National Express

Companies

Description

National Express is an intercity and Inter-regional coach operator providing services throughout Great Britain. It is a subsidiary of National Express Group. Most services are subcontracted to local coach companies. The company's head office is in offices above Birmingham Coach Station.

History

Pursuant to the Transport Act 1968, the National Bus Company was formed as a holding company for the many state-owned local bus companies. Many of these bus companies also operated coach services and these were initially branded as National. The National Express brand was first used in 1974 although the coach services continued to be operated by the individual companies.

Coach services were deregulated under the Transport Act 1980, and buses by the Transport Act 1985. In March 1988 National Express was privatised in a management buyout. In July 1989 the company bought ATL Holdings (with operations in Sheffield) and a 50% share in Yelloway Trathen, which was renamed Trathens Travel Services.

In August 1989 the Eurolines services from London to Alicante, Barcelona and Paris were purchased from Wallace Arnold, and the express services (with 29 coaches) in Scotland and to London from Stagecoach. These were operated under the Caledonian Express brand.

In June 1991 National Express was sold to the Drawlane Group. In December 1992 National Express Group plc was floated on the London Stock Exchange.

In its early years National Express had little competition in the long-distance coach market. A number of operators attempted to compete with the company after deregulation in 1980, the largest being the British Coachways consortium, but most had ceased to compete by the end of the decade. However, in 2003, Stagecoach introduced Megabus, a no-frills service whose £1 fares sparked a price war with National Express in autumn 2004. The competition intensified in 2007 when Megabus transferred its London terminus from the Green Line Coach Station into the main Victoria Coach Station.

In November 2007 National Express announced plans to re-brand all its operations under a new unified National Express identity. As part of this the coach operation received a slightly different livery, retaining the red, white and blue theme, but with a new lower-case logo. Coaches started appearing in the new livery from December 2007.

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