Thursday, 26 May 2016

C2C @ Leigh - how annoying!

I have to say that in general terms I am a great supporter of C2C. Whilst not a daily commuter, I do travel to London reasonably regularly for work and pleasure and always travel on this line. I also have clear memories of the atrocious service pre C2C and there can be no disputing the massive improvements in train quality, cleanliness and punctuality.

As a non daily commuter I have not been greatly affected by the recent timetable change argument although generally found the old timetable fine except the frustration of 4 carriage trains being used at times when demand meritied more carriages.

But, and there was always going to be a “but”, there are some really annoying things which bug me every time I travel.

Firstly the car park at Leigh on Sea. When I travel to London during the week I usually drive back from Southend to Leigh to make my journey home shorter after the return trip. By the time I arrive the car park is pretty full but with occasional spaces. Ignoring the ridiculously high charges for a car park serving their customers who are already paying quite hefty fares bearing in mind the distances involved, and the very tight spaces which means that even getting out of a relatively small car like mine is dependent upon the cars on each side being parked towards the middle of their spaces as well as demanding the flexibility of a Caribbean limbo dancer to manoeuvre out, what is going on with the ticket machines?

The last time I went there appeared to be only 1 machine working in the entire (quite large) car park with the others covered with black bin bags, and this machine not only required some technical ability almost beyond a technophobe like me to operate but was also rejecting cash. What is going on? – do they not want people to pay the extortionate parking fees they are charging? The reaction of the few people who arrived with me wavered between frustration, anger and disbelief.

If we are going to encourage commuters to park in railway car parks and not the adjoining residential streets these car parks need to be reasonably priced and user friendly which regrettably in my opinion Leigh on Sea is not.

And whilst on the subject of tickets there does seem to be a deliberate policy of ensuring that at times when large numbers of customers want to buy a ticket there should only be one person on duty selling them, and equipped with the slowest ticket technology that it is possible to contemplate. And I know about the automatic ticket machines but the last time I tried to use one of those I could not get the best value ticket available at the counter. Surely those ticket printing machines are long past their sell by date.

So come on C2C – let’s sort these problems out!

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