It's nothing but cuts

PUBLISHED: 13:23 14 June 2007 | UPDATED: 15:08 12 May 2010

IT is amazing that your correspondent (Rail changes will help ease overcrowding, The Crow, May 31) is able to present the cut of two of the main commuter trains in the morning and four in the evening as good for Royston commuters. Please take the time to

IT is amazing that your correspondent (Rail changes will help ease overcrowding, The Crow, May 31) is able to present the cut of two of the main commuter trains in the morning and four in the evening as good for Royston commuters.

Please take the time to compare the trains listed in the current timetable with those given in the company's leaflet, "Do you mind if I sit here?", that contains the proposed changes.

You will see that First Capital Connect has used the classic tactic of not comparing like with like, by leaving trains out of the current timetable that are included in the improvements. Omitting the slow trains that are not included in the comparison, these trains are: morning 7.21, 7.51, 8.16; evening 17.22, 17.52, 18.22.

The correct total, therefore, for the current number of morning carriages is 96, not 76, four more than in its proposed new timetable. The number in the evening is 60 not 44, 12 more than in its proposals. This is a total reduction of 16 carriages serving Royston in the two rush hours.

I would like to know how this can be considered as anything but a severe cut in the service.

The company's lack of regard has been evident since it took over the franchise. WAGN used to compensate season ticket holders automatically for any delays, with a cheque.

First Capital Connect has introduced a bureaucratic procedure in which you fill in a long form and, it doesn't refund the money, but sends a travel voucher. Presumably Network Rail is compensating the train companies for delays.

First Capital Connect should be passing this money on to their travelling public instead of introducing a process designed to put people off claiming. It is an attitude that most people would call mean-spirited.

The final insult to Royston's passengers is the installation of ticket barriers across the middle of the booking hall.

Anyone with an ounce of common sense could see that there would be little space left for people to queue for the ticket office, and that this would consequently block access to the ticket barrier and the platform. Well, guess what? This is exactly what has happened.

We can only hope that the intervention of our MP, a regular train-user, will help to reverse the decline in customer service that has resulted from the switch in franchise.

C PARTRIDGE

Royston

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