Sunday 27 January 2013

iDBUS numéro 2

Well, there's a co-incidence!
Our Northampton correspondent, Alan, reminds us of the following spooky thought:-

In June last year "Passenger Transport" produced a list of those areas that First Group was looking to withdraw from. It was Wigan, Birkenhead, Chester, Kidderminster, Redditch, which have now not only been sold but sold in that order

Of the two remaining companies on the list the next one is ...
... Northampton.
fbb wonders whether "Honest Eric" will be changing his odds (read again).
Now, back to the good idea ...

See also "iDBUS numéro 1" (read again)

En avant, à Paris
iDBUS (idée bus) makes great play of it's quality; including an invocation of Her Maj's gracious and stylistic transport facilities (?).
But what exactly is on offer from, say London to Paris?
Seven departures taking, apparently, 10 hours. Fares, as one might expect, vary according to date and time, so this has to be a random sample ...
... with length of journey shown adjusted for the time difference between UK and France. Nine hours seems a long time compared with Eurostar; but if you want a cheap deal and don't mind sitting comfortably for longer ... You pays your money and makes your choice.

It is worth noting that fares are fixed according to coach departure, so on a specific day ALL seats on the 1200 departure will be £35. The Paris terminus is at Bercy ...
... which is some distance from the centre of the city. Bercy is bottom right ...
... and the main central destinations are top left. But there is a fast link via the fully automatic and driverless Metro Ligne 14, a thrill in itself.

Interestingly, there were some even cheaper offers for the 16.5 hour journey to Lyon!
Obviously for any journey to the southern areas of France, about half the time will be spent overnight. You would need those reclining seats.

iDBUS offers an extensive network ...
... but not all destinations are directly accessible from London. As might be expected there are special offers from time to time, one of which might have even tempted fbb:-
£10 return from London to Lyon was a very tempting introductory offer.
But there's also Megabus, which we know is ludicrously cheap if you travel when the nice smiling man wants you to.
But you only have a choice of one daytime and one overnight trip.

On some dates Megabus is offering seats at £5 ...
... whilst idBUS was only showing "FULL".

La SNCF est satisfaite des premiers résultats d'iDBUS, le nouveau service de liaisons internationales par autocar lancé le 23 juillet 2012 qui relie Londres, Bruxelles ou Amsterdam à Paris et à Lille. Elle va ouvrir un hub à Lyon à la fin de l'année pour desservir le sud de l'Europe.

Owned, operated by and subsidised by (?) French (State) Railways ...
... iDBUS has only been going since July 2012. If, as fbb's lorry driving chum David suggested in yesterday's blog (read again), the coaches are carrying "fresh air" then the business plan might be in trouble. On the other hand, if there really are days when all seven departures are "FULL" then the "bonne idée" of iDBUS looks a sure-fire winner.

One on-line article is positive about an iDBUS journey from London to Paris:-

When I arrived, the two drivers were friendly and bilingual; they checked my ticket, took my luggage, and welcomed me on board. The coach was spacious, had free wi-fi and power outlets, and the seats reclined pretty far back. It was quite comfortable as far as buses go.

I awoke just before midnight, when we took a thirty-minute break at a rest stop just before hitting the Eurotunnel. Immediately after the rest stop we went to immigration. Officers came on board and collected our passports; they disappeared for a few minutes then quickly returned the stamped passports.

I’m not entirely sure what the Eurotunnel is [the writer, "Expatedna", is youthful American, touring Europe; 'nuff said!] as I fell asleep almost immediately after we started moving, so I really can’t say.

The bus was scheduled to arrive at 7:35 at Paris Bercy, a train station in the southeastern 12th arrondissement. We actually arrived at 6:00, an hour and a half early.

Sadly, fbb suspects that Mrs fbb would put her foot down with a heavy hand at the idea of an overnight to Paris, a day on the metro and an overnight back. But if any blog reader does something similar, please send a full report. "Public Transport Expeience" always welcomes contributions.

 Next Bus Blog : Monday 27th January 


  1. Sadly my £5.00 each way trip to Lyon last week had to be cancelled due to work commitments. However, the service from IDBUS was good. Having booked my trip last November I had an email from them five days before departure, reminding me to print out my tickets, complete with itinerary, confirmation of allocated seat number that I had chosen, the services on board such as wifi, as well as detailed colour maps of the terminals at Victoria and Lyon. The following day I received another email saying that they had noticed I had still not printed out my ticket and not to forget as I would need it to check in and travel with.

    Their website has some interesting information. including the fact that the Commercial Director is one Paul Bunting. Recognition of the differing ideas of differing nations is also there.
    "iDBUS wants to offer its passenger the best possible service. That is why we have gathered as many points of view as we have clients. Historians, sociologists, and ethnologists have all stood around the cradle of iDBUS. And because the English, Belgian, and Spanish hold different views on travel, a difference that also applies to Frenchmen from the north or south and Paris, iDBUS is multicultural. It brings together multiple complementary skills from the world of road and rail transport, from the world of tourism and the service industry."

    I am looking forward to having the opportunity to make a trip in the future and compare the offering against Megabus and Eurolines.

  2. For those that don't know, here is the CV of Paul Bunting (as above) from "LinkedIn".

    Chief Executive
    National Express Limited
    February 2006 – October 2010 (4 years 9 months)
    Birmingham, United Kingdom

    Strategic Planning and Marketing Director
    National Express Group
    January 2008 – December 2009 (2 years)
    Birmingham, United Kingdom

    Managing Director
    Midland Mainline
    March 2004 – February 2006 (2 years)

    UK Business Development Director
    Stagecoach Group plc
    September 2002 – February 2004 (1 year 6 months)

    Commercial Director
    First North Western
    1997 – 2002 (5 years)

    I have met him when he wore his Stagecoach hat. I am quite sure he wouldn't remember me. It was at the Stagecoach depot in Stockport!