UK Low Cost Buses & Coaches
for independent travellers looking for for cheap, no-frills or
low cost inter-city transport around the United Kingdom
Travelling around the UK by bus or by coach is, thanks to the ineptitude of the private train companies, no longer the least comfortable or most time inefficient option. It is indisputably, however, the cheapest way to get about, especially if you are travelling alone on a fairly slim budget.
Where once paying a little extra for the train guaranteed you more leg room, a shorter journey time and - if you were really lucky - a complementary cup of tea or coffee, trains in Britain now all too often arrive late, face delays en route, charge sky-high prices and you can forget the extra leg room, because more often than not it's standing room only.
By contrast, buses and coaches give you a guaranteed seat and while the stated journey time may be longer than what the train promises, you can generally rest assured that the arrival time on the bus timetable approximates pretty closely to when you will actually arrive, whereas with the train, it's anyone's guess.
No-frills travel hits the bus lane
Catching a coach or a bus has always been one of the cheapest ways to get around the UK but the recent emergence of bus services with ultra-low-cost fares has made travelling to the airport or to another city cheaper than ever.
In only a few months the introduction of budget airline style yield management to bus fares by web-only companies such as NX FunFare, easyBus and megabus has radically lowered the cost of domestic UK travel.
The UK Guide to Low Cost Intercity Buses has information and maps to assist you in travelling between most major UK cities for - if you book early enough - just £1.
Getting to the airport: low cost
Given the boom in low cost flights, it's surprising that it didn't happen sooner. In fact the UK's first dedicated low cost airport shuttle, TerraVision is an Italian operation which only started running to Stansted Airport in early 2004, undercutting NX Airport's fare to provide the cheapest bus service from central London.
For more updates on TerraVision, the new low cost easyBus service to Luton Airport, NX Airport's £6 singles from Central London to Gatwick, and information on airport shuttle services across the UK check out the UK Guide to Low Cost Airport Shuttles.
and hop-on, hop-off buses
If you're planning to do a lot of travelling and your routes don't coincide with what low cost bus services like NX FunFare have on offer, it's worth considering a travel pass which allows unlimited travel over a fixed period.
Alternatively a few of the Backpacker Bus companies offer jump-on, jump-off intineraries which are less flexible and more expensive but sometimes give you access to more remote places beyond the limits of the travel pass networks.
The UK Guide to Low Cost Backpacker Buses outlines what's on offer with respect to travel passes and buses with itineraries for independent travellers in the UK.