Take the National Express when your life’s in a mess
It’ll make you smile.
My life isn’t in a mess at all, however, it could have been a couple of weeks ago when I made the money saving decision to get the coach to London. (Note – I had a fantastic weekend seeing the people I love, sharing a drink and a laugh, and seeing the Picasso exhibition at the Tate and the Frida Kahlo exhibition at the V&A.)
Getting a return ticket for the coach saved me a grand total of £10. We are all about saving money for travel – see our blog post here: 6 Simple Tips for Saving Money for Travel
Those spare ten pound notes can really add up – so it wasn’t a difficult decision to make. Usually I would get the train, but with prices flying up on the rails, this seemed like the best way to get to my destination.
First of all, the coach was delayed by an hour and a half, which I was obviously not very happy about. However, once we were all aboard, the stress of the journey really began. Before the engine started a passenger asked the coach driver when we would arrive. His response?
‘Get your stuff, and get off.’
Obviously other passengers began to complain, and the passenger in question refused to move. I have never witnessed such shocking behaviour by staff – they were all aggressive and rude with the customers, saying things like ‘We don’t get paid enough for this’ and shrugging their shoulders when asked basic predictable questions. I was genuinely scared to ask when the coach might arrive, even though I really needed to know as I had plans. National Express – if you’re reading this, it’s worth having a chat with your staff and seeing what their happiness levels are. Something serious seems to be up!
Once we left, I began to feel very coach sick. Obviously – not ideal, and that’s nobodies issue but my own, but it certainly didn’t add to my experience. Then, the lock on the toilet broke. No-one went to the toilet apart from one very angry person, who used it around every twenty minutes. While he used the toilet, he yelled at the man who happened to be sitting opposite the door, calling him every name he could think of. This abusive man then sat down and lit up a cigarette, on the coach, despite the fact that there were children and, well, other human beings on board.
By the time we got into London the traffic was bad. Add another hour onto the journey – imagine a coach full of people scared to ask the arrival time and sitting in smoke – the person who lit the cigarette now telling everyone who would listen about the way he views the world (this included never saving money in case you die tomorrow…the opposite of how we feel!).
I arrived in London, finally, after an entire journey experience that lasted around six hours. The train takes an hour and a half. Next time? I’ll pay that £10 extra. As a side note, I spoke to National Express about the experiences that I had. They kindly gave me a free return ticket to anywhere in the UK – but I’m still not sure I’m actually going to use it. I don’t know if I can deal with another six hours of UK coach travel!