On Monday August 2, 1784, John Palmer's first coach left the Rummer Tavern in Bristol at 4:00 PM, carrying the mail and four passengers (which later became seven passengers, with four inside). As noted, Palmer had long advocated postal reform and expansion—increased commerce, industry, and population demanded it. After his friend William Pitt became Prime Minister, Palmer got authority to try his reform ideas. Palmer's Mail Coach reached Bath at 5:20 PM, and arrived in London at the Swan with Two Necks well before 8:00 the next morning to deliver mail to the Chief Post Office in Lombard Street. The coach had traveled 119 miles in under sixteen hours, an incredible feat at the time. Palmer received public acclaim and bureaucratic stone-walling, including a record of criticism which ran to three volumes of copperplate. However, Palmer's Mail Coaches began to take hold.
The Royal Mail coach was faster than any stage as the mail only stopped for delivery of mail, and sometimes did not stop at all but only slowed to allow the mail to be exchanged with a quick toss. The coaches were drawn by a team of four, and had seating inside for four passengers, and outside for two or three more to sit with the driver. A seat inside for the Royal Mail from London to Bristol cost about 2 pounds and 10 shillings, while one outside cost about 1 pound. In general, Royal Mail ticket costs were about one penny (1d) per mile more than would be charged by a privately operated stage. (Stage fares averaged about 2d to 3d a mile for an outside seat, and 4d to 5d for an inside seat.)