Why is it so hard to buy train tickets in this country?

I want to buy a season ticket. It should not be much to ask.

The national rail website informs me when I enter my stations that season tickets are available for all short journeys and some longer journeys. This is undermined by not having one for my short journey.

I am very fortunate in that where I live I can choose between two different rail operators. If I am dissatisfied with one, I can simply decide to start and finish work at a different time to use a competitor’s service. Such is the brilliance of the free market.

One train operator helpfully tells me that there are no tickets available with no further explanation. Thanks. You are aware your trains stop at those stations, aren’t you?

The other operator offers me the season ticket I want but, while they are only too happy to send me individual daily tickets through the post, they offer only one means of delivery for season tickets, and that is via some kind of bizarre electronic gizmo, which I don’t have. It doesn’t propose any means for me to acquire this gizmo; when I click the “WTF are you talking about?” button I am helpfully redirected to a page with no content. I’m not even convinced my station has the means to use it. I checked and if I lived a few stations down the line, they would happily send me the old fashioned ticket through the old fashioned postage system! (unfortunately that ticket is for a greater distance, and therefore more expensive).

Everything about trains in this country is just a mess.

It’s only 8 miles to work, maybe I should buy a bike…


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