First Capital Connect to keep its franchise

HERTS: First Capital Connect (FCC) is to keep its franchise to run the Thameslink line despite thousands of passengers signing a petition calling on the government to end it.

FIRST Capital Connect (FCC) is to keep its franchise to run the Thameslink line despite thousands of passengers signing a petition calling on the government to end it.

A 10 Downing Street petition calling for FCC to lose the franchise in the wake of severe reductions in the winter service because drivers were refusing to work overtime or on rest days was signed by nearly 6,000 people.

It accused FCC of mismanagement by not employing enough drivers to cover the shifts needed and how the disruption had added considerable time and expense to the daily journeys of commuters having to find alternate routes to work and school.

But in its response, the government said that despite the disruption which resulted in scores of Thameslink services being cancelled, FCC was not in breach of its franchise agreement.


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The decision was taken because FCC had used their “best endeavours” to deliver their services and agreed amended timetables with the Department for Transport to provide the best possible service then available.

The government response went on: “This meant that FCC were entitled to seek relief for services cancelled as a result of the disruption and that their performance, when measured, takes this into account.”

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The statement added: “Since FCC returned to operate a full timetable during January 2010 their performance has continued to improve and their Public Performance Measure for the latest period is 93.5 per cent which is the highest since 2008.”

Simon Grover of St Albans Green Party, still believes FCC should have been stripped of its franchise. He said: “The terrible service, disregard for passengers and poor treatment of staff are all the inevitable consequence of our trains being operated by private companies for profit.

“The trains are supposed to be a public service for the benefit of the public so they should be run publicly.”

A 10 Downing Street petition calling for FCC to lose the franchise in the wake of severe reductions in the winter service because drivers were refusing to work overtime or on rest days was signed by nearly 6,000 people.

It accused FCC of mismanagement by not employing enough drivers to cover the shifts needed and an said how the disruption had added considerable time and expense to the daily journeys of commuters having to find alternate routes to work and school. But in its response, the government said that despite the disruption which resulted in scores of Thameslink services being cancelled, FCC was not in breach of its franchise agreement.

The decision was taken because FCC had used their “best endeavours” to deliver their services and agreed amended timetables with the Department for Transport to provide the best possible service then available.

The statement added: “Since FCC returned to operate a full timetable during January 2010 their performance has continued to improve.”

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