National Express : Norwich to Cambridge

One of the very exciting things that Jamie Burles has done in his tenure of Greater Anglia is to oversee a near-doubling of the price of the rail rover ticket in just a few years. I’ve never understood this and the Greater Anglia press office admitted he had no answer or comment, because that rover ticket can helpfully fill trains up a bit during quieter periods of the day. As it stands now, Greater Anglia need people on the trains during the quieter periods of the day, but I’m sure Burles knows what he’s doing so I’ll stay positive. But, it has meant that the cost of an open return ticket to Cambridge has reached such levels as to make it much cheaper by coach.

So, here’s the National Express coach from Norwich bus station, moved over to its new boarding location by the YMCA. The driver was jovial and welcoming, but it wasn’t a particularly packed service with only four of us boarding. The driver measured the temperature of each customer’s wrist, which I didn’t know was a thing. Anyway, he seemed happy with the results, so that made me happy.

A packed service. The automated announcement went wrong and so the driver did his own version, still in his friendly style. All very welcoming.

The coach was spotlessly clean and there were hand dispensers on board, all pointed out by the driver. The temperature on the coach was also just as I would want it, slightly chilled, although I note that the seat-back tables have all been removed. A customer was complaining on the coach before ours, which went to London, that he wanted to sit next to his wife but the seating didn’t allow. The driver was helpful, as apparently people can’t manage to sit on their own for more than three minutes.

Megabus have taken out a lot of their seats, on the grounds of they can’t use a lot of them, so they might as well make customers feel more comfortable. National Express haven’t done this. The leg-room on these coaches really isn’t very good and it would be unbearable for many if sitting behind someone who reclined. Fortunately, this isn’t a problem on a service with four customers.

And safely into Cambridge, all on time. It’s not the faster service as we went through Thetford, Mildenhall, Newmarket and some random stops along the way, but it all took less than two hours. The fare was £10, which seems reasonable to me, although I’d still preferred to have got the train as it’s infinitely more comfortable. The bus was the NX727 service which went to the airports and I was a little jealous of the customers going there….