Bargain coach operator Megabus has been banned from using adverts promising tickets as cheap as £1.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has issued the ban after the firm admitted that as few as one seat per coach is available at the cheapest price
Megabus advertised routes including London to Bath and Aberystwyth to Birmingham on its website and on Facebook in September 2017, boasting fares starting from £1. But two customers complained they had searched for tickets and believed the £1 fares were not available and that the adverts were misleading.
An investigation by the advertising watchdog revealed that just a handful of cheap tickets were available of some journeys.
On the Aberystwyth to Birmingham route, just six out of a maximum of 147 tickets were available for £1 – equivalent to just 4% of fares.
On the London to Bath route, just three out of 96 tickets could be had at the lowest rate – equivalent to just 3%.
Megabus says the number of fares available at this price varied due to factors such as the number of stops made and whether tickets were booked for full or partial routes. It says fares are typically only available for bookings made more than four weeks in advance.
But the regulator found examples of routes where no £1 tickets were available. It says customers would understand from the ads that a significant proportion of the tickets would be available at the advertised rate.
The ASA says the ads for Megabus must not appear again in their current form and that any future claims of journeys ‘from £1’ should only be made where a significant proportion of the fares are at this price and customers have a reasonable chance of getting the advertised rate.