There are times when I am so relieved not to be a daily commuter any more. I have just heard of the other side of the coin from this morning's optimistic announcement about the Abbey Flyer service, which is of course part of the London Midland franchise. Back in the topsy turvy world of the First Capital Connect franchise serving St Albans City and the route from Bedford, drivers at the Bedford depot are refusing to work on their rest days. This is causing real problems and it's just been announced that today's northbound trains out of St Pancras are likely to be replaced by buses after 11 pm – on what is a major night out for many London commuters. It’s not just a much longer and less pleasant journey, there must be real questions as to whether they can physically move all the passengers likely to affected.
And from reading the stream of comments from drivers on the RailUK Thameslink web forum, it seems as though drivers from the Brighton and Blackfriars FCC depots will be refusing to work on their rest days next week, so that it looks like more days of misery for St Albans commuters. Clearly there is a dispute over pay, and the drivers are leveraging the fact that FCC don’t employ enough of them and so depend on their working on their rest days – which of course is voluntary. But it’s the poor bloody infantry of the St Albans rail commuter who is left picking up the pieces. It’s just not good enough. Both sides must settle their differences as soon as possible.