Our history

1800s - Horse-drawn stage coaches were the fastest way to travel in Victorian times and these were the forerunners to today's nationwide coach networks.

1918 - Around the end of the First World War, motorbuses started to appear on the streets of the UK.

1968 - The National Bus Company was formed, bringing together the independent coach companies under one name.

1974 - The name National Express was used for the first time in publicity materials. It appeared on the famous all-white livery of the coaches in 1978.

1980s - A new Transport Act meant that National Express faced strong competition on most of its routes, especially to/from London. We introduced new services and lowered fares and won the 'coach wars'.

1988 - The National Bus Company was de-regulated, there was a management buy-out in National Express, and a new, more pioneering business was born.

1990s - The business grew and was floated on the Stock Exchange in 1992. We bought businesses in the UK and Europe, expanded our services to the airports and built the UK's first purpose-built coach stations in Liverpool, Leeds and Southampton.

2003 - A new national look was launched that reflected the single identity of the UK coaching operation. A new business called Airlinks was launched to run our airport routes.


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