The First Capital Connect franchise has been given a six month extension to run rail services in Bedfordshire.
The agreement between First Group and the Department of Transport means that the franchise will operate beyond its current planned end date of March 31 through to September 14, the anticipated start date for the new Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern franchise.
FCC today confirmed it would continue with its fleet maintenance programme and service improvements through those six months which will include:
- new and enhanced information at stations and on the www.firstcapitalconnect.co.uk website
- improved customer assistance
- additional levels of train cleaning
- further measures taken to prevent graffiti
- improvements to stations along the route
FCC Managing Director David Statham said: “This gives passengers the assurance we will continue our investment to improve customers’ experience and work to deliver a train overhaul and ongoing station and service information improvements.
“We are continuing to play an active role as the Thameslink Programme delivery partner on behalf of the DfT.
“We have recently unveiled the new Class 700 train, which will come in service from 2016, and are also delivering a major upgrade programme of our Class 365 trains.
“Passenger satisfaction has improved since we began the First Capital Connect franchise. In the recent National Passenger Survey we scored higher in 18 of the 36 categories than we did this time last year, and in 35 out of 36 categories we scored better than in Spring 2013.”
FCC operates the Thameslink service from Bedford and Flitwick and the Great Northern service through Biggleswade, Sandy and Arlesey.