For most, the thought of a long-distance bus journey conjures up images of cramped seats, no sleep and dodgy convenience facilities. However, one service is aiming to transform overnight bus travel. Megabus, known for its £1 fares, recently launched an overnight sleeper service between London and Glasgow. In my quest to find both the cheapest and most practical way up the country, I decided that at £27 it was definitely worth giving a whirl.
For that price you get a bunk and a seat, but the banter between the drivers is free – and priceless. We left at 11.55pm on the dot and as we weaved carefully (it’s a bendy bus) through the centre of London to the motorway we were given the Health and Safety Talk by John. From the outset it was clear this was a well-thought out service; female travellers are given seats and bunks at the front, couples positioned in the middle and gentlemen travellers at the back. The latter are also asked to have a bit of consideration when using the facilities as, in John’s lovely Glesga brogue: “A’ men dribble, there’s nae getting away fae it.”
There was even advice on how to get in and out of the bunk, and what to do if at any stage we felt unwell during the trip. Then there was a round of biscuits, tablet, mince pies and the offer of a wee nightcap of tea or coffee. After a couple of custard creams we were on the M1 bound for the wilds of Glasgow and I decided to try and get some kip. My designated bunk was a middle one, so not too difficult to manoeuvre in or out of. The bunk, although comfy, is not for the claustrophobic, it can’t be much more than two feet high and lying on your back it is a bit coffin-esque. But in that small space there is a socket for charging phones, a bunk light, the dinkiest of windows – complete with curtain – a duvet and pillow. I didn’t use the duvet much due to the heat on the bus – my only comment would be to have some kind of air vent in the bunk as the stuffy atmosphere did disturb my sleep a little bit.
On the whole, I slept soundly for most of the journey, as did the rest of the people on the bus it seemed, as there were many dazed bed-heads when the 15 minute wake-up call came. As we all came too and got ourselves ready to depart into the dark, windy streets of Glasgow, Scott handed around breakfast packs of pastries and orange juice and asked if we had any feedback on the quality of the service, it was a resounding thumbs up.
Having tried flying, the sleeper train and now the bus – the latter is by far in the lead for London to Glasgow travel. Here’s a quick summary as to why:
Easyjet from Gatwick to Glasgow
Cheapest flights around £19.99 but can go past £100
Flight time approx 1 hour but, as yet, hasn’t taken less than five from door to door
Train / Sleeper Train
Virgin Euston to Glasgow is quickest route at just under 5 hours
Caledonian sleeper takes seven hours – but cabins are expensive unless you can bag a Bargain Bunk, reclining seats are £39
Between Victoria Coach Station and Buchanan St Bus Station
Seat + bunk is £27
Freebies: Tea, coffee, water, juice, biscuits, tablet, overnight pack (missing on my trip as they’d ran out), banter.
So, if you don’t get sick on buses and aren’t too claustrophobic then I highly recommend the Megabus sleeper. Great service, great price.