Common sense escapes the simpliest business opportunites

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My wife was gone for a week which meant we weren’t going to drive into the city together. It was the perfect time to take the train and save myself about $70 in five days–great deal right? In fact it was a great deal–but not without frustration.

Two out of five days I missed the train–and almost missed it a third day. I won’t get into all the logistics of why I missed it (traffic, walking half-a-mile, etc.) but the most frustrating of them was simple: I couldn’t get the machine to take my money and print the ticket fast enough. On another day it kept spitting my dime back at me. If a very nice person wasn’t there to see this happening I wouldn’t have been on the train at all.

So here is the question: why aren’t there any ticket machines on the train itself? Nothing would take my level of stress away more than to have a machine on the train. I could get on and buy my ticket knowing that I won’t miss the train and be late for work. I know there are reasons why… but there are simple solutions to those who would only pay if they were going to get caught without a ticket.

1. Perhaps their is only one car on the train that has a ticket machine–and its always the same car.
2. The onboard ticket machine only takes credit cards. The outside machines don’t take credit cards–which leads to even less convenience. (When is the last time you carried around $4 in change?)

Just because you own a monopoly doesn’t mean you can ignore the practical. I only ride the train when my wife is away–if the experience were better we might both ride together. But after, what I term, “hell week” I have no desire to rush right back into it.

This is one of those times where you just need to take yourself out of the business and put yourself in the shoes of the consumer. It’s not always easy–but even if someone walked through the train and asked riders what they like/don’t like they’d gain a wealth of knowledge.

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