iDBUS - New Coach Service for Western Europe
Exciting news from SNCF, the French national rail operator. They are about to launch a new long-distance coach service, offering routes between the UK, France, Belgium and the Netherlands.
iDBUS' aim is to be a more comfortable alternative to the likes of Megabus and Eurolines, offering passengers bigger seats and free wireless internet. Launching towards the end of July 2012, the service will offer the following routes:
Unfortunately, it doesn't look like the London - Lille and Lille - Amsterdam journeys match up, which would have created a relatively cheap route between London and Amsterdam to rival the Dutch Flyer service. Perhaps a timetable change for the future?
The service seems to be targetted at those that might otherwise have driven, with a handy cost comparison available on the website.
Interestingly, the operator has strayed away from the traditional pricing strategy of raising prices closer to the journey date, or according to availability. Instead, they offer a fixed price for every journey, no matter when it is booked. Prices vary on the exact service taken, with more popular routes more expensive.
A group discount is available for people travelling together (families or groups):
- Buy 4 to 7 tickets, get 1 free; and
- Buy 8-9 tickets, get 2 free.
Families or groups will also be pleased to hear that, on most services, seats can be selected at the time of reservation, so you can be sure that you will be sitting next to who you want to, and can argue about who gets the window seat well before you depart!
If you book iDBUS tickets for travel between 23rd July and 31st August, you can find fares for just £5 (subject to availability). Tickets are non-refundable but exchangeable, and cannot be used in conjunction with the group discount.
We are excited to see whether the service lives up to the sales pitch, what do you think?