Wednesday, 17 February 2010

More Cost Cutting? - You can't take a First Crapital Connect on this train

To my extreme discomfort, I discovered a new way that First Capital Connect may be saving cash, to the extreme discomfort of passengers. I boarded a train at Blackfriars Station at 21.31 last night to Mill Hill. Now it might not surprise you to know, that I'd been in the rather excellent pub "The Blackfriar" (check the images on the Link) before this. Now as you may know, that quaffing a few beers, has certain side effects that make the arrival of a nice comfy train, with on board lavatories, rather, shall we say, relieving. It seems that I was not the only passenger who was pleased to see the 21.31 turn up. As we all made the short dash to the loo on arrival, a sudden horror hit us. Both toilets were locked.

Oh dear, this made for a rather uncomfortable journey. One of my fellow passengers then commented. "They always do this on these trains". Suddenly a thought hit me. Why could this be? Could it be because they are scrimping on train cleaning? A small huddle of rather uncomfortable passengers struck up a conversation. It seems that experienced users of this particular train often have to get off at St Pancras and use the on station loo. It seems that any trip to the pub should be ended with a visit to the pub facilities, as it may be some time before the opportunity presents itself again.

I ask this question. Is it really First Capital Connect policy to lock the loos on evening trains? Is this a cost cutting measure? Is there anything in the Franchise agreement which stipulates the toilet availability? Surely this is a  breach of the Disability act. If the Toilets are unavailable, people with certain medical conditions are unable to travel. Luckily for me, the journey to Mill Hill isn't too long and I didn't have to get off at St Pancras. It does seem though that yet again, FCC don't give a stuff about passenger comfort. At each station at least 1 person got on and headed for the loo, then let out a loud groan. It is no secret that many areas around certain stations have a terrible stench of urine.

Now I know why.

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