Thursday, May 30, 2013

Exploding train ticket machines

German police warns of exploding train ticket machines.

Seeing this headline, TheEditor rubbed his eyes, then checked the date. Satisfied that today is not 1 April, the next check was the website address.

Reassuringly, it was respected Der Spiegel online.

The full story is that thieves have been getting creative at breaking into train station ticket machines in the greater Frankfurt, K-land, area.

They tape all openings of the machines shut, then fill them with gas, which they make explode.

Open sesame, grab what little money is in there, run.

Apparently, this has been going on for a couple of months, the cops say there are machines taped shut which could explode any time.

2 months and no public safety warning?

In the US, they'd sue Amtrack into oblivion if they sat on information like Deutsche Bahn does.

What, Amtrack is already.....? Sorry, abort the joke.

Which brings us to riding that train in Germany. The trains are fine, mostly, but the ticket machines are a dream.

The binary thinking we love about the folks here is materialized in ticket machines. There are machines that take only cash, others take only cards.

Cash machines take only the smallest bills around. Anything over 10 euros is a no go on most machines.
If a bill has undergone one (1) folding during its time in circulation, most machines will reject it.

Current ticket machines reflect the dress code of 1950s Germany: do not stand out by any means!

In other words, many are train station camo colored, a grey that matches the concrete floor, with a little yellow or red stripe. Even if you find a machine, you have a 50% chance that it is out of order.

Human employees have disappeared from the small stations, and there is no help button. In the UK, at least, you have a help station, and that friendly real person in the call center in India will help you, really. If the button works.

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