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First Capital Connect boss tracks down Sussex passengers’ views
Commuters have put their travel concerns to the operations director of First Capital Connect (FCC).
Jackie Townsend stepped on board the 15.37 from Brighton to East Croydon to speak to commuters.
Commuter Paul O’Neill questioned the director about the lack of services at peak times.
Mr O’Neill, 52, said: “I find sometimes the timing can be off on the commute to London and you can’t always rely on what time a train’s going to be.
“I know rush hour you have a lot of trains that work fine but sometimes there are delays.”
Mrs Townsend responded: “We know delays are frustrating for passengers but there should be a big difference with more attendants on the platforms giving information.
“We are also providing more access for Network Rail to prevent disruptions.”
The increase in ticket prices was also raised as a concern, particularly for those commuters whose only option to get to work is to take a train.
Mrs Townsend said: “Season tickets and peak time tickets are regulated by the Government, so the Government has said we have to raise them by a minimum of retail price index plus one per cent, which is what we have done.
“Quite a lot of our offpeak tickets are very competitive and have either gone down in price or remained the same.”
Another passenger commented that while they thought the service was quite good, the train they were travelling on was quite dated.
Martin Newman, of Bromley, said: “It’s a little bit on the old side compared to the new trains. It would be nice to have some newer trains.”
Mrs Townsend said that by 2018, all FCC trains will be brand new, mostly made up of eight or 12 carriages.
“Passengers have told us that they want to see improved performance, better management of disruptions and cleaner trains, so that is what we are trying to do,” she added.
“The new trains are just part of the work we are doing to significantly improve train service.”
See The Argus tomorrow for Your Interview with Jackie Townsend.
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