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Author Topic: Gatwick Express fares - and wider lessons  (Read 263 times)
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« on: November 30, 2019, 05:29:11 am »

From Christian Wolmar (within a much longer piece):

When I wrote about Gatwick Express a couple of issues ago (Rail 889), I greatly underestimated what a scam: the whole situation is basically an official operation for the government to take money off people because they are not properly informed.

Gatwick Express no longer really an express / premium service? "" Would anyone with knowledge of the service really pay an extra 11 60 for a couple of minutes saved and bit of extra baggage room? ""

8.30 rather than 19.90 to Victoria provided you know what you're doing.

The lesson / question widens ... whilst I agree that the whole situation of people being charged more than they need to pay for a service is repugnant and far from limited to Gatwick Express (I have gone on and on about our local TVM selling off-peak rather than super off-peak from the front screen, for example), do we not find and accept the same day to day in our supermarkets, where the more expensive branded product is at tempting eye level or in prime position on the gondola end but the cheaper but virtually identical own brand product is out of tempting eye-line at floor level or high above the head?

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« Reply #1 on: November 30, 2019, 01:07:10 pm »

I think there's a difference Grahame.

It's much easier being a savvy shopper when you use the same supermarket week in, week out. There may be less prominence for cheaper own brands, but they are there and visible, and (to be fair) sometimes promoted by the supermarkets.

On the other hand, a high (very high?) proportion of Gatwick Express passengers will be very infrequent users of the service or even trains, will see publicity for Gatwick Express and may not even know or find out that there are other "regular" services to Gatwick from London.

I wonder how many go from Reading to Gatwick via London unaware that there are hourly direct trains?
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« Reply #2 on: December 01, 2019, 12:57:23 pm »

I have always felt that the premium fares charged for a not very premium airport service is the sort of rip-off normally associated with banana republics, and that should not be found in the UK.
OTOH, I am opposed to air travel for environmental reasons, so ripping off airline customers is fairly low on my list of things to worry about. That does NOT make the ripping off OK, though, just a lower priority.

A proper intercity train has a minimum of 8 coaches, gangwayed throughout, with first at one end, and a full sized buffet car between first and standard.
It has space for cycles, surfboards,luggage etc.
A 5 car DMU is not a proper inter-city train. The 5+5 and 9 car DMUs are almost as bad.
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