05 November 2009

Of valid tickets and faulty machines

I read with the feeling "it happens everywhere" an article describing the outrage of the Melbourne public over a case, one of many, where a commuter's valid multiple-trip ticket failed to work on a tram despite his repeated attempts to validate it on the tram's ticket machine.

And when the ticket inspector came a-checking, the commuter was fined for not having a validated ticket for his tram ride. Despite his explanation that the machine simply refused to validate his ticket. The official response was "he should have either got off the tram or bought a new ticket". The commuter in question intends to fight the fine in court.

And so he should. Because ticket inspectors should really apply some common sense. It is daylight robbery to require a commuter to buy another ticket because of a faulty (or selectively faulty) machine.

Back home in Malaysia, we get fined for not having valid parking tickets displayed on our dashboards. Several times in Taman Tun Dr Ismail, KL, after they replaced the parking meters (now why did they have to do that? The existing parking meters were working fine...ohhhh, silly me, of course it is to create a "job" for "someone"), I simply could not get a ticket out of them. I was not alone.

One morning, I followed the instructions on the dastardly machine and it simply refused to work. A gentleman came along and offered to try. I said, sure thing, go ahead. He too, failed. A second gentleman came along, thinking we were idiots for not being able to work the machine. Hah, he was equally foiled by the wicked machine. I can't remember how many people ultimately milled around us waiting to get their tickets, but I do remember having to ditch the idea of getting a parking ticket and just dash off to do my marketing. If a council officer had come around, I am positive I would return to find a compound notice on my windscreen, and would the local council entertain my explanation that their ticket machine didn't work?

It happens everywhere.....lack of common sense by council enforcers, dodgy ticket machines installed by dodgy means for dodgy purposes.

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