Have I Really Got a Ticket? Er, No!

Didgeman / Pixabay

Last week, I wrote this (deja vu?) and thought you may be interested in the update!

I said: I must admit to a slight feeling of … not exactly panic, because I’m a big girl now and can deal with most things, just…more a feeling of, ‘if this doesn’t work it is going to be a total pain’. It was! 

Yes, I’ve tried something new! Yay. Before you get too excited, I have not donned a wetsuit and taken to the surf in ridiculously cold temperatures. Nor have I taken up karaoke (Bude will be pleased) nor jive club. No, I bought what is called a M-ticket for my next train journey.

Apparently, we are all terrified of losing train tickets (especially people like me who often go down the cheaper split ticketing route and end up with a handful of them). We check them about ninety times – and that’s before leaving the house! Then there’s the nearly 60 miles journey to the station where I can check them again. And again. And again.

So, I now have tickets on my mobile app. Aaaagh! Apparently, the train manager can inspect my ticket on my app. In case there is no signal and the app won’t load, I have taken a screen shot of said ticket purchase! How sad am I? Although no signal could mean a debate with said manager about why Virgin offer free wifi and Cross Country don’t…

The really fun bit will be trying to get through the automated ticket barriers at Birmingham New St. Here’s hoping there’s a human around somewhere …


What really happened…

Having used the Cross Country mobile app, I took advantage of the 25% discount offer which gave me a reasonable fare. This gave me my mobile (M) ticket which, on the day, I could not activate through the app.  We got there OK on the Wednesday due to extremely helpful ticket staff on the train and a bemused person at the ticket barrier.
But, here’s how my day went on Friday, 19th February:
New Street Station (Grand Central, call it what you will) is a jolly busy place but we arrived over an hour before our journey, to organise the ticket! (The M ticket system tells us not to try to activate the ticket too early but to wait until an hour before the journey). So, unable to activate even within the hour, I went to the rail ticketing office at New St, which was unable to help. I tried social media. I was advised via Twitter to contact customer service by phone (not realising that customer service is based very close by in Birmingham, though I’m not sure where the call centre is; suspect another continent). This I did – twice. The first call promised me the ticket would be re-sent. It was not. Call at 12.28 lasted 4 minutes.
The second call lasted 37 minutes from 12.40. Our train was at 13.17. It seemed there was plenty of time but, in the event, cutting it fine is an understatement. It was cut so fine, we missed the train.
At around 13.15, I was advised I could get a ticket from the pre-booked self-service machine with a code I was about to be given. I could not understand the person in the noisy station (L for Lima, etc) but pointed out that anyway, at this point, it was too late and we had all but missed the train. Customer service was insistent that we could make it and she was “being helpful”. She kept telling me to go to the ticket machine as we had plenty of time (we did not; it involved getting the ticket, getting through the barrier, and then to the platform (9) at what is an extremely busy station in under 2 minutes when the train doors close a minute prior to departure) so I asked if I could have a ticket for the next train as this one had been missed due to the additional 37 minutes it had taken to try to resolve this issue. The answer was no.
At this point, I purchased fresh tickets from the ticket machine to use on the next available train. My cheap train ticket had my now cost another £77. The next train was relatively empty but arrived late at Tiverton after following the stopping train from Cardiff to Taunton.
The following day, I discovered all my information had been deleted from my Cross Country account. Despite my email address and password remaining the same, it had all been removed. An IT blip? Or a cynical attempt to wipe information. Hmn.  I have had to re-register (using the same email and password) and received a ‘welcome’ message. Cheers. Thank goodness for smart phones, as I had captured everything on screenshots before I got wiped.
As you may imagine I am now wrangling with customer services for a refund!
Moral of the story – I will never, ever, ever use a M ticket again!  Be warned, just don’t bother. 

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