FCC Announce Investment Package
First Capital Connect have announced a £10m package of investment to improve their services.
It follows a series of meetings between the train company's management and their passengers after a winter of disruptions caused by staff disputes and the freezing weather.
FCC say the money will be spread across a number of schemes:
- Improvements to the Customer Information Systems (CIS). This will include a new website, and a new information system across the whole network. It'll be used to feed accurate information to customer display screens and to staff who will be provided with PDAs or smart phones to access service updates quickly.
- Upgrades to Class 319 trains on the Thameslink route to deal with reliability issues, particularly with door mechanisms.
- Introduction of ticket barriers at stations on the FCC network including Finsbury Park, West Hampstead, Harpenden and Leagrave.
They've also announced the discount scheme for Thameslink customers that was introduced following the disruption to services earlier in the winter is being extended. Annual ticket holders will be entitled to a 7% discount (increased from 5%) while monthly ticket holders will be entitled to a further two free tickets (in addition to the 10 offered previously).
The total cost of the refund and discount scheme and the improvements to customer information is around £4 million pounds. An additional £3 million will be invested in the gating schemes and a further £3 million pounds on upgrading the Class 319 trains.
Commenting on the plans, Neal Lawson, FCC's Managing Director said: "Since services returned to normal in January, we've been talking with many of our customers and stakeholders to identify the issues that concern them and then work out how we can address them. As a result of these discussions we'll be investing in an improved Customer Information System which will be able to provide more accurate information when there are problems and a modification and renewal package on the Class 319 trains to improve their reliability. We have also improved the discounts and free tickets for season ticket holders who were affected during the winter."
"In addition, we have reached agreement with the Department for Transport to introduce gating at a number of stations on our network to improve safety and security for our customers."