The operator, which runs trains between London and the South West, has taken huge amounts of flak from customers for its poor punctuality, overcrowding and customer care, and was criticised recently by rail watchdog London TravelWatch for its ‘abysmal service’.
Regular readers of the MT website should know of our writers’ first-hand experience of First Great Western, which includes seeing police being called to an overcrowded bank holiday train to deal with a fist-fight over a mix-up with seat reservations. To that we can now add last weekend’s debacle, in which one of our staff had to stand and watch as the last service of the day pulled away from Paddington, taking his reserved seat with it, while First Great Western staff struggled to work out what they had done with his tickets.
Sadly, these aren’t isolated incidents. You could therefore argue that Forster should be the one to shoulder the blame. But is it really her fault? Let’s hope not. She will now become the First Group’s director of rail safety.