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Overview of bus companies in Europe

Bus and coach travel in Europe is popular as it is usually very low cost and offers a large number of connections to just about anywhere across the continent. Coach and bus stations in Europe are very common and can be found even in rural areas and smaller villages as they may provide the only connections to larger urban areas in some countries. Regular services between large cities are the most popular, and in some cases can be a great alternative to train travel. Bus travel in Europe is usually covered by a wide range of providers, with many more routes being offered by deregulated private companies. As a result, tickets purchased for buses or coaches can rarely be used in conjunction with other transport methods. However, some regional or city companies may offer promotional tickets or tours via come coach and bus companies, so it is always worth investigating further.

There are hundreds of bus and coach carriers across Europe, and some of the most popular include Eurolines, MeinFernbus Flixbus, iDBUS, National Express, and Alsa. Some of these providers are subsidiaries of nationalised transportation companies, while others will be privatised companies. Eurolines is by far the largest and often works in partnership with some of the others to create connections that can stretch from the South of Spain all the way to Helsinki. With so many different providers the services and facilities on buses can vary, however the majority of companies offer air conditioning, comfort seating and toilet facilities. Some other modern amenities that are becoming more frequent also include WiFi and electrical outlets.

Major Bus Companies in Europe

Eurolines

Eurolines offers the most connections throughout Europe as they often partner with some of the biggest coach companies as well as offer their own services directly. Founded in 1985, Eurolines has over 600 destinations covering the whole of Europe, as well as to Morocco. The company carries over 4 million passengers per year. Eurolines facilities vary by country, though a high standard of service is always expected and the company prides itself on its fleet of over 500+ modern and comfortable coaches. From the south of Spain to the Baltic coast - Eurolines is simply unrivaled in terms of providing a network of bus and coach connections.

Flixbus

Flixbus is the main bus provider in Germany and its neighboring countries. The easy-to-spot bright green buses operate over a route network with more than 200 destinations making Flixbus over the most well-connected coach network in Germany. Some of the most popular routes offered by Flixbus include intercity connections between major German cities, as well as regional or smaller villages and towns. The main hubs are found in Berlin and Hamburg, but buses to and from Frankfurt and Munich are also very popular. The company utilizes a fleet of modern coaches, sometimes even double-decker, which is equipped with free WiFi, power outlets and reading lights, comfortable seating, toilet facilities, and air conditioning.

Popular Journeys:

Ouibus

Ouibus is a bus and coach subsidiary of the SNCF, which is the French state railway. Since 2012, Ouibus has been running international coach services in Europe linking major cities. Ouibus offers popular and modern coach travel options that are fast, efficient, affordable and environmentally-conscious services. Ouibus hubs are currently located at the Lille-Europe, Paris-Bercy and Lyon-Perrache stations. Ouibus runs regular services to and from London and some of the most popular routes serviced include Paris, Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport, Lille, Brussels and Amsterdam. Within continental Europe, services also are available to various destinations in Germany, Spain and Italy, such as buses from Marseille to Genoa, Milan and Barcelona, and buses from Paris to Turin, Aachen and Cologne.

Ouibus prides itself on a high-quality service across all routes. This includes their current bus fleet which meets the Euro 5 emission standard and is 100% accessible for passengers with limited mobility. Amenities such as WiFi and European 220V electrical sockets are also fitted for each seat (of course UK passengers should note to bring their own plug adapters), and toilet facilities are available on each bus. All the bus drivers or ‘captains’ are bilingual, speaking both English and French for passengers. There are not different classes available with their coach services, however, a number of ticket options available include single tickets, return tickets, group travel tickets and tickets for children. Unlike many other low-cost bus and coach services, Ouibus fares are guaranteed to remain consistent as the bus fills up or as the departure date approaches, offering fair deals and pricing for coach travel that is unbeatable to some of Europe’s most popular cities.

Popular Journeys:

National Express

National Express offers services to and from practically all of the major towns and cities across the UK. The company, offering intercity long-distance national coaches, was founded in 1972 and is based out of Birmingham. It is the largest coach company in the United Kingdom and is owned by the National Express Group, with most of their services being subcontracted to local coach companies throughout Wales, Scotland and England. With buses initially departing primarily out of London Victoria Station, National Express now offers services to over 900 destinations throughout the United Kingdom.

As a low budget travel option, National Express offer a reliable alternative to the British rail system. The air-conditioned coaches used by the company also provide reclining leather seats with seat back tray tables and power outlets, allowing passengers to charge their electronic devices. Toilet facilities are of course also available on all of their buses. Keeping up with modern times, free WiFi is available on all coaches, and while onboard catering was phased out in the 1990s, passengers still welcome to bring cold food and drinks on board for the journey.

Popular Journeys:

Alsa

Alsa is the largest bus operator in Spain, as well as one of the largest in Europe, with 243.9 million passengers taking coaches to destinations all across the country in 2012. The bus provider is also popular for destinations outside of Spain, including intercity routes to major destinations in Portugal, France and many European capitals. The large network also offers a number of routes in North Africa. Alsa's large and modern fleet of coaches offer a variety of service types including Premium and Supra choices for greater travelling comfort and amenities, facilities specifically for children and infants, WiFi , entertainment, toilets and even on board catering and a bus attendant on Supra Plus class routes.

Popular Journeys:


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US bus companies

At the core of bus routes in the United States, some of the major carriers include Greyhound bus, Flixbus, and Amtrak. The bus schedules and routes across the country get you to destination cities and rural forests and coastlines. Travel by bus is sustainable when compared to other travel options, and with bus travel, you never have to worry about fuel, traffic, or losing your luggage. The sleek, luxurious coaches offer comforts on your journey, including plush, thick seats that are adjustable. Electrical outlets and reading lights are at every seat, and you have choices when it comes to fares.

Greyhound

Greyhound bus is North America’s largest bus company with over 2,000 destinations across Mexico, the United States, and Canada. Popular destinations include larger cities like New York and Vancouver. Greyhound is known for its efficient, clean service, and luxury coaches. The panoramic windows offer wide scenic views, and the seats are adjustable to a comfortable ride. Greyhound routes buses across the country and is known for its intercity travel at a reasonable price. Popular routes include Philadelphia to New York City or New York City to Atlantic City. You can purchase cheap bus tickets for Greyhound on the Omio app and see all the available destinations. Popular stations include the larger, modern, or historic stations in the larger cities like Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, and New York City. The stations offer shopping, dining, and lounges, plus, many restaurants are located near the stations. Greyhound buses are equipped to handle passengers with disabilities, and assistance is available on the bus and at the stations. Wheelchair lifts are on every bus to make medical device transfers easy. Discounts on Greyhound bus tickets can be found by checking the Omio app for specials, but your best bet is to purchase your fare as far in advance as possible.

Megabus

Megabus offers intercity and city to city bus routes across North America for an incredibly reasonable price. Megabus serves over 100 different cities, including college campuses. The immaculate double_decker coaches give you a panoramic view from floor_to_ceiling windows, and your ride will be comfortable with adjustable seats and plenty of legroom. Electrical outlets allow you to charge your devices on those long trips, and onboard bathrooms offer convenience. Some of the most popular routes include Washington to New York, Philadelphia to Baltimore, and Arlington to Harrisburg. Like Amtrak buses and others, Megabus is committed to sustainable travel, and their high_tech coaches are three times more efficient in lowering CO2 emissions compared to commuter rail. Megabus is always working to improve its fleet of buses with new technologies and improved bus engineering. They pioneered their GreenRoad System, which helps reduce fuel consumption, carbon emissions, and computerized feedback on bus operations like braking and speed. You might find discounts on bus fares by checking the Omio app for specials, but above everything, booking your bus tickets as early as possible will get you deep discounts on your fare for truly cheap bus tickets. Know that luggage allowances for Megabus include one piece of luggage and one carry_on bag.

Travel sustainably by bus

Like many Chicago buses, bus sustainability across the world is making enormous changes in how buses are engineered. Buses produce less CO2 emissions than other forms of transportation, including air travel, automobiles, and trains. Taking bus routes from city to city is good for the Earth, and in doing so you’re helping reduce the carbon footprint across the Earth.

Save time and money traveling with night buses

If you don’t like to travel during the day, consider the convenience of taking a sleeper bus. The roomy coaches are perfect for sleep as the seats fully recline as your get to your destination city. The trip will seem shorter on sleeper buses because you sleep through the journey.

Best night bus routes in Europe

In the past few years, the popularity of travel by night bus for long_distance trips has grown. With later connections after 7 p.m. and more faraway destinations, night buses offer adjustable seats for sleeping and electrical outlets for charging devices. Bus companies like Alsa and Avanza offer multiple night buses to multiple destinations. A popular travel route with Alsa is Barcelona to Madrid. The trip takes about 7h 34min and covers a distance of 312 miles (504 km). Because it’s such a popular route, there are around 36 nightly buses. Buses depart the Barcelona Nord station and arrive at Estación Sur. Another popular route is Madrid to Valencia. The shorter trip covers 87 miles (302 km) and takes around 4h 15min. The departure station is Estación Sur, and the arrival station is Estación de Autobuses. Avanza offers bus service at multiple times to connect to later night trains.

Best night bus routes in the United States

Among the best_known Amtrak bus routes for the United States to Canada, multiple departures leave in the late evening to connect to other buses for night travel to Canada. The route from New York to Toronto is a popular trip, and the journey takes around 11h. Ourbus has at least one bus departing daily with other connections for night travel. Other popular cross_country routes include New York to Seattle. This trip takes around 139h 39min, and Greyhounds offer double_decker buses equipped for comfortable night travel. One bus departs at midnight to get you to Seattle at 4:35 p.m. Passengers enjoy the trip from Virginia to Tampa, also. That journey takes 36h 35min, and Greyhound has a bus departing at 6:20 p.m. The trip has 3 stops. All buses are equipped for passengers with disabilities and with medical equipment lifts and wheelchair storage.

Bus Companies: FAQs

1. Where can I buy my bus ticket?

You can book your ticket and manage your travel on the Omio app. Search for all things travel and look for discounts, too. Omio makes it easy to organize your trips and get 24/7 support no matter where you are.

2. Do I need to print my bus ticket?

Yes, you can print the ticket to your phone on the Omio App or print a paper copy. You’ll need to show your ticket along with your identification like a driver’s license or passport. You can also sign in to your Omio account to retrieve your ticket.

3. Can I cancel my bus ticket?

You can go to My Bookings to cancel your ticket. If your ticket is eligible for refunds it will state it on your ticket. For extra help, go to help on the Omio app.

4. Can I exchange my bus ticket?

Once the ticket is booked, seats cannot be changed as the system automatically assigns seats to fill the bus. It’s best to plan your travel carefully to avoid mishaps on dates or seats.

5. How many pieces of luggage can I check on the bus?

On most bus carriers, you are allowed to take two pieces of luggage and a carry_on item. Luggage must fit the carrier’s weight limit and be the correct dimensions. Dangerous substances are not allowed.

6. What are the services available for people with reduced mobility?

All buses are equipped to handle passengers with disabilities, including storage for wheelchairs and wheelchair lifts to help transfer. Assistance is available on the bus and at the station.

7. Can children under 18 travel by themselves?

Children 16 years old and older can travel alone on most bus carriers. It’s a good idea to check when booking tickets to get all the rules.

8. Can I bring my bike on board the bus?

Depending on the carrier and your day of travel, you might not be able to store a bike for an extra fee. Holidays and weekends can sometimes be crowded so there might not be room.

9. What can I take in my hand luggage on the bus?

You can take one carry_on item on the bus, and other canes, walkers, umbrellas don’t count and can be stored.

10. How can I make a group booking for bus tickets?

Simply use the Omio app and book your tickets. You must supply photo identification for all persons when booking tickets.

11. Can I change the name on the bus ticket?

You can change your name as long as there is proof of ID. The identification must match the name on the ticket.
Most carriers mandate a Covid test or a vaccination before traveling by bus.

 

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