Update: First Capital Connect changes plans to cut ticket office hours

RAIL bosses have been forced to revise controversial plans to slash ticket office opening hours. First Capital Connect (FCC) had mooted cuts at 28 of its stations, including

RAIL bosses have been forced to revise controversial plans to slash ticket office opening hours.

First Capital Connect (FCC) had mooted cuts at 28 of its stations, including Welwyn North, WGC, Knebworth, Cuffley and Brookmans Park.

The proposals met with stubborn resistance from politicians, commuters and rail unions alike.

And now, following discussions with rail watchdogs Passenger Focus and London TravelWatch, as well as "other key stakeholders", the company has decided to amend its plans.


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Prior to FCC's announcement, MP Grant Shapps met with managing director Elaine Holt to press Welwyn Hatfield's case against ticket office cuts.

He also discussed recent above-inflation fare increases and hikes in station car parking charges.

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Mr Shapps said: "We have five stations in Welwyn Hatfield and thousands of people commute, so the service provided by the rail operator really does matter to many of my constituents.

"As a daily user of FCC trains, I'm quite impressed with their punctuality, but issues relating to ticket office opening times, car

parking and the cost of travel are always top of my concerns."

He added: "I was pleased that the meeting with the FCC managing director brought some progress on each of these important issues."

FCC customer service director Karen Boswell said: "We've met London TravelWatch and Passenger Focus to discuss our plans and have informed them of the changes we are now proposing in the hope that this will alleviate many of their concerns.

"Our aim is to match our ticket office opening hours to demand - we are confident our proposals achieve this."

An FCC spokesman added: "Our fares are connected to inflation and, if it drops as expected this summer, customers could expect a decrease in January 2010.

"As inflation is dropping, the current system would see fares decline."

And referring to the parking problems that have affected residential roads near Times Territory stations, he said: "We look forward to working with local authorities on traffic management plans that will help congestion in these areas.

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