Catching the Oyster

I love my Oyster card. For anyone who doesn’t live or work in the London area you won’t have a clue what I’m talking about. The Oyster card is the handy electronic ticket for travelling around public transport in the London area. It can hold travelcards or pay-as-you-go – it’s fab! The only downside to an Oyster card is the fact that I live in Upminster which is a London Underground Station with the district line ending there but it also a national rail line. Now the station is owned by C2C who operate the train line so naturally they don’t want any part of the Oyster system to be at the station but hey, the tube stops at my station. This must have caused a real dilemma for the bosses at C2C, so they decided that only half the ticket booths can update Oyster cards. This means that when ever I need to top up my card or get a travelcard I have to spend longer in the queue as there is only one person serving the poor Oyster users. There is also quite a lot of us and there is always a massive queue compared to getting a normal train ticket, so why can’t C2C just install Oyster card machines in all the tickets booths?!

The other problem is travelling to Romford by train from Upminster using the Oyster card. Romford is operated by another rail company and don’t accept pay-as-you-go at all. Travelcards are fine but you have to let the ticket inspector check it for you as the barriers at Romford don’t have Oyster “touch” pads. I don’t normally venture in to Romford (too scary) but I need to have a chest x-ray and the hospital is in Romford. Of course the x-ray department is only open Mon-Fri 9am-12pm, which means I can’t get the quick 10 minutes train journey there unless I wait until next week and get a weekly travelcard or I get the bus to Romford. Getting the bus during the school rush will take me about 40 mins. It’s a no-win situation and as I keep putting off going for the x-ray, I think I’m using the Oyster card as my “putting it off” card!

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