National Express – Norwich to Liverpool

After I had obtained some low priced accommodation in Liverpool, I just had to work out how to get there from Norwich. The trains weren’t priced at a particularly attractive level, which was especially irritating as there’s a direct service from Norwich to Liverpool (although I think that’s going as part of the franchise changes).

So, I decided to abandon my favourite form of ground transportation and instead of using the rail network, I looked at the bus options. National Express had a return fare from Norwich to Liverpool for £28, which was much cheaper than any other option.

The only little problem with this plan is that the journey was eight hours each way. Just what I wanted…..

Anyway, I boarded in Norwich and the driver mentioned that I was going on a long journey. Much as I appreciated his enthusiasm, I did privately think that I was already well aware of this situation. On this point, the boarding process was all very efficient and I was able to get an emergency exit row seat (they’re not really called that on buses, but it cheered me up to compare it to an aircraft).

I boarded the bus twenty minutes before departure, and like some child on a school trip, I managed to eat my Tesco meal deal lunch before we had even started. Marvellous.

At Birmingham, we were allowed off the bus. I’m not sure if disembarking was compulsory, but I got off to explore the facilities. And the city’s coach station is pretty bland, full of expensive outlets, chargeable toilets and nothing much of interest. So, I waited in line to get back on the bus. Fortunately, the driver called us existing customers back on first, so we didn’t have to show tickets and the like again. Other than for one customer who the driver had clearly forgotten and he had to show his ticket again.

Driving through Birmingham….. The bus was pretty much always on time, although it missed out several stops such as Dereham and Wisbech if no passengers wanted to get off there.

As for comfort, the bus wasn’t too bad at all, particularly with the extra space of the emergency exit seat towards the back. One woman, who shall we say wasn’t exactly a millennial, decided she wanted to watch some television soap on a tablet with the sound on, which irritated me. So I stared at her angrily, to which she was oblivious, and I thought it might be best for me just to put earphones on instead.

The driving, which was completed by three drivers, was all professional and it felt a safe environment. The power on board worked well, although the Internet was a bit hopeless and I gave up with that very early on during the journey. The bus wasn’t spotless, but it was sufficiently clean to not cause me any concerns.

The highlights, other than arriving, were seeing my accommodation at Keele University (B Block, Lindsay Hall) from the M6 and also watching Jonathan travelling in the other direction on a Megabus service from Liverpool. I can’t say that I exactly enjoyed the whole journey, but it was easy, comfortable and fairly priced.