Here, you will find the most frequently asked questions for travelling in the UK by bus.
The coach is not only the cheapest way to travel in the United Kingdom, but also the most eco-frinedly. Thanks to coach companies, such as National Express, FlixBus and megabus, bus travel is much easier than before. Apart from the low price tickets, traveling by bus offers you advantages of taking extra luggage compared to air or rail, free and fast Wi-Fi on board as well as XXL legroom with reclining seats. Simply enjoy a cheap and comfortable bus trip!
In addition, this extensive coverage allowed us to have very cheap ticket prices and a large number of destinations to visit by bus.
Likewise, buses have many services and other advantages compared to other alternative means such as train, plane or shared car.
However, there are many travellers who still have certain doubts when traveling by intercity bus.
Here you will have all the information regarding your trip: from buying tickets, cancellations to travelling with pets on the coach.
Simply click on the topic that interests you to find the answer to your questions:
Buying, changing and cancelling tickets
As you know there are many fewer luggage limitations for buses. Many of them also make the trip more bearable thanks to the Wi-Fi, the reclining seats or the extra space.
But undoubtedly many of the frequently asked questions from CheckMyBus travellers are related to tickets, travel conditions and discounts on buses in the UK.
1. How do I find coach tickets with CheckMyBus?
CheckMyBus is an online bus search engine that shows you the best deals for your trip with a single click.
We also show you the departure and arrival station as well as the route and changes (if any). We even show you a map where you can easily locate your intercity bus.
Once you have found the best deal for your trip, just click on «View Deal.
From there you will be redirected directly to our partner’s page where you will buy your tickets.
*Another of the frequently asked questions from travellers is whether to book the ticket long in advance.
2. Do I buy the coach ticket directly on CheckMyBus?
No. CheckMyBus is just a comparator where we will show you the best deals and bus routes.
3. Is it cheaper to buy coach tickets 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.
Therefore, we recommend you visit our company pages where you can find the online payment methods accepted by each company.
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 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.
Luggage, sports equipment and pets
1. How much luggage can I take on the 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?
Bringing bicycles, surfboards and skis typically costs an added fee.
Unfortunately, due to a limited capacity of a coach, UK intercity 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 bring my pet on the intercity bus?
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.
4. What happens if my luggage is lost or damaged?
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 intercity 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.
*Important* Do not forget to have your ticket at hand or the billing receipt, if applicable.
Departures and Delays
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.
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 intercity 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.
Children and Adolescents
1. Is my child allowed to take the coach on their 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.
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 intercity 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.
4. Can I take a pushchair on a coach?
5. Is there a discount for students?
Intercity 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.
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 wheelchair 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.
Onboard Features, Service and Comfort
1. 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.
Are you worried that your mobile phone will run out of battery before you reach your destination? Major UK intercity 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.
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, 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 intercity bus providers in the UK have air-conditioning facilities on board, guaranteeing for an invariably cosy temperature on board during your trip.
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.
We sincerely hope you found the answers to all of your questions and wish you a great coach trip within UK or beyond!