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15 balloons celebrates 15 years of transforming coach travel

  • 54 million passengers benefited from low-cost fares in the UK over the past 15 years
  • 137 million miles travelled by vehicles across the UK and Europe
  • UK success replicated in North America
  • Days of activities planned to celebrate 15th anniversary



Market-leading budget coach operator is celebrating 15 years of transforming coach travel in the UK.

The low-cost, inter-city travel provider - part of Stagecoach Group – is marking its 15th anniversary this month after starting in Scotland with just three coaches.

Fifteen years ago, in 2003, people who wanted to travel by coach stood in a queue at a coach station and waited to pay the same fare as everyone else. transformed the market by lowering fares and allowing people to book in advance online from the comfort of their own home. Fares were based on a pricing model followed by low-cost airlines, allowing people to grab a bargain by booking early.

Now is a mainstay of young people travelling to and from college or university or just looking for a great deal to go somewhere new for a day or night out. It’s a transport option that has changed lifestyles and continues to encourage passengers to travel away from their homes to try out different destinations and in turn offers a boost to local economies.

Travelling by coach is of course kinder to the environment too. In fact, every full double deck vehicle is 14 times more fuel efficient than the same single occupancy trip by car.

Today operates more than 90 coaches to nearly 80 destinations across the UK and carries around five million customers a year. The company’s coaches, which have an iconic livery featuring mascot Sid, have become an instantly recognisable sight on Britain’s road network.

In the past 15 years, more than 54 million customers have travelled with in the UK, - more than the combined population of Canada, New Zealand and Belgium. The company’s vehicles have travelled around 137 million miles since 2003 – the equivalent to 5,500 around the world.

During that time, Stagecoach has also launched other UK products which can all be booked through the website. They include, which offers bargain train travel on Stagecoach’s rail networks,, an integrated coach-rail service which connects a number of locations in the north of England with London and a non-stop sightseeing tour of London with tickets from only £1 each.

Unafraid of pushing the boundaries and trying out new, innovative ideas, launched a network to Europe in October 2014 selling the network two years later. The company also launched the product in 2013, providing luxury daytime coach services in Scotland, England and Wales as well as overnight sleepercoach services, with lie-flat beds, linking 11 locations in Scotland with London, Birmingham, Cardiff and Bristol every night.

The success of the business in the UK has been replicated in the United States where has reinvigorated the coach industry in North America, and encouraged millions of people to make coach travel their number one transport choice.

Since its launch in the US in 2006, more than 10 million passengers every year travel with the market-leading brand. now covers over 130 key destinations in the United States and Canada and is continuing to attract more and more passengers, many of whom are choosing coach travel over driving or travelling by plane.

Managing Director of in the UK, Mark Venables said: " continues to be one of the biggest public transport success stories of the past few decades and it continues to grow both in the UK and in the US. 


“Over the last 15 years has made transport more affordable for millions of people, from families to students and senior citizens. We like to try new things and we’re proud to have pushed the boundaries with – we will continue to explore new ways to deliver high-quality, inter-city travel for our customers.


"Over the last 15 years we have regularly introduced new routes around the UK and USA, with about 80 destinations now served across the UK and most recently we have introduced a brand new sightseeing service in London,  We're delighted to be celebrating 15 years in the industry and look forward to the next 15."


Over the years, has invested millions of pounds in raising the standard of coach travel in the UK and US. All new vehicles now come complete with air conditioning, Wi-Fi and electric sockets as standard.

To mark the 15th anniversary, 3,000 anniversary cupcakes were given away at London Victoria, Manchester and Leeds coach stations.

A road show is also visiting the cities of Leeds, Sheffield, Birmingham and Bristol and staff, including mascot Sid, will be handing out free slush drinks and candy floss. Members of the public will also be invited to take part in a penalty shoot out against Sid with goal scorers being entered into a prize draw. Another competition will also give one lucky winner the chance of winning £1,500 has been a finalist and has won numerous awards over the years, including the Making Coaches a Better Choice Award at the 2013 UK Coach Awards, the Innovation Award at both the 2012 UK Bus Awards and the 2012 Route One Operator Excellence Awards and finalist in 2018 Coach Awards- Top Express Operator and Top large fleet categories and silver in the Coach Marketing category.




For media enquiries, please contact: Stagecoach Group Communications on 01738 442111 or email: [email protected]


Notes to Editors:

All bookings via the website are subject to a £1 booking fee per transaction

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