In a major boost to affordable travel, National Express is today (Friday, 27 February 2015) announcing it is stepping in to save the only direct public transport link between South Wales and Bristol Airport – after the current operator announced its withdrawal. The UK’s largest coach operator is launching an enhanced coach service – faster and cheaper than its predecessor – between Cardiff Bus Station and Bristol Airport from Sunday, March 1, ensuring the 1.2 million Welsh travellers who fly from the airport each year still have a direct public transport link.
The move comes after incumbent operator First Group said it would be removing its Greyhound service from the route within a matter of weeks. With National Express tickets already on sale, the new 216 service maintains an affordable and direct link to the airport while passengers using the rail alternative must change on to a shuttle bus to get to the airport.
Running 12 times a day in each direction, the new service is operated by South Wales-based Edwards Coaches on behalf of National Express reaching the airport from Cardiff Bus Station in as little as 1hr and 20 minutes – 20 minutes faster than the outgoing service. It also calls at Cardiff University and Newport Rail Station. With single fares starting at just £13 and a 25 per cent discount available to those who book a return ticket, the new service offers unbeatable value and includes the usual National Express refinements: power sockets, leather seats and air-conditioning. Meanwhile the new service will also ensure 120,000 foreign inbound tourists arriving at the airport each year can bank on a stress free transition from the airport to the Welsh capital – boosting local tourism.
Cardiff-based Edwards Coaches run a multitude of services on behalf of National Express. Edwards said: “It is fantastic that National Express is keeping this important link between South Wales and the airport alive and we are really looking forward to making it a success by offering an unbeatably convenient service. Millions of Welsh people need a quick and convenient link to Bristol Airport to go on holiday or do business and we are excited to get up and running and provide an excellent service.”
National Express UK 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 and will people in South Wales can continue to benefit from direct airport travel.”
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. Inbound visitors will also benefit, making it easier to reach venues such as the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff and Swansea’s Liberty Stadium for those attending sporting fixtures or concerts.”
Sporting a bespoke ‘Bristol Airport Express’ livery the new service vehicles are fully wheelchair accessible, ensuring disabled customers can also enjoy a convenient and comfortable service.
Meanwhile in a nod to Bristol’s significant role in aviation history the service will operate with the route number 216 – the number of last Concorde to ever be built (call sign G-BOAF), and the last in a long line of aircraft to be designed, built and flown from Filton in Bristol.
For more information or to book visit www.nationalexpress.com or call 0871 781 81 81