BBC Radio 1 DJ, Greg James, has been called upon to spend a day with the Gatwick Express train drivers to see how the service functions.
The invitation, by a Gatwick Express employee, came after the DJ had compared the service to the Voyager-1 spacecraft, which has been out in space for 36 years. The employee has written to Crawley News, which published the original report stating that James was unimpressed with the train service.
‘And you thought the Gatwick Express was slow. Imagine the poor b*****s on Voyager 1. ‘How long is the journey again?’ ‘THIRTY SIX YEARS,’ the DJ reportedly told his Twitter followers. He also shared the Crawley News report, as more than 13,000 people read it in a matter of hours.
However, the news upset a Gatwick Express driver who decided to write to the news service, asking not to be named for fear of reprisals. He said how dismayed he was with James’ remarks and that he wanted the DJ to know the real story.
The copy of the driver’s letter, was published by Crawley News, as follows:
‘I am a train driver for the Gatwick Express and I am totally dismayed at the comments from DJ Greg James.
I would just like to put the record straight and let him know a few things which have led to the demise of the Gatwick Express from what it used to be.
We used to be top dogs in our operation and the service offered, but then, in 2008, we were bought out by Southern – and that’s when things started to change.
We no longer had priority over other train operators, therefore Southern began to put their own trains first, having priority over the Gatwick Express.
This meant that we would have to wait at certain parts of the journey to allow Southern trains to pass through first, hence why our journey now often takes longer than the normal 30 minutes.
But he would know this, wouldn’t he? Perhaps next time Greg wants to badmouth something – maybe he should research things first to get all the facts.
If he had ever travelled on the Gatwick Express before 2008, he would know and have seen the difference since we lost our own control of it.
We are employed by Southern and are governed by them – we have no say in it now, and us Gatwick Express drivers don’t like it anymore than our customers do.’
And urging James to spend the day with Gatwick Express drivers, he wrote: ‘May I suggest that next time he is at Victoria Station’s platform 13, that he contacts the Gatwick Express office to see if he can get permission to spend some time with us drivers and see for himself what we have to put up with.’