So having utterly failed in last year’s resolution to catch the bus in and out of work at least once a month, I’ll be making up for it this week.
Although I have a Translink Smartlink card, it’s not so smart as the Oyster card that lives in my wallet for transport around London.
For although I’ve unused journeys on the Smartlink card, they expire a certain number of days (three months) after being purchased. Not even after a certain gap in card use. You could use the card on Day X-1, and then find that on Day X it’s useless even if you still had unused
credit journeys in it.
If it wasn’t for the Terms and Conditions, you’d be tempted to call it theft.
It’s a system racked up in the favour of Translink and not the customer. Umm. Shouldn’t the purpose of a non-privatised integrated transport company like Translink doesn’t seem to be to run a quality set of integrated transport routes that are customer-focussed, and encourage customers to keep using them.
When I left the house this morning the rain was over so I wandered down to Ballyhackamore’s shops to recharge the card rather than pay over the odds on the bus. But at 8am, the newsagent was closed. Walking further down to the BP filling station that is like Ballyhackamore’s shopping mall with Subway, a Post Office branch and a Spar tucked into it’s forecourt.
But while they’ll sell you a lottery ticket, they haven’t asked for or blessed with a Smartlink terminal. They do cars not buses. (I suppose it is consistent that a business based on filling cars with fuel should avoid making it easy for people to consider the alternatives.)
So I went back to the bus stop and paid my £1.40 at the door (a number 19) before taking a very windy route down North Road towards Central. Sitting at the window upstairs, at least the bus lanes were working to the bus’ advantage!
Does anyone else wish that the Smartlink cards would hold credit rather than just journeys? Or am I the only person who’s infrequent bus usage means that it always expires before I finish a card? Do let me know.
To be continued ...
Update - I posted (emailed) too soon. Hit the button to get off at the next stop. Waited for the bus to pull up for people to get off before Central station, then got up from my seat to go down the stairs. (You’re not encouraged to move around when the bus is moving.)
Half way down the steps, the bus drove off! Though there was another opportunity to get off at the proper bus stop on the other side of the lights.