National Express : London Victoria Coach Station to Bradford

I’m posting out of order again (as in not in date order, I’m not being any more controversial than usual) as this was my National Express journey from London to get to the LDWA groups’ weekend being held in Haworth.

This is the National Express coach that departed from Gate 14 at the always cramped Victoria coach station in London. I was the first to board, not least as I was keen to get to my emergency exit row seat to get about an extra 2.5 centimetres of space. There was a friendly welcome from the drivers, who were switching around at Milton Keynes or somewhere similar given the distance.

Here we are after having boarded, with the coach being clean and comfortable. National Express seem to be one of the companies who are doing their best to keep their transport clean given the current health crisis.

And then we sat there for a while….. The driver made an announcement at the departure time that the coach was going to wait on a delayed coach given that there were connecting passengers. He had been told by the control room that the passengers were at the coach station and would be boarding soon, but after numerous delays the driver came on about 15 minutes after departure time and said “control said that we can go without the other passengers”.

That put us 15 minutes behind, but London was busy and the coach crawled out of the capital slowly and clearly getting behind schedule. I’m surprised that National Express make these schedules so optimistic, as there was nothing that the driver could have done and I’d have thought it’s better to err on the side of caution and expect delays rather than to expect the coach driver to storm the vehicle up the M1. The coach was meant to take just over five hours to get from London to Bradford, but it transpired to be nearer to seven hours by the time that it got there.

The coach was quiet until Milton Keynes, when it became pretty packed. It was still comfortable enough though and the air vents and power worked as expected, so the temperature was appropriate. The driver did make regular announcements about the delay, so he did what he could and kept everyone informed.

I was getting picked up at Bradford Interchange to get a lift to YHA Haworth, but it transpired that it was better for me to get off at Leeds and my lift picked me up from there instead. That was handy as it gave me chance to walk to a Head of Steam that I haven’t visited before, but meant I didn’t get to go on the coach all the way to Bradford, and incidentally nor did nearly anyone else and this seemed primarily a service used by customers going to Leeds.

I would have preferred to get the train from London to Keighley, which is the nearest railway station to Haworth, but that would have cost at least £70 which was just too decadent. This coach journey cost £10 and that seems pretty decent value to me.