Tuesday, June 02, 2009

My Pet Peeve!


I have been riding public transit alot lately and I like it. It saves me lots of time, I can read or write some notes while I am traveling and I can get off where I want and not worry about parking.
I usually arrive at transit loaded down. I have a large purse. People who know me will tell you that I always have a purse large enough to carry absolutely everything I need should there be an earth quake and I need to survive for a week or two away from home. I also have my writing materials, date book, study books and sometimes the newspaper. I know this is a lot of stuff, but I really hate to waste time and what if I had to wait a half hour or so what would I do with myself? I can assure you that if I do not have a bunch of things to occupy my time I will be finding things and that usually means the nearest food fair with dire consequences to my diet plan. Oh yeah I always have my food note book with me as well. If it is raining or looks like it might rain then I will also have an umbrella with me.
The transit station sells tickets on the main floor before you climb a flight or two or three depending on what station you are at to the deck where the train arrives. There is a very clever machine that gives you several options all laid out on a touch screen for easy picking. First you decide how many zones you are going and how many people you are paying for. Then you pick the ticket you want. Day pass or hourly. Then this little machine tells you how much money you owe and asks you how you want to pay. Cash or debit? I always pick cash as I do not trust these little machines too much. Why you may ask? Well I have seen these machines print out streams of tickets that people did not request and I always wonder how these people get their money back if they have paid by debit. Anyhow I digress.... Now after choosing cash you can pay with a dollar bill in this little slot that sucks in your five, ten or 20 dollar bill. As I always pay with cash and as I am always loaded down with stuff I always have the money in my hand. This way I do not have to put everything down and rummage around in my very large over stuffed (did I mention that I always over stuff my purse?) purse for my wallet so I can did through several compartments to find money. Everything seems to be going along well until that moment when I slip the dollar bill in the slot that sucks it up. I wait expectantly for the ticket to be printed only to have my bill spit back at me.... I patiently take the bill try to smooth out the wrinkles and turn it around and try again ....ttthhhhhttt! Out it comes again.
About this time I begin to hear what I am convinced is my train coming down the tracks above me so I quickly dump everything on the dirty (and I do mean dirty) cement floor and bend over with my butt in the air digging through my enormously stuffed purse to find change! Finding it I stuff everything back in and begin the process of selecting the ticket all over again as I have of course taken too long and that very smart machine has timed out. I quickly punch in my choices again and begin dropping coins into the slot this time. I watch the money meter count down my fare and at last I am down to the last coin. With a sigh of relief I drop in the last 10 cents only to hear the last coin clunk into the return tray! WHAT!!!!! The machine won't take my last dime??? I stalwartly grab the dime out of the return and determinedly drop it back in the slot. Must be a mistake. Surely it will take it this time. I wait...listening to the coin make its way back to the coin return. Once more I drop all my stuff and grab my wallet which fortunately is still on top of my purse frantically search for a dime or two nickels or anything that damn machine will take. I drop a dime into the slot and finally hear the sweet sound of my ticket being punched out. I grab it and run up the stairs to try and catch the train, which is always just closing its doors to pull away. Exhausted I stand and wait for the next train silently cursing that clever machine one floor below.

1 comment:

  1. We have ticket machines on the London Underground (and also at railway stations). I know how annoying it is when the machine refuses a note or coin, especially if you don't have another one to try.

    I don't know whether this tip will help. One day I put a pound coin in and it fell down the return chute. I tried again and again... By now I had a queue behind me. A young man came forward and with supercilious look on his face, grabbed my pound coin, rubbed it flat on the surface of the machine and dropped it in the slot. Clunk! It worked!

    Apparently, recalcitrant coins can often be rehabilitated by rubbing them in this way. (Quicker than fishing in your purse for another coin.) No, I don't know why it works.

    Not having a car, we use only public transport. It has all the benefits you say but also some disadvantages such as having to wait a long time for a bus or train, having to squeeze into packed vehicles and sometimes having to put up with noisy and badly behaved passengers. Then again, nothing's perfect, eh?

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