Dear East Coast,
This week was the final nail in a coffin you've been building for yourselves. The season ticket DD farce was pushing it. And now, the remaining unique selling point of your service, free Standard Class WiFi, is now free for a miserly fifteen minutes. Never mind that you've supposedly shelled out on better bandwidth on the trains - it's academic when half the time your server won't give me an IP address, or won't actually connect me where I want to go. And if I want to use it the whole of my commute to work to actually, y'know, do some work? It's going to cost me ten pounds a day. Or, to look at it another way, well over two grand a year.
My season ticket from Peterborough to Kings Cross expires in April 2011. At least, I'm pretty sure it does - it's rather hard to be sure given that, as usual, the printing on the most recent reissue has faded after two weeks of going through ticket machines at Kings Cross.
I will not be renewing it. Instead, I'll be saving myself a thousand pounds or so a year by switching to FCC.
The bad side of this? I get into work half an hour later, and have to hurry back from the station on an evening two days a week to make sure I can pick my son up in time.
The good news? The trains run on time. I can get a seat on a morning. I get ten minutes more lie in. No-one tries to tell me which doors I can or can't get off. The wireless internet is a small MiFi gadget in my pocket that costs me £15 a month, not £9.99 a day, and actually works more than fifty percent of the time. While we're at it, I'll bring my own tea, rather than pay nearly £2 for the privilege of a stewed plastic cup of PG Tips on a train that still doesn't take the debit card I use most of the time.
No more failed air conditioning making us all swelter.
No more 'we're sorry but there's no hot food available'.
No more staff shortages preventing there being a trolley service.
No more getting whacked in the shoulder by the trolley when there is one, and by inconsiderate passengers with massive bags..
No more "Attention, train crew. Disabled passenger alarm activated."
No more shabby trains with hastily applied logos over the paint job from two companies ago, that aren't properly maintained.
No more train announcements from people with incomprehensible accents.
No more listening to people getting grief from the train staff because someone sold them a ticket that's not valid on this train, because of a set of rules that neither they or the ticket clerk understood.
Oh, and my son changes schools in 2011, so that whole hurrying back on an evening isn't going to matter any more. And I'll be parking in Queensgate, rather than the ridiculously over-priced station car park. Which saves me enough to pay for the MiFi.
I'd like to say it's been nice. But it hasn't.
Love, kisses, and goodbye in advance,