Friday, 23 February 2018

Megabus Drop a Megabomb on East Anglia

That sounds a bit drastic doesn't it but I'm convinced they have. Let me explain. Last year Megabus reduced their London - Norwich service by 25%. Monday - Thursday. The very useful early journey to London was scrapped, as was the equally useful 0930 return, and the late 2200 from London. In short they got rid of their most useful services. They also introduced a new stop at Stratford which added to journey times. However it was still good value.

But yesterday Megabus announced that from May 7th the M16 Norwich - London service is to be changed again. It will, from that date no longer serve Victoria Coach Station and will terminate and restart from Stratford. What???? Honestly???? Can you imagine if Greater Anglia suddenly announced that they weren't going to bother serving Liverpool St anymore, but would terminate at Stratford and customers could make their own way into Central London. Just think about the outcry for a moment.

This is what Megabus are shouting from the rooftops:

"Our Norwich to London service is changing! Instead of our final stop being London Victoria Coach Station, we’re now stopping at Stratford International. But the great news is you can now get to Central London even faster! And it’s all low cost – so heading into the heart of the capital has never been easier!"

Hang on a sec - get to Central London even faster/ How do we do that Megabus? 

"So want to know how quickly you can get to Central London? We’ve got the lowdown for you…"

 Looking forward to this - do tell us!

"You could be in St Pancras in 6 minutes when you’re catching the High Speed services from International Station. Or you can catch the Central Line from the regional station to Oxford Circus and be shopping up a storm in 20 minutes."

"Payments can be made quickly on both routes using contactless and Oyster. Or you can hop on the Central Line or red line to Londoners!"

Ahhh I see! Ok let's check the small print for any catches. No small print? What none? This calls for some research. Let's start with cost shall we?

Megabus proudly emblazon all over their coaches "fares from £1 + booking fee" and indeed currently on May7th there are some £1 fares available. But not on the first trip up to Stratford. That's now shot up to £6.55. You leave Norwich at 0630 and arrive at Stratford at 0900. Then you have to get into London. As Megabus state HS1 into St Pancras is the quickest way, although if you actually want Victoria it's of no use whatsoever as the walk from the HS1 terminus to the Underground network is enormous. Nevertheless it's quick, and if you have an Oyster card, as all people travelling from Norwich do, you can use it on HS1. However beware. Oyster cards have daily caps, which means you can travel as much as you like but won't ever have to pay more than just below the corresponding Travelcard fare. Except HS1 doesn't count as part of the cap, so the single fare of £5.90 will be added to anything else you use your Oyster card for. Either way that £6.55 has turned into £12.45 and you still have to get to Victoria, which will cost you £2.00 with an Oyster card on the tube or £4.00 without. So it could cost you £16.45 if you book today to get from Norwich to Victoria.

But of course if you want to go to Victoria you won't go that way if you know of the catches. you'll follow the other advice and jump on the "red line" - I have never, ever heard it called that before - and change onto the Victoria Line at Oxford Circus, humping your heavy suitcase. The Oyster fare is £2.90, cash £4.90. Oh hang on though, the Central Line goes absolutely nowhere near Stratford International Station so you'll need to get a Docklands train to Stratford regional station, up some stairs to the Central line platforms. But don't do that - stay on the DLR to West Ham, then switch to the District Line straight to Victoria - the journey shouldn't take more than an hour.

Then repeat on the way home. You have GOT to be kidding! This is how Megabus end their promotion..

"Fast and cost effective – what more could you ask for? Book your next trip now!" 

Regular readers will know I use Megabus a lot when going on long journeys. I have praised them to the skies, they have made it possible to get to places I could never have gone to otherwise. I travel up from Norwich to Victoria and CHANGE COACHES. I will travel back overnight from wherever I am then catch the first Norwich coach out of Victoria. I tell you this, Megabus - if you think I'm going to get to Victoria after a 10 hour journey, then have to muck about on buses, tubes and trains to connect with the Norwich coach, at significant additional expense you have another think coming, and I'm sure I'm not the only one thinking this. I assume this decision has been made because of the London congestion, and on that you have my sympathy, but to kick your customers off at Stratford without arranging ticket acceptance with other providers just smacks of not giving a damn about your customers and gives the impression you can't wait to get rid of the route altogether.

I urge Megabus to have a rethink on this as I cannot see any way these changes will increase patronage or improve the route and customer experience. It has certainly put me off using the service, and I will seek alternative ways to connect with coaches at Victoria, even if it means a white Levante.


  1. Stratford International seems to be an inaccurate description, as it is actually Stratford City Bus Station, near the main eastern entrance to Westfield. That is about halfway between the South Eastern (International) station, and the Central line platforms at Stratford (regional). DLR in both cases is further away.
    For a 0900 arrival at Stratford City, TfL's journey planner recommends Central Line to Oxford Circus, Vic to Victoria and a 12 minute walk to the coach station - total journey time 46 minutes.

    1. Currently the only stop in Stratford is the International Station. I have seen no publicity from Megabus to suggest the City Bus Station is to become the terminus.

      Secondly does your 46 minutes include disembarking from the coach, collecting luggage, gaining your bearings and the still considerable walk to the regional station? The walk and stairs involved from the London Overground platforms to either Central Line or DLR is bad enough, let alone from the CBS. I'm thinking old lady with suitcase - who are you thinking of?

    2. I was planning on using Megabus to visit Norwich in the summer. Seems I'll have to knock that idea on the head or use Nat Exp instead.

  2. They've scrapped the most "useful" services Monday - Thursday? For you perhaps. I doubt they would scrap the journeys which the majority of users find useful.

    Megabus were actually very close to pulling out of Norwich all together from May and it was only when a few well known people offered a half way house idea to stop in Stratford that this idea was accepted.

    Yes it's not ideal, but don't moan too much or you won't have it at all. Average fare of £6 to get to Victoria from Norwich was hardly covering costs.

    If you need to connect and want to get to Victoria, stop moaning and use the more expensive National Express.

    1. OK let's get one thing clear. I am a critic not a moaner. I have already indicated that I will use NatEx in the future - you must have been ignorant to the "white Levante" comment at the end of the post.

      Critics, be they theatre, tv, sporting or anything else give their personal views. They may mention what others seemed to think, but on the whole it is their views. I am no different. I praise when I think it's due, and Megabus have had far more praise than most in the past, and I criticise when I think it's due. I don't know what anyone else on the coach thinks or wants, but those I have used that no longer run have always been pretty well patronised.

      Is criticism moaning? If it is then you are moaning about me moaning so you're as guilty as I am. Difference is I put my name to my moans. Are you brave enough?

    2. Except to add that I think of my elderly Mum travelling and how she would cope if she wanted to change coaches at Victoria. It's not all about me, but if if I can get things changed in my favour then it should help everyone else too

  3. In my view it will be so useless they will either have to change it again so that it goes to Victoria or it will end up being axed. I cannot see it being of any use to anyone with it terminating at Stratford. The connections are not even convenient and who is going to use it if they need to connect with another coach at Victoria bus station

    It seems to another of these cases where it suits the bus company but they don't consider what their passengers want. This approach though is quite common in the industry. They seem to regard their passengers as a captive market and some maybe are but most are not an they will stop using the service.

  4. A more sensible approach would be to have a stop at Walthamstow that gives a rail link to Liverpool Street and a Victoria line link to Victoria and the bus station is next to the sail station

    1. Excellent. Having spoken to someone in the know it seems this might be an experiment to test the water, so to speak, for when Victoria Coach Station closes in a few years and there is no Central London coach hub. All well and good but I don't think it has been thought through.

    2. Having no Central hub for coaches will in my view result in them getting far fewer passengers as quite a few people want to change coaches. I cannot see many people wanting to be dropped off at random points and them lug suitcases around the Underground etc to try to get to their other coach.

      Who will want to travel to Stratford as well? It seems a very illogical destination.

    3. To be fair there is no central rail hub either - if you need to travel between London terminii you need to lug your case on the tube. HOWEVER it is free! Had Megabus and TfL worked together and said OK we'll terminate at Stratford but if you are connecting with another coach then transfer to Victoria will be free then it might have been received with a little more sympathy.

  5. Hi Steve you should use the 481 national express from Ipswich from April if you use the Galloways one you will get a brand new scania levante 3

    1. Thanks David I'll bear that in mind, but is entirely dependent on timings. Hope you are well, buddy.

  6. Emergency Rail Timetable Next Week

    If the predicted heavy snow turns up next week the East Anglia lines will operate to a special timetable with a number of lines closed and restricted services on many of the others. All service will cease by 10pm

    1. I can guarantee in 1918 everything would have been done to keep every line open, but 2018, a hundred years of so called progress later? Nah folks - you're on your own. Incredible.

  7. I think the issues are technology and man-power: steam locos are heavy and don't have delicate electronics, in the old days there were mechanical signalboxes every couple of miles and loads of gangers who could be called on to dig! (Mind you, I wouldn't want to be one of them!)

    1. Modern electronic signalling if properly designed should be almost a 100% reliable and weather should not affect. A lot of the problem appears to be the trackside signalling equipment and that tends to indicate poor design. Trackside equipment operate in a harsh environment and faces bump and vibration. Extremes of temperature and rain and dirt etc

  8. I was thinking more of the onboard equipment ...

  9. Stagecoach Kings Lynn

    Nothing much happing at present but that not really surprising. It will be a 45 day consultation which will finish about mid March. Then there will be a mad rush to try to get replacement services

    1. Seems I was a bit premature they have just deregistered several routes

      Kings Lynn and North Lynn given service number 902 / 2 effective from 29 April 2018.

      Kings Lynn and Wisbech given service number 946 / 46 / X46 effective from 29 April 2018.

      Kings Lynn and North Wootton given service number 903 / 3 effective from 29 April 2018.

      Kings Lynn and Pandora given service number 904 / 4 effective from 29 April 2018.

      Kings Lynn and Gaywood Park given service number 905 / 5 effective from 29 April 2018.

      Kings Lynn and Walpole St Peter given service number 55 / 55 effective from 29 April 2018.

      Kings Lynn and Fairstead given service number 901 / 1 effective from 29 April 2018.

      King's Lynn and Fakenham given service number X8B / X29 effective from 29 April 2018.

      King's Lynn and Fakenham given service number X29 / X29 effective from 26 March 2018. To amend Timetable.

      King's Lynn and Hardwick given service number 906 / 6 effective from 29 April 2018.

    2. More than several... I think it's all except the 505? Full list @

  10. Traffic lights to change for late buses in Swansea

    There is a danger it could increase congestion perhaps the better aspect is it gives comprehensive information about how the buses are running enabling timetables to be changed where the current ones are not really working

  11. Stagecoach have re-registered a few of the Kings Lynn services

    Kings Lynn To: Walpole St Peter 45

    Wisbech To: Wisbech 66

    Wisbech To: Benwick 56

    Sutton Bridge To: Spalding NG1

  12. Rail Delays to get a lot more expensive for the rail companies from Sunday

    A clause that meant operators could turn down requests for “consequential loss” – reasonable additional losses beyond the cost of a ticket - is set to be deleted from national travel terms and conditions.

    Passengers will now be told they are entitled to claim for additional losses under the Consumer Rights Act, which came into force in the rail industry on October 1 2016.

    This will mean the rail companies could be liable to pay any taxi fare or hotel bills your incured as well as the cost of missed flights

  13. Deal reached over Kings Lynn Bus services

    I would assume the information is provisional and could change

    Retained by Stagecoach

    King’s Lynn to Spalding 505 (half-hourly frequency from April 29)

    King’s Lynn to Walpole St Peter 55 (to be renumbered 45)

    Wisbech to Long Sutton 50

    Wisbech to Manea 56Wisbech-Walsoken Circular 66

    Transferring to Lynx (from April 29, 2018, unless stated)

    Fakenham to King’s Lynn X29 (to be renumbered 49)

    Hunstanton to Wells Coasthopper (to be branded Coastliner 36)

    King’s Lynn to Fairstead Circular 1 (to be numbered 42)

    King’s Lynn to Hunstanton D, E, H & R (to be numbered 34, 35, Coastliner 36 and 43A)

    King’s Lynn-St Germans-Wisbech 46 (number unchanged)

    Wells to Fakenham X29 (to be branded Coastliner 36)

    Transferring to West Norfolk Community Transport (from April 29, 2018, unless stated)

    King’s Lynn to North Lynn 2 (number unchanged)

    King’s Lynn to North Wootton 3 (number unchanged)

    King’s Lynn to Grange Estate 4 (number unchanged)

    King’s Lynn to Gaywood Park 5 (number unchanged)

    Wisbech-Upwell-Three Holes 60 (number unchanged)

    Transferring to First

    Fakenham to Norwich X29 (from April 3, 2018, number unchanged)

  14. Greater Anglia successfully sued by passenger over 'continuous' delays

    Seph Pochin, of Halesworth, Suffolk, had described the service between his home and Ipswich as "woeful", with one train delayed by 100 minutes.

    A warrant has now been issued for bailiffs to seize Greater Anglia (GA) property after it failed to pay him £350 compensation.