National Express Coaches photography highlighting the new safety measures and cleaning proceedures post Covid 19.for their stations and coaches. Pictured is the Birmingham Coach Station, Digbeth. Picture by Shaun Fellows / Shine Pix Ltd
National Express coaches back on the road revealing uplift in UK travel
A better National Express get behind the wheel
The familiar sight of National Express white coaches returned to the UK roads on Monday 29 March. The first coach left Manchester for London, ending an 11-week full suspension of services in response to the national lockdown.
The restart comes with a significant number of changes that promise customers a better overall experience when booking and travelling with National Express in 2021.
New schedules to include all major UK holiday destinations
With more people predicted to take a domestic break this year. The new schedules will include all major UK holiday destinations.
A new full UK-wide timetable will offer quicker journey times, increased punctuality and improved connectivity:
Average journey time between Birmingham and Manchester has been reduced by 20 minutes
12 daily journey options from Leeds to Bristol (previously 4) with an overall quicker journey time of 30-60 minutes
National Express offer even more value
From the onset of the pandemic, a no-quibble amendment or full refund within 28 days was offered to all customers. Over 100,000 coach cards have been extended by 12 months.
Booking fees for any purchases through an online account have been removed and included more options to claim a refund or amend a journey if circumstances change.
Chris Hardy continues: “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.”
“We want to make coach travel more convenient and with even greater value in 2021,” adds Chris Hardy. “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*.”
Chris Hardy adds: “This is a challenging but exciting time for us. Like the rest of the population, we look forward to being able to see friends and family, go on holiday, attend events and visit attractions again. National Express has always helped make this happen and we look forward to doing it once more.”
*Terms and conditions apply. Visit www.nationalexpress.com for more information. Details correct as of 24 March 2021
Uplift in demand shows increased confidence in coach travel
The latest figures from National Express also reveal strong signs of the public’s increased confidence in domestic travel as the country moves toward the next step in the roadmap.
National Express restarted operations with a limited timetable and reduced passenger numbers per vehicle on Monday 29 March following an 11-week suspension. Around 70% of seats were sold on services for its first week back, increasing to 80% over the Easter weekend.
John Boughton, commercial director of National Express UK Coach, comments: “Our first week back on the road has been encouraging. We will be adding new routes, including to Yorkshire, Nottingham and Blackpool, and increasing the frequency of some services from mid-April to meet the growing demand we are seeing in line with the next easing of restrictions.
“There have been significant jumps in people planning a coach journey in 2021 every time we reach a date in the roadmap or there is an announcement. We saw online searches increase by 24%* yesterday (Sunday 5 April) following the official confirmation from Number 10 that we will move to step two of the roadmap on Monday 12 April.”
Big cities including Bristol, Manchester and Birmingham are consistently popular with demand for leisure destinations growing noticeably from mid-May onwards.
“The uncertainty around foreign travel means more and more people are planning a break in the UK this year and using coach travel for their journey.
“Our new option to book accommodation and attractions along with coach travel, complete with a price guarantee and ABTA protection, is proving popular. And we are seeing particularly strong interest in services to major UK holiday destinations such as Bournemouth, Brighton, Blackpool, Skegness and Devon.”
A new full UK-wide timetable will go on sale later this month. Redesigned to offer quicker journey times, increased punctuality and improved connectivity for journeys 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*. We have also automatically extended over 100,000 previously purchased coach cards by 12 months.
John Boughton continues: “National Express has always been part of being able to see friends and family, go on holiday, attend events and visit attractions. We’re excited to play our part in the UK public’s safe return to travel and help make this happen again.”
Significant covid-secure measures are in place for travel with National Express, including:
A reduction in the number of seats available on all coaches and social distancing in both stations and on vehicles.
Enhanced cleaning in both stations and on coaches, including regular aerosol based disinfection – sometimes called ‘fogging’.
An additional filter on the air conditioning systems of all coaches to reduce bacteria and corona type viruses; and improve air quality.
Temperature screening before allowing travel with anyone with a high temperature reading not allowed to travel and given a full refund.
Provision of PPE and use of protective screens on vehicles and in coach stations
The requirement for customers to wear face coverings when in stations and travelling on coaches, in line with Government guidelines.