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FCC outlines compensation amidst franchise warning

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Hundreds of thousands of commuters may be eligible for compensation after First Capital Connect (FCC) announced it will offer discounted fares and free travel as an apology for winter delays.

FCC and Thameslink services from the South and East have been causing major commuter headaches since early November, with countless disruptions and many trains being cancelled.

But FCC has introduced a compensation plan for those affected by the “extreme disruption”, providing they travelled between November 12 and January 23.

FCC is offering two choices for annual and monthly season ticket holders. They can either accept a reduced price on their next season ticket or ten days free travel on FCC trains.

Annual season ticket holders can obtain a 5% discount when they renew their travel card, while monthly holders can grab a 50% discount.

First class passengers, whose tickets were downgraded despite paying full price, will also be able to reclaim the difference between a first and second class ticket.

“It is our intention that no one will be prevented from making a legitimate claim, even if they haven’t got their old ticket. We should be able to verify people who are using other information,” said a FCC spokesperson.

“We would also point out that the special compensation we are now offering is on top of the normal compensation we offer to passengers whose train is more than 30 minutes late.”

Compensation offerings have done little to dampen the damage to FCC’s reputation in recent months. The industrial disputes that led to the current disruptions have shown the fragile nature of the FCC franchise, currently owned by FirstGroup, and the future is beginning to look bleak.

More than 200,000 commuters have suffered each day during the problems and the Transport Secretary, Lord Adonis, has now threatened to remove the operator’s franchise and place the company back in the public’s hands.

Despite receiving £140m in subsidies from the government in 2009, FirstGroup has been labelled a “basket-case franchise” by some unions and the government has called for vast improvements.

“The Secretary of State has been clear that First Capital Connect needs to improve their service very significantly and we are monitoring the service on a daily basis. All options are open to him if they fail to do so,” said a Department for Transport spokesman.

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Written by Andrew Hodges

February 2, 2010 at 6:12 pm

Posted in Comment, LinkedIn

Tagged with , ,

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