Horse racing’s showpiece spectacle, The Festival in Cheltenham, would be little without its punters – and more than 90,000 will be riding to the start line next week aboard Stagecoach West’s special race services. Racegoers and the event itself are hugely dependent on the bus company, which itself started out 25 years ago this year – 1994, the year The Fellow won the coveted 67th running of the Cheltenham Gold Cup.
Stagecoach West has rounded-up 57 extra buses from Scotland through to Devon to ensure the event’s average 65,000 daily customers arrive safely and timely to enjoy the racing and festivities. At a conservative estimate the firm states this takes more than 20,000 cars off the Cheltenham roads through the four days of racing.
Stagecoach West will also run an on-demand service throughout the four-day days, taking race goer’s at Cheltenham train station to the racecourse from 09:00, and from Cheltenham town centre (outside WH Smiths) directly to the racecourse from 10:00. The last bus to the racecourse will depart at 13:00. Buses will run frequently from the racecourse to the town centre and train station from 15.30 until 20:00 daily. A return ticket is just £5.50 and can be brought outside the bus from the street team, prior to boarding via cash or contactless payment.
Eighty-three Stagecoach West double-decker buses will be in service and some 550 people board a bus every four minutes from the racecourse each afternoon.
The horse that makes it over the 22 fences to the finish line of this year’s Magners Gold Cup will ride off with £625,000 and total prize money for the four days weighs-in at £4.5 million.