National Express will provide an alternative transfer service for Heathrow
passengers from this November. The group is launching Dot2dot, a shuttle service
between the airport and London’s central hotels.
Dot2dot says it will offer transfers to and from
the airport for around half the price of a taxi, with fares starting from £17.50
per person, depending on the size of the group travelling. The company purchased
a similar service, Hotelink, earlier this year, and will initially start with 64
vehicles (32 rebranded from the former company, and another 32 new minibuses),
rising to 76 in January 2008.
The service allows single passengers or small
groups to transfer to or from Heathrow Airport, from any hotel within the
central London area. At present this includes hotels from Hammersmith in the
west, to Tower Bridge in the east, Waterloo and the Tate Modern on the South
Bank, and Kings Cross and Regents Park to the north. Passengers will be
transferred in 10 or 12-seater vehicles, with a guarantee of no more than four
pick-up or drop-offs during the journey.
Tickets for specific transfer times can be bought
in advance on Dot2dot’s website, or in person at the company’s kiosks within the
airport terminals, and passengers are guaranteed a wait of no more than 20
minutes at the airport, regardless of delayed flight arrivals. Vehicles include
a 34-inch seat pitch, GPS tracking and live traffic information, and screens to
keep passengers up to date with drop-off schedules. Says Paul Whitfield,
managing director Dot2dot:
“At around half the price of a taxi journey, but
with all the comforts and legroom or a personal limo, Dot2dot fills a clear gap
in the market and aims to make the airport transfer simple and cost effective.
The low-cost travel trend is gathering momentum and we expect the new service to
appeal to organizations seeking time efficient but lower-cost travel
Single tickets for the service cost £22 for one
person, £35 for two traveling together, £50 for three people, and £70 for groups
of four or five, although Whitfield admits that the last will be hardest to
market as larger groups could use a black cab service for less than the cost of
the Dot2dot product.
The company is also launching a Gatwick service
from £24, although this actually involves a transfer on the Gatwick Express
(included in the ticket price), followed by a hotel transfer from London
Victoria. Dot2dot says it will introduce a dedicated T5 service when the new
terminal opens at Heathrow in March next year.
It remains to be seen whether business travellers
will give up the convenience of a taxi for the sake of the savings made, but
users of the Heathrow Express followed by a taxi transfer from Paddington could
be tempted to make the switch. Let us know your thoughts by clicking on the link
below or by taking part in this week’s online survey.
For more information visit dot2.com – tickets will be available
from the website from early October.
Report by Mark