Stick to the bus says train operator

PUBLISHED: 14:34 10 January 2008 | UPDATED: 12:45 06 May 2010

TAKE the bus because the trains will be full, is the advice given by train operator First Capital Connect (FCC) to passengers wanting to get into London at weekends for the next three months. The admission has arisen as a result of a commuter s attempt to

TAKE the bus because the trains will be full, is the advice given by train operator First Capital Connect (FCC) to passengers wanting to get into London at weekends for the next three months.

The admission has arisen as a result of a commuter's attempt to find the quickest way into London during the forthcoming engineering works.

From Saturday, the work means there will only be two fast trains an hour departing from St Albans and going to St Pancras Stations at weekends until the end of March.

There will also be two southbound slow trains an hour which stop at stations south of St Albans but will terminate at Mill Hill Broadway resulting in no direct trains into central London from those stations which include Radlett.

One option suggested by FCC for travellers south of St Albans would be to travel northbound to the city station and then switch to a fast southbound train to St Pancras.

That was exactly what Marc Edney, aged 33, of Station Road, Radlett, planned to do to avoid the 46-minute replacement bus service from Mill Hill Broadway to Kentish Town this Sunday.

But his plans were scuppered when he discovered that the train from Radlett arrived at St Albans two minutes after the fast southbound service had departed for St Pancras.

He said he could not face taking the bus from Mill Hill because it would make his journey an hour-and-a-half long.

Marc, a corporate marketing and communications manager, questioned why FCC did not put on a bus from Mill Hill Broadway to any of the local underground stations such as Edgware, Burnt Oak, Mill Hill East or Hendon Central for easier access into Central London.

He also criticised the lack of publicity about the disruption, saying he could find no timetables explaining the changes at Radlett or West Hampstead Thameslink.

He also wanted to know why FCC had only put up times for this weekend and not published timetables for future weekends.

FCC Integration and Partnership manager Larry Heyman advised Radlett customers not to bother trying to get a fast train from St Albans because he suspected they would all be full, although customers were welcome to try.

Instead he urged passengers from Radlett to take the replacement bus service from Mill Hill Broadway or to travel to St Albans and take a replacement bus to Hatfield and then take a train to St Pancras.

He also explained that if customers got the bus from Mill Hill Broadway, they could get off at West Hampstead Thameslink and catch the Jubilee Line.

Mr Heyman defended the amount of publicity FCC had put out about the timetable changes saying they had taken substantial measures such as drawing up printed and online timetables and putting up posters around stations.

And he justified the decision not to publish the timetables for future weekends saying they would put them up one week beforehand in case customers became confused and ended up looking at the wrong day.

But he added that if customers entered the details of their journey into the website www.firstcapitalconnect.co.uk it would come up with a train or bus time.

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