Thursday, July 30, 2009

Crazy Train

There is something about the transportation system that has entrapped Canadians. Material goods take a backseat to our travel needs and on the rare occasion that the price of hauling ourselves from place to place is offered at a discount, we go bananas.

When retail stores have big sales, their ads run between news stories, but when gas prices or travel tickets are going for cheap, it makes headlines. Because of this preexisting condition, it was only logical that when VIA Rail announced
that they were having a 60% off sale, it blew people’s minds. Brains went everywhere.

The VIA phone centre was so bogged down with calls that they didn’t even bother putting callers in a queue, they just went with the old fashion incessant beep to keep the hoards of customers at bay. Their website got so much traffic that it slowed to the pace of a sloth in slow motion. Many people gave up on the technological methods and instead went down to the train station to get their deal in person. This resulted in over three hour waits at the ticket offices. On Wednesday, I decided to join them.

It was like waiting for Space Mountain at Disney World; two solid hours of shuffling the 25m just to get to the good stuff. While Disney makes the wait entertaining with caricatures and decorated sets, the wait for VIA Rail was amusing because of other people in line.

The constant beeping of the ticket machine was occasionally interrupted by obnoxiously embarrassing cell phone rings or the cries of an unhappy child. The line snaked around the entire one room station and out into the parking lot. The only space that wasn’t taken up by the thick boarder of people was occupied by the kids that had been dragged along with their parents. After hours of staring into nothingness, these kids looked less than amused.

After bonding with my fellow line-mates, I finally made it to the front. I purchased my discount tickets as well as some for a friend. At least I saved one person from the painstakingly long wait, plus I did my part to make the lines shorter for all involved.

The best part isn’t even the money I saved. It is the fact that this deal forced me to solidify my future travel plans so I can now look forward to my upcoming trip to Toronto!

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