True stories from the Great Railway Disaster

A weekly chronicle of the absurdities of privatisation; No 88: so you want the cheaper ticket?
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The Independent Online
CHRIS GODSMARK is a regular commuter on the Docklands Light Railway, which runs from the City of London to the East. He generally cycles to work in Canary Wharf, but uses the DLR during the day to go to meetings in the City alighting at the Bank underground/DLR station. Chris usually bought a single ticket from the machine in Canary Wharf for pounds 1.40, or pounds 2.80 return, until he discovered the machine also sold a "City Shuttle", costing just pounds 2, and giving unlimited travel all day on the DLR.

One day he began his journey not at Bank, and went into the ticket hall to buy the pounds 2 City Shuttle ticket. He was told it was not for sale. The clerk said: "I'm sorry sir that's a DLR ticket, this is London Underground."

Chris pointed out that Bank was also a DLR station with a huge sign saying "Welcome to the Docklands Light Railway."

"Yes there are DLR platforms here, but the station is owned and run by the Underground and we don't sell DLR tickets. You can buy a City Shuttle by travelling to the first stop on the DLR, getting off, and buying one in the machine there." After much argument, Chris was let through without paying. On the DLR platform he found the single ticket which cost pounds 1.40 upstairs cost 80p.

Examples of railway folly should be sent in envelopes marked "Mad" to: Christian Wolmar, Independent on Sunday, 1 Canada Square, London E14 5DL.