About National Express
At a glance
- Britain's only scheduled coach network
- reaching around 1000 destinations in England, Scotland and Wales
- carries more than 18 million passengers each year
- provides express 'Shuttle' services between major centres of population in Britain
Largest coach provider in Europe
National Express is the largest scheduled coach service provider in Europe. In the UK the distinctive white National Express coaches operate to 1000 destinations and carry over 18 million customers a year. Eurolines coaches additionally operate to over 500 destinations within Europe and Ireland.
National Express coach services also serve the major UK airports with additional dedicated 'on-airport' coach and bus services operated by Airlinks who are based at Heathrow and Gatwick. Airlinks services include a Hotel Hoppa service, linking Heathrow hotels to the airport terminals. Other dedicated airport operations by Airlinks help to serve British Airports Authority (BAA) and the wider airline community at these increasingly busy locations.
National Express Group
National Express Ltd is part of a leading international transport provider, National Express Group (NEG). Find out more about National Express Group.
A brief history of National Express
The distinctive white coaches of National Express are a familiar site on the UK roads, and they represent a proud heritage of public transport that now goes back well over a hundred years.
Horsedrawn stagecoaches were undoubtedly the forerunners of today?s long distance coach network, but it was not until after the first World War, and the introduction of motorbuses, that express coach services really came into their own. These were initially operated by independent companies with differing company names who later came together to form a loose network of nationwide services.
The formation of the National Bus Company (NBC) in 1968 brought many of these independent companies together and soon led to a more co-ordinated policy of express coach planning. This resulted in a 'National' branding of such services during 1972 and the introduction of a new and distinctive 'all white' livery for vehicles was quickly adopted. A new brand name of 'National Express' first appeared on publicity during 1974 and was then introduced onto vehicles during 1978.
The introduction of a new Transport Act during the early 80's meant that National Express faced strong competition on many of its most popular routes, especially on those to/from London. Totally without subsidy, and by introducing new services and lower fares the 'coach war' actually gave National Express a major publicity boost and its customer numbers quickly increased.
The de-regulation of the NBC led to a management buy-out of National Express and a new company called National Express Holdings Ltd was formed on 17 March 1988. Over the next few years the new company quickly began acquiring other bus and coach businesses in the UK and eventually grew to become the National Express Group (NEG) during 1991 which was then eventually floated on the London Stock Market in December 1992.
During the 1990s, and working within the NEG, National Express coaches continued to expand its business base with the acquisition of both European and UK coach services - especially those serving the UK airports. This growth in route development was also matched with the opening of the UK's first purpose-built coach stations at Liverpool, Leeds, Southampton.
As National Express entered a new Millennium it was clear that technology was going to play an increasingly important role. Over the past few years improvements to ticketing technology, booking procedures, call centre access and websites have all played an important part in providing even easier access for you.
In 2003 National Express launched a new look to the business with the introduction of a new National Express logo and 'smile' to reflect a new single business identity for our UK coaching operations. European services continue to operate within the Eurolines network and a new business called 'Airlinks' has been set up to look after 'on-airport' services at Heathrow and Gatwick.
With such an exciting history National Express is a business that is looking forward to the future with eager anticipation.