Arts Centre members' raw deal

PUBLISHED : Friday, 09 July, 1993, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 09 July, 1993, 12:00am

THE ticketing arrangements are not member-friendly at the Arts Centre, to say the least.

I have spoken to successive general managers, who have each made vague promises, but nothing ever happens to benefit people like myself and my wife who have loyally remained members despite diminishing benefits and increased fees.

When the Arts Centre opened, members had a pleasant small restaurant and bar. They also got discounts on purchases and advance notice of events. In particular, members were then able to book tickets before they went on sale to the general public.

Nowadays there is no private bar or restaurant and although it is possible to get a discount on ticket purchases, one has to go to the Arts Centre in person to do so. This point may seem fair enough were it not also true that tickets cannot be purchased before the first day of the month in which the event occurs - a restriction imposed, I am informed, by the limitations of the URBTIX system. And yet when one does go to the Arts Centre the tickets are issued via URBTIX.

Telephoning to make a credit card booking is hopeless - all that happens is that a pre-recorded voice instructs you to call another number which turns out to be the URBTIX telephone reservation system which does not accept credit card bookings.

In terms of programming, the Arts Centre does a good job and it is encouraging to see so much now done in Cantonese and Mandarin, but the management should be aware that it is the hard core of loyalists who helped bring the centre to its present happy position. I suggest we be given benefits at least equal to those we once enjoyed.

Specifically, if a member has to attend the Arts Centre to get the discount to which he is entitled, he should be able to do so at any time after the event has been announced and to buy his tickets at that time. The ''first of the month'' rule merely aids ticket scalpers and ''agents'' and severely handicaps members.