National Express


Customer categories

Adults - Anyone aged 16 or over who does not hold a discount Coachcard (see below).
Children - 3-15 years inclusive Child fare rate
Infant -  0-2 years inclusive

One child not occupying a seat may travel free, if accompanied by a fare paying customer aged 16 or over.
No children under the age of 14 will be carried unless accompanied by an adult 16 or over.

Discount Coachcard categories

  • Senior -  Anyone over the age of 60
  • Disabled -  Anyone who is registered disabled
  • 16-26 inclusive - Young Person’s Coachcard (or in full-time education)
  • Airport discount - Airport and airline workers

Scottish and Welsh concessionary travel


  • The concessionary scheme within Scotland - where holders of Scottish National Concessionary Passes (SNCP) were entitled to free travel within Scotland, including Carlisle and Berwick upon Tweed - has now finished and customers have to purchase a ticket for travel to cover all locations.
  • No refunds, except in accordance with our normal fare terms and conditions, will be made.


  • Welsh customers who have a valid National Express Coachcard pay the discounted fare.
  • The Welsh government introduced a scheme which entitles senior and disabled Welsh citizens to half price fares for coach journeys within Wales. National Express is not part of this scheme and therefore this discount does not apply to our services in Wales.

Ticket checking

All travel tickets must be checked before accepting a customer for boarding. If a customer does not already have a ticket you must issue one in accordance with the instructions in this section (with the exception of Heathrow which must be issued by the ticket office/machines).

Tickets should be scanned or entered into the onboard ticket machine for correct reporting or entered as manually boarded. Further details can be found in the ticket machine training guide.

If a fraudulent ticket is found, inform the NCC and send it into Revenue Protection at Head Office. The customer must buy a new ticket. Drivers are responsible for ticket checking and issue. You should:

  • Check that the number of tickets match the number of customers on board before departing.
  • Make sure that on services crewed by more than one driver, the driver who is responsible for collecting tickets is also responsible for making sure valid tickets are issued to any paying customers, or customers paying an excess fare.
  • If you have an up-to-date driver’s chart you can refresh it on the onboard ticket machine; scan all tickets that carry a QR code, or in the event of using a paper chart, cross each ticket off.
  • Check discount Coachcards if the ticket or ticket machine shows that one has been used to purchase the ticket.
  • Always enter the date on open-dated tickets.
  • Never take cash without issuing an official customer receipt and ticket.
  • Pay in all monies immediately or follow local guidelines.

Authority to travel

There are times when our coach station teams will allow customers to travel on a service without a valid ticket; for example, when travelling as a standby, after a delayed flight arrival or a last-minute arrival at a stop.

The authority to travel process will normally be done in the following ways:

  • An ‘Authorised to travel’ stamp, stamped on the ticket in question with the date, time of departure, service number and staff initials to be completed by the member of staff.
  • An ‘Authorised to travel’ sticker, stuck onto the ticket in question with the date, time of departure, service number and staff initials to be completed by the member of staff (sticker is left on the backing for m-Tickets).

If a customer can present valid authority to travel then they won’t have to pay any excess or penalty fares unless the ticket is fraudulent. Please accept the stamp/sticker and allow the customer to travel as normal.

Only National Express coach station staff are authorised to use ‘Authorised to travel’ cards and stamps. At non-manned stops, use your discretion (for example, seat availability) and seek authorisation from the NCC.


General ticketing

Customers holding correctly reserved tickets, showing your reservation reference, should always be given priority and allowed to board the coach first.

Customers who don’t have a valid ticket or the ‘Authority to travel’ stamp may receive a £20 penalty charge and pay the standard fare for that journey to our Revenue Protection team. Customers with open-dated tickets that have not been validated or are unable to be validated in advance should be politely asked to stand aside whilst all reserved customers board the coach.

Once all reserved customers have boarded, open-dated tickets that have not been validated and non-reserved ticket holders should be allowed to board, provided that seats are available for the duration of their journey. At peak times it may not be possible to accommodate all open-dated ticket holders on a particular journey.

If you do have to leave standby customers, make sure you explain that the seats are reserved for customers who have booked at subsequent stops. Cash customers should be allowed to board, as long as provided seats are available for the duration of their journey.

Customers should only travel on the reserved time on their ticket. If a customer wants to travel on a different service they should change their ticket (before departure time) before being allowed to travel. This can be done easily on the ‘Manage my booking’ section of our website ( However, at remote locations, drivers have to use their discretion as customers may not be able to change the ticket. Remember that a customer should not be left at a stop, without speaking to NCC first.

Airport customers with the “Change & Go” add-on have 12 hours past and prior to the departure time to change their ticket. After this time the customer will need to buy a new ticket. Both open tickets and Multirides are valid for three months. Other ticketing partnerships carry differing terms and conditions so make sure you are familiar with these (some of which can be found here).

If a customer is intending to travel on your service and is not in possession of a ticket, sell them one. If time permits before your scheduled departure you may send them to the Coach Station staff or self-service ticket machines.


Fare and journey structure

Journey types

  • Single
  • Return
  • Open Return

Important information on Open Return tickets:

  • Open Return tickets are valid for a maximum of three months from the date of the outward journey. Customers are asked to confirm and book their return journey, at no extra cost.
  • Customers should go to Or they can visit the nearest ticket office or local National Express coach station.
  • If they have failed to do so before attempting to board, ask the customer to wait before all reserved customers have boarded and call NCC to validate the return onto your service.
  • On high frequency services (Airport “A” services) Quick Issue tickets are sold which also are valid for three months from the date of the outward date/purchase date. Customers cannot book their return online or at an agent. These customers can board any service, subject to seat availability.

Fare types

CRS - Restricted fare

CST - Standard fare

CFL - Fully Flexible fare

  • Restricted fares are an online-only discount fare. This fare type can’t be changed or refunded, so changes to times or dates are not permitted. No further discounts (such as a Coachcard or promotional vouchers) can be used in conjunction with a Restricted fare.
  • A Standard fare allows changes to the date and time with an amendment fee and may be subject to an excess fare. This fare is not refundable.
  • A Fully Flexible fare allows for changes to be made up to the date and time of travel without any fee. This ticket is only refundable when cancelled 72 hours prior to the departure time. Booking and distribution fees remain non-refundable.

Details of the fare the customer has purchased can be shown in the important information section on a customers e-ticket.

All amendments must be made before the time of the journey the customer wants to change; no amendment can be made after the current departure time that is on the ticket.

National Express operates a Revenue Management System (RMS). This is a pricing and revenue management system that calculates prices to maximise revenue against our competitors. RMS technology will help us to grow our share of the UK travel market, deliver great value through price and highlights our investment in technology. The system works out demand against pricing, so the more demand for the route the higher price - and the earlier the booking takes place, the cheaper the fare.


Ticket guidelines

Download our full ticket guidelines PDF


Website & Contact Centre-issued Coachcard

The Customer Contact Centre (CCC) issue one general style of Coachcard (see below) for all Coachcard purchases made via the website and CCC.

The customer’s details, along with the Coachcard type (eg Young Person, Senior and Disabled) are professionally printed on the reverse.

Agents and coach stations issue the individual Coachcards (eg Young Persons, Disabled and Senior – see below) which include handwritten details - so both styles will be in circulation.


Senior Coachcard

Senior cards are available to all adults over 60 years of age:

  • They may be valid for 1-3 years and some promotional cards are available for different periods.
  • Valid card holders may buy tickets at the appropriate discounted fare.
  • Senior cards are not supportive of a discount on any journey to or from an event, Hotel Hoppa, Non-National Express services including European services etc.

Senior cards can be used to get a discount on bookings made online, by phone, in travel shops and at agents, as well as tickets bought from drivers.


Disabled Coachcard

Disabled cards are available to any adult who is registered disabled:

  • Remember their disability may not always be visible.
  • Disabled cards may be valid for 1- 3 years and some promotional cards are available for different periods.
  • Holders may buy tickets at the appropriate discounted fare.
  • Disabled cards are not supportive of a discount on any journey to or from an event, Hotel Hoppa, non-National Express services including European services.
  • Disabled cards can be used to get a discount on bookings made online, by phone, in travel shops and at agents as well as those made from drivers or via ticket machines.


Young Persons Coachcard

  • Available if aged between 16 and 26 inclusive or in full time education.
  • Drivers should check details are correct and that the number is entered correctly on the customer’s ticket.
  • Cards may be valid for a period of 1- 3 years and some promotional cards are available for different periods.
  • Customers can benefit from 1/3 off standard coach fares and 10% off event travel.
  • The 16 to 26 Discount coachcard booking profile will also be used by airport staff who should also show you their airport/airline ID.
  • Young persons’ cards can be used to get a discount on bookings made online, by phone, in travel shops and at agents, and tickets bought from drivers.
  • Drivers should use a fare chart to calculate the fare and issue the customer with a quick issue ticket.


Smart Issued ATB ticketing

Coach single ticket example:

Coach open return ticket example (outward):


HM Forces tickets

Members of HM Forces are able to benefit from 60% off a National Express journey.

  • Tickets are subject to availability and available online and from the Customer Contact Centre and coach stations, customers are to present their MOD90 or Defence Privilege Card when boarding with their coach ticket. Discount tickets are not available to purchase from the driver.
  • Tickets cannot be used with concessionary fares, Discount Coachcards, or in conjunction with any
    other promotional offer. Journeys to events and special services are also excluded from this offer.
  • The return journey (if applicable) must be booked at the same time as the outward journey.
  • Members of the Armed Forces need to register for free on Defence Discount Service and can then access the National Express offer. You can book your travel with a 60% discount and will need to present your MOD90 or Defence Privilege Card when boarding your coach.
  • Veterans, spouses/partners of Serving Personnel and other members of Defence Discount Service that are not serving Armed Forces Personnel can access a discount of 30% off travel with National Express. To access this offer they will need to register to the Defence Discount Service and purchase a Defence Privilege Card (£4.99 for a 5 year membership). They can then access the National Express offer, book travel with a 30% discount and will need to present the Defence Privilege Card when boarding the coach.
  • Discounted fares are only available to serving members of the British Armed Forces.
  • A valid British Military ID must be shown to the driver with the customer’s eTicket to validate
    their ticket for travel.
  • Customers who work for HM Forces can book tickets via:



These are issued by most of our partner agents, NCC and coach stations and by customers booking tickets for themselves on

  • You should scan the QR code to check the details of the ticket or, in the event of not having a ticket machine, make sure the ticket is for the correct journey by checking the reference code.
  • You MUST give the ticket back to the customer.
  • Note e-tickets may differ slightly in appearance between customers.
  • Please remember that e-tickets don’t have to be printed; they can be shown on a device as long as all the verification details can be seen: ticket number, journey details, flight code, service number, date and time of travel and customer numbers.
  • Certain additional products will carry further information at the bottom of an e-ticket (example below).




National Express customers can buy tickets that will appear on the screen of their mobile phone as a text message.

  • The screen will look similar to the one illustrated.
  • They should be processed in the same way as e-tickets; however, the prefix will be M
  • SMS tickets will be shown on your loading chart in the same way as e-tickets. If the ticket number is not shown on the loading chart, refresh your driver’s chart or contact NCC for guidance.
  • If a customer has forgotten their phone, or cannot supply their reference code for any reason, then offer to sell the customer a ticket or refer them to Customer Services if at a manned station. No duplicates will be issued and only one ticket number is valid per journey.
  • If a customer changes their original SMS ticket, a new SMS is not sent to the customer; however, they will be provided with the new 4 letter journey reference code (flight code) which should be quoted along with the original SMS as the ticket number remains unchanged. 


Smartphone tickets

Customers have the ability to book tickets on their own smartphones; this can be done either via their internet browser, by visiting or if they have downloaded the National Express Coach app.

The example here is an Apple (ios) device ticket purchased via the National Express App.

  • The ticket’s appearance will vary depending on the device the customer uses.
  • A customer can also store their ticket for travel into their wallet on their device.
  • The QR code should be scanned by the ticket machine or the journey details verified before boarding.

This is an example of an Apple (ios) device ticket in a wallet. Press the button at the top right of the screen to reveal the full ticket information if manually checking the ticket. The QR code should be scanned for boarding.



Travel warrants

These are issued by various organisations (for example, the Army, Social Services, probation office) that may want to send people by coach. Check you have the white copy and that it hasn’t been tampered with.

  • Check that it is made out to National Express and issue a ticket exactly as specified, endorsing the ticket ‘Warrant No.*******’
  • Take the warrant from the customer, complete the necessary details at the bottom (see below) and pay this in as cash to your company.


Season tickets

Season tickets are available on all National Express services.

  • They provide outward and return travel between the locations specified, on the days and times
    specified, between specific dates quoted on the ticket.
  • Season tickets are available for different periods of time.
  • If the customer is trying to board a service on the same route but at different times, this is allowed, subject to availability; the customer should be treated as a standby customer where no seat has been booked.
  • Never collect a season ticket, just check the details and return to the customer. These tickets should be within a clear sleeve. If you suspect any of the details have been tampered with, contact coach station staff or NCC for guidance.


Manual tickets

Check the customer’s four letter reference code shown in the outbound journey and return journey sections. The manual ticket works in exactly the same way as an e-ticket. You must allow the customer to keep the ticket. There is NO copy for you to collect.

Note: Hand-written tickets will only ever be used when IT booking systems at National Express are not working.

When issuing manual tickets:

  • Avoid confusion, don’t abbreviate place names. (e.g. N/Castle, B/Ford)
  • Write the number of customers in words and not numerical format (‘one’ not ‘1’), also void any unused lines.
  • All ticket monies should be reconciled at the end of the shift as per the Financial Control Procedure. If in doubt ask your line manager.


TVM tickets

These tickets are issued via the self-service machines that are situated in some bus and coach stations.

Check that all the details are correct by either scanning the QR code or manually checking the details before boarding the customer.

Please note: they may not appear on your loading chart depending on the time of your last refresh of the chart.


Multiride tickets

A Multiride ticket is valid for 10 single journeys between the two locations listed on the front of the card and is valid for three months. Each scratchable panel inside the card represents one single journey between the two listed locations only.

  • Multiride customers travel as standby; customers may reserve a seat on a specific service via National Express coach stations and a small number of selected agents.
  • If the customer has booked a ticket with coach station staff they will present an e-ticket and will
    not need to present the Multiride; this will have been validated already.
  • When a customer is presenting a Multiride scratchcard ticket to you, check seat availability for the journey and whether there is an unscratched panel inside the ticket.
  • Then board the customer if both are available and scratch a panel on the inside of the ticket. If only a small number of seats remain, contact NCC to take seats out.


Driver issued ticket book

Driver issued ticket book - portion detail

Green portion

  • Name - Sales copy
  • Action - Retain in ticket book or submit with your paying-in cashing-up slip, cash or cheques at your depot at the end of your duty.

Pink portion

  • Name - Outward ticket
  • Action - Keep this copy for the customer’s outward journey and place in your waybill envelope for the relevant part of the journey.

Blue portion

  • Name - Customer receipt
  • Action - This MUST be given to the customer so they can travel legally.

Yellow portion

  • Name - Return ticket
  • Action - To be given to the customer if applicable. If not, keep it and submit it with your paying-in cashing-up slip at your depot at the end of your duty.

White portion

  • Name - Audit copy
  • Action - To be kept in the book at ALL times. DO NOT REMOVE.


  • Take the appropriate money for tickets issued and pay in at your home depot following your company’s normal paying-in procedure.

Note: Always pay cash into the correct person and follow the correct procedure. Cash should never be put into waybill envelopes (if your operator uses them).



Other tickets

Quick view table - see below for more information on each ticket type

Partner Reserved or
Ticket or
NX Journey
ref on
QR Code?
Reserved Here Post
Trainline Reserved Here Trainline
Omio Reserved Here Omio
Distribusion Reserved Here Distribusion
Wemovo Reserved Here Wemovo
Busbud Reserved Here Busbud
Looking4 Reserved Here Looking4
Wanderu Reserved Here Wanderu
Reserved Here CTM
Ouibus Reserved Here Ouibus
easyBus Unreserved Here easyBus X X
Expedia Unreserved Here Expedia X X
Get your 
Unreserved Here Get your
Global City
Unreserved Here Global City
Klook Unreserved Here Klook X X
Unreserved Here ALSA X X
Moneycorp Unreserved Here NX Paper
Movelia Unreserved Here ALSA X X
Visit Britain Unreserved Here Visit Britain X X
Unreserved   Gate Retail X X
Musement Unreserved Here Musement X X
City Guides
Unreserved Here X X
(Web &
Mobile Sales)
Unreserved Here Ryanair
Unreserved Here Ryanair X X
Unreserved Here Tripadvisor X X
AccesRail Reserved Here AccesRail X X


Bulk Tickets

A number of companies and airlines (such as British Airways and Virgin Atlantic) provide these vouchers for travel to London (and vice versa). These vouchers can be exchanged for a reserved time specific service, but they can also be accepted by drivers. The customer is treated as a standby customer and is boarded subject to availability.

Please note the barcode is not scannable.


Staff passes

Staff passes are issued to National Express employees and full-time partner operator drivers.

  • These passes are issued to staff (employed by National Express and partner operators) and their one nominated individual.
  • Each pass comes in two parts and each part must bear the same number (the first part is the holder’s photo-card).
  • The pass allows free travel at all times on a standby time.
  • A reserved travel ticket can be booked online.



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