FCC to be investigated by ORR

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Mojo

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ThisIsMoney.co.uk said:
A RAIL company is facing an investigation for restricting cheap day return tickets to London.

First Capital Connect is the subject of an official complaint by the London passenger watchdog.

The firm upset travellers when it banned use of the return half of cheap tickets on the former Thameslink and Great Northern routes at the peak evening period.

It means passengers now have to buy the far more expensive standard tickets if they intend to return between 4.30pm and 7pm.

Passengers used to buy cheapday return tickets after the morning peak - at a discount of between 33 and 50% - which allowed them to return at any time.

Today London TravelWatch, the official passenger watchdog, wrote to the rail regulator demanding action. Its chief executive Rufus Barnes claimed First Capital Connect had earlier said the restrictions were to ease overcrowding - only to reveal later that the aim was also to increase revenue.

In the letter he wrote: 'More recently FCC has acknowledged that another reason for the restrictionis to increase revenue to pay the massive £800 million-plus premium to which they committed over the full life of the franchise.'

He said there was also 'concern' over whether there had been 'unreasonable and anti-competitive collusion' between First Capital Connect - owned by First Group - and rival rail operators GNER and Midland Mainline, which had also applied restrictions.

The move comes as pressure mounted on First Group's other London franchise, First Great Western, which operates from Paddington. The rail regulator has ordered the operator to improve its dismal punctuality record.

First Great Western was the worstperforming long-distance rail firm in the year to March, with only 78.6% of its trains arriving on time. It was the only long-distance operator with a worse punctuality record than the previous year. A spokesman for the regulator said: 'We have been looking at its performance closely since the spring. It continues to disappoint.'

A spokeswoman for First Capital Connect said the change to the cheap day return was made to 'spread demand away from crowded peak trains onto less busy trains before and after the peak.'

First Group saw profits increase 6.5% to £176m for the year ending in March.
 
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Julian G

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Some names against FCC
First (let's charge people more) Connect
First Crap Connect
First Crapital Disconnect


Recently First Disgraceful Connect, has been vandalising Southern's 319, the victims are 319003 and 319007
 

yorkie

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Joe H said:
Why moan at just them? At Paddington for the last few evenings, I've noticed that CDRs are not valid on FGW's express services.
Yes, but this is a blanket ban on all services, including the all-stoppers. The FGW services you mention are 'InterCity' trains.

Also we were supposed to be protected against rises of this magnitude, but some TOCs have been very sneaky because the CDR is unregulated.
 

gingerheid

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I can more easily forsee formal action not being taken.

Where did the govt think the £800million was going to come from?

Options are things like:

a) increased fares
b) lack of investment in sorely needed areas like... uhm... increasing capacity
 

Guinness

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gingerheid said:
Where did the govt think the £800million was going to come from?
They're expecting £1.3b of GNER once the franchise finishes and look what it's done for Sea Containers.

I also read somewhere that Thameslink Franchise was one of the more profitable about. So Thameslink must of done something right before First took over.
 

Andrew

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yorkie said:
some TOCs have been very sneaky because the CDR is unregulated.
Utter rubbish. If the CDR is unregulated then the operators are perfectly entitled to play with it. How is it "sneaky" to change the rules on it?

If the government wanted to encourage people to use rail, they would either regulate it better, or take it over themselves. Seeing as railways are not currently a full public service, why shouldn't the train companies raise ticket prices where they can and make as much money as possible?
 

yorkie

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Andrew said:
Utter rubbish. If the CDR is unregulated then the operators are perfectly entitled to play with it. How is it "sneaky" to change the rules on it?
Rubbish? Nope.

sneaky: "doing things in a secret and unfair way"

no consultation, and then they just say "you can't get a CDR", without telling passengers that a combination of CDRs/travelcards/etc is still possible. If that's not sneaky, I don't know what is. In fact, I'll counter that by saying it's "utter rubbish" to suggest it's not sneaky :p
Andrew said:
If the government wanted to encourage people to use rail, they would either regulate it better, or take it over themselves. Seeing as railways are not currently a full public service, why shouldn't the train companies raise ticket prices where they can and make as much money as possible?
The fact that our taxes go towards it, means that there is a need to ensure the railways are affordable and accessible to all.
 

paul1609

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As I understand it the Peak Time restrictions were part of FCCs franchise bid that was accepted by the Dft so it was hardly a sneaky affair. Railfares in London and the South East have always been at a premium compared to the rest of the country so I dont see that this is any different.
 

yorkie

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paul1609 said:
As I understand it the Peak Time restrictions were part of FCCs franchise bid that was accepted by the Dft so it was hardly a sneaky affair. Railfares in London and the South East have always been at a premium compared to the rest of the country so I dont see that this is any different.
I still think it is very sneaky because
1) There was no proper consultation (DfT hardly count! TfL were not consulted, for example)
2) The fact it's in the franchise bid doesn't mean much because the DfT have proven themselves to be blundering idiots who can't agree with the ORR, and who don't care about passengers
3) There are many ways around the restrictions, but staff are not allowed to reveal them and are punished for doing so.
4) It is sneaky to charge a passenger CONSIDERABLY (we're not talking one or two quid!) more for doing A-C than A-B + B-C.
 

paul1609

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yorkie said:
I still think it is very sneaky because
1) There was no proper consultation (DfT hardly count! TfL were not consulted, for example)
2) The fact it's in the franchise bid doesn't mean much because the DfT have proven themselves to be blundering idiots who can't agree with the ORR, and who don't care about passengers
3) There are many ways around the restrictions, but staff are not allowed to reveal them and are punished for doing so.
4) It is sneaky to charge a passenger CONSIDERABLY (we're not talking one or two quid!) more for doing A-C than A-B + B-C.
Regardless of consultation the Dft on behalf of the Government specify the level of services to be provided. The FCC offer must have been compliant for it to have been accepted.

I think Tfl are a bit of a red herring here since there are no new restrictions within the Tfl (travelcard) area and most of the FCC trains dont even stop in the Tfl area northbound from Kings X.

Staff have to wake up to the fact that they are working for a comercial concern if they do not obey their employers instructions and lose their employer revenue they are very lucky not to be sacked.
 

Andrew

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yorkie said:
Rubbish? Nope.

sneaky: "doing things in a secret and unfair way"

no consultation, and then they just say "you can't get a CDR", without telling passengers that a combination of CDRs/travelcards/etc is still possible. If that's not sneaky, I don't know what is. In fact, I'll counter that by saying it's "utter rubbish" to suggest it's not sneaky :p
FCC have not kept the CDR restrictions a secret. As for them being unfair, that is a matter of opinion. My opinion is that it is not unfair. In any case, the CDR restrictions have been detailed, and therefore are not sneaky.

What you later class as sneaky, namely the way that cheaper alternatives to Open tickets are not advertised, is not just an FCC issue - it has been this way for a long time on many, many other journeys. Whilst this *is* sneaky (alternatives could be classed as secret, and are definitely unfair), I fail to see how FCC introducing these restrictions counts as sneaky. What is sneaky is the entire rail networks ticketing structure.

The fact that our taxes go towards it, means that there is a need to ensure the railways are affordable and accessible to all.
If FCC currently pay the government a premium, then taxes are not going to that organisation. Therefore they have no obligation to make the railways affordable. If, and only if, the government are subsidising FCC to keep ticket prices low, FCC have a duty to do so.
 

Mojo

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After the recent franchise farces, the DfT added a flow diagram to their website showing how they choose a franchise.
If you can see past the nonsense, you can see that franchises are determined on
  • Who can pay the most premium, or require the least subsidy
    and
  • Who is least likely to go bust
call me cynical...
 

Lewisham2221

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Mojo said:
After the recent franchise farces, the DfT added a flow diagram to their website showing how they choose a franchise.
If you can see past the nonsense, you can see that franchises are determined on
  • Who can pay the most premium, or require the least subsidy
    and
  • Who is least likely to go bust
call me cynical...
First British Rail it is then ;)
 

Mojo

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Possibly, but those who decide do so "blind" - not knowing what Parent company they are reviewing - though guessing what most of the companies put forward - it can't be hard to see
 
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