The UK’s two leading long-distance bus operators, Megabus and National Express, say no services will run in England and Wales from Monday onwards.
National Express will also axe Anglo-Scottish services but Megabus will continue to run buses in Scotland, as will Scottish Citylink.
National Express told passengers: “In line with government advice on Covid-19, we have been running a reduced network for essential travel only.
“However, as more people rightly stay at home, we have decided to temporarily suspend all services from 11.59pm on Sunday 5 April.
“When the time is right, we look forward to welcoming you back on board.”
National Express said affected passengers will be able to postpone journeys or claim a full refund.
The Birmingham-based firm has, unusually for a transport operator during the coronavirus, announced a date when it will re-start a network of inter-city services: 1 June 2020. But it warns: “These services are for essential travel only and are subject to change depending on government advice.”
Megabus quickly followed its rival in suspending services from Monday 6 April. Mark Venables, the managing director, said: “Following the government’s guidance to stay at home and stop all non-essential travel, we’ve taken the tough decision to temporarily suspend our Megabus services in England and Wales with no services running after Sunday 5 April.
“But we’ll still be continuing to run our Megabus services within Scotland.”
Passengers will be sent emails saying that their money has been refunded. The company said: “If this affects you and haven’t received an email from us in a few days, please contact our customer services team on [email protected] who will be able to look into this for you.”
The Oxford Tube, which in normal times operates every 10 minutes between the city and London, will also be suspended from Monday. The firm said: “Despite running a revised timetable, the number of people travelling on Oxford Tube services has dropped significantly since the national government guidance was issued on non-essential travel.
“The difficult decision has now been taken to suspend the service until further notice.”
Across the UK, bus ridership is estimated to have fallen by 85 per cent, with about half the normal number of services operating.