London-Paris Eurolines: backing-up Eurostar
NATIONAL Express is operating around one hundred additional coaches during peak months to meet demand on its London to Paris service.
The company reports a 13 per cent year-on-year rise in passenger numbers on the Eurolines service in the first six months of 2011, when the route carried almost 100,000 people. In June passenger numbers were up by a remarkable 44 per cent.
John Gilbert, managing director of Eurolines UK, says: “The 2010 ash crisis was a catalyst for continental coach travel but we’ve sustained the momentum by offering the best value fares on the market – to the extent that we’re actually carrying more passengers now than during the eruption. The boom in coach travel has attracted huge numbers of British and French passengers but it’s also seen a dramatic increase in American travellers. Price is the driving factor across the board.
“The biggest challenge we face is getting people to trial the service. Coach still has a stereotype, but when they’re on board the extra legroom, free wi-fi and city centre departures do the talking.”
This year Eurolines adopted an all-inclusive pricing strategy as a direct challenge to the growing list of hidden charges being imposed by budget airlines.
It says that passengers booking last-minute coach travel to Paris will typically save around 60 per cent compared to flying.
Thea Behrman, Kent Messenger; John Gilbert, Eurolines; and Julie Edwards, Visit Kent.