Stagecoach’s to launch new European network

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Company is establishing new dedicated base near Brussels, with space for six vehicles is set to launch a new network of services in the Benelux region from next month and open a dedicated base in Belgium. The plans have come about after significant growth in the popularity of low-cost inter-city coach travel in Europe.

The company has announced plans for new low-cost coach services which will link Brussels with Luxembourg and Rotterdam from October 6, claiming to offer fares from €1., part of Stagecoach Group, is also creating 20 jobs with the establishment of a base near Brussels. The depot, located at Sint-Pieters-Leeuw in the province of Flemish Brabant, will house a fleet of six vehicles and the operation will be headed by a general manager. The base will be located at an existing depot owned by Belgian coach company Bell Tours.

The new network of routes will see daily services between Brussels and Rotterdam. In addition, plans to operate services between Brussels and Luxembourg and Brussels and Lille.

The new services will operate on the following frequencies:

– Brussels to Luxembourg – one service per day in each direction (journey time three hours)

– Brussels to Lille – three services per day in each direction (journey time under two hours)

– Brussels to Rotterdam – one service per day in each direction (journey time two hours 20 minutes)

In addition to serving Luxembourg for the first time, the company also plans to increase the frequency on some of its existing Europe services from the same date. This will include more services a day between Brussels and other key European cities.

There will be five return journeys per day between Brussels and Paris; four return journeys between Brussels and Amsterdam; and four daily return journeys between Brussels and Cologne.

The new timetable also means that Antwerp will now have a link to Cologne for the first time, operating one service a day in each direction.

Elsewhere in Europe new services are planned between Paris and Cologne and between Amsterdam and Cologne, and an increased frequency between Amsterdam and Lille.

The coaches are equipped with air conditioning, a toilet and free WiFi. Stagecoach Group continues to invest in new vehicles for its European services. Last year, introduced a fleet of 10 new 72-seat coaches to operate on its network in Europe. uses bigger, higher capacity 72-seat coaches, rather than standard vehicles with around 50 seats. This allows the company to have a low cost per passenger, keep fares down and ensures the service is profitable.

A further six coaches – representing an investment of over €2m – are set to be introduced on the European network in Belgium from October 6. The 72-seat vehicles have all been manufactured by Belgium based coach builder Van Hool. Managing Director Elizabeth Esnouf said: “This will be our first base in mainland Europe and gives us scope to operate these new services, as well as increasing the frequency on a number of our existing routes to and from Brussels.

“We have been operating in Belgium for a couple of years and we are seeing an increasing number of people choosing coach travel for long journeys. We’re pleased to be able to offer even more travel options to people living and working in Belgium, and visitors to the country, and we look forward to attracting even more people on to our greener, smarter coach services.”