National Express coaches were brought out of hibernation on Wednesday 1 July to resume service, following an 86 day break.
The last coach arrived in Birmingham from London at 2355hrs on 5 April before a three-month suspension of all National Express scheduled services in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The operator will now resume services at a reduced frequency on its national network of intercity routes from Wednesday 1 July, with new coronavirus secure measures in place to allow customers to travel in confidence.
Chris Hardy, Managing Director of National Express UK Coach, explained: “It’s great to have around 500 drivers back behind the wheel. All of our teams have been working hard to get us ready to safely welcome customers back onboard, implementing significant changes to protect everyone’s health and wellbeing.
“We’re happy to be back on the road and playing our part in getting the country safely moving again by providing a safe option for those who have no alternative to public transport.”
The first service was scheduled to depart from Poole at 0505hrs on Wednesday 1 July to arrive at London’s Victoria coach station at 0850hrs. The new timetable focuses on major towns and cities, connecting over 180 locations across the UK and equivalent to around a quarter of the mileage of the pre-COVID national intercity network. The network scope and frequency will be increased in response to demand.
Chris continued: “For anyone unsure about committing to travel plans at the moment, we’ve introduced the option to amend the date, time and journey origin and destination free of charge if circumstances change.
“We know there’s a lot of uncertainty at the moment but want to reassure customers old and new that they can travel in confidence with National Express. We’re ready when they are.”