National Express announced record demand for its coaches this Christmas and has added tens of thousands of extra seats to services.
Bookings are up nearly 40% year-on-year on Christmas Day and 5% year-on-year on Boxing Day while the rail network shuts down – a new record high.
On Christmas Eve coach bookings are up by more than 19% year-on-year as engineering works on the West Coast Main Line commence.
In the week that Christmas falls (December 22-28), December 27 is the most popular day to travel by coach as people return home after visiting friends and family.
To cope with additional demand for its services, National Express has added 45,000 extra seats over the Christmas period, including 29,000 additional seats during the Christmas week, and 5,000 extra seats on routes where the West Coast Main Line is disrupted.
The operator said it will be ready to add more seats as required in the coming weeks depending on demand.
Overall, National Express said it has seen bookings increase by 7% year-on-year during the Christmas period.
The top 10 most popular coach destinations over the festive period are:
- Heathrow Airport;
- Stansted Airport;
- Gatwick Airport;
- Luton Airport;
- Cardiff; and
National Express will this year double the number of services running on Christmas Day – with coaches running to 30 key towns and cities. On Boxing Day meanwhile, National Express will run an only slightly reduced service while the train services remain suspended.
National Express UK Coach Managing Director, Tom Stables, said: “With rail engineering works bringing the threat of delays and replacement buses this Christmas, it’s no wonder we’ve seen record bookings on our coach network.
“This year we’ve doubled the number of services running on Christmas Day, have added tens of thousands of extra seats on our services, and stand ready to add more seats if required, to make sure there is affordable travel available for as many as possible this Christmas.”