March 04, 2007

Slow Train A-Coming

I've been travelling a great deal by train over the last few months and, during a recent trip to Limerick, managed to briefly mislay my return ticket. When I arrived at the station to report my loss, I was told that I needed to buy a replacement single ticket (at close to the price of my original return). I was also told that I could apply for a refund if my original ticket re-surfaced later.

Sure enough, it turned out that a business colleague had mistakenly taken my ticket as well as his own (don't ask, it's a long story!), and I made enquiries about a refund. That's when the fun began: Had I had the original ticket endorsed? No, it sat unused inside my colleague's pocket whilst he made the return trip on his own ticket. Ah sir, you should have had it endorsed. But no-one said anything to me about having it endorsed. Anyway, I can provide receipts for both my original and replacement tickets. Ah yes, but you might have bought a second ticket for someone else etc etc.

Things went on in this vein for quite a while longer. My appeal didn't quite fall on deaf ears but they were certainly hard of hearing. I was invited to submit a written application and it turns out I might get a refund if my application happens to fall the right way up on someone's desk.

The rail company are kicking up quite a fuss in public about the great progress they are making in rebuilding the railway. But before making tracks for public recognition, they might begin by showing a little faith in their own customers; surely the first stop in any brand-building exercise?

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