First Capital Connect strike - passenger watchdog hits back
PUBLISHED: 15:31 13 November 2009 | UPDATED: 14:39 06 May 2010
AN INDEPENDENT passenger watchdog group says commuters are caught in a rail tug of war while First Capital Connect managers and staff are locked in battle over a pay deal. Passenger Focus is arguing that passengers must be able to rely on the train timeta
AN INDEPENDENT passenger watchdog group says commuters are caught in a rail tug of war while First Capital Connect managers and staff are locked in battle over a pay deal.
Passenger Focus is arguing that passengers must be able to rely on the train timetable and called for parties involved to resolve the situation urgently.
Currently FCC is running around 50 per cent of its normal timetable, causing misery for passengers particularly during peak periods.
Anthony Smith, Passenger Focus chief executive, said: "Passengers are being stretched in this tug of war between the train operating company, its staff and government and it is completely unacceptable that a public service is so reliant on staff working overtime and can be slashed in this way.
"It is passengers who suffer in the event of industrial action and we urge all parties to get round the table to keep talking and find a solution without the need for strikes.
"In the event of a strike, we want train operators to ensure that accurate and timely information is given to passengers so they can make an informed decision about their journey."
Commuter Ruth Leveson, from Flamstead, is one of thousands of people caught up in the rail chaos.
She said: "I have come up with an idea for a new reality TV programme. It is called I'm a Commuter - Get Me to Work and Home Again.
"The participants would be employees of First Capital Connect and they would be set various challenges. These would include waiting on a platform in the cold and pouring rain for up to an hour, attempting to get on a train that is full to capacity and seeing if they can climb into the luggage racks to make space and being made to hand over large sums of money to endure this misery.
"The winner would receive free travel for life on FCC. However, given the current travel conditions us hapless commuters have to suffer, most would consider this to be a booby prize!