Newest Review: ... about is a little known and unpublicised way of buying cheap tickets direct from National Express. It is not mentioned on their website or ... more
Comfortable travel, unless the brakes fail on a motorway.
Member Name: AsystoleUK
Advantages: Comfortable, usually reliable, can get very cheap fares if you're flexible.
Disadvantages: Can be very expensive if not booked via 'funfare' option.
National Express is a sub-company offering routes via Train and Coach/Bus across various destinations in the United Kingdom, marketing themselves as 'part of National Express Group, one of the world's leading international public transport groups.' This group also operates in Spain and North America.
Prior to moving further north for the summer, I had been making regular journeys from Coventry to Bournemouth by coach. The prices seem reasonable if you are flexible with your time of travel, but this depends on your depature and destination locations.
Take for example my journey; 'funfares' (heavily discounted fares) are only available for 1 time of day for my departure at each station, and the further in advance you book, the cheaper it will generally be. Up to a month in advance I've been able to get certain fares for £1-3, rising to £8, £10 then £15 as the date draws closer.
Unfortunately on one such journey I discovered the irony in the name 'funfare' when our suspension and subsequently our brakes failed on a motorway.
I have heard rather unpleasant stories about onboard toilets on these services but this is a matter I won't get into as I have not experienced any problems with unpleasant smelling coaches (discounting the air conditioning blowing an unwashed passengers body odour all over the carriage) and I do not want to tempt fate.
Seats are usually quite comfortable on the whole, though the heating is often turned up rather high and these coaches do have that strange knack for putting you to sleep irregardless of whether you were even drowzy to begin with. I feel quite embarassed to wake up next to a stranger an hour later drooling on myself (I have no shame!).
Coaches are usually very good (at least on my route) at keeping to schedule and i've never waiting any longer than 5 minutes excess on a listed departure time.
All in all I would say that they are worth the money if you can get a funfare, but usually you can find a cheaper option than the full priced tickets (usually via train) if you shop around online.
Summary: Make sure you shop around if you're after the cheapest travel fares.
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