I silently curse as I am held up from walking through the ticket barrier by someone trying to jam a paper ticket into a machine. I hazard perceive the people who are clearly new to the tube making their way the wrong way down the escalator. Curse in my head that I cannot circumvent my clashing with them by getting through the barrier and whizzing past. And try not to huff as I wonder why the heck this person doesn’t own an oyster card.
I was one of the people that swore on anything but my life, my family, friends or anything holy, that I would not get this new fangled, going to try and track my movements, oyster card. Fast forward some years later and I am standing in Victoria wondering why this person is taking so long to get through the gates.
I have turned from a person who would never have an oyster card to someone who likes its efficiencies. But it wasn’t by choice, but by the silent eroding of the chance to buy a paper ticket from a tube station. First to be told no month paper tickets and then no week paper tickets.
And this continues even today: The theft of the ability to use other methods apart from oyster or contactless to travel. I am not sure if we are being advised or forced into the future.
Earlier this year they stopped allowing money to be paid on the bus. The amount of times I have seen someone explain to the driver that they have no oyster card, to only have him or her come back with a shrug and explanation that there is nothing they can do and the person will not be able to board.
Or there have been times when someone has run out of money on the card, doesn’t have this new contactless card and lives in an area where there is not a corner shop to top up. So they have to walk to a shop before they can board the bus, which if it is like where I live, it is about a 15-20 minute walk, basically a bus ride away.
I mean I think it is great that we are moving towards ever closer technology but the changes do not consider the minority who are still affected. Instead it is pushing people by hook or crook, as my mum used to say, to get an oyster or contactless card.
Yes it is unfair. I mean they didn’t consider making it so that you can buy the ticket online and then jump on the bus. Admittedly this would still leave people out but it would reduce the number. Instead the same old rule applies that you must tap into a tube station in order for the ticket to validate, which still leaves the problem of having to get on the bus in the first place.
Now technology has taken another step forward and we have apple pay and the android equivalent. It means that there is yet another way to pay to get to places, because you can use it on public transport access ways too.
This is all good and would help but it still leaves out those who are not so technology minded. The general message that comes from the transport systems is use it or don’t use us. It’s a message that makes me feel a bit glum but….it is a sign of the times.