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 Alan Gandy

Using ALSA buses to get around Spain

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I hate coaches, I’ve always hated travelling by coach. So much so I’ve not used a coach to get anywhere since I was a student. In dog, and even in human years that’s quite a long time ago!

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That being said I had to get to the UK last week. I’m still here as I write this, and decided to use the coach to get to Alicante Airport to connect with my €29 Ryanair flight. It’s one of those unusual situations where I wasn’t sure how long I’d be away, meaning I was unable to book my return flight in advance. So using the coach rather than worrying about where to leave my car, possibly for some time, made sense.

Spoiler alert: I still hate coaches.

It’s still an uncomfortable experience for me. It’s not just that there’s something I just don’t like about the atmosphere on coaches. Something that I can’t put my finger on. The main thing is that I’m prone to travel sickness on them. It’s not anywhere near as bad as it is for me on boats, where I only need to look at the damned things before I’m reaching for a suitable bag or vessel (pun intended) to accommodate my disapproval of that particular mode of transport. However it’s bad enough that, even if I don’t get motion sickness, I spend the whole journey worrying about its onset.

I’m sat in the UK now writing this and dreading my return to Alicante as the only way back from there to my home will be by coach having chosen to use it on my outbound trip.

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So far I’ve only really discussed my personal aversions, so for the sake of balance let’s look at some of the positives. It’s not all bad – for someone else, just not me. In fact if you’re okay using these horizontal wheeled tin cans, to be fair, they’re actually an excellent option;

  • The ALSA website is very easy to use and unusually well translated into English. It also offers a wide choice of Payment options including Paypal
  • At €13.99 from our nearest town to Alicante Airport it worked out cheaper than the cost of petrol I normally use on this journey (well it would have if the 5km taxi ride to the bus stop hadn’t cost €10, that’s a first and last). For two people it would have been more expensive not accounting for airport parking.
  • Ticketing is simple, you can print the ticket, show the ticket on your phone as you board or even just quote your tickets reference number (according to the website).
  • You can choose your own seat on most journeys.
  • Via Murcia there is a frequent and regular service to the airports from our local stop at Vélez-Rubio. Frequent enough that I’m not too worried about getting home as long as I get a daytime flight for my return journey.
  • The coaches themselves were clean, modern and well equipped – and most include free WiFi.
  • I would have complimented them for being on time. But they weren’t. Whilst the first coach was spot on… the bus from Murcia left twenty minutes late (there seemed to be some confusion about finding someone to drive the thing).

Would I use them again? No, as you’ve perhaps guessed by now I wouldn’t. Would I recommend them for others. Yes, why not? Give it a go if you aren’t (unlike me) too attached to your personal space and dread the thought of spending any more time than necessary in the proximity of strangers…

2 Responses to Using ALSA buses to get around Spain

  1. Steve May 10, 2017 at 1:42 pm

    I use them regularly and LOVE them. This week it was Málaga to Alicante which is part of the Algeciras to Barcelona mega journey. Their website NOW is good although it used to be absolutely terrible and I have had HUGE arguments when trying to use their APP or mobile site but they have caught up. (Ironic really as they are part of National Express that has a superb site.

    Alan has been honest in his subjectivity and in reality would not have liked any bus so I guess his review is as good as it gets.

    The main problem is their excuse for a network. In most of Spain it is fairly thin. Obviously the advent of low cost air hits them too. Why sit for 18 hours on , say a Málaga to Barcelona bus, when you could do it for mush less in two hours!

    Sad not to see you on another adventure, amigo

    Reply
    • Alan Gandy
      Alan Gandy May 11, 2017 at 7:20 am

      Steve, you are absolutely right. I just wouldn’t have been comfortable on any bus.

      On the whole, I thought it a pretty good service! Bus travel is just not for me….

      Reply

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