People who usually take the train to travel around Europe now can take a bus. Two dozen 49-seat Eurobuses rolled out of the London headquarters last week to tour a circuit through Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Holland, Hungary, Italy and Switzerland.
"Eurail [a European train network] has never had any real competition because running a bus network through the whole of Europe was nearly impossible until very recently," said Max Thomas, Eurobus founder. "Customs regulations created logistical problems, a difficulty relieved with the new free trade laws that now govern Europe."
Eurail passes not only give travelers access to the vast train network serving European cities, they allow passengers to use it for three months to visit different points along its route. The Eurobus network operates on a similar pass system. An unlimited two-month Eurobus pass costs $325. When compared to a 15-day Eurailpass for $648, the value is evident, said Byron Lutz, marketing director for Eurotrips, the American marketers of Eurobus.
Bus seats are large and plush compared to "pseudo-school buses in the States," Mr. Lutz said. Overhead compartments and on-board movies are reminiscent of airplanes, he said.
Local travel agents have not heard much about Eurobus because the marketing strategy focused on Europe's travel industry, Mr. Lutz said.
Mr. Lutz said the bus makes routine drop-offs to major hotels in cities on its route. But unlike the train, it does not stop in every city. The Eurobus operates on a 19-city circuit.
Mr. Lutz said, "All guides speak English and a circuit-wide messaging system allow travelers to receive messages from home or keep track of other travelers." One of the stops is Prague, "one of the hottest destinations for independent travelers in Europe" which is not available on Eurail, Mr. Thomas said.
For more information, call Eurotrips at (800) 517-7778.