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Photo number:
Photo #22725

Mugs Game

This "Permit to Travel" machine is a snare for your coins.

I inserted a £1 coin. I could tell by the sound it made that it got stuck. I pushed the "Return Coins" button, nothing. I bashed the side of the machine. A slight sound of movement, but still nothing.

I could see the coin inside the slot. I was cross with myself. Why had I been such a mug to think this machine would actually work! Luckily my train was not for another 15 minutes, and eventually I teased out my coin with a bent paper clip.

But just as I got it back another passenger came up to me and said "Don't put any money in there! How much have you lost!?"

He told me that it was a trick done by the 'local kids round here'. Apparently they jam up the machine somehow and it collects the coins of many unwary passengers. Then when they've all boarded the train they come along and bash the machine hard on the side and it 'pays out' - just like a slot machine.

The passenger demonstrated and pocketed several coins himself.

I got on the train without the permit.

At Nuneation station I asked if I could buy a ticket on the train - but the response from the platform staff was "Yes, but they'll be perfectly within their rights to charge you more than the ticket office."

At Nuneaton station getting to the ticket office from platform 5, when your train leaves from platform 6 is the longest single trip you can do at that station, and involves ascending to and descending from the bridge twice over. Doing that would put at risk my chance of catching the train.

So I resigned myself to paying "the bit more that they were well within their rights to charge me". In fact there was no collection on the train, and at the other end of my journey there was no barrier either, so I ended up not paying for this journey!

This picture also shows the unusable (deprecated?) footbridge and sign explaining how to get to platform 1 via the road network. There's also a sign about the Atherstone and District Rail Users Group, ADRUG.

UPDATE RECEIVED from a site user:
The "Permit to Travel" machine in the photo has since been replaced by a newer touch screen machine which only accepts cards. This was seen on 20/02/11, and is now shown at #48415.

The new machine offers a different kind of rip-off, see: #48416

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