Newest Review: ... the driver to let me on as I did not have enough cash to buy a new ticket and I was unable to call National Express to buy a new ticket... more
National Express Coaches, Highly Recommend!
Member Name: alfiepeaches
Advantages: cheaper than trains, comfortable, friendly helpful drivers,
Disadvantages: not always as quick
I catch national express coaches a few times a year, mainly to London and a few times to Southampton or Portsmouth. I chose coach as it always at least half the price of trains (prices vary depending on day, time and holidays), I usually go up to London for a day and for a return ticket (I live in Bournemouth so the journeys 2-3 hours) and usually costs me between £18-£25 when on the train it usually costs double this.
I have never had a problem with National express, booking your ticket online is easier than any other form of transport I have looked at, you choose your destination, your date and time and then you are offered the times throughout the day which vary slightly in costs and length of journeys. There is always a good selection of times, usually every hour or atleast every two hours depending where you are going. The ticket can be sent to you by mail, mobile or email which you can either print or show on your phone, every single way is convenient.
You are always advised to arrive at your departure stop 10minutes early, however a coach will never leave early, always, always on time it says it is leaving and no later so you must make sure you are there! The driver will pack any luggage you have with you as you get on and then you can choose where to sit as there are no reserved seats. The only bad thing about the coach is that it is nearly always full which can a bit annoying sometimes but generally is okay as long as you don't get stuck with people on their phones so in this case it's much like being on a train. I do find the coach more relaxing as the seats are more comfortable and you have more to look out in the window, especially when getting into the city!
The seats are comfortable, most now have leathery seats and are quite squishy to sit on, they lean back only a little and you have the choice of a small foot rest but I find this unhelpful personally. I have short legs so don't need much room but if you have long legs I suggest getting an aisle seat so you can stretch your legs into the aisle. The coaches are always exceptionally clean too. Seatbelts must be worn but they are only waist ones and aren't uncomfortable. The driver will announce on a speaker when stops are coming up so you don't need to be worried about missing your stop!
There is toilet at the back which I have always avoided using as I thought it would pretty dire however I once needed it really badly and found it was very clean. The door locked very easily and I wasn't worried about it opening by accident. The toilet is small but not particularly uncomfortable and flushed. There was a small basin but no paper towels (I just used hand sanitizer gel so no problem for me!), there was even a mirror but I doubt you'd be able to apply makeup, standing up on a moving vehicle!
I often get the last coach home which is always 11 or 11.30 (and once nearly missed it!), this is my favourite time to get the coach as the driver turns all the lights off and I can nod off as the coach is usually empty and I have space to curl up over two seats. The coach also has curtains to block out light and lights and air conditioning above your head.
If you want to leave and catch an earlier coach which you have not been booked on, you can ask the driver of that coach to see if there are any spaces left and they will let you hop on if there is which is great as some trains don't always have this offer.
Overall I really recommend National Express as they are helpful and easy coaches to use with nice drivers who also help get your luggage out from underneath when you get off. The prices are really great, nearly always cheaper than trains. The journeys are often half an hour longer but coaches are cheaper and more comfortable, I find trains much harder and numb my bum quicker!
Summary: An easy, comfortable way of travelling!