Home Reading news Here’s a First – MP launches petition to put bums on seats

Here’s a First – MP launches petition to put bums on seats

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An MP fed up with seeing empty seats in First Class has launched a crowd-pleasing petition: he wants to declassify First Class carriages during busy periods, putting more bums on seats.

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Alok Sharma, MP for Reading West, has launched the campaign in a bid to persuade First Great Western – which runs commuter services train services from Reading to London Paddington.

The plan will be on the right tracks with commuters who feel like they are treated like squashed sardines on busy services. 

A quick look at the @FGW Twitter feed and Facebook reveals First Great Western replying to scores of complaints from dismayed users about delays, overcrowding and service, as our screengrab shows. 



The MP’s petition also requests that First Great Western should release daily updates on the number of times it declassifies First Class carriages.

The wording of the petition, which can be signed on Alok Sharma’s website, reads: “We the undersigned call on First Great Western to declassify First Class carriages on overcrowded trains between Reading and London Paddington and to publish data on how many trains are declassified each day.”

Alok said: “There is nothing more frustrating for my commuting constituents than standing in standard class, packed in like sardines, when there are dozens of empty seats in First Class carriages.

“I know that commuters also find it baffling, as I do, that First Great Western appear unable to provide data on the number of times they declassify trains. As a company providing a public service, we have a right to know how it is meeting the needs of passengers.”

This isn’t the first time that the MP has called for changes to the railway industry. Alok has previously held a Parliamentary debate on rail ticketing and overcrowding and says he has lobbied ministers on this issue on behalf of constituents and campaigned for a reduction in the number of First Class carriages.

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In March, the Department for Transport announced it would providing funding to increase the number of standard class seats on all First Great Western trains by next summer.

He added: “I welcome the plans to increase the number of Standard Class seats next year, but FGW needs to take action sooner and they can do that by declassifying overcrowded trains now.”

We have approached First Great Western for a comment and will update the story when we hear back from them. 

To sign the petition, log on to: www.aloksharma.co.uk/trains-petition

What do you think? Have your say below. 

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