23 June 2010

Visit and tour round National Express’s Birmingham (Digbeth!) coach station.

Very smart, puts many rail stations to shame – Internet access, good cafes, loos and baby change, lots of staff around. The only odd thing I could see is the information boards are quite small and destinations not displayed above the departure gates.

A modern coach fleet, competitive prices, investment in GPS tracking and a real feel for the focus on the passenger and high customer satisfaction claimed. Could this be the age of the coach?

Certainly the cost element of the choice of transport mode is being driven down. The put off factors are being eliminated with modern coaches. But the convenience? Hard to ever beat rail on time and given the cut throat advance tickets now offered by the railways, stiff competition.

But offering choice must be good. And coaches really do win on one thing – a whole new coach station and office block for £15 million? You would not get much on the railways for that!

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