Wednesday, 24 August 2016

The M-Ticket

For audio click here
It was only spitting with rain when I reached the coach station, but the dark clouds overhead suggested a more substantial downpour was on the way. Luckily the coach was in and the driver was letting people get on despite departure being fifteen minutes away.
“Morning drive,” I said cheerily.
“Morning passenger,” he replied. I smiled. I’d never heard that before. I showed him the ticket on my mobile phone and that was where the joviality ended.
“Sorry mate, this says M-Ticket,” the driver said, “and this is an email confirmation, not the ticket.”
“What?” I looked at the screen and then the driver.
“You need to show me the text message you got.”
“But I didn’t get a text message,” I said. Won’t this do?”
“No, sorry mate, I need to scan the barcode, this email doesn’t have a barcode.”
‘But they didn’t send me a text, I thought this would do.”
“Not my problem mate. The ticket office is over there.”
I sighed and trooped through the rain towards the ticket office and waited in the queue, looking at my watch and tutting loudly to remind people I was in a hurry.
“IS it any cheaper if I come back on the Friday then.” The woman in front of me had already asked the clerk to check three different times and they were all for next week.
“Excuse me!” I said. “Can I just sort something out quickly, my coach is about to leave.”
“Wait your turn young man.” The woman said. I sighed.
“Excuse me,” I said to the other man behind the counter, who seemed to be bumbling around making tea.
“Can I help you?” There was a smile on the man’s face, but there was nothing in his eyes to support that smile.
I explained my situation to him and he nodded and smiled his vacuous smile at me.
“I’m sorry sir, there’s nothing I can do. You’ll have to call this number.” He handed me a business card with 0891 number printed on it.
“I don’t have time for that now,” I said.
“Well, the only thing you can do is buy another ticket.”
I was backed into a corner. It was a Sunday, I had a flight to catch and this was the only coach that would get me to Heathrow on time.
“Okay,” I said, “A single to Heathrow please.”
“Which bus sir?”
I could have punched him there and then I don’t know how I didn’t.
“The 10.35, the one just about to leave.” I looked at my watch and then over my shoulder pleased to see the bus was still there.
He tapped his keyboard for an age. I waved at the driver to let him know I was coming.
Finally, the clerk stopped tapping and looked at me.
“I’m sorry sir, that one is full, I can get you on the next one.”
My arm was twitching and my fingers were curling into a fist.
“There must be one space,” I tried to stay as calm as I could. “There must be, because I bought a ticket and I am not on it.”
“The computer says it’s full sir.”
“Can’t you sell me my own seat?”
“The computer won’t let me do that sir. You’d have to cancel your ticket.
“Right well I want to cancel it them.” I showed him my email on my phone again.
“Sorry sir, we can’t do that without the M-Ticket.”

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