Bristol Airport welcomes National Express service

Bristol Airport has announced a National Express service for transport to and from South Wales following the withdrawal of coach operator First Group.

The move ensures the continuation of the only direct public transport link between South Wales and Bristol Airport. Cheaper than its predecessor, the new 216 service set for launch on March 1 will operate between Cardiff Bus Station and Bristol Airport, offering a direct public transport link for Welsh travellers who fly from the airport.

Operating 12 times a day in each direction, the 216 service is run by South Wales-based Edwards Coaches, reaching the airport from Cardiff Bus Station in just one hour and 20 minutes – 20 minutes faster than the outgoing service. It also calls at Cardiff University and Newport Rail Station.

Robert Sinclair, Chief Executive Officer at Bristol Airport, said: ‘The launch of a National Express service to and from Cardiff brings a high profile brand to the growing range of public transport options available to passengers using Bristol Airport, providing a convenient link to our route network for people and business in South Wales. It’s fantastic to have National Express on board and help strengthen the overall customer service offer of Bristol Airport.’

National Express Service Delivery Director, Kevin Gale said: ‘We are really pleased to be taking on this route which provides such an important link between South Wales and Bristol Airport. We are particularly pleased to be able to pay tribute to the Bristol’s amazing aviation history and the pivotal part it played in bringing the world’s fastest commercial aircraft to the world by naming our service the 216. We may not be quite as fast as a Concorde but our service, which is faster than its predecessor, links Bristol Airport to Cardiff in just one hour twenty minutes, offering unbeatable convenience for passengers.’

Featuring a ‘Bristol Airport Express’ livery, the new service vehicles are fully wheelchair accessible. The service includes the usual National Express provisions, viz. power sockets, leather seats and air-conditioning.

National Express tickets are on sale, with single fares starting from £13, with a 25 per cent discount available to those who book a return ticket.

National Express Celebrates Buoyant Sales of Disabled Coach Card

National Express, a UK based transport company, has reported selling around 10,000 of its Disabled Coachcard in its initial year.

The Coachcard was launched in October 2012, offering passengers with limited mobility a discount of around 30 percent on coach travel, and is available for a price of £10 a year. The card is not limited to the time or the day of travel, and has become a hit with the passengers that are suffering from disabilities.

The card was introduced after the UK government ended concessionary travel for disabled people.

The company accessibility manager, Mark Hollis, said, ‘We are really pleased about how successful our Disabled Coachcard has been over the last year. Ten thousand sales is a really important milestone for us. The passenger lifts are not only for passengers who use wheelchairs, as people with reduced mobility can also benefit from the lifts too.’

The company is offering improved access coaches with easy-access lifts, and intends to transform its fleet to become fully wheelchair accessible by early 2013. The coach operators also offer assistance and support for boarding and leaving the coach to customers with limited mobility.

The company has recently been awarded the Listed Company Turnaround Award, at the annual Institute for Turnaround (IFT) awards, for its transformation from being in considerable financial difficulty to strong financial health, recording profits and offering job security.

Christine Elliott, the chief executive of the Institute for Turnaround, said, ‘National Express is a shining example of a business with great potential being brought back from the brink by implementing the key skills that all of our members use time and again. Such businesses play a vital role in both the national and local economy and it is important that they are supported in their efforts to turn their businesses around.’