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BBT March/April 2019 cover
March/April 2019

East Coast Trains takes on the airlines

East Coast Trains joins GTMC

East Coast Trains is slashing the cost of its Scottish Executive ticket between Edinburgh and London in a bold move to win more business from airlines.

The ticket will cost only £99 return compared to the usual £199 from this Sunday (February 3) until March 4.

This offer is only available through TMCs, and as with the normal Scottish Executive deal it is booked in standard class but automatically upgraded to first class, which means it does not contravene travel policy when first class travel is forbidden. The walk-up “anytime” return first class fare is £416.

The ticket is bookable up to 18.00 on the day before travel, and the return ticket is flexible. It includes complimentary at-seat meals in first class, and free wifi.

With a journey time of 4h-4h 30m between the two capitals, East Coast is already chipping away at airlines’ market share. This has increased by two percentage points in the last year to 24 per cent, whereas from Newcastle to London it has reached 60 per cent.

“We are already seeing modal shift by business travellers from air to rail, and we are steadily gaining share on Edinburgh-London,” said an East Coast spokesman.

“The latest National Passenger Survey by transport watchdog Passenger Focus shows we have achieved 92% overall satisfaction, the highest score on East Coast since the survey was launched back in 1999.”

East Coast is currently being run by the Department for Transport, and no date has been fixed for the franchise to be re-let. An intermediate business or premium economy-style class may then be introduced.

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