Rail car park season ticket holders can end up paying twice

PUBLISHED: 19:52 24 September 2008 | UPDATED: 13:37 06 May 2010

SOME season ticket holders have found themselves paying twice to park at St Albans City Station. A parking season ticket at the station entitles motorists to park in the Station Way multi-storey car park - but if that is full they have to pay the full dai

SOME season ticket holders have found themselves paying twice to park at St Albans City Station.

A parking season ticket at the station entitles motorists to park in the Station Way multi-storey car park - but if that is full they have to pay the full daily rate to park elsewhere.

Dr Valerie Shrimplin, who has a season ticket for St Albans station, was forced to use the new multi-storey car park when the Station Way car park was full. She explained: "I arrived after 9.30am so the car park I normally use was full. I was outraged to find that I had to pay yet again to use their other car park on Victoria Street".

Dr Shrimplin, who lives in Monks Horton Way, St Albans, wrote to train operators First Capital Connect (FCC) arguing that seasonal ticket holders had theoretically reserved a space for the year and should not have to pay to use overflow facilities which had previously been free to those with annual passes.

To her amazement, the response from FCC was that a season ticket did not entitle holders to any particular space in the car park or to priority over other customers.

It advised: "If you cannot find a space in your chosen car park you will need to pay to park elsewhere".

Dr Shrimplin's lengthy correspondence with FCC ended with a £3 rail travel voucher being sent to her as a gesture of goodwill. But she is far from satisfied with the outcome. She said: "I am convinced that FCC is selling the same spaces over and over again, and now it's become a matter of principle to complain."

This week FCC took a different stance. A spokesperson confirmed that new technology was being implemented at the Victoria Street multi-storey to recognise cars with seasonal passes.

He added: "Soon customers with a valid season ticket will be able to park at both Station Way car park and Victoria Street, and the new technology will formalise this."

Dr Shrimplin's grievance is one of many complaints made against FCC in the past couple of months, including the ever-increasing price of a parking season tickets and incorrect charges for passengers travelling in off-peak times.

Another aggrieved customer is Mrs Gwen Moncrieff, of Wynchland Crescent in St Albans, who wrote to FCC last week about the lack of somewhere warm to wait on the platform. She said that when she asked staff about the locked room they told her that they needed somewhere warm for themselves.

She added: "The tiny waiting room at St Albans station has been closed since Spring, and it is quite concerning that there seems to be absolutely no intention of reopening it. I just want to be warm and out of the wind and rain."

The FCC spokesperson said the room was going to be converted back into a waiting area and would be available from mid-October.

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