Ticket to Ride.

 

New ticket machine

Well over a year ago, our local buses began introducing new ticket machines. As with anything new, it all began rather badly. The bus drivers didn’t seem to have a clue, we passengers were just as clueless and for quite a while, it tended to be a case of ‘get on the bus’, listen to the driver state We don’t have any tickets!” as you vainly flashed your bus pass in his general direction.  I couldn’t quite make out what you were supposed to do with these new fangled ticket machines, and if they didn’t have any tickets, hadn’t installing them on every bus been rather a waste of time?

Kerri in the meantime seemed to have picked up the idea behind them straight away, as she held her pass directly in front of the small window, albeit with no response from the machine for her efforts.  All I kept thinking to myself as we journeyed along ticketless was, what if an inspector boarded before realising that I hadn’t actually seen an inspector get on a bus for years.

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Slowly over time, the new ticket machines have begun to work as they should. At least I think that they began to work as they should. Firstly, tickets were actually being given in response to you flashing your pass in front of them as you boarded. However, I was bitterly disappointed when at last I was handed one of the new tickets. They are simply a thin squarish waxed piece of paper, with little to commend them.  Boring was my initial thought. As a passenger, there’s very little you can do with them once they are in your hand. Compared to their rather colourful predecessors, they are rubbish. How many hours have I happily whiled away my time during my bus journey, absent mindedly rolling those wonderful tickets up into a tight roll between thumb and forefinger in one direction, and then reversing the whole procedure? Or forming them into a smiley or talking mouth for the amusement of my children when they were younger? I can’t possibly do any of that with the new boring bus tickets.

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Not that your actually given one every time you board a bus. It’s often the way that you ‘scan’ your pass, only to receive a curt nod from the driver (and a green light from the new ticket machine, that is if its working of course) to indicate that your allowed to continue up the aisle and sit down. Ticketless of course.  So, its still all rather confusing, sometimes a ticket is handed over, other times not. Sometimes your pass causes some response from the machine, sometimes not.  How are they supposed to work?

There has been no information provided about their usage whatsoever for passengers, we’re all obviously supposed to be mind readers or Einstein’s, and immediately know exactly what to do.  Some drivers have vainly tried to help of course in their own way, though I suspect that most of them haven’t a clue either.

“ Place your pass in front of the machine (or on top as it seems as if, depending on which bus company you board, these new ticket machines are all very different to each other in layout, just to confuse you even further) and it will register it.”

Ahh!  Register it!  Now the penny begins to drop! Sifting out types of users! Paying and none paying!  Pass and none pass!  Will it eventually come to pass (pun intended) where we pass holders are only allowed on certain buses at certain times because we don’t add to the bus company’s profits? Will we be relegated to old rusty buses that crawl along at a snails pace to cut costs? Will we be banned from peak time buses, relegated to (what will probably become known as) The Oldies Bus? I know this, there’s always a reason why new gadgets such as these new ticket machines are introduced, and I have that horrible gut feeling that for us pass waving passengers, none of it is good news. We may even arrive at a time when trying to board vainly waving our passes at the driver, all we hear are those well known words uttered by another senior in a land far away….

“You shall not Pass!”

Technogran Sad smile

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A Successful Quest !

In direct contrast to Saturdays venture to buy the train tickets for our upcoming journey to visit my eldest son and his family, see  A Wasted Day… again! or the quest for the rail tickets. today was very successful despite the fact that I have returned home with rather more than I bargained for!  I didn’t hold out much hope of everything running smoothly though as we really did seem to have a lot of ‘must do’s’ and ‘have to’s’ incorporated into today’s outing but everything went according to plan!

Firstly we walked down to the doctors to leave a repeat prescription for my tablets, then we ventured into the Post Office where I returned a parcel via special delivery to Play.com, who had sent me two copies of ‘The Spiderwick Chronicles’ by mistake, and they have promised to reimburse me for the cost of the return.

Our station platform Then a swift walk to the station as we didn’t have much time before the Leeds train was due, which incidentally was accompanied by lots of grumbling and muttering under her breath from K as we went. (she hates when we have to walk fairly fast, keeps saying her legs are too short)  We arrived at the station just in time to catch the train to Leeds.  Arriving  at our destination, we then proceeded through the ticket stalls to the Travel Centre, joining the queue to book and pay for our tickets.   As it came to our turn, two of the staff promptly closed their positions! (Obviously they had heard all about us!) but we were soon attended to by another member of staff who was obviously of much stronger constitution than her male colleagues!  

I had taken a printout of the Leeds/Carlisle/Glasgow route with me to show whoever was dealing with us (see, on the ball for once today with brain functioning at near full capacity!) but the girl informed me that although she could book that route if I insisted,  it was much slower and in addition, if we missed our connection in Carlisle we would have ages to wait for the next one as they were fairly infrequent.  So I accepted her superior knowledge on the subject and  we are now going via York both on the journey up and the one coming back.  The total cost came to £70.00 which isn’t too bad in my opinion.  Also our seats are reserved on all trains both outbound and return which then guarantees us a seat.

Leeds station from the train. By this time it was about 12.00 or thereabouts and we decided return via Huddersfield and have another search for a larger crossover style bag for me in Marks and Sparks.  A quick lunch in MickyD’s (I  must remember to take out some shares in McDonalds as K and I seem to be spending quite a fair amount of time in there lately!)  I had my usual Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad and a tea, and K had a Chicken Legend with potato wedges instead of chips accompanied by her usual Still Fanta Orange with no ice. 

Then onward to Marks and Spencer’s to have a look at their crossover bags.  They were very nice but a trifle too small for my liking, nor did they have a lot of separate compartments inside either ( a big plus with me) so we decided to take a look in British Home Stores.  It was here that I found a fairly roomy crossover bag which was just up my street, and also obtained a new addition to our family!   When we went to the desk to pay for the bag, the assistant informed me that I could have one of the cuddly toys that were randomly scattered all around the store for a special price, as I had spent over £10.00, so meet teddy!   He has his own passport (no good ending up living with us two then as we have never been abroad and have no intentions of going anytime in the near future thereby rendering his passport obsolete!)

Can you see his passport? I can’t think of a name for him at the moment, K suggested ‘Spike’ because his hair is stuck up according to her.  Oh, and she won’t want him, she doesn’t like cuddly toys full stop!  I have ended up with the tiger that I bought for her because every time I went into her bedroom, he had been thrown onto the floor and I felt so sorry for him that he now resides on my bed.  So, a new addition to our already overcrowded flat!  He is cute though, they all had different coloured scarves on and I preferred the cream coloured one.  Mind you I have to confess that once outside the shop, he ended up being stuffed roughly into K’s backpack with K and myself looking round furtively just to make sure we wouldn’t be accosted by the ‘Cruelty to Teddy Bears’ association.

Then back home on the bus, a couple of hours to catch our breaths, then into track suits and off out again to our exercise class.  K had forgotten most of the exercises and ended up the session by making everyone laugh as she sang to to the music using a weight in her hand as a pretend microphone.  So after a tiring but fruitful day I am just enjoying a nice hot cuppa that K has made for me whilst finishing off this blog.  A most successful quest all in all,  with much accomplished I think.

So that’s all for now, keep blogging and reading!  TG  smile_yawn

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