The machines that aren't broken

Typical: of course the ticket machine chooses a busy time to go wrong. In Oxford station, queues were forming at a machine that refused to display Network Railcard as a valid railcard. The woman at the front of the queue tried for quite some time to make it work, then gave up and sought assistance. I was eavesdropping on her conversation with James, a busy member of station staff, when I got to the front of my own queue and encountered an identical problem. Soon it became clear that all the ticket machines had the same issue: refusing to display Network Railcard as an option.

Anniversary rally at Twyford Down

A postcard from Twyford Down, where the car’s progress is bought at the expense of place. And what place. Once full of exquisite natural beauty, Twyford Down was carved up for a road, to save motorists three minutes of time and now it is just a nowhere, a cutting between places. The progress of the car was the only important thing, not that of walkers, of kite-flyers, of lovers or of children. Road protesters stood in front of bulldozers to stop it.

Jay Griffiths, Pip Pip

As we know, those road protesters failed.

Train in vain: buying tickets from First Great Western

Today's tale is my experience of buying train tickets from the First Great Western website. I was trying to buy a ticket from Oxford to London, returning on the following day.

I wanted to see all the return tickets available

  • What I did: chose “return” and typed in the dates of travel.
  • What I got: lots of different single ticket types, then one choice of return ticket (an off-peak return).


How to get around for less

Publication date
August 2008

The rising price of crude oil is affecting the price of all sorts of things, from the food on your table to the clothes  you’re wearing. But the most direct effect has been on transport costs. The mainstream media bemoans the plight of two-car families, but people on lower incomes have been hit much harder. Here’s how to save money  on your transport costs.