Stagecoach to launch luxury sleeper buses

TRAVEL company Stagecoach is eyeing a move into upmarket transport through its budget bus brand Megabus.

It has commissioned a 52ft double-decker bus, designed to carry passengers on inter-city journeys.

It is understood that the buses, which will operate under the firm’s Megabus brand, will have luxury leather seats by day, and give way to more than 40 fully-flat beds at night. The buses will also include a hostess service, where customers will be served food and drink at their seat.

A prototype bus, which will be one of the longest in the world, is currently being developed. It will be tested in Scotland and costs around £500,000.

Stagecoach will order an initial lot of 10 buses, taking the investment in the new premium product to £5m.

The service is expected to be fully-operational by 2013, although it is not known how many routes the buses will be available on. Megabus currently runs an inter-city service across much of England, Scotland and Wales.

Stagecoach declined to say how much the luxury service will cost, and how it will compare in price terms to first-class train travel.

As well as the Megabus brand, Stagecoach Group, run by chief executive Sir Brian Souter, owns the Oxford Tube, a coach service that runs between London and Oxford, and the Scottish Citylink brands, a provider of express coach services in the country.