Sn-ap Bristol to London journey review
Sn-ap (pronounced as ‘snap’) is a relatively new service, most people haven’t heard of it yet. I only heard of this in January 2018, when a post appeared from an operator on Facebook saying that they were now part of the sn-ap service from Bristol to London. With the URL looking a bit suspicious, and the fact I haven’t heard of it before, made me a bit wary but having looked at the replies to the post, it looked like it was actually genuine. It was then I learnt that sn-ap isn’t an operator, it uses various trusted operators and runs at competitive prices. If you find a non discounted return journey with National Express or Megabus that is cheaper than the fare quoted by sn-ap, you can claim a price match.
So far the options are Bristol and Nottingham to London, but hopefully this will be expanded, and there is options to build your own route or book ‘non-confirmed’ trips but I haven’t found any of this on the website myself yet.
The idea is that it runs on demand. The main page allows you to search Bristol or Nottingham to London or vice versa, and you can book any of the confirmed trips, which runs 7 days a week and at various times of the day.
I booked my trip using the free day return ‘Brizzle’ voucher promotion for two people for a day trip to London. At first I wasn’t really sure it was going to work for 2 people and thought there was a catch, but no sure enough it came up with a zero fare and got my trip confirmed, the 0846 Bristol Lewins Mead to London Baker Street, and the 1640 return. This was booked a week before the date of travel and the fare would have cost £26 return for 2 people.
Had I booked a week in advance for a similar trip on National Express, it would have cost me £60 for 2 people.
What I did like was it informed you of the coach operator (in this case, Andrew James) and also there was detailed information of where the pick up point is with maps, information and a picture which was extremely useful. The morning of the trip I had a text confirming that the coach is nearly ready to go and will be at Bristol Lewins Mead at 0846.
A text later on informed me that driver ‘Nick’ is on his way in AJ17 BUS, and provided a link to the coach tracker. This was very handy, and I liked the advance information of what coach is being used.
Me and my friend traveled up to the Brislington Park and Ride and got the bus to The Haymarket, which is a short walk away from the pick up point. We turned up 10 minutes before the departure time, and there were a few people here already waiting for the coach.
Andrew James Mercedes Tourismo AJ17 BUS turned up at 08:44 with a ‘sn-ap’ sign in the window and a sn-ap representative. We joined the coach which already had a fair amount of passengers on and we set off at 08:48.
Just up the road we stopped briefly and Nick welcomed us on board, went through the safety procedures and informed us that we should be in London by around 11am. The journey was up onto the M32 then across on the M4.
The sn-ap representative came round asking how we found out about the service and also gave out a small packet of sweets and a sn-ap key ring. Very nice touch!
I have a soft spot for the Tourismo, and this was a very nice coach. Nice shallow entrance steps, nice seats with a small table, nice big windows and a very smooth ride.
We even managed to overtake the 040 London National Express on M4 which left Bristol Bus Station at 0850.
Somewhere past Swindon I noted a Redwing Irizar i6 operating a sn-ap service from London.
At M4 junction 8/9, we turned off onto the A404. Nick then informed us that there was congestion between junctions 4A and 4B because of the rugby match at Twickenham, we will be taking the M40 into London. This was a good idea and because it’s non stop to London and makes a first call at Park Royal, it makes it flexible for diversions. I suspect the 040 London service, which was still behind us, probably carried on down the M4.
The M40 was clear and we had a good run into London. Some people got off at Park Royal, and then me and my friend alighted at Baker Street, arriving there at 11:32.
We came back to Baker Street around 20 minutes before the coach was due. Again I had received a text telling me it will be Nick with AJ17 BUS. I later received a text informing me that there was an event at Wembley Stadium and may effect the journey times. Although this didn’t make much of an effect I did like the fact they texted to inform of the possible delay, although it’s interesting to note the Twickenham match didn’t appear as a possible delay so I’d assume the reports come through of any events happening near the route of the service in and out of London.
The coach appeared at 16:44, and we were one of 3 joining the coach and I was surprised to see it was almost empty! Unless there was a mass load at Park Royal, this was our loading.
We headed out on the A40 which was a bit of a crawl as everyone else was heading out of London but it wasn’t that bad. We got to Park Royal and stopped for a moment but no one got on, so we rejoined the A40. In total there was me, my friend at two other passengers. 4 altogether.
I was surprised at this as they say they only run on demand, so I can only assume because the morning trip to London was a reasonable load, the return will run anyway as the coach will be going back that way to get to it’s depot (which is in Wiltshire, not in Bristol but I suppose it saves running empty all the way from London).
We then joined the M25 to get to the M4, and then it was a straight run up to the M32.
I was also tracking the 1630 040 London Victoria to Bristol Bus Station, which left at 1635, but it was ahead of us and managed to get into Bristol 10 minutes before we did.
Arrival into Bristol was very swift. Off the M32, straight past Cabot Circus then into Bristol Rupert Street at 19:14.
At the end I got a text from sn-ap to rate the operator, 1 being poor and 5 being great. I rated it 4, as on the return, the coach was rather chilly inside as the heating wasn’t on, or it certainly wasn’t working towards the back. Other than that, it was perfect! Would I use it again? I certainly would!
Why not try it yourself?
For a free trial trip between Bristol & London