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
Hell on four Wheels
Member Name: Lorriee
Date: 15/08/01, updated on 15/08/01 (166 review reads)
Advantages: Competative Price
Disadvantages: Using other coaches
I travelled to Birmingham from London last weekend. I had the choice of booking direct from Victoria coach station or booking via the Internet. As I work near Victoria Station I decided to go to the coach station to book direct. Big mistake and something I would not advise the place was heaving with people and they only seemed to have a small number of people on the booking desks. So I went back to work on booked via the Internet.
You book via gobycoach.com. The home page gives you three options (a) around Britain with National Express, (b) to Europe with Euroline and (c) to and from the airport with Jetlink, Flightlink and Airbus.
Using the Internet is very simple. Firstly you state your destination and dates you want to travel/return. This brings you to your journey requirements the first part is your depart details. All you have to do is select a time when you want to travel. Times start from 08.00 and leave every hour until 16.00 after this the coach leaves every half hour with the last one at 23.30. Then you select your return journey. Times start from 03.00 and leave every hour until 07.00 after this the coach leaves every half hour with the last one at 22.30. (These times are from London to Birmingham only) Next you select the passenger type and number to get the price.
After you have made your selections you will get a summary of your journey, which includes the price with and without insurance, insurance costs 99p. The insurance provides cover of £500 property, 10,000 for accident and 1 million for public liability.
Payment can be made with American Express, MasterCard, Visa, Solo and switch and you will get your tickets delivered free via post anywhere in the UK within 2/3 working days of your journey.
The journey to Birmingham was fine. The coach left London on time and even arrived In Birmingham half an hour before it was scheduled to. The coach was clean and
I had space even though the coach was full the journey wasn’t uncomfortable.
The Journey back was awful. When I arrived at Digbeth coach station the coach was already there I was quite impressed until one of the National Express operators stated that this was not the 12.30 coach but the 13.30 which I now know was a lie. The 12.30 coach was from another firm hired by National Express I only realised this by the cardboard sign in the windscreen.
Inside the coach had an awful warm feeling felt like it had not been aired for quite a while and the seats were in a filthy state. There was no legroom and I sat in a position similar to if I was on a plane all the way to London. Then there was the toilet which had a foul smell that filled the whole coach every time the door opened, even worse a little girl got stuck in there as the door wouldn’t open from the inside. If that was not bad enough there was a screeching baby all the way from Birmingham to London you would not settle down. Then we had an unofficial stop at a petrol station, as there was this light that kept blinking. By now I was getting irritable and to add insult to injury the allegedly 13.30 passed the coach that I was one.
If National Express is going to use other firms they can at least ensure that they meet the minimum standards I don’t see why I should pay for one thing and get another. I am still deliberating whether to use them again but will remain open minded as it may have been a one off but I am quite doubtful about that.
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