Budget coach service Megabus is making the best of high train fares as customers abandon rail travel over ticket prices

Stephan Shakespeare
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The low-cost bus company operates routes all over Europe (Source: Getty)

Megabus, the low-cost coach service, appears to be benefiting from high train prices. With a model based on long-distance coach journeys, sold at low prices – even as low as £1 for less popular routes – Megabus serves more than 120 destinations in the UK and Europe.

Passengers willing to put up with sometimes gruelling journey times can make huge savings.

Using YouGov Profiles data, we can see which groups with whom the service proves particularly popular. In doing, so it is clear why Megabus’ strategy is proving so effective.

At first glance, its customers are what we would expect. Compared with the national average, Megabus customers are younger in age, with males aged 18-24 and 25-34 the most likely passenger age groups. They are also more likely to currently be a student. YouGov BrandIndex data indicates that perception of value decreases with age.

Its customer base is not made up simply of students and young people as just over half work full time.

It may be that those in full time work choose Megabus over the train because certain groups in society no longer see rail travel as a viable long-distance transport option.

It is notable that 59 per cent of Megabus customers see railway re-nationalisation as a top issue. This is supported by the fact that Megabus customers are more likely to be part of the C2DE social group.

For many, the brand may be viewed as a second choice or, indeed, a last resort. But the company’s no-frills approach resonates with its customer base as well as those that minded to keep a close eye on their finances.

Convincing consumers from the older age groups to become customers could be crucial in its expansion efforts.

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