National Express returning to coaching
National Express coaches are to return to the UK roads on Monday 29 March, ending an 11 week full suspension of services in response to the national lockdown. The return date coincides with the easing of some lockdown restrictions on that date, notably the stay local rule.
An initial limited timetable, equivalent to around 15% of the standard intercity network, is expected to be expanded quickly; adding new locations and routes and increasing frequency as restrictions are lifted and customer demand grows.
A new full UK-wide timetable has been created to offer what the company describes as quicker journey times, increased punctuality and improved connectivity. For example, the average journey time between Birmingham and Manchester has been reduced by 20 minutes. There will be 12 daily journey options from Leeds to Bristol (previously only four) with an overall quicker journey time of 30 to 60 minutes. With more people predicted to take a domestic break this year, the new schedules will include all major UK holiday destinations.
The significant Covid-secure measures put in place last year will remain.
“This is just the beginning of a better National Express” – MD of National Express UK Coach, Chris Hardy
Chris Hardy, managing director of National Express UK Coach, said: “It’s a great feeling to be getting hundreds of drivers back behind the wheel. We’re excited to play our part in the UK public’s safe return to travel.
“We want to make coach travel more convenient and with even greater value in 2021.
“We’ve removed the booking fee for any purchases made through a National Express online account and included more options to claim a refund or amend a journey if circumstances change.”
From the onset of the pandemic, a no quibble amendment or full refund within 28 days was offered to all customers and over 100,000 coachcards have been extended by 12 months.
Chris Hardy said: “This is just the beginning of a better National Express. We’ve always focused on doing the right thing for customers and by continuing to do so, we will grow back quicker and stronger.”