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United Kingdom (UK) - Buses and Trams

Bus travel in the United Kingdom is extremely popular, and trams are available in some locations. Most coaches for long distance travel will have air conditioning. Megabuses will have toilets for your convenience, and on longer trips there are generally comfort stops for the passengers. National Express provides toilets onboard for longer trips. Travel around the cities will lack certain comforts as it is assumed a person is just riding the bus to get home or to the next stop on their excursion.

Due to lack of use the bus system has seen a decline with regard to long distance travel options. Buses are having to compete with the rail system, which is usually faster and a better mode of travel. While it is still possible to purchase tickets for long distance either with a tour or as a single passenger, it is not generally seen as the best travel method.

The express coach from London to Manchester usually takes 4.5 hours with National Express, whereas the journey takes just two hours by rail. People who choose to use the bus rather than the train generally do so because of reduced ticket prices. Bus trips for long distance travel are usually significantly cheaper than rail discount tickets. In more recent years, however, fewer and fewer bus stations have remained open, and those that remain open have reduced service platforms in terms of parking, retail outlets, information, and facilities.

Domestic Bus Travel

Domestic buses operate in the major cities, providing public transportation on a daily basis. There are a variety of ticket programs for domestic travel throughout England, Wales, and Scotland. These passes may vary in name and options depending on the bus company. National Express provides a range of discount tickets, which are highlighted below.

1. multi-bus ticket

2. day tickets

3. weekly tickets

4. whippet tickets

5. oyster card system

6. freedom pass (discount ticket for over 60s)

7. apprentice (for those aged 18+ and doing an apprenticeship)

8. national rail card

9. family and friends rail card

10. HM forces rail card

11. disabled person’s rail card

Depending on your travel needs, you may find that several ticket options are available. It is a good idea for expats in the country without a car to purchase an Oyster card in London or other long term ticket card elsewhere to ensure that they can change buses and travel to work and other destinations without paying each time. The Oyster card system also works on the underground and some mainline trains within the city.

Long Distance Travel

Coaches are long distance travel buses which take visitors all around the United Kingdom and through the Channel tunnel into Europe for tours. Many of the bus systems in the United Kingdom also supply bus tours for holiday travellers.

On long distance trips there are more comforts and the ticket purchases are usually made through a tour company or the bus depot. It is possible through Traveline to book your journey with starts and stops on different coaches in order to visit different areas of the United Kingdom during your trip.

Ticket Information, Prices, Timetables, and Purchases

The following are bus companies which service England, Wales, and Scotland. There is only one bus company that services Northern Ireland. Travel information for short domestic trips can be found through these websites, as well as long distance coaches for tours throughout the UK. Prices, timetables and ticket purchases are all available through the following sites.

National Express Coaches

National Express provides both tour and long distance travel for passengers.

+44(0) 871 781 8178


+44(0) 871 200 2233

Travel for London

Stagecoach Bus

+44(0) 122 859 7888

First Group or Greyhound

This company operates as Greyhound UK, but can also be found under First Group. They offer trips throughout England, Wales, and Scotland for convenience and long distance travellers rather than tours.

+44(0) 871 200 2233



This website services Ulsterbus in Northern Ireland for short and local travels.

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