National Express SUSPENDS all coach services due to new Covid lockdown and falling passenger numbers

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National Express is to suspend its network of coach services due to tighter coronavirus restrictions and falling passengers numbers.

The firm said that all of its coach services will be temporarily suspended from 11.59pm on Sunday and all journeys before Monday will be completed to ensure passengers are not stranded.

All customers whose travel has been cancelled will be contacted and offered a free amendment or full refund, it added.

Chris Hardy, managing director of National Express UK Coach, said the decision will be reviewed regularly and the company plans to be back on the road ‘as soon as the time is right’.

He said a provisional restart date of Monday March 1 has been put in place.

Mr Hardy added: ‘We have been providing an important service for essential travel needs.

‘However, with tighter restrictions and passenger numbers falling, it is no longer appropriate to do this.

‘As the vaccination programme is rolled out and Government guidance changes, we will regularly review when we can restart services.

‘We plan to be back on the road as soon as the time is right and have put a provisional restart date of Monday March 1 in place (subject to change).

‘The whole team at National Express worked incredibly hard throughout 2020 and I want to thank them for their efforts as we pause our services.

‘We will now make sure we are ready to get back behind the wheel as soon as the nation needs us again.’

National Express first suspended coach services during the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic in April, then restarted with reduced frequencies in July.

It comes as Grant Shapps today revealed that the diktat forcing travellers to present a negative covid test before travelling to the UK will be imposed ‘next Wednesday or Thursday’ to give 100,000 Britons abroad the chance to get home.

The Transport Secretary has said nobody will be able to depart for Britain by plane, train or ferry unless they present a ‘recognised’ test result on check-in along with a valid passport and visa if required.

Mr Shapps said that airlines or other travel firms such as Eurostar or P&O would be forced by law to check – and turn back anyone without one. Anyone who slips through will face a £500 on-the-spot fine. It is not clear whether they will then forced into quarantine or prosecuted.

Travellers will have to self-isolate for ten days after arrival, regardless of whether they tested negative, to the ire of industry leaders who today declared the plan will further damage Britain’s travel industry with boss of Heathrow, John Holland-Kaye, warning: ‘Very few people will travel with this in place’.

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