National Express, which turns 45 this year, has already clocked up 25 million road miles around the United Kingdom since the start of 2017 – a distance equating more than a thousand times around the world.
The famous intercity coach operator traces its origins to 1972 when scheduled coach services run by the National Bus Company were united under one brand known as ‘National’.
Managing Director Chris Hardy said: “National Express is turning 45 and like any good birthday we thought it would be fun to ‘open the family album’ and lift the lid on our archive – including some previously unseen material – in a bid to make people smile.
“People have grown up with National Express and we’ve made memories by connecting people all over the country with their friends and families. We’re proud to be a fixture of the UK’s roads and play our part in the journey of people’s lives. It’s happy birthday to National Express and thank you to the millions of people who’ve come along for the ride”.
Today, National Express has over 900 stops across the UK and operates 19 million journeys a year. Fuelled by the explosion of low-cost flights, around a third of all journeys are now to airports. Birmingham, Bristol, Manchester and Leeds are now the most popular cities to visit by National Express outside of London.
So on to the best part, the ten things you didn’t know about National Express.
1. National Express coaches have covered the A-Z of the nation’s roads, travelling 3.5 billion miles – that’s more than NASA’S International Space Station which completed its 100,000th orbit last year.
2. More than 750 million coach journeys have been made and on average a coach ticket is purchased every four seconds.
3. The longest service is the 588 from London to Inverness – a whopping 582.3 miles.
4. A coach takes up to a mile of car traffic off the roads.
5. Like bus spotters, coach spotters are ‘a thing’ – you will often see them at major events or popular junctions taking notes of registration plates.
6. It’s estimated tens of thousands of coach drivers have donned the famous National Express red tie to get behind the wheel, with 1600 drivers currently working for the company.
7. National Express has pioneered many transport industry ‘firsts’, including the introduction of wheelchair lifts to all its coaches.
8. You cannot start a National Express engine without taking a breathalyser test, which is set much lower than the legal limit.
9. Coaches are more popularly used for commuting, day trips or going on holiday but more than one bride has been known to forgo the traditional horse and carriage and opt for a National Express to get her to the church on time!
10. All manner of weird and wonderful items have ended up in lost property, from false legs to Indian head-dresses and even a live crab.