Let the train take the strain??


I was interviewed yet again by BBC Three Counties Radio on the increasing shambles of the First Capital Connect train "service".  I was talking about yesterday's sudden announcement of the departure of Jim Morgan as Interim Managing Director.  Following the earlier departures this year of his predecessor Elaine Holt (to run the renationalised East Coast franchise) and customer services manager Karen Boswell, FCC seems to have become the fastest revolving door in the west. In the meantime it's the passengers who are taking the strain.  57 services cancelled on Monday.  Over 30 yesterday. 50 today. A revised emergency timetable announced for tomorrow and Friday.

Now we learn that ASLEF is calling a strike ballot.  At least there can be no more  absurd pretence from both company and union that there is no dispute. But all that FCC’s long-suffering commuters want - pre-Christmas and post-Christmas - is some confidence that the company’s management will get a grip on the situation.  Someone has to say ‘The buck stops here.’  We need an early announcement of a permanent rather than interim Managing Director and an assurance from parent company First Group that the managerial musical chairs at FCC will cease. And both sides need to remember that they are running a monopoly public service where passengers are paying some of the highest if not the highest commuter fares in the world.


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