Monday, 11 October 2010

First Capital Connect : The greatest Cockney rip off

Just suppose that you've been travelling to work on the same train for the last 20 years. Just suppose that your journey takes you from the station at the bottom of your road, all of the way to another one next to your office. It sounds marvellous doesn't it?

Just suppose that one day, the train company announces that they are spending billions of pounds on improving the service. You'd be even more pleased no doubt? Then you read the small print. How do these improvements affect you? Well if you live in Mill Hill or anywhere else on the Thameslink route and you travel to Moorgate, these improvements mean that you cannot get a direct train to work anymore and that you'll be charged more for the privelidge. Full details are here.

I think that it is scandalous that First Capital Connect, which uses Moorgate station as a terminus for it's GN route trains, refuses to honour the "London Terminus" tickets. It is bad enough that passengers now have to change at Farringdon to a congested underground service, but to charge people for the tube fare is adding insult to injury. The Government funded a concession on the tickets up until March 2011. When this expires, passengers will face a huge hike in fares as they have to buy a zone 1 travelcard.

Customers of FCC have suffered disruption, delays, cancellations and all manner of inconvenience due to the program of improvements. Most people accept that this is a necessary evil to improve the service, but charging people extra for a less convenient journey is scandalous. Presumably once the new routes open and the the longer trains start service, First Capital Connect will increase its profits - any chance of them sharing some of the loot with those who have to endure a far less comfortable journey?

A customer focussed company would have maintained the concession for London Terminus tickets. Of course we are dealing with First Group PLC, so no chance of that.

1 comment:

baarnett said...

The Fat Controller says that this was a matter for the Department for Transport, not whoever happens to hold the Thameslink franchise.

There were only a few hundred passengers adversely affected, and it was thought that the number would be reduced further by the end of an extra two years.

The east of Barnet will also soon have trains that use St Pancras International station instead of Kings Cross or Moorgate.

It's all swings and roundabouts. There are so many passengers on the Mill Hill and East Barnet lines that it is best to get them to cross central London, instead of terminating anywhere.