Today, I am taking the train from Brisbane to Grafton, a regional town about 250 kilometres (150 miles) away. Then I am going onto Sydney (another 600km/ 360 miles).
I am using a pass called the East Coast Discovery Pass which allows you unlimited travel in one direction on multiple rail systems in three states along the Australian East Coast. This pass used to be reserved for non Australian tourists but a year ago, it was opened up to Australians too.
Today, I wandered into a rail ticket office to buy my pass. Have you ever seen Carol from Little Britain (computer says “no”). Well today, I got Annie from Queensland Rail.
Annie: “No sorry sir. That pass is only for overseas visitors”
Me: It used to be for Overseas visitors but I know they changed it.
Out comes the supervisor: “No you cannot buy an East Coast Pass. Its only for international tourists”
Me: “but I bought one last year”
Supervisor shrugs and walks off.
Annie starts tapping madly into her computer. After a while, I log onto the net on my own phone: http://www.countrylink.info/travel_passes/east_coast_discovery_pass
On the page it says: “the East Coast Discovery Pass is now available to Australian residents… For further details visit your nearest CountryLink Travel Centre or call 13 22 32.”
I show Annie this entry on my phone screen. She reads it twice.
“I am not disbelieving you sir but I need to check this with head office.”
Annie: So, when did you want to travel?
Me: So I can buy a pass?
Me: So it seems I may have done you a service today?
Me: Well you know that the East Coast Pass is available for Australians too
Annie: No not really. So when did you want to travel?
At least she did not cough in my face, like Carol from Little Britain!