When buying tickets is much harder than it should be

By Megan Forbes

The ticket vending machine at the Fairfield Metro-North train station takes forever to use. I actually leave early for my train because I know that something is probably going to go wrong when I purchase my round-trip, off-peak ticket to Grand Central. Sometimes my debit card doesn’t read in the scanner, or is “invalid,” — and I know it isn’t, since I just bought a coffee with it a few minutes ago. And most of the time, it takes me two run-throughs with this prehistoric vending machine just to get my two tickets.

I thought we had it bad, but our situation looks a lot better than using the ticket machines in Stockholm, Sweden. Even though the Metro-North ticket machines are outdated, they’re relatively simple to use. The Stockholm public transportation system came out with a new design for their ticket vending machines in 2007. Prior to 2007, the Stockholm transportation system was in the dark- tickets were only purchased in cash, through the bus drivers. This lead to lost money and robberies, which caused the creation of these vending machines.

You would think that these machines would be more hi-tech than the ones of Metro-North, but you would be wrong. You start in the middle of the machine, pressing a blue button a number of times to select the zone you want your ticket for. Then there is another blue button for the type of ticket you want. After this, your hand moves to the top of the machine to swipe a credit card. Lastly, you press the green button and wait for your ticket to print on the left.

The hand movements are awkward, and the LCD screen on the top right does not help while you’re pressing the blue button on the bottom of the machine three times. See a visual here.

I guess I shouldn’t complain.