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Last Updated: Friday, 29 August, 2003, 12:17 GMT 13:17 UK
No-frills travel hits roads
Stagecoach bus
Can bus travel get even more basic?
Bus travel may already seem a no-frills way to get around the country but one company is offering even fewer frills.

Stagecoach has set up Megabus which is charging passengers 1 to travel between London and Oxford and is set to expand the service to Scotland's largest cities.

"We've been looking at the airline industry over the past few years and seeing if there is anything we can learn from it," said Brian Souter, founder and chief executive of Stagecoach.

"The idea is that everything is pre-paid on the net so no fares are paid on the bus. You get e-mailed the reference number and you turn up.

Internet-only booking
Take-on luggage only
No toilets
50p booking fee

"We reckon by using these big 94-seat double-deckers we can offer nearly half of the bus for a fare of a pound."

The company says as more passengers will be able to travel on double-decker buses than on traditional single-decker ones, it will be able to make profits from the higher volume of custom.

There are no toilets on board the buses and there is a one-bag luggage allowance.

But transport analysts say the idea is likely to catch on among young people who will not mind foregoing such luxuries for a cheap fare.

Fares likely to rise

A pilot scheme has already been running between Oxford and London which Stagecoach says has been a "great success".

From 8 September, the bright yellow Megabuses will run 12 times a day between Edinburgh and Glasgow, seven times between Glasgow, Perth and Dundee and seven times between Edinburgh, Perth and Dundee.

If the scheme is a success, the Perth-based company hopes to roll it out across Scotland and perhaps the entire country.

An advertising campaign is planned featuring Megadriver, a fat jolly bus driver.

Megabus fares may go up once the service is established, depending on when the journey is booked.

But Stagecoach says even last-minute fares will stay at competitive rates, not rising above 3 or 4.

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