Scheduled coach service providers reported an uptick in demand in the run up to the first in a series of rail strikes being held on 21 June, with additional departures put in place on some routes.
Stagecoach says that Megabus and its Scottish Citylink joint venture have each seen “a significant spike in bookings” for the period around the industrial action. As of Saturday 18 June, Megabus sales for the week of the strikes were 85% higher than the previous seven days. Stagecoach notes that the week after the strikes “is following a similar trend” and that thousands of extra seats have been added to Megabus provision.
National Express has also seen “a significant increase in both enquiries and bookings” for travel on its white coach network on and around the dates of rail strikes. As of Monday 20 June its services were over 65% sold out for that period, although sales were proceeding rapidly and the business expected that figure to rise to “over 85%.”
A spokesperson adds: “We are working hard to increase availability to meet additional demand where possible,” but cautions that the number of seats remaining available is “limited.”
FlixBus UK said on Monday 20 June that it had seen a 60% increase in demand for its services, “and rising.” The provider will increase the number of journeys, particularly on routes between London and Reading, Bristol, Cardiff and Plymouth, among other locations.
At the time of writing, further rail strikes were planned for Thursday 23 and Saturday 25 June. While some train services will operate on strike days, timetables and operating hours will be severely curtailed. Some rail services will also be reduced on days following the strikes.