FCC rail chaos
SIR – First Capital Connect is a private company operating a franchise granted on condition they provide a proper service. By failing to employ enough drivers to operate the service satisfactorily they show themselves to be completely incompetent and sh
SIR - First Capital Connect is a private company operating a franchise granted on condition they provide a proper service.
By failing to employ enough drivers to operate the service satisfactorily they show themselves to be completely incompetent and should now have their franchise withdrawn.
Preferably the service should now be nationalised like the East Coast main line and operated as a proper public service for the benefit of ordinary people, instead of as a money spinner for private company directors and shareholders. Those who blame the drivers are being unfair.
The drivers have, it seems, shown goodwill by agreeing to work rest days and overtime in order to accomodate the new rolling stock, but no company should plan to rely on goodwill indefinitely.
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Everyone needs rest days and time for their families and other parts of their lives. To assume otherwise is positively feudal as a management strategy. FCC should go, and the sooner the better.
REVD WILLIAM HOGG
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The Vicarage, Church Field, Radlett
SIR - It should be investigated if FCC are in breach of their franchise agreement by introducing a new - much reduced - timetable without notice or consultation.
The first passengers knew of the problem was weeks after the new timetable had been brought in de facto. I believe there is a case for the Government taking back the franchise in these circumstances. Passengers want trains not compensation.
Seymour Road, St Albans
SIR - First Capital Connect is seriously in breach of its franchise. Its "service" is totally unreliable, cancelling trains without notice, and running a chronically reduced transport system.
And then there is the added bonus of no through trains at all at the weekend, with the only option being to take the tube from Kings Cross to Victoria and then catching a southern train to Brighton. The "service" is truly dire. It should be re-nationalised as soon as possible.
Homefield Road, Radlett
SIR - There is a scathing news article on the ASLEF website defending the train drivers right to not work overtime...
"Harpenden MP and former Tory Cabinet minister Peter Lilley has attacked Thameslink train drivers as 'militants taking coordinated action to prevent trains running'." The "crime" of these "extremists" is to exercise their legal and contractual right not to work overtime. "God save us all from a Tory government," says ASLEF general secretary Keith Norman. "Is compulsory overtime one of the policies they haven't mentioned yet?"
Absolutely, it shouldn't be compulsory for the train drivers to work overtime but I bet many of them choose to willingly and equally rely on the additional income that it brings in.
My suggestion for avoiding being held to ransom by the train drivers and Aslef in the future is to simply take away the option of over time; hire more drivers to cover the timetable based on their 35-hour week; and see how they like that as an option.
Bramble Close, Harpenden
SIR - I'd like to make some additional comments with regard to FCC's current "service" (I use that word ironically).
1. I trust that the money saved by not paying any overtime will be reimbursed to long-suffering passengers and not given to shareholders (of whom I was once one) or be used to reward First Capital Connect's drivers with enhanced pay.
2. That FCC's performance statistics are compared against regular timetable and not the current revised, emergency one so the government and public can see the true consequences of FCC management's incompetence and drivers' self-centered actions.
Salisbury Avenue, Harpenden