Monday, 12 March 2012

The end of the line for train tickets

Grab some of my train ticket gift tags while you can! The UK government is talking about doing away with printed tickets and introducing smart cards for the entire network, just like the Oyster card system in London. Read more about it over on the BBC news website.

I only became a car driver at the age of 29, having always lived in major cities with excellent transport systems I never really saw the need to drive. As I got older, I decided it was another life skill that I really should get under my belt before they put the price of the test up any higher and what really spurred me on was a plan for a road trip across Tennessee, Mississippi and Louisiana for my 30th birthday.

Before that, I used public tranport all over the world on my travels and one of the things I love to collect are used tickets. I love the variation in design and format from country to country, and I hate that in some places (including the UK now) you don't get to keep your ticket any more. The traditional design of British train tickets harks all the way back to the days of British Rail and before, and everyone knows that Brief Encounter is the most romantic film of all time, even those of us who, ahem, haven't seen it.  Well, I'm more of a Taking of Pelham 123 kind of a girl, myself.  Yes, even the remake (which is surprisingly good, honest).  Oh and Money Train, which reminds me that I have a very small stash of old subway tokens somewhere, from my first trip to New York in the 80s when, amongst other nicer things happening, I got caught up in this at the station underneath Macy's.  Of course I have a PILE of more recent metrocards hiding away waiting to be scrapbooked, too.

But anyway, back to the train ticket gift tags.  I have quite the stash of tickets to turn into tags still available, but even before they are withdrawn, they are getting harder and harder to come by.  The advent of ticket collecting machines and over-zealous conductors who deface the tickets to prevent fraud - I haven't seen a date stamp or ticket punch in a long time, now it's just biro and bad handwriting - mean that I get fewer and fewer tickets in reuseable condition, despite my long commute by train most working days.  I have around 100 in stock and ready to post, so large orders can be accomodated.  I'd love to see my tags used as place markers at a trainspotting couple's wedding, or a special dinner for a steam buff.  I first started making the tags because I love foreign travel and travel tickets of all kinds, and there has to be at least one other person in some other part of the world that feels the same way!