EasyBus confirm Milton Keynes start date

EasyBus confirm Milton Keynes start date EasyGroup chairman Stelios Haji-loannou aims to compete with rail links with Milton Keynes servi

EASYBUS starts operations in two weeks' time with the launch on 19 August of its first service, running between Hendon Central, in north London, to Milton Keynes. Fares start at £1. Hendon Central is on the Northern line, giving easy Underground connections to central London and is further north than the original planned terminus at Brent Cross, which should reduce traffic delays

The company is starting up with ten 16-seat Mercedes-Benz Sprinters, which are being operated on its behalf by MK Metro. Fares include one piece of hand luggage, but passengers with suitcases have to book additional seats for them.

EasyBus is offering nine departures a day, with an end-to-end journey time of 1 hour 5 minutes for the 45-mile trip.

"Watch out Richard Branson," is the warning from Stelios Haji-Ioannou, EasyGroup chairman. "I am now going to offer consumers a cheaper service than your trains which will also run on time. EasyBus will start by linking Milton Keynes with north London but will then serve more and more towns along the M1 corridor, competing with Virgin trains as well as other train services, buses and cars."

The company - which originally planned a London to Birmingham service - is now saying that the next stage of its expansion will be services from Hendon to Luton Airport, followed by other towns on the M1 corridor and in the northern home counties.

EasyBus is focused on on-line booking but, unlike Stagecoach's Megabus internet brand, the drivers on EasyBus services will accept cash fares if capacity is available on their vehicles. The Hendon to Milton Keynes cash fare will be £5.