Are station ticket machines “confusing”?

Passenger Focus have highlighted the issue of how ticket machines are confusing and difficult to use for rail passengers:  It is an issue that we have been talking about on this blog and in some of our other activities for a while now.

The train companies point to satisfaction surveys as evidence that there isn’t actually a problem.  However, from our experience, this isn’t a reliable measure of the usability of the machines. Observational studies, like the one we did on bus ticket machines are required to really understand if people are having problems and what they are. Ticket machines are there to help speed up the process of buying tickets and reduce queues – if people don’t use them because of these kinds of issues then it is a real problem as the queues at the ticket offices will build quickly.

What do you think?

Is usability an issue with ticket machines?  What are the problems you’ve experienced?  Does the solution lie with the train operating company or the developers of the machines themselves?



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