Rail bosses should be ashamed of fares

BOSSES at First Capital Connect (FCC) should be ashamed of themselves. From January 2, regulated fares, season tickets and peak day tickets will be increased by six per cent and the cost of off peak and first class travel will be increased by nine per cen

BOSSES at First Capital Connect (FCC) should be ashamed of themselves.

From January 2, regulated fares, season tickets and peak day tickets will be increased by six per cent and the cost of off peak and first class travel will be increased by nine per cent - one of the biggest rises of any train operator in the country.

At a time when people are struggling financially as the country is stricken by the current economic crisis, this is the last thing FCC should have done.

People simply cannot afford to pay close to £4,000 for an annual season ticket to get to work - it's extortionate and its daylight robbery!


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Commuters are parting with hard-earned cash in order to squeeze into crammed carriages, like sardines in a tin.

They may not baulk so much at the price of a ticket if it guaranteed them a seat and a relatively comfortable ride.

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Those living in Letchworth GC can even expect to be presented with fewer and slower trains to London, despite forking out more money for a ticket.

Not only are FCC's bosses intent on financially crippling commuters during the credit crunch, but their actions may inadvertently have an adverse effect on climate change.

The fare hike could force commuters to use their cars instead - at least with this mode of transport they are guaranteed a seat!

With the potential for thousands of additional vehicles hitting the streets, C02 emissions could rocket.

Only last month, all but three MPs voted for the Government's Climate Change Bill in the House of Commons.

The Bill will introduce a target for an 80 per cent reduction in carbon emissions by 2050.

With FCC's fare hike threatening to increase C02 emissions, MPs should be horrified.

But Stevenage MP and government minister Barbara Follett reacted by saying: "We have worked with the train operators to simplify the ticketing system and allocated £15m to support the railways over the next five years."

Frankly, a simplified ticketing system is not what was needed - a cap on fares was essential.

And I fail to see how £15m invested in railways over the next five years will have a significant impact on improving the service provided to members of the public.

Perhaps FCC's profits from ticket sales could be reinvested into the service as well - then we may start to see a real difference.

* WHETHER it's through selfishness or a lack of common sense, some Comet country residents are putting a strain on the ambulance service by calling 999 for minor conditions or illnesses.

I personally think people should be fined for calling the ambulance service for clearly inappropriate reasons.

For instance, a dispatcher at the East of England Ambulance Service's control room once told me someone dialled 999 to ask how to treat dandruff!

Inappropriate calls divert the ambulance service away from those who are in dire need of help, with serious or life-threatening conditions.

The threat of being fined would deter time wasters from bothering the ambulance service, and the money collected from penalties could be ploughed back into the service.

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