A new coach service offering fares from just €1 began running between London and Barcelona, via Paris and Toulouse on 8 July and has already proved popular, with thousands of passengers having used the route in the past three weeks.
Passengers travel on state-of-the-art coaches featuring free wi-fi so they can stay connected on the move. The coaches, which have some of the greenest engines in Europe, are also equipped with air conditioning and a toilet.
Prices start at €1*, with a range of competitive fares above that designed to ensure the coaches are full or as close to capacity as possible. megabus.com uses bigger, higher capacity 72-seat coaches, rather than standard vehicles with around 50 seats. This allows the company to have a low cost per passenger, keep fares down and ensure the service is profitable.
Elizabeth Esnouf, Managing Director of megabus.com Europe, said: “Less than a month after launching our new service between London and Barcelona, we are delighted to be doubling the frequency on the route by adding another service in each direction every single day. We have seen very strong passenger demand for these journeys which has exceeded our initial expectations and we are pleased with the operation of the route so far.
megabus.com previously called for a change to current cabotage** regulations which restrict people using its low-cost coach services for point to point trips solely within France.
Earlier this year, the French competition authority, the Autorité de la concurrence, made a number of recommendations to modernise the rules and to open up the coach market to allow more choice and better value travel for people in France.
The report issued by the authority in February said: “Coach travel can be developed to the benefit of consumers and contribute to driving up overall transport demand in France. The Autorité de la concurrence recommends implementing a regulatory framework which is more open, transparent and simple.”
Ms Esnouf added: “There is still much more we could do to improve travel in the south-west of France and other parts of the country if we were not blocked by these outdated rules. We would urge the French authorities to re-think these regulations to enable more people to access low-cost travel links within France.”
megabus.com already carries more than 15 million passengers a year in other parts of Europe and North America.
The megabus.com network includes more than 100 destinations in the UK and mainland Europe, including major cities such as Paris, London, Edinburgh, Amsterdam, Brussels and Cologne.
megabus.com services have proved very popular with families, students and tourists looking to save money on their travel and spend extra on entertainment when they arrive at their destination.
The additional services will help attract even more visitors to Barcelona as well as enabling more people in the city to access other key European destinations via an interchange in Paris.
Travel from Barcelona to Toulouse takes five hours 30 minutes, with the trip to Paris around 14 hours. Journey times between Barcelona and London, which include a break in Paris and a ferry crossing, take around 27 hours.
megabus.com - part of Stagecoach Group - was launched in the UK in 2003 and expanded its services to North America in 2006. In 2012, the company started running services between the UK and a number of destinations in mainland Europe. The network already includes Paris, Lille, Boulogne Amsterdam, Brussels, Ghent, Antwerp, Rotterdam and Cologne.
All European locations are served daily, with routes to and from the UK operating during the day and overnight. An interchange at London Victoria Coach Station offers links to and from locations in Scotland, England and Wales.
megabus.com offers Spanish, French, Dutch and German language websites, which allow customers to book and pay in Euros.