Friday, March 20, 2009

The Barriers Are Down - Rejoice!

When I arrived at Romford Station this morning I noticed a certain spring in commuters' steps, a cheerful gleam in their eyes. It is Friday and the long weekend stretches ahead, but much more importantly:

The horrendous 'Berlin Wall' ticket barriers had gone!

Yes, after years of congestion and campaigning National Express have finally taken action and cleared them away.

These barriers were the only ones on the Liverpool Street line - with the exception of Chelmsford - that could not take Oyster cards of any kind. At Romford anyone with a travel pass had the unique and unwelcome experience of queueing back up the platform stairs to get out during rush hour, because every ticket had to be scanned manually by the long suffering and heroic station staff.

When Freedom Passes were converted to Oyster the problem became much worse, as Havering has the oldest population of any London borough. Pensioners had to line up to get in and out of the station, whilst the barriers were used less and less as the number of paper tickets declined.

On occasions inexperienced staff struggled with the hand held scanners and I'm sure some passengers were wrongly fined - it certainly happened to me.

So thank you National Express, better late than never, as they say on the network. Boris visited the station during the election and I'm sure he will be pleased with this development too.

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