How can one journey lead to another million?

When the Megabus brand first set out on its journey, the proposition was clear. Low-cost coach travel with free seating and simple website e-ticketing. As a result, this Stagecoach-owned brand attracted millions of travellers to their website, from across the US, Canada, the UK and Europe. But things were about get complex.


After introducing pre-booking for disabled passengers, Stagecoach decided to offer a wider choice for all of its Megabus customers.

This included ‘paid-for’ seat reservations, premium daytime services and overnight sleeper coaches. Booking these services online would challenge the simplicity of their original concept of Megabus as an ‘on-screen ticket machine’. That’s when Emperor stepped aboard.

How do you support an established brand on a brand new journey?


To meet this challenge we needed to understand the new facilities Megabus were offering, both online and aboard their vehicles.

For example, did customers want a table or extra legroom? Did they need to be at the front of the coach? To find out, we worked closely with their operations team, studying detailed layout plans for their new fleet which included new luxury vehicles branded as MegabusGold. After this, we workshopped the new buying process.

To get even more insight into the passenger experience, we boarded one of the new coaches, met the team and took the overnight sleeper service from London to Edinburgh.

All these immersion sessions and briefings helped us create a set of logical user journeys. These would cover every possible scenario of planning, booking and paying for a real-life journey.

We used a range of UX design tools to achieve the simplest possible process. Then, once we defined the user experience, we worked closely with the Megabus back-end technology team to ensure it was supported from end-to-end. After all, we needed it to be robust and reliable enough to serve millions of passengers.


In any user experience design project the starting point always has to be understanding the user and that was at the core of the Megabus project.

- Steve Paul / Digital Strategy Director - Emperor

We created as an entirely new addition to the regular Megabus site. Along with a distinct visual identity, we introduced several elements to attract new customers, including video and a 360 tour of the luxury coaches.

To keep everything consistent across the two Megabus brands, we also redesigned the disabled seat reservation and premium seating offered on Not only was this sympathetic to the existing visual identity, it supported the new user interface too. It was all about turning complexity into simplicity.


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