Now that the new shopping Mecca has opened up at Westfield the powers that be deemed it sensible to improve the transport links and so rustled up a nice spanking new rail station. A station that handily server the wild and dangerous South of London.
I say handily, as I was wending my way to Balham to wolf down several barrels of sauce. So I wander along to the station, sidle up to the barrier and swipe my handy oyster card on the read-y thing and wait on the platform for my train to turn up.
I wait and I wait, being trains they are, of course, delayed but I don’t really care as it’s a short ride so booze will be in hand in no time surely.
The train turns up, I hop on, along with seemingly 5000 other people, the train pulls away with my face pressed against the window. Some stops come and go but in no time at all we are at Balham. I leap from the train, to once again enjoy the sensation of breathing, then make my way to the exit.
I get to the little gate and once again swipe my card, beep, what’s this, I’m being told to seek advice, odd.
Tube user: Hello, my card does not seem to work.
Small Tube worker: Let me check, ah it’s pay as you go, you can’t use that here.
Confused Tube user: Umm pardon
At this point my card is passed to a great gormless galoot of a man:
Galoot: Yeah as the sign say there you can’t use pay as you go.
Me: Err… Ok…. So can I buy a ticket?
Galoot: Well yes but I have to issue you with a penalty notice.
Me: What for?
Galoot: Fare evasion.
Me: But I’m not evading a fare, I’m trying to pay one.
Galoot: You’ve come to a station you don’t have a ticket for.
Me: Fare evasion is not coming up to you and asking to buy a ticket, it’s vaulting the barrier and running off. Fine I’ll go back to Clapham and get one.
Galoot: No you’ll have to pay a penalty for fare evasion.
Me: I’ve not evaded a fare if I’ve not left the station. Anyway why let me onto a system with a card that does not work that seems a little unfair.
Galoot: The maps clearly show you can’t use it.
Me: No they don’t
At this point I get bored of looking into his tedious features so I snatch my oyster card back from his primitive grasp to make my way back to Clapham.
Galoot: Sir you can’t do that, OK I’m calling the police
Me: What for?
Galoot: Fair evasion.
Me: Right, I’m not evading a fair, oh what ever.
Galoot: Your on camera sir.
Me: Really, wow that’s a surprise, cause London is renowned for it’s very limited use of privacy invading cameras.
I didn’t add. Anyway I go to Clapham, get a ticket, don’t get arrested, go back to Balham (£2.10 for a single stop, day light robbery), pop through the barrier, clearly in view of Galoot, don’t get arrested.
I will now just have to sit wait for my front doors to be shattered by a swat team who will then drag me off for a number of tips down some flights of metal stairs before disappearing from the system entirely. It’s been fun.