Intercity Bus FAQ

The most common questions and answers for travelling by intercity buses in the UK

Intercity Bus Travel-FAQOpting for the coach is not only the cheapest way to travel the UK, but also the most eco-friendly alternative. Apart from that, you also get a whole lot of comfort because most coach companies provide their customers with free WiFi and plenty of power sockets to insure that a coach trip is not a waste of time but that time can be used efficiently. Before you buy your ticket now, however, there might still be questions unanswered regarding the booking process, payment methods, cancellations of bookings or the luggage allowance of the different providers. But that’s no problem! We’re here to answer all of these questions for you.

Coach FAQDo you have any specific questions about taking a coach to travel through the UK or beyond? The following FAQ is supposed to provide a detailed list of categories which contain the answers to all of your questions.
A. Booking, Changing a Reservation, Cancellation Policies

B. Luggage, Bikes and Pets

C. Departure and Delay

D. Children, Adolescents and Students

E. Senior Passengers and Passengers with Disabilities

F. On-Board Features, Service and Comfort

A. Booking, Changing a Reservation, Cancellation Policies

1. How do I use CheckMyBus to book a coach ticket in the UK?

CheckMyBus is a search engine for buses and coaches. All you need to do is to type in your preferred point of departure and destination as well as the date of your journey. You will then be presented with a list of possible coach options provided by different companies. In addition you will get all the information you need: the current price, the location of the bus stops, departure and arrival times, the travel time as well as an overview over the comfort features available on the individual journeys. Should there not be a bus connections, you can expand the radius to check for possible bus stops in the vicinity. Furthermore, you can also get results from carsharing agencies as well as railway companies. Once you have found your trip, you can click on “View Deal” and you will be automatically redirected to the respective company’s page, where you can buy the ticket.

2. Where can I buy a ticket?

The easiest way to get a ticket is to book it online. Most companies will send you the ticket via e-mail as e-ticket, which means that you don’t even need to print it out. All you need to do is to have it on your smartphone display and show it to the conductor or bus driver. In addition to that you can buy tickets at larger bus stations such as Victoria Coach Station in London or Buchanan Bus Station in Glasgow.

3. Is it cheaper if I buy a coach ticket online?

It’s also good to know that tickets on the internet tend to be cheaper. Some ticket types, like the National Express funfares for example, are exclusively available online and allow you to save a lot of money. You can use our search engine to check for all funfares or other offers like the £1-megabus-tickets. It might also be beneficial if you take a look at our deal-pages to check for current bus and coach deals.

4. How can I pay for my bus ticket?

Most coach companies in the UK provide convenient online payment methods. Buying a ticket via credit card is the most common payment methods, with Visa or Mastercard being accepted basically everywhere. In order to provide a good selection of payment methods, larger providers such as National Express and Terravision also allow you to pay via PayPal.

5. Can I change the date or time of the reservations? Will fees be charged?

This differs from company to company. The Scottish provider megabus, for instance, allows for changings up to 24 hours prior to departure whereas with German provider FlixBus you can easily change your booking 15 minutes before you were supposed to get on the bus. In addition, megabus charges an administration fee of £1 while you can change your FlixBus reservation for free. National Express will ask for £5 if you want to change the date of your reservation. Some airport transfer services, such as Aircoach, also allow you to take an earlier bus if your flight arrives early. This, however, is only possible if the bus is not fully booked.

6. Can I cancel the booking and get a refund?

Some providers allow for cancellations, while others don’t. At Terravision and megabus, for example, refunds are not available. With National Express, on the other hand, you can cancel a booking but you will have to pay a cancellation fee of £5. It might be different, however, if you have booked a funfare from National Express. These ticket types are non-refundable. The German coach company FlixBus allows you to cancel a booking, but you won’t get a refund – instead you will receive a voucher which can be used for your next journey.

7. I have lost my coach ticket! Can I get a new one?

This might be a bit tricky. Usually it’s the customer’s obligation to take care of his or her ticket and to present it to the conductor or bus driver when asked for it – no matter if it’s an e-ticket or a printed one. However, asking is for free: So if you can still remember your reservation number or any other significant details we recommend you contact the coach company directly.

8. Where can I find special offers, promo codes or other deals?

We take care of that for you. On our blog we always inform you about current promotions or sales of the individual bus companies so that you never miss an option to travel for as little money as possible. Simply check back from time to time or whenever you need it: With a bit of luck, there’s a good offer available from FlixBus, National Express, megabus or other UK-based or international coach companies. Take a look at current bus and coach deals.

B. Luggage, Bikes and Pets

1. How much luggage am I allowed to take on board of the bus or coach?

Taking a fair amount of luggage on board is usually not a problem when you take the coach. For example, National Express allows customers to take two medium sized suitcases (70cm x 30cm x 45cm), each no more than 20kg. In addition, a small sized handbag is allowed on board. However, the weight and size of a suitcase varies from company to company. By contrast, megabus UK permits 25kg in total for luggage in the hold and 1 small piece of luggage that can fit under the seat in front of you.

If the suitcase exceeds the maximum standard or you want to carry musical instruments or large boxes etc. on board, an additional fee will be charged. Please also have a look at the respective company’s luggage policy to check which type of luggage is allowed on board. It’s also good if you inform the respective coach company about the XXL-sized luggage beforehand to make sure that there’s enough space for it.

2. Can I take a bike with me?

Unfortunately, due to a limited capacity of a coach, the UK bus providers usually do not accept bicycles on board. An exception to the rule is the bus operator Aircoach, which allows you to take your bike in case there’s enough room for it. However, National Express allows you to take a folded one with you as long as it is wrapped properly in a hard case or padded bag. According to its luggage policy, a bicycle will be counted as one suitcase. The situation is a bit different if you want to take a bus on the continent: Most companies there have no problem with you taking your bike, including FlixBus, Berlin Linien Bus or Postbus. However, you will have to pay about £7 to £10 for taking a bike.

3. Can I take my pet on board with me?

Unfortunately, you cannot take your pet on board of most of the UK’s buses. This has to do with the fact that other passengers might be allergic or might feel disturbed by it. Assistance dogs for passengers with disabilities are excluded from this rule, of course.

4. What should I do if I lose something or leave my luggage on the coach?

It’s usually the passenger’s obligation to have a close eye on his or her belongings. However, mishap could occur to anyone. If you happen to discover that you lost an item or your luggage on the bus or at the station, you can resort to the customer service hotline of the coach company. Please have your ticket number at hand when calling. You can also go to the pick-up or drop-off station offices or info desks to ask whether the item you lost showed up there.

C. Departure and Delay

1. Where does my coach depart from?

If you have used the CheckMyBus search engine to find a suitable connection, you can click on the little “+”-sign to the left of every single search result. Not only will you get the exact addresses of the two bus stops but you can also check them out on a map to know exactly where to go.

2. When should I arrive at the bus station?

This depends less on the company and more on the size of the city you depart from. At larger stations such as London Victoria Coach Station, you’re required to be there at least 60 minutes prior to your departure. In general, however, being there 15 minutes prior to departure serves as a good rule of thumb.

3. Can I get a refund or a new ticket if I miss the coach?

Unfortunately, the rules are fairly strict. It is your obligation as a customer to arrive at the station punctually. All the intercity buses usually depart on time. If you happen to miss your scheduled coach, you need to book a new ticket and no refund is available. However, if this is caused by the delay of your flight, National Express, Aircoach and Terravision will arrange for you to board the next bus on selected routes.

4. What if the service is delayed or cancelled?

If the service is cancelled, then the bus providers will offer you a refund or pay for alternative modes of transport. The easy way to claim it is to send them an e-mail with your booking details. If a service is delayed, however, you will not be entitled to a refund. In order to keep track of potential delays it’s good to check the respective coach company’s social media: most of them, such as megabus and National Express, use Twitter or Facebook to inform their customers of any delays.

D. Children and Adolescents

1. Is my child allowed to take the coach on its own?

Theoretically a child is allowed to travel by coach unaccompanied. However, there are strict rules and regulations about it. A child is allowed to travel alone with megabus UK and National Express if they are older than 14 years. Proof of age will be required before departure.

2. Are there discounts for children?

Yes. Sometimes taking the coach is free for a child under 3 years that is accompanied by an adult. However, check for the exact details on the respective bus provider’s page. With megabus, for example, a seat for the kid is not included. So if you want to stay safe and take a booster seat, you’ll have to buy a ticket for your toddler. With FlixBus, children under the age of 5 travel at a discounted rate. The Irish bus company Aircoach allows children under the age of 5 to travel for free and for travellers from 5 to 12 years of age a reduced child fare is available. If you’re a frequent traveller, then buying a National Express Coach Card for young customers might be a good option. For £10 a year or £25 for 3 years you can get 10 per cent off every trip if you’re a full time student or between 16 and 26 years of age.

3. Can I bring a baby car seat with me on a coach?

We highly recommend you bring a baby car seat that fits your child’s age and is also compatible with the seat on board. However, some UK coach companies like National Express also provide booster seats for children between 4 and 11 years of age. Please note that before taking a baby car seat on board, you have to make sure your child is already included on your ticket booking.

4. Can I take a pushchair on a coach?

Yes, you are allowed to take a pushchair with you in most of the cases as long as it can be folded and put inside the hold. This service is usually free of charge.

5. Is there a discount for students?

Bus providers in the UK often do not only offer very economical special deals to attract customers, they also offer discounts for students who are members of a national union of students (NUS or NUS extra). National Express also offers the Young Person’s Coach Card to customers between 16 and 26 years: If you buy it once for £10 a year, you get 10 per cent off on every coach journey.

E. Senior Passengers and Passengers with Disabilities

1. Are there discounts for senior citizens?

On 31 October 2011, the UK government banished the funding scheme, which cut off 50 per cent of the price for passengers over 60 years. Besides, National Express offers a Senior Coach Card for customers over 60 years. On top of that, National Express and megabus UK provide free journey within Scotland for Scottish Entitlement Card holders (over 60s and disabled passengers).

2. Are there discounts for passengers with disabilities?

Unfortunately, so far only National Express offers a Disabled Coach Card for customers with disabilities to save cost. But if you have a Scottish Entitlement Card you can enjoy free journeys with megabus UK and National Express within Scotland.

3. Can I take my wheel chair on board of a coach?

Most of the major UK coach providers can serve passengers with disabilities on board. Nevertheless, you will have to inform your bus provider ahead of time about your travelling plan. Ticket booking for customers with disabilities or restricted mobility requires early reservation through a service hotline at megabus UK instead of direct online booking. If you travel with National Express, you are supposed to contact the customer service at least 36 hours before departure. You can find more information on conditions for disabled travellers when you click on the following link: Accessibility on the coach.

F. On-Board Features, Service and Comfort

What are major amenities on board of an intercity bus?

Apart from cheap prices and eco-friendliness, service and comfort are very important feature in the coach industry. In order to make your coach journey more comfortable and pleasant, most of the bus providers in the UK make constant efforts to improve their on-board services and amenities.

Restroom and Toilet
Most of the intercity buses are equipped with restroom and toilet facilities. Besides, for long distance or overnight coach trips they will make a stop at service stations, too.

Power Sockets
Are you worried that your mobile phone will run out of battery before you reach your destination? Major UK bus providers are devoted to adding power sockets to their intercity buses to make your coach trip more enjoyable and worry-free. For instance, you can enjoy this free service on board of some of the National Express and FlixBus vehicles just now.

Free Wi-Fi
Some intercity buses like megabus UK, FlixBus and National Express offer free Wi-Fi service along the journey, so that you can browse the web or do some work on the go.

On-Board Entertainment: MediaCentre
It might not (yet) be the standard in the UK but on the continent numerous coach companies such as FlixBus, and Postbus offer a free of charge MediaCentre. This allows you to access e-books or to stream current movies, tv shows and music to your own device and enjoy them on the go. FlixBus, for example, offers a connection from London to Paris: So why not book an inexpensive coach trip and put this modern comfort feature to the test?

We know… It’s not hot that often in the UK, but air-conditioning might still come in handy on some day. No matter if you are travelling in summer or winter, most of the bus providers in the UK have air-conditioning facilities on board, guaranteeing for an invariably cosy temperature on board during your trip.

Reclining Seat
You want to take a nap during your coach trip but you hate sleeping in a sitting position? Doesn’t matter, all the seats on the intercity bus are flexible and can be reclined so you can lean backwards anytime you want to. Some seats are even equipped with small tables for you to put your food or laptop on.

Above are the most frequent questions about intercity bus travel regarding booking a ticket, departure time, luggage policies, children and student discounts, passengers with disabilities and amenities on board. We sincerely hope you found the answers to all of your questions and wish you a great coach trip within UK or beyond!

Should any questions remain, please visit our Support Page or leave a comment below and our support team will get back to you as soon as possible!

35 thoughts on “Intercity Bus FAQ

  1. We [2] want to leave by bus from Santiago de Compostela to Toulouse on Sunday 14 October 2018. Are there any busses available on the Sunday; how long in advance may we book?

    1. Dear Izak and Lila,

      Thank you for your message. There are several bus companies that offer routes between Santiago de Compostela and Toulouse, and both FlixBus and ALSA operate on Sundays. You can generally book one to two months in advance; however this varies from company to company. If you have any further questions, please feel free to get in touch with us again.

      Best regards,
      Your CheckMyBus Support

      1. Dear Maggie,

        Thank you for your message. Unfortunately, there are currently no direct coach connections between Glasgow and Ross on Wye in our system. However, you can travel from Glasgow to Birmingham, and then from Birmingham, you can travel directly to Ross on Wye. If you have any further questions, please feel free to get in touch with us again.

        Best regards,
        Your CheckMyBus Support

  2. My wife and I are travelling from Worcester to Gatwick airport on Sat 14 July and returning on Sat 4 August. Do have the best logistics for this journey?

    1. Dear Thompson,

      Thank you for your message. Unfortunately, there currently aren’t direct connections between Worcester and Gatwick Airport on 14.07.2018. The nearest route is between Bidford-on-Avon and London Gatwick Airport. On 4.08.2018, the nearest return route is also from Gatwick Airport to Bidford-on-Avon. Please keep in mind that some bus companies, such as megabus, only show routes for up to two or three months in advance, so more routes may become available closer to that date. If you have any further questions, please feel free to get in touch with us again.

      Best regards,
      Your CheckMyBus Support

  3. Looking to travel by bus from East Midlands airport to London, approx 1500 on 9 April. Grateful your advice on the most efficient route.

    1. Dear Douglas,

      Thank you for your message. There are several connections that travel from Derby Bus Station (which is roughly 40 minutes away from East Midlands Airport) to London at 14:55, 15:05 on 9 April. Alternatively, there are also connections from Loughborough (which is 26 minutes away from East Midlands Airport) to London at 15:25. You can find all available results for any route by searching in the CheckMyBus intercity coach search engine. If you have any further questions, please feel free to get in contact with us again.

      Best regards,
      Your CheckMyBus Support

  4. I have found a bus to Bristol from Chelmsford, Essex. Is this a direct service or is it necessary to change in London? The passenger has mobility problems so a through service would be preferable. Thank you.

    1. Dear Lynda,

      Thank you for your message and for using CheckMyBus to search for bus connections. Our search results show there are many daily departures from several stations in Bristol towards Chelmsford, provided by National Express, but all of them require a change in London Victoria Coach Station. National Express provides support for passengers with mobility issues, you just need to contact them 36 hours in advance. To find all more details about this service, please visit the website of National Express and look for the “Help & Advice” section.

      Best regards,
      Your CheckMyBus Support

  5. We are a family of 4, will be arriving at Heathrow at 1735pm and would like to take a bus to Cardiff the same evening. We plan to take the 1900 Megabus. I the eventmy flight is somewhat delayed, can I get on the next bus departing for Cardiff without having to buy a new ticket or incurring a penalty? thank you.
    I could see a similar question on this but no reply.

    1. Dear Sw,

      Thank you for your message. Unfortunately, it is not possible to get on another bus once you’ve missed a booked bus trip with megabus. You can, however, transfer to another connection up to 24 hours before the departure time of your bus trip. If you do miss your bus, you will need to book another trip. If you have any further questions, please feel free to get in touch again.

      Best regards,
      Your CheckMyBus Support

  6. I want to book the 16:30 National Express from London Victoria to Stroud on two consecutive days. However, it appears I have to make each booking separately and incur the £1 booking fee twice. Is this right? If it is added to the fare for each journey why not put it in the initial price so that we can see what we are actually paying, against other providers?

    1. Dear David,

      Thank you for your message. When you click “view deal” on a route in our search engine, you are then redirected to the bus providers webpage to complete the booking process and make the payment. Once here, you should be able to edit your order to include additional tickets in your order. If you have any further questions, please feel free to get in touch again.

      Best regards,
      Your CheckMyBus Support

    1. Dear Sandra,

      Thank you for your message. There are buses that travel directly from Birmingham to Telford via National Express. You can book your ticket online by searching for the route in our search engine, and then click view deal to be redirected to the provider’s page to complete the payment. Should you have any further questions, feel free to get in touch again.

      Best regards,
      Your CheckMyBus Support

  7. My my husband and I want to try and catch a bus from Sligo in Ireland to Belfast, UK on the 15/08/2017.
    We do not know if this is possible or is there any other method of transport available.
    Your assistance is very much appreciated. If a bus is available how do we pre-book and how do we find the bus station in Sligo.

    Kind regards

    Christine Francisco

    1. Dear Christine,

      Thank you for your enquiry.

      Unfortunately, there are no available bus operators serving the route from Sligo, Ireland to Belfast, UK. If a user activates our search and there are no buses available we display alternative modes of transport like train or plane. In your case there there is, however, still no connection available. Maybe you should extent your search radius and search for different surrounding departure cities.

      If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch again.

      Best regards,

      Your CheckMyBus Support

  8. I will be arriving at Heathrow at 645pm and would like to take a bus to Cardiff the same evening. National Express buses depart Heathrow for Cardiff at 725pm, 840pm, 940pm and 1150pm. I the event I were to book online the 840pm trip but my flight is somewhat delayed, can I get on the next bus departing for Cardiff without having to buy a new ticket or incurring a penalty? thank you.

  9. Dear Sir,
    Ref. above quote, repeated below.
    “On top of that, National Express and megabus UK provide free journey within Scotland for Scottish Entitlement Card holders (over 60s and disabled passengers).”
    Please confirm the Scottish Entitlement card is valid for travel foc between Glasgow and Carlisle( and vice versa).
    if so , how does one book on the web-site.

    1. Dear Mr C.,

      National Express participates in the concessionary bus and coach scheme within Scotland and every route should be available to you to book for free. We’d recomment contacting the provider directly in order to reserve your ticket. You can either phone National Express 0871 781 8181 or use the contact form on their website.

      If you have further questions, please feel free to get in touch again.

      Best regards,
      Your CheckMyBus-Support

  10. Is it possible to travel from Oxford Using a small wheelchair(small Mobility scooter by public transport to Tunbridge Wells. – please

    1. Dear Thomas,

      unfortunately there is no direct bus connection from Oxford to Tunbridge Wells. If you’re willing to change buses in London, however, you can still reach your destination. The journey from Oxford to London can either be booked via megabus or via National Express’s partner Oxford Bus Company. The next part of your journey from London to Tunbridge Wells is operated by National Express.

      All of these companies allow you to take a small wheelchair but it’s necessary to contact the respective company in advance and to inform them that you want to take your wheelchair. This way they can ensure that there’s enough space in the boot.

      Best regards,
      Your CheckMyBus-Support

  11. I am sooooo confused with your site. I am trying to determine if I can take a bus from Gatwick Airport to (Westcliff on Sea) South end on sea. I put in all the relevant info the site asks for & a schedule pops up for places I’ve never heard of, i.e. Dartford Bus Station, when at the very top of the page in big bold letters it says Gatwick Airport to South end on sea.
    Is it or is it NOT possible to get from Gatwick Airport to South end on sea or Westcliff on Sea, depart from airport approx. 16:30, Thurs., Nov. 10, depart from south end on Mon., Nov. 14, 11:30. IF this is in fact possible, how long does it take, where at Gatwick does one get this bus & how much does it cost. Thank you.

    1. Dear Lynn,

      Sorry you encountered problems using our site. Whenever our search engine can’t find a connection between the actual point of departure and arrival, we automatically look for stations in the surrounding area, which is why places like Dartfort etc. showed up as alternatives. You can always reset the radius to 5 kilometres in order to get a more precise result.

      There actually is one daily connection from Gatwick to Southend-on-Sea, however, it is not a direct one but you’ll have to change buses in London. The point of departure should suit your schedule perfectly as the bus leaves Gatwick at 16:30. However, on the way back, the bus already leaves at 7:35. You can use our search to look for more connections from Southend-on-Sea and the surrounding area to London. From London, there’s many daily connections to Gatwick airport.

      If you have any further questions, we’re happy to help.

      Best regards,
      Your CheckMyBus-Support

    1. Dear Gail,

      unfortunately – as of now – none of our bus partners operates a connection between Fort William and Glencoe. However, we recommend checking back in a few months since the bus companies keep adding routes and we keep adding bus providers.

      Also, please note that some bus companies like megabus only allow customers to book a journey about 60 to 90 days in advance.

      Best regards,
      Your CheckMyBus-Support

    1. Dear Louise,

      National Express offers four daily connections from Edinburgh to Oxford. Prices for your date of choice currently start from £40.50 for an overnight connection which gets into Oxford on 16 October. If you prefer travelling during the day, you can get the coach from Edinburgh central bus station at 6:45. The coach arrives in Oxford at 17:10.

      You can find all available connections with our bus search. Simply enter your point of departure and arrival as well as the date of travel and pick a good connections. Once you click on “View Deal” you will be redirected to the provider’s page where you can complete the booking.

      Best regards,
      Your CheckMyBus-Support

  12. Hello,
    we are planning to visit the city of Derby through the city of Manchester Airport on July . Pls advice us for using the bus of your company from airport?
    Thank you
    Best Regards

    1. Hey SPRYROS,

      The coach company National Express offers nine buses per day going from Manchester Airport to Derby. However, all of these connections require changing the bus at Manchester Central Coach Station. You can use our search engine to look for appropriate departure times and to check the current prices. Simply enter your desired point of departure and arrival and you will get the corresponding results from which you can pick your bus.

      Best regards,
      Your CheckMyBus-Support

    1. Hey Laura,

      this depends on the coach company you are choosing to travel with. However, there are only very few providers – such as the German company Berlin Linien Bus, for instance – which allow pets on board. Most bigger companies only provide space for assistance dogs.

      Best regards,
      Your CheckMyBus-Support

  13. Looking for a bus going direct to Perth from Inverness on the 13th Jan 2016. No clear from info if the direct Inverness Edinburgh bus stops there

    1. Dear Helen,

      Concerning Wednesday, 13th Jan 2016 there are currently 11 trips offered by megabus. The connection is about a direct connection to Perth, departing from Inverness. The most convenient ticket is amounting to £4.85. By checking the bus connection on our website you’ll be able to compare all the trips, deciding on your own, which departure time to choose.

      Best regards,
      Your CheckMyBus-Support

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