Improving The Rail Ticket System
With all the tickets, I’ve been buying for my challenge, I’m starting to get strong views about how the system should be improved.
The first thing that is needed is a global account that works for all of the train company sites.
It would be a complete profile and contain.
- All your personal details.
- Your preferred station for picking up tickets.
- Your preferred seating arrangements.
- Your credit card details.
It would of course have all of the tickets you’d ordered in a database, so you could use them for purposes like calculating expenses or rebooking a similar trip on another day.
The site would be run by ATOC and not by a company such as the trainline, which charges you a booking fee and doesn’t always give you the most logical routes.
So let’s say I want to book a London Liverpool train on Virgin similar to one I bought a month ago. I would click the Book Similar link on the previous ticket and this would put me into the Virgin site, showing me the prices I would be charged I would then book as normal, using the global preferences. It would make the process a lot simpler.
User-Defined Pick-Up Passwords
To pick up tickets you need the eight-digit reference number. Recently, I picked up seven tickets, with different reference numbers in one visit to Kings Cross. It was a nightmare, especially as my left-hand isn’t 100%. I do text the reference numbers to my mobile phone, but that only simiplifies it a small amount.
If you could define your own pick-up password, then the process would be much simpler. I might use VG1234 for Virgin, where 1234 is the last four digits of my phone number. This would mean the pick-up is as secure as it is now, but I should also be allowed at my risk to pick up the tickets on a credit card only. I would always use a simple password, I could remember.
Virgin and others can text me details of my trip, but they send too much information and we need more messages.
I would just like the eight-digit reference followed say by Euston-Liverpool Lime Street, as this would then display the reference, when I held up the phone without opening the message, so it would be easier to pick-up the tickets.
But how about these messages.
- An alert if there was any engineering work or delay before the train leaves.
- An alert a specific number of minutes before the train leaves.
- An alert with the platform number. This might clear out the space in front of the departure boards.
- Alerts if the train was going to arrive late.