Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Daylight Robbery On The East Coast Main Line

I'm a regular user of the East Coast main line.  Working in London, but spending a lot of time in my beloved North East, I find that the train remains by far the best way of heading North.

The line can be very expensive and you occasionally get the impression that East Coast are trying every trick in the book to get as much money out of you as possible (the same went for GNER and National Express).  Passengers are treated like suspected fare avoiders during heavy handed ticket checks and the mark ups for food and drink can be pretty excessive.  Penalty fares are excessive, fares are excessive and the passenger is almost always presumed wrong.

Jobsworth is often a phrase I would use for the ticket collectors on the East Coast. 

I wasn't, therefore, surprised to read this story of the man fined £155 for getting off at Darlington rather than Durham.  Such a fine is staggering, shocking and disgraceful but it is probably justified in one of the 'war and peace' sized rule books that always seem to be heavily weighted away from the passenger and towards the monopoly train company.

Professor Evans, who was the victim of the wrongdoing by the rail company, said:

“Anyone would understand that you’d be liable to pay extra if you stayed on the train too long. But if you get off early, you have not used all the product you have paid for...The whole process made me feel like a wrongdoer from the start and that disgusted me more than the money itself.”
And now it seems that East Coast is going to charge passengers to use the previously free wireless internet service.  Again, that is not on.

It's about time that the passenger is given a fair deal by East Coast. 

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