Coaches take up the slack on trans-Pennine route as rail fails

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National Express says it has seen a huge surge in passengers travelling on its trans-Pennine coach network following a boost to the number of services in May this year. In the last four months, the operator says it has seen a 49% increase in passengers using its services linking Leeds, Manchester, Manchester Airport and Liverpool. Between January and August 2023 passenger numbers are up 69%, compared to the same period in 2022, it reports.

In May, National Express increased the number of services between Leeds, Manchester and Liverpool from eight to 13 a day to meet demand. The company also invested in increasing its fleet, adding three new vehicles to serve the routes.

Earlier in the year, the company also announced an uplift in coach services between Manchester and London, with up to 17 services a day.

The company says that in 2022 over 16 million people used the National Express coach network, up from over 10 million from 2021, boosted by ongoing rail strikes and rising costs for motorists, with 12% of rail users reported switching to coach travel for better value and reliability of service.

Commercial Director at National Express John Boughton said: “We’ve all seen the challenges that rail in the North West is having. People deserve a reliable and affordable public transport system so we are stepping up to meet demand. 2023 has been hugely busy across our trans-Pennine services so far and customers are switching to our coaches because it’s reliable, great value and you’re guaranteed a seat.

With significant investment in our new and enhanced services, we are making it even easier for our customers to enjoy a relaxing, comfortable journey with us and we look forward to welcoming even more customers on board.