Wednesday, April 18, 2007

An inconvenient truth?

I have discovered a website which has led me to question this campaign of hate. Which, as you can imagine, is a bit inconvenient. It's called "The Truth about First Great Western". Please have a look and tell me what you think, you can find it at
Perhaps I should be ordering some "I Hate the DfT" badges to go with the FGW ones? I still think that First Great Western have a lot to answer for, and I'm sorry but they're still rubbish at what they do, no matter how muzzled they are by the government. What worries me is that, if all this is true, why are all the MPs, including Tories Boris Johnson and Theresa May, calling for FGW to be stripped of its franchise, when they must know full well who's really causing the problems?
I feel I must research further into this, and let you know if we need to start thinking about perhaps hating a whole government department, as well as just FGW. Please let me know your thoughts.


Richard said...

Yes - I've come across this too during my researching travels across the www.
More discerning is the £1bn that FGW have to pay to the Government over the next 10 years (I think this is simply for the privilage of running the franchise or something?).
If only the Gov would say "tell you what, let's call it 500m over 10 years. Keep the 500million and spend it to lower fares and increase capacity"
I'd gladly put up with the crap service if my season ticket didn't cost the sum of a small french-made hatchback every year.

Billyo said...

Yeah, I've linked to it from my blog for a while.

He makes a lot of good points. However he does seem to be deflecting too much blame away from FGW. Yes there are some major problems with the way this government is running the railways. It is for this reason I am also having a long running letter battle with the DfT.

But for us, the commuters on the ground, who have to use the service every day, it's the little things that annoy us. Trains not being ontime, or dirty, or too crowded, or that don't stop at our station. These are things which other rail operators get right on the whole, and which FGW get very wrong.

So yes, the points on that site are valid, but FGW are rubbish.

There are three things that make me believe that, despite claims to the contrary, the site has a link to FGW.

1. There is not a single bad word about FGW on the whole site.

2. It's a pretty professional looking site.

3. The site attacks the government rail policy, and yet is called the truth about FGW. Why defend just them? Many other train companies (particularly ONE) get lots of stick too.

...Oh, and there's no way Carter Harrison is a train commuter!

I hate FGW said...

Ha ha, yes I was slightly suspicious as well, as the whole thing made FGW out to be so squeaky clean, which clearly they are not. To be honest, I don't care whose fault it is, I just want the trains to run, and I think you're right, every commuter who has to suffer the delays and cancellations of an average week would be far less likely to be so nice about FGW. And, let's face it, they're not exactly struggling to make a profit, so I don't feel all that sorry for them. But the whole thing is such a complicated mess - can't we just have trains that run on time? Why is it so hard?

Billyo said...

the whole thing is such a complicated mess

This is exactly the point that The Truth about FGW site tries to address.

But, at the end of the day. Many other train companies manage to run their franchises much more efficiently that FGW.

Anonymous said...

No-one forced First to bid for the franchise. By signing up to the contract they agreed to take all the stick from the passengers whether or not it was deserved.

Remember the faulty petrol that Tescos sold. The fault was with a supplier not wuth Tescos plc, but Tescos took the blame and the cost of the problems because the motorists had contacts with Tescos. You could argue that that wasn't fair on Tescos but that is how business works.

Anonymous said...

My guess is that the site is somehow connected to the Conservative party or at least has political motivation behind it.