"It's not a problem, but can you see how confusing this is? If it's confusing me - and I've lived in London for a long time and speak English as a first language - then surely it'll confuse tourists?"
"Yeah I guess so... erm... want me to let you through the gates?"
"Will I be able to get out at Farringdon?"
"Your ticket won't work so you'll have to speak to the people there."
"I'll have to go through this again?"
"No thanks - I'll pay again and use my Oyster."
So that's the story: A ticket that says 'Farringdon Underground' means you can't use the underground. Confusing eh? Whatever happened to explaining things in a simple manner?