We decided to play tourists in Belgium last weekend. So, instead of my Dad picking us up at Charleroi airport, we took the Shuttle bus to Brussels. Our flight was on time and we thought we'd be in Brussels before noon.
Well, the software engineers who designed the interface at the shuttle ticket kiosks had other plans in mind!
There were three kiosks and we started queueing at one, preceeded by three young Americans who were travelling together but decided to buy their tickets individually. Not the brightest! An impression that was confirmed when the young man turned around and asked if anybody spoke English. The credit card machine was saying "un instant svp" and he had no idea what it meant. Last I heard, "instant" is also a word in the English language. Maybe not in American?? The little trio spent more time looking at the machine in puzzlement. It just didn't like their card. At that stage, I didn't like them either.
The next person got into difficulty even before she got to the stage of putting her credit card in. Again an American (I'm not implying anything here, just stating the facts as I remember them), she ended up just staring at the screen for a very very long time. I had to ask her if she was finished. That seemed to snap her out of her daydream.
A British lady was next and she was done in two minutes, no trouble at all. She left saying that the 11-o'clock coach appeared to be booked out.
When it was my turn, I got to the stage where you select the time of the coach you want to get on. I tried for 11:20 but the touch screen seemed not to work any more. Brendan tried it, and it only worked when he pressed 11:40. How clever! A machine that still shows you the times of booked-out coaches and doesn't tell you that the time you are trying to select is not available! Once we had that figured out, we were done within 1 minute.
Well, we got the 11:40 all right, and we were in Brussels Midi less than an hour later.
But for those of you planning that trip, I'll just say that there is also a manned desk a little further on, with a big long queue, but the attendant probably works more efficiently than the three little machines.
Welcome to Belgium!