Why oh Why - The Demagnitezed Ticket Nightmare with the Wicked Witch of the Bart - THE MADDNESS HAS TO STOP BART!

Okay, so I was pushing it a little – with 4 minutes to spare I was flying through the bart terminal trying to get my ticket through the little slot and then pay for parking at the kiosk, run down the stairs and board my train from Ashby to Civic Center, SF – when I get the most dreaded message: See Agent. Yes folks, my ticket was demagnetized, hence begins my bart drama!!! So I’m thinking this is going to be a pain in the you know what, but I’ll have to get the magic paper ticket written by the agent and then swap out my ticket in SF – Oh but not so fast! This morning was my lucky morning and I got the agent from….you fill in the blank! She blatantly refused to give me a ticket to my destination. In all the rudeness she could have possibly conjured up at 8:23 AM – she told me that my only 2 choices are to – ONE purchase another ticket and then when I get to SF, switch out the demagnetized ticket. Having not a penny on me, she told me I could also use my debit card! (Thanks for the advice lady!) But I didn’t have that on me either. So that meant I would have to leave the bart station after securing one of the VERY LAST parks available, drive home, get money, come back, drive around hopelessly looking for a park, until I probably broke down and drove in to work – now officially late beyond explanation, pay the $4 to cross the bridge and the $12 to park in the city. Well that didn’t seem acceptable or doable to me.

So she said my other choice was – oh wait, she said I had 3 choices, so my second choice was – as she asked, “do I have someone that can meet me at the civic center and pay for my fare there?” Okay – so how was that going to work? I don’t have the energy to dissect why this is one of the most ignorant questions she could have asked….And why was it okay to give me the paper ticket if someone stranger promised to meet me at the Civic Center and pay my way instead of my promise to exchange my ticket at the bart counter? Wondering minds will never know! Okay, and my final choice was that she would give me a paper ticket to the Civic Center, but she was keeping my demagnetized ticket with the promise that Bart would mail me another one with my remaining $25.30 minus the one-way trip she would write up. So now I am out of my $25.30 until Bart sends me another ticket? But in no way was she going to give me a paper ticket to get to the Civic Center and then allow me to exchange my ticket there because, “according to the agent” there is no way to debit the one way ticket?!?!?!?!? For real? Now the ever so helpful agent based her rationale on the “fact” that she received a memo 7 months ago that stated they were not allowed to “do that anymore” – that being: provide a paid rider a trip to their destination, regardless of the fact that the cheaply made ticket malfunctioned as of no fault of mine. Is this only absurd to me? She furthered lectured me about how I was the cause of my ticket being demagnetized because of my ipod, although I showed her the pretty little clear plastic casing I keep my bart ticket in. However, it seems that ownership of the ipod proved my guilt!!!! After watching my train bolt at full speed pass me and knowing another would be following shortly, I walked outside contemplating my dilemma.

So I called customer service. Explained the situation to the rep on the phone and she was just as bewildered as I was as to why the agent didn’t provide me a paper ticket to get to my destination, write the debited amount on my ticket so that I could exchange it in SF and be on my merrily way! So I returned to the counter and gave the agent my cell phone (this is all before my morning coffee, so by now I was beginning to get “slightly” irritated :) with the bart agent who in a weird way had way too much power!) The agent spoke to the rep on the phone and explained that she offered me a ride, but conveniently left out that she also demanded to keep my ticket and force me to wait on my $25.30 in the mail. Seriously, my bart commute is roughly $160 per month, give or take a day – how do they know that my financial situation allows me to “just wait” and somehow purchase another ticket in the meantime?!?!? And no, this isn’t their problem, but the demagnetized ticket is – it’s been an ongoing issue with bart and the only solution they have is to make the rider further suffer! So back to the long story – well let me wrap it up, after the rep and agent went back and forth, passed the phone back to me so I could clarify that I never turned down the ride, I just didn’t want the agent to keep my demagnetized ticket when I KNEW for a fact that I could exchange it in SF at the bart counter, and then passed the phone back to the agent, and let the agent and rep go back and forth, and back and forth, and umm, back and forth – the agent finally agreed to write out the paper ticket. Oh but first she felt the need to tell me that “just because you call customer service does not mean anything and you will not be given this courtesy the next time no matter who you call.” And then she rummaged through her purse looking for a pen just long enough for me to miss THE THIRD TRAIN to SF – I finally got the paper ticket written! 35 minutes late to work.

I hate bart today!

Seriously, I want to see this memo that the agent said was “passed out” 7 months ago – where is it posted? Why is she the only one to enforce it? And more – well MOST importantly WHO wrote the memo and decided if a ticket gets demagnetized its just the riders bad luck. I mean at least get me to my destination – but maybe I’m asking for too much – pay for a ticket and get a ride, what a concept?!?!?

boopiejones's picture

debra - you have posted this same message four times. i deleted the other three. if you need to make changes, i believe you have the ability to edit. if not, let me know and i can make changes for you.

I thought I was losing my mind. My apologies - I posted it under the wrong forum, tried to move it, then thought it was deleted. Okay, now I'm the one mentally challenged today! :) Thanks! I'll leave it posted here under this forum!

boopiejones's picture

i hear ya. it is amazing how one ugly run in can set the tone for a crappy rest of the day. yesterday i had a situation at the gym, and it all snowballed from there. uggh.

anyway, welcome to bartrage. that stinks about the grumpy station agent.

And it feels like I should just be able to shake off nonesense like this particular bart agent - but it takes a while when you know your morning was interrupted by an idiot!

TreoBART's picture

The most insane part of that is...

You are able to fix the situation at the destination you were heading to. It's not like you were going to pocket the ticket and do it later, you could have done it the same day.

Never in a million years would I imagine they would completely refuse entrance to someone with a valid ticket. That's what the little "invalid" stamp is for, so you get a one way free ride max and no more. If their tickets are so fragile they can't stand up to normal magnetic fields, tough cookies, the station agents will have to deal. It's their job after all.

... Is there any particular reason you had no form of money on you at all? Did you just forget your purse or something? I know it happens, but pray you don't get pulled over if your license is in there too...

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There is no "U" in BART

No I had my license - she asked to see that to get my mailing address...:) And I try not to carry my credit or debit card because then i won't spend any money! lol I carry my lunch to work. With a $7.30 daily bart commute, I try not take any money "to spend" with me....Who would have thought you needed a back up bart ticket or back up bart ticket fare!
Yeah, I was pretty surprised that she was refusing to at least get me to my destination where I would have immediately exchanged it for another ticket. Either way, she marked my ticket invalid. She did that first. So why not let me get to a bart station that allows me to exchange it. I'm still digesting the craziness of it all!

BARTpolice2's picture

Oh why, oh why.

rafa1215's picture

I know station agents are human too, but c'mon, do we have to shut Bart down like Starbucks did for retraining?

boopiejones's picture

i would be ok with a day without bart, if the end result was that the agents made better espresso.

i went to starbucks a few days after the shutdown, and i swear i could actually tell a difference. maybe the difference was that they gave me a latte instead of the wet cappucino that i asked for, but hey, it was better tasting than i remember.

nice post :-)