Frustrating half-assed technology solutions


If you thought this post would be about the website, you were wrong. That went without a hitch for me (well, except comparing plans is super confusing, but that is not a technology problem). Rather, I am talking about the MTA’s Metro-North “WebTicket” system.

I am heading upstate this weekend for a couple of days with friends who have invited me to their lovely cabin in the woods (or the suburbs, not entirely sure how to classify the location in the Hudson Valley). I am supposed to take the Metro-North line to Poughkeepsie, where I will meet them at around 5pm this evening. So I thought I would look up information on the MTA website. Design issues aside, I was able to fairly easily locate my train information, and then was pleased as punch to notice a “WebTicket” option for purchasing my ticket online.  I went through the process to select my ticket and then just before the purchase step, there is a bold notice in large letters stating:

“Your tickets will be mailed to you at no additional charge. You will receive them in 2-3 business days. You cannot print out the tickets on your home computer. Do you wish to continue with your purchase?”

Are you F-ing kidding me?! What is the point of online purchase? What kind of MORON designed an online system where you couldn’t keep your tickets on your smart phone or at least have the ability to print them out? They have made a system which COULD have saved them millions in labor and infrastructure (people gathering the tickets to mail them, restocking machines with special paper, keeping a greater number of machines in the terminals) and would have been convenient for people purchasing them (and saved trees if people could have kept them electronically) and instead have made it a stupid mail order system for physical goods.