It’s that time of the month again. And I have to renew my Oystercard. After last month’s debacle with the online and telephone systems, I decided to try getting a seven day travelcard at Peckham Rye this morning, and then renew at one of the main London tube stations’. Like Blackfriars.

Luckily my train was late this morning. This gave me ample time to check out the swanky new ticket machine that updated weekly travelcards, accepts cards and doesn’t spit out crumpled notes like they were mouldy haddock-flavoured crisps.

Out of order.

Never mind, I thought, eyeing the unmoving queue for the ticket office, and wondering if it was another public art installation (Peckham is the new Notting Hill, folks…the Evening Standard said it, so it must be true), I’ll just get a permit to travel, just in case the bastards nice revenue collectors are at the other end, and besides, that’s the right thing to do.

Out of order.

It is now 8.43 and my train is due. So I jumped on and decided to take on the £20 fine, preparing my eloquent excuse while I stood behind a large woman who didn’t fancy her chances on the middle seat, so nobody else was going to have a crack at it either.

The train gods don’t like to demand offerings when the trains are an average of TEN MINUTES LATE, so I shuffled downstairs (elevators out of order again) with the other 300 people that decided to use the stairs at that very moment. The entrance to Blackfriars tube was comparatively deserted, and there were no tourists clustered wonderingly around the Oystercard updating machine/ticket dispenser. I slapped my Oystercard onto the reader with a determined air.

“Your Oystercard cannot be read at this time. Please try later.”


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