Megabus (United Kingdom)

Megabus (United Kingdom)
Megabus (United Kingdom)
A Megabus double-decker makes a stop in Manchester on the M11 to Glasgow.
Slogan Low cost inter city bus travel
Parent Stagecoach
Founded 2003
Headquarters 10 Dunkeld Road, Perth, PH1 5TW Scotland[1]
Locale  UK
Service area Great Britain
Service type Intercity coach service
Routes 19
Destinations 41 (jurisdictions served)
Hubs London (Victoria Coach Station), Perth (Broxden Park & Ride), Glasgow (Bus Station) Aberdeen (Union Square)
Operator Stagecoach Group
(some Scotland routes operated through Scottish Citylink)
Chief executive Brian Souter
Web site Megabus

Megabus (also sometimes branded as and Megabusplus) is a UK coach service operated by Stagecoach Group. It started in 2003 and as of February 2010 operated 19 UK coach routes serving 41 destinations in England, Scotland and Wales. Some services link with Megatrain services which are also operated by Stagecoach. Advertised fares start at £1, with a 50p booking fee using a yield management model.



Megabus (branded as on its vehicles), provides an intercity scheduled coach service in the United Kingdom operated by Stagecoach Group which started in 2003 and operates 19 UK coach routes serving 41 destinations in England, Scotland and Wales.


Megabusplus is a coach and train combination with coaches operating feeder services from locations in Yorkshire and East Midlands Parkway railway station where passengers transfer to an East Midlands Trains service to London St Pancras.[2] Unlike Megatrain, this service is available daily. When engineering works disrupt rail services between London and East Midlands Parkway, the service is run using direct coaches from London Victoria. Feeder services:-

  • Burnley - Colne - Nelson - Skipton - Keighley - Huddersfield - Halifax - Bradford - East Midlands Parkway
  • Harrogate - York - Castleford - East Midlands Parkway
  • Hull - Scunthorpe - East Midlands Parkway

Tickets and fares

Advertised fares start at £1, with a 50p booking fee using a yield management model with the lowest fares being offered to people who book early and on less popular journeys; typically it is only the first six seats are sold at £1.[citation needed] Services often use out-of-town coachway interchanges in order to reduce delays caused by serving interchanges in urban centres for intermediate stops.

Tickets must be purchased in advance via the website or by telephone when passengers are given a reservation number which they show the driver when they board. The only services in which tickets can be bought on the vehicle are on a small number of Scottish services. Tickets can be paid for in pounds sterling or euro.


The first trial Megabus route was launched in August 2003 and the national network in March 2004.[3]

In July 2004, the company acquired the Motorvator coach service brand, operating between Glasgow and Edinburgh.[4]

In January 2005, the company announced that the service frequency of the X5 service between Oxford and Cambridge would double to every 30 minutes. A fleet of 15 refurbished vehicles were introduced at a cost of £1m. The company reported that passenger numbers had been growing at 7-8% per year and that 350,000 passengers were now using the service each year.[5] The megabus network had carried 1.3 million passengers since it started. The company announced that it had placed an order for 25 new high-specification double-decker Neoplan coaches, each capable of carrying 95 passengers.[6]

In June 2005, the company launched new routes serving Coventry and Stoke-on-Trent.[7]

In August 2005, the company introduced a fleet of new double-decker coaches with air-conditioning, toilets and more comfortable seats at a cost of £6.5 million and announced that it had carried 2.6m passengers since startup.[3]

In September 2005, ComfortDelGro (the owners of Scottish Citylink) and Stagecoach announced that they were entering into a joint venture to provide express coach services within Scotland[8] effectively ending the competition on Megabus routes within Scotland. Under the terms of the agreement, Stagecoach would acquire 35% of Citylink, in return for certain rights to the Megabus brand in Scotland.[4] Despite being a minority shareholder, Stagecoach has assumed operational control of Scottish Citylink, with Stagecoach staff taking management roles within the company and Stagecoach subsidiaries replacing subcontract operators on many routes. Some Citylink services have also been sacrificed in favour of the Megabus brand, where operations overlapped.[citation needed]

On 14 November 2005, the Megabus concept was extended to certain rail services, with the introduction of Megatrain between London Waterloo and Southampton Central, and London and Portsmouth and Southsea/Portsmouth Harbour, using a dedicated carriage on selected South West Trains services. This concept has since been extended to the Virgin Trains and East Midlands Trains franchises controlled by Stagecoach, with the latter replacing a Megabus line.

In March 2006, Megabus launched its first Megabus (North America) service.[9] The Competition Commission started an investigation into the merger of Megabus and Scottish Citylink.

In October 2006, the company placed an order for 45 new 63-seat double-decker coaches which have a toilet and a lift for wheelchair passengers. The cost of the new vehicles was given as £11m. The chief-executive, Brian Souter claimed that “Bus and coach travel is the greener way to travel and far less damaging than airlines" highlighting the CO2 emissions for a London-Glasgow trip by megabus were 7 times lower than by easyjet.[10]

In October 2006, the competition commission published its report on the merger with Scottish Citylink. They concluded the merger was anti-competitive on the "Saltire Cross" routes in Scotland and required the joint venture to sell certain services.[11] Various services were subsequently sold to Parks of Hamilton, an unaffiliated operator, in early 2008.[12]

The logo used for Megabusplus services.

During March 2009, a joint venture between Megabus and the Megatrain described above began under the name of Megabusplus. This involved connections from London to Yorkshire and vice versa by train travel from London to East Midlands Parkway train station and then onward bus travel.[citation needed]

In May 2009, the company started services with the University of the West of England in Bristol from their Frenchay Campus.[13]

in May 2011 Megabus expands UK budget travel network and offers Irish Ferries Boat Travel to and from Rosslare.

•A new twice daily service between Norwich and Thetford to London

•Improved frequency between Plymouth, Exeter and London

•A new service between London and Swansea and Pembroke Dock with through ferry fares to Rosslare in Ireland.

•A through ferry fare to Rosslare in Ireland also available from Bristol, Newport and Cardiff.

•New once daily connections from Carmarthen to Pembroke Dock (& Rosslare), Swansea, Cardiff, Newport, Bristol and London.

Additional journeys from Perth and Edinburgh to Newcastle, Sheffield and London

•An additional daily journey from Aberdeen to London

•A new link between Edinburgh and Leeds

Stop locations

Megabus serves many towns and cities. For service efficiency they sometimes use coachway interchanges rather than urban bus stations (for example using Meadowhall Interchange on the edge of the city rather than the more central Sheffield Interchange).

City/town Stop location Routes at these stops
Aberdeen Union Square Bus Station, stands 1 and 2
Aviemore Railway station
Birmingham The Priory Queensway, Stop PC
Bournemouth Bournemouth University / The Triangle (Bournemouth town centre)
Bristol Colston Hall
Cambridge Parkside, Bay 16 X5
Cardiff Kingsway (Cardiff Castle) opposite Hilton Hotel M7; M35
Castleford Xscape/Junction 32 Retail Outlet
Cheltenham Promenade M14
Coventry Cannon Park (Shopping Centre) M1
Cwmbran Cwmbran Shopping Centre
Darlington Scotch Corner Services
Dundee Seagate Bus Station
Edinburgh St. Andrew Square Bus Station
Edinburgh Airport Jubilee Road
Exeter Paris Street Coach & Bus Station
Glasgow Buchanan Bus Station
Gloucester Station Road M14
Halifax Bus Station
Huddersfield Bus Station
Inverness Farraline Park Bus Station M90
Kinross Park & Ride (Station Road)
Liverpool Brownlow Hill, by the 051 Club
Leeds Kirkgate, stop K14 M12, M34
London Victoria Coach Station, gates 18-20 All routes serving London
Manchester Shudehill Interchange
Middlesbrough Bus Station
Newcastle Neville Street, stop NC96
Newquay Manor Road Bus Station M6
Norwich Norwich Bus Station, Surrey Street
Oxford Gloucester Green or Water Eaton Park and Ride X5
Penzance Bus Station M6
Pitlochry Bank of Scotland branch
Perth Broxden Services (Park & Ride)
(some trips use the Perth Bus Station)
Portsmouth Continental Ferry Port
The Hard Interchange, Stop A
Preston Bus Station
Reading Reading Coachway M14
Redruth Railway Station
Ringwood Meeting House Lane
Rugby Bus Depot
Scunthorpe Tesco, Doncaster Road
Sheffield Meadowhall Interchange, stop A2 M12, M20
Southampton Town Quay
Solent University, East Park Terrace
University of Southampton, Burgess Road
Sunderland Park Lane Interchange
Swindon Stratton Park M14
Winchester St Catherine's Park and Ride
York Leeman road (Near York railway station, Royal Mail Collection Depot & Esplanade car park)

List of routes

All services are operated by Stagecoach Group subsidiaries unless otherwise noted. Accessible services are noted in the table. Services for special events (such as the British Grand Prix) are not included.

Route Handicapped/disabled access Serves Started General road route Notes
M1 Wolverhampton - Birmingham - Birmingham International Airport - Coventry - London 1 March 2004 M6 motorway, M1 motorway Wolverhampton and Coventry added from 5 December 2005, when M16 line was folded into this line. Wolverhampton service withdrawn on 14 May 2006. Birmingham International Airport added May 2010.
M2 Bournemouth - Ringwood - Winchester - London 1 March 2004 M3 motorway Winchester added from 18 April 2005. Change of vehicle required at Winchester for Oxford, Coventry, Birmingham Airport, and Birmingham. Stops in Ringwood for travel to and from Winchester and London only. Alternative weekday and Saturday travel (excluding national holidays) travel available on South West Trains via Megatrain.
M4 Portsmouth - Southampton - Winchester 1 March 2004 Express service from Portsmouth to London until 27 March 2006, when service truncated to Winchester. Change of vehicles to M2 required in Winchester for service to London. Connections also available to the M34.
Alternative express service from Portsmouth to London available weekdays & Saturdays (excluding national holidays) on South West Trains via Megatrain.
X5 Yes check.svg Oxford - Cambridge 31 January 2005 A34 to Bicester, A4421/A421 to St Neots, A428 to Cambridge Service operated by Stagecoach East as a Stagecoach Express service, but seats can be booked through Megabus.
M6 Penzance - Camborne - Redruth - Newquay - Plymouth - Paignton - Torquay - Exeter - London 1 March 2004 M5 north then M4 east to London Extension from Newquay to Penzance added during 2008. Paignton, Torquay, Camborne and Redruth added May 2010
M7 Cardiff - Newport - UWE - London 1 March 2004 M4 motorway Swansea served until 12 June 2005. UWE added 2008
M8 X mark.svg Dundee - Perth - Glasgow Dundee - Glasgow service as the M8 is a joint service with Scottish Citylink from 16 February 2006
M9 Yes check.svg Aberdeen- Dundee - Perth - Glasgow A90
M10 Cwmbran - Newport - Bristol - London 1 March 2004 M4 motorway, A4 Cwmbran added from 27 March 2006.
M11 Yes check.svg Aberdeen - Dundee - Perth - Glasgow - Preston - Manchester or Birmingham - London 28 June 2004 M6 motorway, M1 motorway to Staples Corner, A41, Park Lane Change in Perth for:
  • North East, Yorkshire, and East Midlands on the M20.
  • Trips via Birmingham offer travel to Manchester on the X61 via a transfer in Preston.
M12 Newcastle - Sunderland - Middlesbrough - Leeds - Sheffield - London 28 June 2004 A1, M1 motorway, A41 Addition dates:
  • Newcastle: 10 October 2004
  • Scotch Corner: 10 October 2004
  • Tibshelf services: 10 October 2004
  • Middlesbrough: 20 May 2007
  • Sunderland: 20 May 2007

Withdrawal dates:

  • Chesterfield: 17 April 2005
  • Scotch Corner: 17 April 2005
    (now on the M20)
  • Tibhself services: 26 March 2006
Stops in Sunderland for service to and from southern points only. In addition, alternate service between Sheffield and London is available weekdays and Saturdays (excluding national holidays) on East Midlands Trains via Megatrain.

This route has had several direct and shuttle services from time to time. It is currently one continuous trip. Tibshelf services was used as a transfer station for service for two shuttles:
  • To and from Sheffield and Chesterfield from 10 October 2004 until 17 April 2005, when Chesterfield service was withdrawn.
  • To and from 18 April 2005 to 26 March 2006, a shuttle for service to and from Newcastle and Scotch Corner. After Scotch Corner was added to the M20 line, Megabus stopped serving Tibshelf services.
M14 Cheltenham - Gloucester - Swindon - Reading - London 5 September 2004 M4 motorway Swindon added from 6 December 2004. Reading added from 20 November 2006. Stops in Gloucester for travel to and from southern points only.
M15 Liverpool - Chester - Birmingham International Airport - London 10 October 2004 Chester added from 13 June 2005, Birmingham International Airport added from may 2010
M17 Edinburgh - Galashiels - Hawick - Preston - Manchester - London 2010 Once a day service introduce in 2010.
M20 Yes check.svg Inverness - Perth - Kinross - Ferrytoll - Edinburgh - Newcastle - Scotch Corner - Sheffield - London 27 March 2006 Park Lane, A41 to Staples Corner, M1 motorway to junction 34 At busy times, the M20 is split into two services, the main service runs directly between London and Edinburgh, with the 'Service Bus' running to the stops in between as required.
  • NOTE 1: Customers from north of Ferrytoll can only travel as far as Sheffield. Inverness customers must transfer to the M9 (becomes the M11) in Perth to access London. Kinross customers should use the Ferrytoll stop to access London.
  • NOTE 2: Customers from London can only travel as far as Kinross. Use the M11 (becomes the M9 in Glasgow) to travel between Perth and London.
M34 Bradford-Leeds - Manchester - Birmingham - Coventry - Oxford - Winchester -Southampton - Portsmouth 28 April 2008 Northbound service under M4 to Winchester. Change of vehicle required in Winchester for Ringwood and Bournemouth. Leeds added on 19 May 2008. Bradford added to the route during 2010.
M35 Cardiff - Cwmbran - Birmingham - Coventry - Manchester - Leeds - Middlesbrough - Sunderland - Newcastle October 2009
M36 Paignton - Exeter - Bristol - Birmingham - Birmingham International Airport - Manchester - Leeds - Newcastle May 2010
M90 Yes check.svg Inverness - Perth - Edinburgh Extended to Inverness from 23 August 2004.
900 Yes check.svg Edinburgh - Glasgow Joint service with Citylink. Numbered M8 until 5 September 2004, and a joint service with Motorvator until 20 November 2005, when the Motorvator brand was withdrawn.
Oxford Tube Yes check.svg Oxford - London 4 August 2003 Service operated by Stagecoach Oxford as Oxford Tube, but seats can be booked through Megabus. Formerly the M40 until 14 November 2004.


The Megabus fleet is normally easily identifiable, with the name on the front and sides in yellow against a blue base and the Megabus logo on the left side of the coach (facing forward) and rear of the bus.[citation needed]

Currently, accessible coaches are operated on Megabus routes between England and Wales, the M9 and M90 in Scotland, and the M20.[citation needed]

Vehicles are owned and maintained by various Stagecoach subsidiaries that lie within the route network. When branded vehicles are unavailable then other Stagecoach service vehicles can be used or coaches sub hired in with the case of Coaches from Coachmasters of Rochdale run on Manchester routes,Stagecoach service vehicles can rang from standard double deck types such as the Volvo Olympian and Dennis Trident, through to Volvo B10M single deckers or even Dennis Dart SLF midibuses. Red Stagecoach London double deckers from Leyton were often seconded to Megabus motorway work until the sale of that company to Macquarie Bank.[citation needed]But when this is the case theres no on board tolets so rest stops are given on route.

Fleet history

Jonckheere-bodied articulated coach in Manchester en route from London to Glasgow.

Initially, most of the routes used buses designed for short local public transport journeys that had neither toilet nor luggage space, and each passenger was allowed only one bag.

Leyland Olympian 94-seat double decker tri-axle buses with toilets were used later on. These had been built for service with Hong Kong Citybus in 1990/1991, which Stagecoach purchased in 1999, but sold again in 2003. The vehicles were retained however, and were used on Megabus routes.[citation needed] A number of mid-life Volvo B10M coaches temporarily operated various routes, mainly in the South of England, until sufficient Olympians had been prepared for service. Gradually, most of these coaches were taken off Megabus work and used by Stagecoach elsewhere. However, the type made a reappearance at the end of 2005, when they became the mainstays on the services from London to Birmingham and London to Nottingham/Chesterfield.[citation needed]

Newer 'high-frills' bendy coaches, with both toilets and reclining seats, were used for the longer journeys between London and Scotland, but these were replaced early in 2005.[citation needed]

In Summer 2004, Stagecoach received a batch of Neoplan Skyliners for use on the Oxford Tube service. This displaced a number of 68 seat five-year-old double-deck Jonckheere-bodied MAN coaches, some of which went into service with Megabus on cross-border services and on services wholly within Scotland.

Stagecoach ordered another batch of Neoplan Skyliners in 2004, which went into service on Megabus in early 2005. These replaced the articulated coaches used on services between London and Scotland, and also Olympians on some of the other longer distance services.

In October 2006, Stagecoach announced an £11m order for 45 Volvo B12BT 15-metre coaches with Plaxton Panther coachwork for their UK Megabus operation. The tri-axle coaches were the longest rigid vehicles in the UK on their introduction to service in February 2007, and the first of their kind to be built in Britain. The 63-seat vehicles were fully accessible, with wheelchair lifts fitted.

In September 2009, Megabus took delivery of 4 brand new Van Hool Astromega double deck coaches which are currently used between London and Scotland, via Manchester [14]

See also


  1. ^ Megabus UK HQ
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b " offers 100,000 free seats to boost visitors to London after terrorist bombings". Megabus. 
  4. ^ a b "Completed joint venture between Stagecoach Bus Holdings Limited and Braddell plc in relation to, Motorvator and Scottish Citylink brands". Retrieved 2010-02-17. 
  5. ^ "Fares from £1 as Stagecoach doubles Oxford to Cambridge express coach links". megabus. Retrieved 2010-02-17. 
  6. ^ " goes upmarket with new luxury coaches for Scotland". Megabus. Retrieved 2010-02-17. 
  7. ^ " announces new routes to Stoke-on-Trent and Coventry". Megabus. Retrieved 2010-02-17. 
  8. ^ " Scotland / Motorvator/ Scottish Citylink joint venture". Megabus. Retrieved 2010-02-17. 
  9. ^ " arrives in North America - 22 March 2006". Megabus. Retrieved 2010-02-17. 
  10. ^ "£11million invested in new coach fleet". Megabus. Retrieved 2010-02-17. 
  11. ^ "Stagecoach/Scottish Citylink inquiry". Competition commission. Retrieved 2010-02-17. 
  12. ^ "(CC) Scottish Citylink completes sale of services". 2008-02-06. Retrieved 2008-07-15. 
  13. ^ " introduce University of West England in Bristol to their network". megabus. Retrieved 2010-02-17. 
  14. ^

External links

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