The past few days have seen quite a debate about whether or not London TravelWatch libelled First Great Western when they wrote to the government criticising its punctuality record, and suggesting that its franchise be taken away.
Now, I frankly don't care whether or not the comments made were defamatory, because that is not the point.
The point is this, and it's the point of this whole blog, the only reason it exists, other than to give me something to do during those quiet moments at work.
The point is: customers of First Great Western are not happy. We are not happy with the fact that despite paying very high prices for our train tickets, we do not get the service we need in order to go about our business. We are not happy because when we try to get a refund, we are always sent the standard brush-off letter, and are forced to complain again and again before we get any sensible response. We are not happy because there are not enough carriages on the trains, so we are forced to spend hours sweating like sardines in the dirty foyers. And we are not happy because (pause to take large breath) WE FEEL AS THOUGH NO-ONE IS LISTENING!
I don't care who runs my trains. If First Great Western would listen to us for long enough to make a few improvements and run things a little better, I'd be happy for them to run the service. I know that the main problems are the Department for Transport, Network Rail and years of neglect. And, I don't think FGW should have the franchise taken away, because the next company probably wouldn't do any better. But, guess what? We have a few ideas, and we'd like a bit of dialogue. It's the mushroominess of it that I can't stand, being kept in the dark and being fed bullshit.
So, please, can we have a conversation about how we can improve the system, rather than having a fight about who said what to whom, and who started it?