Cinderellas

PUBLISHED: 11:35 19 June 2008 | UPDATED: 13:22 06 May 2010

SIR, — Anyone planning on travelling south of the river in the next 18 months may be interested in a little paragraph of note tucked away to the rear of the latest issue of Your Journey, the glossy publication handed out at First Capital Connect (FCC) s

SIR, - Anyone planning on travelling "south of the river" in the next 18 months may be interested in a little paragraph of note tucked away to the rear of the latest issue of Your Journey, the glossy publication handed out at First Capital Connect (FCC) stations, presumably designed to appease the long-suffering commuter.

In the corner of page 12 there is this notice: "For the rest of 2008 and in 2009, on most weekends, the central core of the Thameslink route between St Pancras International and Blackfriars will be closed. From December 2008, this section will also be closed Monday to Friday from 10.30pm to 4.30am.

"You can still get into London easily on First Capital Connect trains at these times but you will need to use the tube or our buses to complete your journey between St Pancras International and London Bridge stations."

That is the extent of the not-very-well-advertised announcement. No explanation, no excuses and most tellingly, no apology for inconvenience.

Families thinking of flying from Gatwick at weekends may wish to reconsider their options in light of having to offload themselves, their children and their suitcases at St Pancras and either locate a replacement bus service and sit in traffic or trek half-a-mile through the - albeit very pleasant - new St Pancras concourse to the underground.

As for the regular commuter paying through the nose and living in eternal hope that a train will arrive somewhere around on time to get into work in the morning - forget staying in town for a stress-busting glass of wine after work.

We will all become Cinderellas as we dash for the last train from our "local" London station or risk having our transport turn into a pumpkin leaving us with no choice other than to find our way to St Pancras. Fine if you work in St Pancras, but I suspect that's relatively few compared to those who work in and around London Bridge, Moorgate and the square mile.

Quite how FCC can continue to treat its customers with such total disdain is beyond me. Any other commercial business would have lost all comers and gone bust long ago. Unfortunately, unless we wish to drive, we are a captive market and treated as such with no respect or concern at all.

This lot are a disgrace - the very least they should be doing is apologising, but I'd have thought recompense by way of partial refunds for season-ticket holders and lower fares for other travellers would be more appropriate. Never mind First Capital Connect - more like Worst Capital Connect!

L. WARREN,

Bernard Street, St Albans.

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