Thameslink commuters at St Albans told to travel outside rush hour

The sign which annoyed a Thameslink passenger at St Albans City station

The sign which annoyed a Thameslink passenger at St Albans City station - Credit: pic supplied

Is it a sign of the times or rubbing salt on wounds?

John Plunkett, who writes for the Guardian, tweeted (@johnplunkett149) about the message

John Plunkett, who writes for the Guardian, tweeted (@johnplunkett149) about the message - Credit: Twitter/@johnplunkett149

Thameslink commuters were left unimpressed recently when display screens flashed up messages suggesting they travel at an alternative time, while they were waiting during peak hours to board busy trains at St Albans City station.

The information said: “This station is busy from 0730 to 0900 Monday to Friday, at these difficult times it maybe [sic] very difficult to board trains and you may have to wait. If you can, why not try travelling outside of these times – it will make your journey much more pleasant, quicker and comfortable.”

A fuming Jane Hillier said: “As a long-suffering commuter from St Albans, I find this ridiculous!

“I am concerned about the future of travelling into London, as it has become very unpleasant and I pay over £3,000 a year for the privilege.”

She added: “I couldn’t believe my eyes this morning. I saw the message on platform three – it was coming on and off in between displaying the train arrival times.

“I think it was warning people, but it could be interpreted in lots of ways. I think it’s ridiculous that they have put it up, and worded it this way.”

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Jane said that despite paying thousands of pounds to travel daily into London, where she works as a PA at a legal firm, franchisee Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) “doesn’t provide the service that is needed.

“Everyone I have spoken to about the service have said they were angry about it. And you can’t adjust your day, and the time you work, for GTR – I don’t have that luxury. People are guided by what time their employers want them to work.

“I know people are considering moving back to London because the commute into the capital is so dreadful.

“It is not right to display these messages as we pay a lot of money to travel on Thameslink, and you never get a seat.”

A spokesman for GTR said: “The point of these messages on the screens at St Albans is to help reduce – where possible – the busy conditions at our station and on board our services that your reader experiences in the rush hour.

“It is possible that some passengers may be able to re-time their journeys which would help both them and those who cannot.”

He added: “We do recognise, of course, that the real solution is to increase capacity on the Thameslink route, which is exactly what we are doing by introducing the first new longer trains and, in two years’ time, more frequent services from St Albans.”

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