Monday, September 14, 2009

The bureaucracy of buying tickets

Here is a not unusual example of queuing for a ticket in Andalucía. At the Jerez train station, there are three ticket windows, one of which is open. To be served, you take a number. I pull 480. The number currently being served is 449. My ticket says it will be about a forty minute wait, yet there are no more than five people in front of me. Where are the thirty people holding the intervening tickets?   After fifteen minutes, the number being served ticks over to 450, and one person advances to the counter.

There is a line on the floor marked with the words Espere su turno—wait your turn. The Spanish word for “wait” is also the word for “hope.”

I used the automatic ticketing machine.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Have you read Paul Theroux's "The Great Railway Bazaar"? Your experience is not as hellish as that experience by Theroux in India!