First Capital Connect is making a dog’s breakfast of its compensation offer for the months of hopeless service. Why am I not surprised? I am joining Liberal Democrat transport spokesman Norman Baker MP in a meeting tomorrow with Neal Lawson, the new occupant of the FCC managing director's office, and I will be saying that they have to do better in terms of recognising what their passengers have had to endure.
The latest proposals are unnecessarily complex and frankly niggardly. People who had a break in season tickets - for example when the previous one expired around Christmas and there was no point renewing before going back to work - look to be losing out. As for people who have already claimed under the Delay Repay Scheme, the way this has been handled beggars belief. I am told by local commuters that rather than one single set of tickets for a combined claim, passengers are receiving a separate envelope and letter with rail travel voucher for each journey leg where delays were more than 30 minutes. One local commuter told me she came home to 13 separate letters, each with 36p postage. One of her fellow passengers had his letter box inundated with 24 identical envelopes, again each carrying 36p postage. This will have been repeated for thousands of commuters. A huge amount of money swallowed up in postage and unnecessary bureaucracy. Presumably if you are a season ticket holder, you have to put these vouchers behind the proverbial clock on the mantelpiece and wait till your season ticket runs out, then use the vouchers (which won't cover any underground element) and then renew the season ticket. I have previously noted the basic unfairness of the one-size-fits-all national Delay Repay scheme with its cut-off point of 30 minutes, so St Albans commuters have to be delayed by more than 100 perent of their journey time to qualify.
It would have been far better if FCC had devised a simple and appropriately generous season ticket extension scheme from the beginning. My son lives in Berlin. They had a major problem lasting weeks with the surface railway S-Bahn - operated by a private company. Annual season ticket holders got a month's free travel, monthly season holders got an extra week. Simple and uncomplicated.