Partially Attended

an irregularly updated blog by Ian Mulvany

Rail in the UK is really pretty shitty

Mon Mar 9, 2009

383 Words
Last month I bought some rail tickets online, and got to London Bridge only to be told that I had to go to Liverpool Street in order to print out the tickets. Five minutes before my train was due to depart. I had to buy a new set of tickets for that days journey, and get up extra early the next day to make it to Liverpool street to print out my tickets.

This was really annoying me, so I wrote a pretty rude email and got a response saying that if I returned my tickets with a cover letter I would get a full refund, anyway, I'm about to send off for a refund, the cover letter is reproduced below:


Dear Madam,

I am returning the pair of unused tickets for a journey on the
14th of February 2009.

I purchased these return tickets online for a journey between
London Bridge and Lingfield. When I arrived at London Bridge I
was informed that I had to go to Liverpool Street Station to print
my tickets, and that there was no way to be issued with my tickets
at London Bridge. I was forced to purchase another set of tickets
for journey on that day.

The following day I had to stop by Liverpool street in order to
print the tickets for travel on the 15th, and in addition I printed
the unused tickets, which I am returning in this letter.

The idea that you would create a system which allows for purchase
and collection of tickets via a web interface, but at the same
time not provision one of your busiest metropolitan hubs with the means
for retrieval of those tickets is astonishing. I understand that investment
in the ticketing machines may be large, but to roll out a system that
is so patently broken cannot be in the best interest of the consumer.

At the very least, as an interim measure, providing tickets that may be printed online could be a viable solution. Every rail company that
I have travelled with across Europe has such a system. National Express bus
service has such a system. Even Ryan air uses such a system, which indicates to this mind that it cannot be too expensive to implement.

Sincerely Yours,

- Ian Mulvany

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