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Need more help from the Britons

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Jyrki21
Member
#1 · Posted: 8 Aug 2005 23:18
You folks have provided me with good information on Nottingham so far for my two visits. Now I need a little help with Exeter, if any of you know anything about it!

My girlfriend has a conference there in September, and I'm playing travel agent for her, as she wants to take a little side-trip into France.

Exeter airport is apparently located 5 miles (8 km) from the town center. There is a flight to Paris that leaves very early (6:30 a.m.), before any of the public transit is running. Do any of you know how much such a journey might cost by taxi? Is it common practice in towns the size of Exeter to book a taxi the night before for an early-morning jaunt?

Thanks for any help you can provide!

(Relatedly: if she were to take a coach from Exeter to London, and then London to Luton for a different flight, would that be nightmarish? The fares are something like £1 per direction between London and Exeter, and I'm wondering if there's a catch... the website claims the trip is 4.5 hours long... only one more hour than the train, and £33 less... is that illusory?)
Harrock n roll
Moderator
#2 · Posted: 9 Aug 2005 00:40
I’m not actually from Exeter but I have done the National Express coach journey from Exeter to London. I should mention that the National Express stops at Heathrow before London - which takes about 4 hours - so you could check for a flight from there. However I do remember it being a quite tedious journey...

£1 sounds unbelievably cheap for a coach from Exeter to London! I think your girlfriend will have to way up the prices versus whether she prefers more than 6 extra hours of extra travel (Luton), 4 hours (Heathrow) or a few minutes (Exeter!)

I think a 5 mile taxi journey should be less than £10 (it’s about £6 for the same distance in London). And you would be wise to book it the night before - I certainly would, and have on similar occasions.

Hope that helps! :)
Jyrki21
Member
#3 · Posted: 9 Aug 2005 01:34
Harrock n roll:
I think a 5 mile taxi journey should be less than £10 (it’s about £6 for the same distance in London). And you would be wise to book it the night before - I certainly would, and have on similar occasions.

Thanks, Harrock! I imagine that'll probably seal the deal for her, as I was expecting it to be a fair bit more (buses seem to take 20 minutes, but I guess those are also city buses with stops, etc.)

The reason why Luton in particular is such a good alternative is that she's actually going to the Basel-Strasbourg-Freiburg region on my recommendation. i.e. Paris is really just where she'd pick up the TGV, not where she'd be staying. And EasyJet has a very nice, cheap Luton-Basel flight available. (There's one from Stansted too for £10 more, but I figure it's no more convenient). None of the cheapies fly from Heathrow, as far as I know. (Obviously, she's flying into Heathrow when she arrives in England from Montreal in the first place).

£1 sounds unbelievably cheap for a coach from Exeter to London! I think your girlfriend will have to way up the prices versus whether she prefers more than 6 extra hours of extra travel (Luton), 4 hours (Heathrow) or a few minutes (Exeter!)

It's National Express, and they claim it's £1 ("funfare"), with no apparent other fees... this is why I was so skeptical (or 'sceptical' for you folks), and am wondering if anyone can tell me that there's actually some hidden £30 "booking fee" or something?

Tell me if I'm missing anything here:

http://www.nationalexpress.com/bp/b2.cfm?id=33045936
jock123
Moderator
#4 · Posted: 9 Aug 2005 09:01
There are several bus comapnies offering these low-cost fares (from £1 up) to all sorts of destinations at the moment - The Magic Bus, EasyBus etc. - but be sure to book well in advance, as that affects the amount you pay, and I think the number of places at the rock-bottom price are limited (I’ve not done it myself, but I have heard of folks I know who have). But yes, you can really travel for £1!

Remeber to leave a full couple of hours at Luton for check-in/ security; EasyJet have been made by the airport operator (they claim) to run a free-for-all check-in system, which instead of giving each flight a check-in desk of its own, has everyone for all EasyJet flights joining just a handful of queues. It is really inefficient, and I have no idea why it is seen as a good thing - the queues headed nearlly out the airport’s front doors in February… Hopefully it was just some by-product of the terminal expansions taking place, and it will go back to normal soon.
Jyrki21
Member
#5 · Posted: 10 Aug 2005 17:51
OK, now I have a question on a different matter:

Last time we flew into the UK, we flew into Gatwick, and were able to pick up our train tickets (to Nottingham on Midland Mainline) from there.

She's flying into Heathrow this time, and is planning to take First Great Western to Exeter directly from the Airport. I called FGW this morning, however, and they claim that they cannot arrange a ticket pickup from Heathrow. And then on their website (as well as thetrainline.com), Heathrow isn't one of the options for a "FastTicket" pickup.

Is this actually true that someone who doesn't live in the UK has now way to pick up a train ticket at the country's largest airport?!
jockosjungle
Member
#6 · Posted: 10 Aug 2005 20:07
Well if Thetrainline says not then I guess not, I have always found them to offer an excellent service. Although it does seem rather strange

Rik
jock123
Moderator
#7 · Posted: 11 Aug 2005 18:41
I’ve just looked at thetrainline.com (addmitedly for today’s services), and I can’t see a through train for First Great Western to Exeter from Heathrow, so could that be the reason?

With a journey of two changes, they list Heathrow Link, Great Western Link and First Great Wetern as the providers; however she could take a combination Bus/ Rail service (bus to Woking then onwards by train) with South West Trains Ltd. - that might do the trick, but it is 1hr 40min slower…
edcharlesadams
Trivia Challenge Score Keeper
#8 · Posted: 12 Aug 2005 16:25
From Heathrow you'll need to get the Heathrow Express to London Paddington (every half hour), then you can get a direct train to Exeter St David's from there. You shouldn't have any trouble buying a ticket at Heathrow, and there are FastTicket machines at Paddington for the journey to Exeter.

Incidentally Jyrki, I'm currently living in Exeter so if you have any more questions about the place feel free to contact me directly. Unfortunately I can't help with your first query because I've never used the airport.

Ed
jock123
Moderator
#9 · Posted: 12 Aug 2005 16:32
Isn’t the Heathrow Express meant to be very pricey? I always thpught it was really aiming at the business traveller… Cost of course may not be an issue…
jockosjungle
Member
#10 · Posted: 12 Aug 2005 17:23
Well jump on the Underground then, don't remember it being expensive

Rik

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