A scene from the late morning rush-hour at Wembley Park station. Large queues for the ticket office, which seem to have been getting worse all week. Why?
The causal reasons - as opposed to the unintelligible ones - are that over 50% of the ticket machines were out of service or closed. In particular, machines that ordinarily accepted notes were closed or only accepting coins. Moreover, only one cashier was serving and another half a dozen or so service points were closed. I guess the only fault of the passenger, sorry customer, is that they either had complicated journeys, or did not have coins to the value of their ticket (who carries correct change for a £7.30 travelcard, for example?) or wanted to avoid spending on their credit cards.
The less intelligible reasons are that when I finally got to speak to the station manager - after first being offered a telephone number for a centralised customer service - he was apparently ignorant of what was going on in his own station. I pointed at the queue, asked him whether this was really acceptable, and reported back to him the advice of another of his staff earlier in the week, that some of the machines were malfunctioning. How about getting them fixed? Moreover, the manager was adamant that cash was being accepted at the machines but then qualified this to say only coins were.
I do think that commuters deserve better station management than this. Many locals already have to contend with being redirected the long way round the ticket barriers on their return journeys, when it should be obvious that at least 50% of people might wish to use the Kingsbury or Neasden-bound pavements and buses.
How about a transport system run for the benefit of passengers? Locals, and local businesses, will also face the impact of Jubilee and Metropolitain line closures this weekend.