Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Megabus UK

Last month, I started to look at the public transport fares to Liverpool. Man I was for a surprise. If I were to believe the National Rail website, the cheapest single fare from Great Chesterford to Liverpool is £151.50. It occurred to me to check out Megabus which I never used before. More surprises were to follow.

First, the only Megabus destination from/to Cambridge is... Oxford. Well that makes sense. Where else people from Cambridge need to travel? But wait. What if I check the travel from London?

As it happens, Megabus offered me rail tickets for £5 each. (Apparently, they are in partnership with Virgin Trains!) Plus I paid 50 pence reservation fee, in total £10.50 the return journey from London Euston to Liverpool Lime Street. Not bad, I say.

So I thought I was sorted for my trip to Liverpool this Monday 20 June. However, my brilliant plan was almost thwarted by our excellent rail system (since the privatisation of British Rail, I am never sure who is responsible for this or that particular railroad atrocity). Monday morning, the trains to London Liverpool Street were not running. Thankfully, Tamara gave me a lift to Cambridge, but I was mentally preparing to say goodbye to Megabus plan — if I were to miss my train from Euston, I would have to buy a full price ticket from Virgin (at least £35).

At the ticket office, I asked what is the fastest way to get to Liverpool. The answer was, to take a train via... Euston. The one-way fare was more than £80! The alternative was to take the Birmingham train and change at Nuneaton. That would cost me sixtysomething quid. The train to Kings Cross was about to depart in a few minutes; I bought the ticket (£20) and boarded it.

From Kings Cross, it takes less than ten minutes to walk to Euston station. I had about half an hour to spare, so I walked (£0).

To summarise. Travel to/from London cost me four times as much as travel from London to Liverpool. Still, at £50, the whole journey is cheaper than anything on offer from the helpful Cambridge ticket office. Thank you Megabus!

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