A NEW coach service is to link Dorset with London.

Yellow Buses will run the M3 between Poole and the capital on behalf of the intercity coach operator Megabus.

Coaches will stop at Heathrow as well as London Victoria and will run from Thursday to Monday, five times a day in each direction, from May 21.

The coaches will stop at Bournemouth University as well as the town’s travel interchange.

There will also be one journey a day connecting the capital with Weymouth via Dorchester and Bere Regis. Two coaches a day will stop at Southampton University, Southampton Ferry and Southampton Airport.

The service is aimed at day trippers in both directions and includes an 11.30pm departure from London for theatre-goers and football supporters.

Fares vary but prices on the Megabus website are currently starting at £9.

Coaches will offer reserved seating, additional leg room seats, complimentary Wi-Fi and an onboard toilet.

Megabus managing director Mark Venables said: “The staycation summer is fast approaching and the south coast is a firm favourite for many of us.

“We are making day trips and longer stays to visit loved ones and tourist hotspots easier than before and at the same time, creating connections between the largest cities as well as airports across England, Wales and as far as Scotland.

“Yellow Buses are a highly respected local operator and it’s great to be able to partner with them to provide this service, as well as connecting journeys onto their local bus network to locations such as Christchurch and Wimborne.

“More and more people are discovering and coming back to the exceptional value and comfort of choosing Megabus coaches as we emerge from the pandemic, with the added advantage of coach being an incredibly sustainable travel choice.”

The move presents competition for National Express, which runs the 035 between Dorset and Victoria.

Yellow Buses ran that service until 2020, when National Express bought the Fareham coach operator Lucketts and took the service in-house.

Yellow Buses managing director David Squire said: “As the local operator of bus services in the Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole conurbation and south Dorset area, it is great for the local operator to be able to work with Megabus to provide the services.

“Megabus offer a great service, and like us expect the highest of standards from their drivers, so you can be sure of a great experience when travelling with us. The drivers are all local to Bournemouth and the surrounding area, so always have some help and advice to anyone visiting the area for the first time.

“With connecting tickets to be made available for the local service from Bournemouth to Christchurch and Wimborne, this will mean customers can purchase one simple ticket for their journey. We will also be selling Megabus tickets at our travel shop in Bournemouth.”