News: Buses get cheaper
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Saturday 14 August 2004
A fierce fares war between Britain's bus operators has seen the cost of coach journeys fall to absurd levels - typically, Scotland to London for under £5 each way, or £2 return between London and Manchester. The price cutting is chiefly being fought by National Express and Megabus, and is restricted to travellers who buy online at
A fierce fares war between Britain's bus operators has seen the cost of coach journeys fall to absurd levels - typically, Scotland to London for under £5 each way, or £2 return between London and Manchester. The price cutting is chiefly being fought by National Express and Megabus, and is restricted to travellers who buy online at www.nationalexpress.com and www.megabus.com.
National Express offers cut-price "Funfare" seats for as little as £1 each way between London and destinations including Swansea, Leeds and Newcastle; prices increase in steps of £2 as demand rises, but if you are flexible, it is possible to find a 400-mile round-trip for the same price as travelling a single stop on the Tube in central London.
Megabus allows a wide range of journeys; you don't need to start and finish in London. The lowest fare between Manchester and Glasgow is £2.50 return (the 50p is a booking fee, which is the same however many seats you buy at one time).
A new player enters the market this week - Stelios Haji-Ioannou and his easyBus ( www.easyBus.co.uk). The founder of easyJet has chosen two unusual points to connect with his latest transport venture: Hendon and Milton Keynes. Starting on Thursday, a fleet of 16-seat minibuses will shuttle between the two points for fares as low as £1 each way - so long as you book on the internet. Travellers without reservations are able to travel if space is available, but the fare is a flat £5 each way. Because of limited luggage space on board, easyBus instructs passengers with substantial baggage to buy a separate seat to store it. The journey is scheduled to take 65 minutes.
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