Monday, April 03, 2006

Planes, trains and automobiles...

I had a similar story to many other Charlton supporters, I'm sure, today when I tried to get my Boro cup quarter final replay tickets. I got them, but it took quite some time, and worried me deeply, for a time, that I might not!

Inspector Sands also had trouble, though he queued up for his ticket...

Me, I had to use the oft-fabled (and abused) new telephone ticketing system that Charlton have installed recently for the first time (why no online bookings for those not requiring transport Mr Varney?).

This morning, when I checked the website to see if tickets had finally gone on sale (after so long it seems), there was the inevitable rush being reported. I waited till lunchtime, then guessed that everyone at work may have to call then. I finally tried just before 2pm, but my Company's phone system doesn't allow 0800 number dialling! It was around this time that Addicks Premiership Diary reported heavy demand and I began to worry - what if I left it too late?

Luckily, and through also being in the same boat (so to speak) as the good Inspector, I had already made my train and hotel bookings - the day after the drawn Valley game - and I didn't have to worry about lack of free trains or planes being available. But the match tickets were going quickly it reported, and I still just could not get through, even using my mobile.

I tried for two hours on and off, and finally, after that lovely ladies voice repeated for the ninth time that I should press 1 for cup tickets, I finally got into the queue and not dumped out again and told to call back later due to heavy demand.

I was the 19th person in the queue, which suggests that the phone system can only queue 20-odd people at a time - is this good enough? It took about eight minutes to get a real person on the other end of the phone, from 19th, to 14th, 12th, ninth, second, and then through. The harrassed voice that greeted me was one I could understand - she must have had a nightmare day - one of the busiest of her life no doubt! She was very polite, especially when I said I didn't know my membership number. Quickly, and efficiently, she dealt with my booking, and was a little surprised when I said I didn't need travel transport too.

The ticket is in the post she said, and it should be with me in a couple of days hopefully. At 10p a minute, it has probably cost me a few bob to get this ticket, and with over 13,000 callers in the first three hours, it could be that the club make enough from selling these tickets to pay Darren Bent's wages for a week! I am sure that supporters won't mind, especially with the club reporting a £5.1m six-monthly loss last week!

So I'm all ready; the time off has been granted, the train is booked, the hotel is booked, the ticket is ordered - all we need now is a result!

Up the Addicks!

Comments:
Hi Pedro,

For those unlucky enough to miss out on the train and planes, may I give a mention to:

OPERATION CARSHARE!
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CAFC_car_share/

I set this up prior to the club announcing their ground breaking travel initiative. At first it looked like it wouldn't be required but the events of yesterday, that might not be the case!

Simply register with the group to join then you can post a message advertising space or asking if anyone has capacity. Once a message is posted, members are notified so you're always up-to-date with the latest news.

Cheers, up The Addicks!

Colin
 
Of course yo may Colin. I think this is a great idea too...Good luck anyone who hasn't got train/plane/coach ticket.
 
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