Calls to Strip First Capital Connect of its Franchise

PUBLISHED: 15:41 12 January 2010 | UPDATED: 14:50 06 May 2010

FURIOUS passengers are calling for the Government to terminate First Capital Connect s (FCC) franchise agreement as anger over severe delays continues to mount. A petition has now been launched on the Downing Street website to call for the action and it h

FURIOUS passengers are calling for the Government to terminate First Capital Connect's (FCC) franchise agreement as anger over severe delays continues to mount.

A petition has now been launched on the Downing Street website to call for the action and it has attracted nearly 700 signatures.

The sub-zero temperatures plunged the line into chaos last week with no trains available on Thursday whatsoever and a severely reduced timetable in place until today (Tuesday).

The company said this morning that trains were reverting back to the revised schedule implemented in December after a dispute with drivers erupted. That is likely to end tomorrow when the result of a ballot on a revised pay deal is announced.

But many of FCC's customers believe the severe disruption should warrant them losing the franchise to operate on the line altogether.

St Albans MP Anne Main also slammed FCC in Parliament yesterday and asked transport minister Sadiq Khan to look into the failings on the Thameslink line which he agreed to do.

Mrs Main said: "I was pleased that the Minister agreed to look into the disruption. My inbox has been inundated by constituents who are at the end of their tether due to the failings on the route and rumours persist about train doors frozen shut in the cold weather.

"It does appear, even taking into account the drivers dispute, that we are receiving a much lower level of service than we should do. Yesterday constituents contacted me, utterly dismayed that FCC were only running two trains per hour between Bedford and London, and many passengers were simply being left on the platforms in freezing temperatures.

"It was no exaggeration to tell the Minister that people are on their knees."

She added: "Many constituents have asked me to further investigate the FCC franchise and I have, therefore, requested a meeting with the Rail Minister as a matter of urgency.

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