National Express back on the road from Monday after 11-week suspension
National Express will be back on Britain’s roads from Monday when England’s “stay at home” rule ends.
This follows an 11-week suspension due to coronavirus lockdown restrictions.
The firm will initially run a limited timetable of 20 routes, which is equivalent to around 15% of its standard intercity network.
But services will be “expanded quickly” as pandemic rules are further relaxed and demand for travel grows, National Express said.
It’s a great feeling to be getting hundreds of drivers back behind the wheel
Safety measures introduced last year such as temperature screening of passengers and reduced capacities will continue.
Chris Hardy, managing director of the company’s UK coach division, said: “It’s a great feeling to be getting hundreds of drivers back behind the wheel.
“We’re excited to play our part in the UK public’s safe return to travel.”
The operator is pledging to offer customers a “better overall experience when booking and travelling”.
This includes shorter journey times, increased punctuality and greater connectivity.
Average journey times between Birmingham and Manchester will be reduced by 20 minutes.
The number of daily journey options between Leeds and Bristol will rise from four to 12, with durations cut by 30-60 minutes.
National Express has also removed its booking fee for online purchases, and added more flexible booking options.
Mr Hardy added: “This is just the beginning of a better National Express.
“We’ve always focused on doing the right thing for customers and by continuing to do so, we will grow back quicker and stronger.”
Rival firm Megabus is also resuming its operations in England and Wales from Monday.
Its services in Scotland have continued to run during the latest lockdown for essential journeys.
Meanwhile, London passenger boat operator Uber Boat by Thames Clippers has announced it will also resume limited services on Monday.