Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Toll bridge nonsense

I've driven over the M50 bridge late at night a few times recently. If someone isn't already aware that there is a toll bridge there I think it would be pretty easy for them to be unaware that they owed anything for the trip. Sure there are signs, but when it's very late and it's raining who's reading such wordy signs.

There's no flashing light to alert you to the fact that you're about to incur a cost and there's no flash from the equipment when you pass under the camera that records your trip. I bet a lot of visitors to Dublin will be surprised to learn that they've incurred a €3 charge for their journey around the M50. (And, I'm still not clear how the state plans to make visitors from outside this state pay.)

Oh yeah, and I registered with eFlow. What a joke.

They send out a letter saying you must call to activate your account, although you can use your account before it's "active". I have to provide my unique code over the phone - can't do it online - to activate my account.

So, I call. After making me go through the automated answering service, based on my last response to their "If you want to … press button …" there should be no doubt that I want to activate my account. Okay, I can live with this hassle.

But, the guy who answers the phone can't activate my account because "his system is being uploaded". So, why is he answering my call when I've already indicated that I want to activate my account? No good reason. Anyway, someone will call me back "shortly".

Four days and a follow-up e-mail later I call again. Same automated system. Finally a human being. "My account number? Sure, it's ########". "That can't be right, it's too short for one of our account numbers". "I can't help you there - I'm reading it right off your letter".

Eventually we both learn that the account number I've provided is not, in fact, too short, but is correct. Now to activate. "There was no need for you to call, your account was activated a few days ago". "What? What about all this nonsense about me providing my unique code or whatever? Never mind, good-bye".