The Advertising Standards Authority has upheld a complaint about Gatwick Express’s advertising claims to be “the fastest way between London Gatwick Airport and central London”. They say there’s no difference on average between them and services operated by First Capital Connect.
When you land at Gatwick, often the first thing your weary eye lands on is a garish advert for the Gatwick Express, plastered over an entire wall, screaming about its “timetable departure of every 15 minutes, and with a journey time of just 30 minutes”. We’ll admit to not being at our best in airports, but even airside grumpiness doesn’t entirely explain why we always trudge past muttering something that, if you got close enough, might sound a bit like ‘bollocks’.
Southern Trains, who operate the Gatwick Express, provided the ASA with a lot of figures about average journey times, frequency of trains and something about considering Oxford Circus to be ‘central London’. But the ASA did their own calculations and decided that the fullest examination of real time journey information gave both Southern and FCC the same mean and mode travel times.
We did our own non-scientific examination using National Rail’s journey planner (below), leaving Victoria and London Bridge at 12.40pm today, and FCC’s direct trains were actually a couple of minutes faster. And also a damn sight cheaper. We’ve often wondered why FCC don’t advertise their airport trains more (the same line also goes to Luton, using the Thameslink route); maybe they’re working on a new campaign as we speak. Can we suggest a strapline of ‘nyer nyer nyer nyer nyer’?