‘In stark contrast to the misery that faces once-every-four-years sports fans, our customers haven’t been taunted by an empty seat since January,’ boasted SW Trains boss Matthew Gratton.
Gratton puts their success down to a ‘Turn up, buy a ticket, get on’ ticketing system, which combines simplicity with an aggressive and fun competition for a bit of train wall to lean against, but stories are emerging of widespread commuter frustration as bemused tourists at the head of the queue stare blankly at ticket machines while the train departs.
Critics of the Olympic ticketing system have complained that it divided people into ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’, but Gratton is keen to point out that this is a charge that cannot be levelled at South West Trains. ‘Demand will always outstrip supply for the Blue Ribbon events like the 07:27 non-stop Surbiton to Waterloo, but we believe everyone should at least have the right to buy a ticket, regardless of whether there is room for them on the train.’
Seasoned ticket holders, however, have described the SWT triumph as ‘inexplicable, incredible and disturbing’, a point emphatically dismissed by Mr Gratton. ‘I just want to make it absolutely clear,’ he said, ‘the last thing that South West Trains would ever countenance is any sort of ‘Performance Enhancement’.’