Observations from the Ticket Queue

In Cambridge station there are four ticket machines. Three look the same. One doesn’t look like the others. This tends to kind of throw people off.

Let’s talk about the forming of the ticket queues. Sometimes there is one queue, other times there is a queue behind each machine. When we have the ‘uni-queue’ there tends to be a bit of hesitation in using the ticket machine that looks different. It includes looking around to see if other people are going to use it and looking at the screen distantly with squinted eyes. Eventually someone from the back of the queue (or in today’s case, someone who just walked into the station) will just stroll up to the machine and go about their business, with varying degrees of success as we will see.

When there is a ‘multi-queue’ scenario, the queue for the Mystery Machine is usually the shortest. Can it be trusted? It doesn’t look like the other ones…. can I buy the same tickets from it? The person who queue jumped to it today wasn’t able to work out how to buy a ticket, wondered around a bit, tried to queue jump to the Mystery Machine again before getting in the uni-queue with everyone else.

Which would you choose?

The Mystery Ticket Machine is on the left. The rest look like the one on the right. All of them do the same job. I wanted to get a shot of all 4 machines, but there was a couple who just wouldn’t move out of the way. That same couple passed on using the Mystery Machine moments before.

It’s terrible to see such ticket machine discrimination in the flesh.