In this, the first in a new series of "How To Guides" on bus feed, we examine the process of how to buy National Express coach tickets (after having done a coachfairer search). We have created this series because one of the challenges for any travel search site is that after the user has done a search they then leave this site to go and buy directly on the operator site. And the purchasing experience can be wildly different for each of those sites. We collect fares and journey data and present the best journeys and cheapest tickets and our users love us for it (we hope!) But being sent off to a bus company site to then purchase the same journey and fare can be fraught with problems.
Ten steps on how to buy national express coach tickets
The first step on how to buy national express coach tickets is to do a search on coachfairer.com! Seems obvious but it's worth mentioning. Every page on coachfairer.com has a search form, always near the top of the page. On this page it's right at the top. On the homepage it's top left, just below the logo. Stick in your origin coach station/bus stop/city/town/village and your destination coach station/bus stop/city/town/village and let our super fast journey planner do the rest. We check a whole bunch of operators so you'll probably see results from Megabus, Citylink and many more alongside National Express. But let's just say (for sake of this of blog post) that you like the look of the 7.45 Glasgow to London. To select it click on the small round "radio" button.
Then you'll see a handy summary, showing you your journey legs in more detail, a map, total price and type of ticket. Assuming you like what you see, hit the big green 'select' button.
Clicking select will open a popup, where you can review your journey in more details (this is also useful when there are split bookings between multiple operators.) Most importantly, here you can choose the passengers in your group - how many adults and children. Once you've done that click 'Buy Ticket' and a new tab will open in your web browser.
Switching to that tab you'll see our transfer page waving you off as we 'deep link' you right to the page where you can buy your national express coach ticket. Remember, coachfairer.com is independent and there is no hidden or additional fee. Our search is completely free.
All being well you'll arrive at this screen at nationalexpress.com. This is National Express retrieving the price of the fare and the right page where you can buy your coach ticket
Now National Express will have retrieved the same journey and fare you searched for on coachfairer.com. It should be first in the list but it's worth double-checking the times and price to make sure it's correct. Once your happy, select the fare and the journey will go green
As well as going green, the 'Your Journey' basket on the right of the page gives you more information about your fare and also gives you the chance to book other fares for this journey. You have the option to change at this point for a more flexible fare - one that is maybe refundable or can be used on other buses. Or you might select a cheaper, less flexible fare.
Step 8 is just filling in your personal details - name, address, email address, etc.
Once you've filled in your personal details and clicked - you can choose how you want to receive your ticket. Now compared to most of the UK train operators this is such an enlightened ticket choosing process. You are offered e-Ticket which is print at home, mobile ticket - which is texted to you by SMS, posted or from a collection point (which can be an automated machine or anywhere that sells National Express tickets). That is the good side, the slight downside is that not all options are free but self print is free and collection point and mobile are only 50p (really a passed on fee for the admin/SMS charge). And the postal option is the priciest at £1.50. We'd recommend self-print!
The last step is to pay by debit or credit card which best of all has no additional fee. And that's it! How to search on coachfairer.com and buy National Express coach tickets in 10 easy steps!