Sunday, November 25, 2012

update: further things that can go wrong on a bus

This one is a real humdinger in the sense that I had actually written it down as an idea to blog about in a, "oh, it's so frustrating this happened to this other man I saw" sort of a way ... when before I was able to, it happened to me!  Forewarned is not necessarily, it seems, forearmed.

Here it is:  the bus may eat your ticket.

You know what happens when it does?  In my case, it worked out reasonably fortuitously with no lasting damage, but I see that in many ways that was a matter of pure ... predestination, shall we say.  Certainly not any thanks to Sydney transportation.

My ticket was eaten on a Wednesday night about 6:30 pm on a 230.  The driver took my name and number (felt a little funny right there ...) and said he couldn't open up the ticket machine so someone would give me a call when his shift was over.  (Fortuitous incident number one:  his shift was over only an hour or so later.  Fortuitous incident number two:  I was not on my way to work and didn't have to catch any more buses immediately.)

Thankfully, someone did give me a call shortly before 8 and said it was all right, they had my ticket, I could come and collect it now.  Evidently it had not occurred to them that I no longer had a bus pass to come collect the bus pass with.  I pointed this out, and was asked where I was.  I was, it transpired, at a trivia night at the Kirribilli Hotel, which meant I was not able to come and collect it when the doors closed at 9 pm somewhere in Neutral Bay.  And also that I had no means of getting to work in the morning if I waited for them to mail it to me.  (Furthermore, my mailbox key is broken, but that's another story.  Well, actually I guess it isn't much of one:  I went to open the mailbox one day and discovered my key was bent.  How odd is that?)

This threw the man greatly as he was anticipating I would either come (how, he had not thought through) or not care or something.  He said to wait a few minutes and he'd call back.  Risking trivia team disqualification for indoor use of cell phones, I magnanimously waited with my phone for another call.  He thankfully (fortuitous incident number three) found a passing 227 driver who was going to the same stop I'd got off at that could take the ticket to me if I could meet him at that stop between 8:10 and 8:15.

And thus I found myself meeting the 227 at 8:15 and it had, indeed, returned my ticket.  Which was all very lovely and fine and I'm glad it worked out -- but for goodness sake!  What if I had been on my way to work and still had to catch another bus?  What if his shift hadn't ended for six more hours?  What if I didn't have friends to drive me home in case the 227 driver hadn't been found?  What if, what if, what if?  They had absolutely no plan in place besides "come without your ticket to collect it or we'll mail it to you" -- which, frankly, as one who depends on public transportation to get to work every day can assure you, is not remotely sufficient.  Particularly as I suspect this ticket eating business has been happening repeatedly lately -- as I had seen it happen just prior to my own unfortunately fortuitous incident!

So, fellow riders, beware:  the bus may eat your ticket.

1 comment:

Laetitia :-) said...

I've don't think I ever had my ticket eaten (and now that we effectively have a pay-wave system, I won't) but I can understand the frustration. For a while a few months ago the readers on my bus were haywire and kept thinking that either I hadn't 'touched-on' or 'touched-off' appropriately so therefore charged me a base rate of $5 (or sometimes $10!) instead of $3.58.

On calling Translink they would dutifully log my call and advise that it could take up to 10 working days (2 or more weeks if public holidays are in there) to be credited back. So instead of being able to budget for adding no more than $20/wk to my card I'd have to budget for $25 (unless I had to get a bus home in the evening then had to add $5 for each of those trips).

With re-crediting taking up to two weeks (in which the readers could have eaten more $) you can imagine the frustration. How is one supposed to get home/to work when the reader has already sucked out fares for the next three days leaving no apparent credit?