London to Scotland by bed with Megabus Sleepercoach

Megabus, a subsidiary of Scotland-based Stagecoach Group, a company that provides trains, trams express coaches and buses, is launching a new Sleepercoach service between London and Edinburgh, and London and Glasgow.

Travellers on the new service, which will commence this summer, will be able to sleep in full-length beds during the approximate eight hour journey, and tickets will cost from as little as GBP15. The bunk beds are prepared for use by unfolding seats, and Megabus even provides travellers with a complimentary toothbrush, toothpaste, eye mask and the loan of either a blanket or a onesie all-in-one sleep suit.

The new venture is the product of a £5 million investment by parent company, Stagecoach, which has provided ten of the new Sleepercoaches, each with 53 seats that convert into 42 beds. Once operational, the new fleet will provide 1,700 beds per week between London and Scotland.

Sir Brian Souter, Stagecoach group chief executive, was reported in the Daily Mail, saying: ‘It used to be just pop stars that had beds on board their tour buses, now everyone can benefit from a comfortable, great value overnight journey. You can go to sleep in one city and wake up in another ready to start the day without having to pay extra for an expensive hotel room.’

Via the new Sleepercoach services, passengers will be able to travel from London and connect with Aberdeen, Aviemore, Cumbernauld Dundee, Dunfermline Edinburgh, Falkirk, Ferrytoll park and ride in Fife, Glasgow Inverness and Perth.

Operating under a new brand name, MegabusGold.com, tickets for the new service will be available up to a maximum of £65, dependant on time and date of departure.

Reduction in Bus Pass Cost for West Midlands Passengers

Centro, the UK based organisation that operates bus, rail and the Midland Metro Tram transport in the West Midlands area, has announced a price reduction for bus passes in the West Midlands.

The company is reducing the cost of a West Midlands bus pass by up to £1.60 per week. The price cut follows discussions conducted by Centro with around 35 different bus operators in the area.

Cllr. Kath Hartley, the organisation’s vice chairman, said, ‘At a time when the cost of living seems to be going through the roof, especially items such as food and petrol, it’s great to see the price of something as important as bus travel actually coming down.

These ‘nBus’ passes, which can be used on all services regardless of which bus company runs the service, will now offer even greater value for money.

It’s good news for those people already using ‘nBus’ passes but also for those looking to make a greener travel choice and I would encourage them to take advantage of these price reductions and give the bus a try.’

The ‘nBus’ pass fares are being reduced from £18.40 to £16.80 for a one-week pass for adults, and from £62 to £60 for an adult four-week pass.

The previous passes were also accepted by the 35 different bus companies, but only within the West Midlands Metropolitan Area. The new passes, on the other hand, will be accepted for travel to a number of additional areas including the neighbouring towns of Codsall, Bilbrook, Perton, Pattingham, Wombourne, Himley, Swindon, Kinver, Gannow, Rubery, Hollywood, Wythall, Little Aston, Keresley, and Baginton.

The company intends to offer more ‘nBus’ products later this year.

Coach Travel an Alternative to UK Christmas Train Disruption

National Express, a UK based road transport company, is laying on a number of extra coaches to cope with an expected Christmas rush.

The train operator is offering around 10,000 extra seats on December 23 and 24, 2012, for those travellers that might be inconvenienced by delays caused by maintenance work on the West Coast Main Line rail service.

For the two days before Christmas, rail passengers could suffer disruption due to their being no direct train services between London and Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool or Glasgow. Passengers who have already booked confirmed tickets on these train routes might opt for a cancellation, or opt to travel by National Express coaches with guaranteed reservations for the said dates.

The maintenance work will impact on services from Euston to Milton Keynes, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool or Glasgow, with no traffic on these routes. Services will resume on December 27, 2012, while two of the four lines will remain closed.

Robin Gisby, the Network Rail network operations managing director, said, ‘Services on the West Coast on December 23 and 24 will be severely affected.

We understand and regret the impact this will have on passengers and freight services, but believe it is necessary to achieve the long-term benefits.’

Chris Gibb, the chief operating officer of Virgin Trains, said, ‘We are working hard with industry colleagues to ensure customers have as much advance information as possible, irrespective of who will actually be running long distance services on the West Coast Main Line by this time.’

Megabus Announces Winter Promotion with Complimentary Seats

Megabus, a city-to-city express bus service operating in the UK, is offering complimentary seats as part of its winter promotion.

The low cost transport operator is offering around 10,000 complimentary seats on its coach networks in England and Wales. The offer is available for travel on weekdays between January 14, and February 28, 2013, and may be booked online at the megabus.com website.

The general manager of megabus.com, Ian Laing, said, ‘Everybody loves a bargain and we hope this huge seat giveaway will help our passengers beat the winter blues. We have a loyal customer base and we’re delighted to be offering them this special promotion. We also hope it will encourage new customers to give our services a try and make the switch to greener, smarter and better value coach travel.’

The company is currently offering fares commencing from GBP1 and operates to a number of destinations in England and Wales, including Newcastle, Bristol, Manchester, Preston, London, Birmingham, Norwich, Swindon, Plymouth, Newport and Swansea.

Megabus.com is part of the Stagecoach Group, and is poised to extend its capacity. Stagecoach has announced a GBP3.2m investment in a fleet of coaches for the megabus.com inter-city travel service. The new fleet will comprise of eleven 15-metre-long coaches, with complimentary Wi-Fi, that will operate on new routes in Scotland and England.

The new fleet has around 20 percent additional capacity over the existing fleet, with more luggage storage space. The vehicles will also have access for wheelchair users and other passengers with disabilities.

Ian laing added, ‘Demand for great value inter-city travel just keeps on growing, especially with the rising cost of owning and running a car and the further stretch on household budgets. These new state-of-the-art coaches will deliver more capacity on key routes we operate in the UK.

We have worked closely with Plaxton over the past 10 months on developing this new model. It sets new standards of accessibility for our customers with impaired mobility, as well as offering great comfort all round. The new fleet will also provide even greener travel for our customers and a lower carbon footprint for our business.’

Greater Anglia Announces New Bus and Train Ticket Service

Greater Anglia, a UK-based train operating company, is partnering with UK based bus operators, Norfolk Green and Stagecoach, to offer a combined bus and train ticketing initiative.

The PlusBus ticket offers an unlimited bus ticket for a train departure or arrival location for the date of the journey. The tickets are available for any of the rail destinations, on all participating bus services, for an extra payment of £2 per day. The train company has also launched the service recently from Ely station, adding it to the network of destinations that are currently offering the service.

The partnerships manager for Greater Anglia, Geraint Hughes, said, ‘We asked our customers how we could make their journeys to and from the station easier. Many of them told us that they would use a bus service to the station if it were provided. By working together with County and District Councils and funders Sainsbury’s, the bus service is now running and the addition of an easy to purchase through ticket for regular travellers is an important breakthrough.

Our team at the station will be pleased to assist customers in adding PlusBus to their existing rail ticket.’

Norfolk Green managing director, Ben Colson, said, ‘We’ve had an excellent response from local people to our new service, but we felt we needed to offer something more to make the bus attractive to rail commuters. PlusBus fits the bill, and we’ll be changing our route to provide new stops in the Kings Avenue area of the city, as well as adjusting our times to give better connections with the important commuter trains.

For the commuter or the Cambridge college student, this represents excellent value for money and much less hassle than finding a parking space near the station!’

WESTbus speeds up Euro service

Austria-based WESTbus has announced that it is expanding the routes that it offers to allow road passengers to travel to Berlin via Dresden in just nine hours.

The company said that the new service would allow customers to absorb local culture along the way, as travelling by road offered a more interactive experience. The service is also expected to enhance business ties between the locations.

Paul Blaguss from WESTbus, said, ‘No other metropolis is so inviting for shopping, culture and flair in summer. We are happy to announce we now offer an adult ticket to Berlin for just €55 each way. The new combi tickets for WESTbahn and WESTbus are particularly customer friendly. It is completely easy to use and easy to find the right combination.’

The firm also said that soon more services would be introduced to Bratislava. Services to Bratislava will operate 13 times a day, which is effectively an increase of two routes per day. In addition, the company is planning to add a new route from Salzburg to Prague, which runs twice daily and costs €29 for adults.

Children aged between 6 and 14 only need to pay EUR2. Those under 6 years of age can travel for free. Combination tickets, which include return travel, can also be booked, and all tickets can be booked online at www.westbus.at

WESTbus currently operates between Klagenfurt, Vienna, Graz, Linz, St Michael, Budapest, Prague, Budweis, Bratislava, Zagreb, Dresden and Berlin. The buses that the company operate have free wireless Internet as well as 15 plug sockets. Other on-board comforts include ample legroom and comfortable seats.

UK Bus Operators Offer Discounted Travel to NEETS

UK bus operating companies are looking at plans to offer discounted travel to NEETS, young people not in education, employment or training.

The new travel scheme, designed to assist unemployed youths in finding work, has the support of five major transport companies, who operate around 70 percent of the UK bus services, and will include limited free or heavily discounted travel to NEETS, who are estimated to number in the region of one million.

The details are yet to be agreed nationwide, but should enable the record numbers of young unemployed to benefit from some kind of assistance by mid-autumn, possibly a voucher scheme, but the initiative will almost certainly fall short of the free passes that are issued to the over-60s.

The proposals are being funded by Greener Journeys, a collaborative effort between Arriva, FirstGroup, Go-Ahead and Stagecoach. National Express has also expressed its support for the scheme.

Brian Souter, the chief executive officer of Stagecoach, said, ‘The discounted travel scheme being developed could make the vital difference between a life of worklessness and getting a job, helping more young people to make a better start in life.’

The UK Transport minister, Norman Baker, said, ‘I have been encouraging bus operators to look at the fare deals they can offer to young people looking for work or attending training courses, so I am pleased that they are considering this.

This would benefit the industry as well as job seekers as these young people are not only a key section of the market, they are the future of the local bus industry.’

London 2012 Olympic Games to Use New Technology for Passenger Safety in Public Vehicles

Alexander Dennis (ADL), a bus and coach manufacturer in the UK, and the company responsible for providing public service vehicles for the 2012 Olympic Games, will be using new machine-to-machine technology to improve passenger safety.

The company is partnering with Traffilog, a web-based telematics company, to provide the maximum levels of security and safety for passengers using its fleet of buses.

The Traffilog machine-to-machine solution will also be providing safety and security on the fleet of buses to be operated by Kings Ferry, a UK coach operator with the responsibility for the transportation of police and VIPs during the Games.

The M2M devices feature the GE863-GPS advanced cellular modules, provided by Telit Wireless Solutions, transmitting real-time driver and mechanical performance information to fleet management centres, and allowing authorities to operate the fleet remotely, in case of emergencies.

Yoav Megged, the executive vice president at Traffilog, said, ‘Telit’s GE863-GPS module is a mission-critical component of our application because of its high reliability, ruggedness and quality performance. That’s why we rely on Telit modules for a large percentage of our systems worldwide.’

Dominikus Hierl, the chief marketing officer at Telit Wireless Solutions, said, ‘Traffilog’s application for the Olympic Games proves once again the growing significance of M2M technology and its combined benefits, specifically in the realm of public safety and personal security.’

Safety will be of paramount importance during the 2012 London Olympics and Paralympics Games to be held in July and August 2012, and travellers to the city and Olympics venues are asked to comply with the stringent safety policies that are currently being put in place for a safe Games.