I arrived early at East Croydon station. Standing on the platform, I experienced the unique frustration of watching train after train arrive, then depart for my desired destination (Brighton).

The reason I couldn’t get on board any of them?

Not because I was on the wrong platform. Oh no, I was within inches of the open doors.

Not because they were too crowded. Oh no, there were plenty of available seats.

Not because I didn’t have a ticket. Oh no, I’d bought it online the night before and collected it from the so-called ‘quick’ ticket machine at the station.

The reason was that they were all Southern trains, and my ticket only allowed me to travel on trains run by First Capital Connect.

Yes, there are two different train services that run between East Croydon and Brighton, and you have to buy a different ticket depending on which train you use.

When you order the ticket, the small print advises you can only travel on FCC trains. There is no obvious signage when you pick up the ticket, not on the platform, nor on the train.

I wonder how many non-English speakers and visitors to our fair land get caught out by this ridiculous situation?

1 Comment

GiraffeBanners · November 7, 2010 at 11:59 am

Absolutely crazy scenario, and, not dissimilar to that of, if you buy a ticket to travel from South Croydon to a London station, you cannot change your mind and get on the train at East Croydon, even though your journey is shorter, and in effect cheaper. This does apply to any journey that you may book.The best answer to this crazy system is of course to get an oyster card, yo can then travel on whatever train, from whatever station, and only be charged for the journey you travel, potentially saving you money. And of, it is valid on all public transport.Jason

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