Stagecoach South West has launched the South West Falcon - the first dedicated 24/7 coach service connecting major locations across the South West.
Roadshows have been held across the region in Plymouth, Exeter, Taunton and Bristol to give people the chance to find out more about the Falcon.
The ‘round-the-clock’ service started on Sunday 14 February (3.30am departure from Plymouth and 7am departure from Bristol) and is operating 19 journeys a day, 7 days a week between Plymouth, Exeter, Taunton, Bristol Airport and Bristol City Centre, allowing passengers to travel to their chosen destinations both day and night.
To celebrate the launch of Falcon, for a fortnight all journeys will cost just £1 (14-27 February).
From the end of February, standard fares will apply, offering a cost effective alternative to the train. These include £5 return journeys anywhere along the route for under 25s and concessionary pass holders and adult returns from just £7.50. All return fares are valid for up to 28 days. Weekly and monthly ticket options for regular commuters are also available, with prices starting from only £20 a week.
The eight new coaches represent a £2.5 million investment by Stagecoach. All feature free Wi-Fi as well as air conditioning, reclining leather seats and charging sockets.
Bob Dennison, Managing Director of Stagecoach South West, said: “We were delighted to see so many people turn up to the roadshows including the event in Plymouth. People had the opportunity to view the new coach, receive timetable information and ask any questions.
“I am confident this new 24/7 connection will prove extremely popular with commuters, university students, shoppers, day trippers and, of course, holidaymakers flying from Bristol Airport.”
Steve Hindley, Chair of Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership, said “We welcome this new round-the-clock service connecting major towns and cities in the heart of the South West. We support and campaign for improvements across the full breadth of the transport agenda – road, rail and air – so this new services adds real value to the connectivity of the area.”
Bryony Chetwode, from Travelwatch South West, added, "The Falcon enables people to travel across the whole of the South West easily, frequently and reliably – and at a great price. The launch of the Falcon marks a positive development in the region's network of public transport. Passengers will really benefit from this streamlined service which is time efficient and passenger friendly and Stagecoach is to be commended."
Liz Macnaughton, Commercial Manager – Ground Transportation, Bristol Airport said, “We are delighted to welcome the Falcon coach service which will give customers from key catchment areas easy access to and from Bristol Airport. We are committed to working with transport partners on improving surface access to the Airport now and in the future. This is the first time a service will be available to customers from Plymouth, Exeter and Taunton and I am sure it will be a success.”
Falcon connects Plymouth, Exeter, Cullompton, Taunton, Bristol International Airport and Bristol city centre, with the frequent service running through the week and at weekends, day and night.
The timetable has been designed for commuters, leisure and airport travellers, with an hourly service from early morning to late evening, and services through the night too, ensuring 19 departures every 24 hours.
Holidaymakers and business travellers will enjoy a frequent service to and from Exeter, Plymouth and Bristol Airport, with the journey between Plymouth and the airport taking just over 3 hours and from Exeter to the airport taking 1 hour, 45 minutes. There will be direct drop-off at the departures terminal.
As well as Bretonside Bus Station in Plymouth, there are stops at Laira flyover, Marley Head and Drumbridges roundabout. The two Exeter stops are opposite the park and rides at Sowton, Sandygate, and Honiton Road, by the Barn Owl. There is also a stop by The Weary Traveller at Junction 28 of the M5, Cullompton.
Falcon is a ‘turn up and go’ service, with tickets, including weekly season tickets, bought in cash direct from the driver. A select number of tickets will also soon be available to pre-book via www.megabus.com, where fares will be available from as little as £1 plus 50p booking fee. Four week season tickets will be available to buy online at www.stagecoachbus.com. All one and four week season tickets will be issued on Stagecoach Smart cards.
Stagecoach will also shortly be launching a dedicated Twitter account for Falcon. In the meantime, you can keep up to date with the Falcon service by following @stagecoachsw on Twitter.
More details of the new service, including fares information and the full timetable, are available at www.swfalcon.com.