Iconic Greyhound bus on track for UK launch

Greyhound bus services will run from London to cities such as Portsmouth and Southampton.
For almost a century, the old dog has traversed landscapes across the United States, with weary, budget-conscious travelers peeking out of its windows.

Now, the iconic Greyhound is taking to the road in Britain. The company will run hourly bus services from London to select cities, starting Monday. In contrast to its U.S. services, however, the buses are glitzier and more luxurious. “The UK service will have wireless Internet, spacious leather seats, more leg room and free newspapers,” said Alex Warner, managing director of Greyhound UK. “Obviously, we wanted our services to reflect the nature of UK passengers.” For inaugural Greyhound service in Britain, the company aimed to start with the best the United States has to offer, Warner added. In North America, the same services are available from New York and Washington to select cities such as Boston and Toronto, Canada. “There are plans to expand that. Americans should watch closely. We will introduce more of these services based on how well they are received in the UK,” Warner said. Despite the added benefits, fares will still target the budget-conscious traveler in Britain, according to Warner. The service starts with a few cities — from London to Portsmouth and Southampton, he said. The approximately 120-kilometer (80-mile) trip will cost 1 ($1.60) if a ticket is bought in advance, Warner said. Prices will go up to 4 or 5, depending on time of purchase. “We are planning to keep the prices within that range,” Warner said. Greyhound Lines is owned by British transport company FirstGroup, which bought it from its U.S. parent in 2007. It was founded in 1914, and has services in Mexico and Canada, according to its Web site. In a nod to its cameos in American movies and songs, such as the 1969 film “Midnight Cowboy” and Simon and Garfunkel’s 1972 hit “America,” Greyhound plans to keep at least one tie to its U.S. origins. Buses in Britain will be named after classic American songs. The names include “Sweet Caroline” and “Good Golly Miss Molly,” Warner said.