Freedom to travel? Not always.

The Zonecard is a card that allows you to use any combination of trains, buses and subway that you need to get round the fair city of Glasgow.

I had to get a new one recently. I went to Buchanan St Underground Station, since that’s where the guy on the train told me I should go to buy the card, since the conductors on the train aren’t allowed to sell them. Something to do with the fact that the trains are operated by Scotrail and the Zonecard by Strathclyde Passenger Transport.

My sense of unease was heightened when I got to Buchanan St. They don’t sell new Zonecards there, they only renew them! I would need to go to the travel centre at St Enoch Station to buy a new one.

Fortunately it was a nice morning. The sun was shining and Glasgow is always full of good cheer when the sun shines. So a wee wander down Buchanan St, listening to some busking pipers, guitarists and cellists wouldn’t do me any harm at all.

Apart from the news I received when I got to the Ticket Centre at St Enoch. The tickets they provide don’t work at the barriers at Scotrail stations. “Why not”, I asked, “surely it’s all part of the same integrated system?”

No, sorry, our tickets won’t let you through the barriers. You have to tell the guards you have this ticket and they’ll let you through manually.

In that case I‘ll go to Central Station and get a ticket from Scotrail that will work on the barriers.

So I did, but their ticket now needs to be validated for the Underground. And from time to time re-validated when it stops working because it’s been in the same pocket as your phone, or diary, or cigarettes, or whatever else causes it to fail. And this means standing in another queue. And of course avoiding queues is one of the reasons for buying a ticket in advance in the first place.

Come on guys, get your acts together. Do you not talk to each other?

What’s the point of putting all of these shiny new barriers in stations in Glasgow when you know that the tickets that are provided by Strathclyde Passenger Transport won’t work in them?

If you really want us to use public transport you are going to have to make it a little bit more user friendly!

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