Can the train take the strain?

Let the train take the strain we’re told. And I do. I’m a fan of the train and use them, as well as buses and the underground to get around Glasgow, and the rest of Scotland. But the companies providing train services do need to get their acts together a bit more. They need to start talking to each other for one thing, and agreeing how best to provide a service that we can use with as little stress as possible.

Here’s an example. I couldn’t renew my Zone Card recently because I had been out of the country when it expired and I couldn’t renew it in advance of it expiring. So I  had to travel to Glasgow Central on Monday morning to do so, since I travel from an unmanned station and so couldn’t do it before my journey started. And you’re not allowed to do it on the train because Scotrail operate the train but the card is operated by SPT. So I had to buy a ticket for the journey to Central, where I renewed my card, effectively meaning that I had a ticket for the journey I had just had to pay for! But could I get a refund? No. Why? Because Scotrail don’t issue the card, SPT do and they share the revenue so if Scotrail had given me my £3.20 back they would be out of pocket.

So instead I have to be out of pocket because I travel from an unmanned station, and because the ticket issuing system is based on the date my Zone Card expires rather than the date it starts! I could have had a refund if I was buying a Scotrail weekly or season ticket but not because I was buying a Zone Card. You couldn’t make it up.
How can the various train operators seriously hope to encourage us all to use their services regularly and with a smile on our faces if they can’t even get the basics of their ticketing policy sorted out between themselves?

Oh and don’t start me on the number of times I have to stand in the queue to use the underground because the tickets issued at Central Station need to be ‘validated’, whatever that means!

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