Station changes leave rail passengers fuming

PUBLISHED: 10:29 23 December 2008 | UPDATED: 13:48 06 May 2010

CHANGES at St Albans City Station caused chaos for morning commuters last week. The ticket office in the main entrance of the station closed on the weekend of December 13 and 14 for refurbishment and, despite First Capital Connect (FCC) s plans to have th

CHANGES at St Albans City Station caused chaos for morning commuters last week.

The ticket office in the main entrance of the station closed on the weekend of December 13 and 14 for refurbishment and, despite First Capital Connect (FCC)'s plans to have the new ticket office fully-operational by the start of the week, it was still in a state of disarray on the Monday.

Matthew Perry of Grafton Close, a consultant who travels into London from St Albans a couple of times a week, described the scene at 8am on Monday. He said: "When arriving into the new booking hall I was met with absolute pandemonium. The queues for each ticket machine stretched around the entire booking hall and it took me about 20 minutes to get a ticket."

The departure screens had been removed over the weekend and as a result the customer assistance officers had to tell each customer which platform they needed. Barring one customer assistance officer who ushered passengers through the gates efficiently, all the other FCC employees were unhelpful, according to Mr Perry.

He said: "A fellow customer approached an FCC worker because one of the new machines had swallowed his season ticket. The response was: 'I am not touching one of those machines' - very helpful indeed."

The station services manger was not available when Mr Perry wanted to lodge his complaint and he was given a customer comment card instead.

A spokesperson from FCC said that a number of problems at St Albans station - such as faulty ticket machines both inside and outside the station and a broken announcing system - were to blame for the situation.

He added: "Maintaining a fully-operational station while it is undergoing a major redevelopment is always a challenge. We fully acknowledge that we failed to deliver the high standards of customer care and we apologise to Mr Perry and all the other customers who were affected last Monday."

The new departure screens were put in last Wednesday and the redevelopment should be completed by the end of April 2009.


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