Two Megabus adverts promising £1 fares have been banned by the Advertising Standards Authority – after the budget travel firm admitted there was only one £1 seat available for each route.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) received complaints about adverts on the web and on Facebook for journeys between Aberystwyth and Birmingham and London and Bath – which advertised fares “from £1*”.
Those complaining about the ads said they were “misleading” and challenged whether their claims could be backed up.
The budget travel firm has long been known for its £1 fares, which offer the potential to travel long distances for just £1.50, if you include the 50p booking fee.
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How many £1 fares were available?
Megabus said that at the time the Aberystwyth to Birmingham web advert was seen, in September last year, there was only one £1 fare for that route, on 10 October 2017.
And at the time the Facebook ad was published, there was only one £1 fare for the London to Bath route on 22 September 2017.
The ASA upheld the complaints relating to these adverts, as it thought consumers would understand the ads meant a significant proportion of coach tickets would be priced at £1.
Can Megabus advertise in this way again?
The ASA ruled that Megabus’s adverts breached several parts of the Committee of Advertising Practice code.
It told Megabus that the adverts “must not appear again in their current form” and said that in future when the “from £1” price was advertised, a significant proportion of fares should be available at that price.
What does Megabus say?
A Megabus spokesperson said:
“We have always provided clear and transparent pricing for all of our customers, including the many thousands who have taken advantage of our great £1 seat offer.
“While we will continue to offer seats from £1, in line with recommendations from the ASA, we have decided to focus our marketing on the great value that all Megabus fares offer, along with welcome extras such as on board Wi-fi and charging points.”