The North West Bus Blog is a friendly bunch of land, rail and sea enthusiasts with either a passion for photographing transport or posting transport related articles, not just from the North West but throughout the UK. The North West Bus Blog is dedicated to bringing you the latest news and reviews on the current bus scene in the North West.
I’m sure our readers are well aware of the sale of Queens Road Bus Depot to Go-Ahead Group which includes the depot and the bus fleet of 163 vehicles. If you’re not, you can read our story about it by clicking here.
Go-Ahead says it is looking forward to working in partnership with Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) to deliver operational excellence, innovation and a focus on customer service. With this, it hopes to introduce innovate ideas such as smart card ticketing on The Key amongst other things.
The Go North West website is now live along with timetables and route map.
David Cutts, Interim Managing Director of Go North West, said: “We very much look forward to joining Manchester’s public transport community in approximately three weeks’ time. We are excited to welcome our passengers and offer them a reliable bus service that meets their needs.
“Go North West is committed to providing a high-quality bus service and we will make further announcements over the coming weeks.
“Finally, I’d like to thank the Go North West team who have managed the acquisition and transition process and the staff at Queens Road who we have greeted us with open arms and who we look forward to welcoming on-board.”
The volunteers, dubbed the ‘Arriva Angels’, handed out bags for life to others taking part in the clean up, to help further discourage the use of single-use plastics, with more than 1,000 single plastic items found on the beach.
Other items found on the sand included polystyrene boxes, sweets, sandwich and crisp packets, and bottle tops.
As part of its ongoing mission to become an increasingly environmentally-friendly organisation, Arriva is also encouraging people to sign up for future beach clean events in Formby, happening in June and September.
Lisa Pearson, head of marketing, Arriva North West, said: “As an organisation, we are always looking at ways in which we can do our bit for the planet. We know that using the buses is often better for the environment than travelling via car, but we wanted to go one step further.
“This is one of the reasons why we have partnered with the Marine Conservation Society, and decided to get involved in the Formby Beach Clean. We’re extremely proud of our volunteers getting out and about to help the cause.”
Andy Laverick, Marine Conservation Society Sea Champion, said: “We are very excited to be working with Arriva this year as part of our mission to keep Britain’s coastlines litter-free.
“There was a great turn out at Formby Beach, and we hope that even more people can turn up to help out at the next clean up in June.”
Free one-day Arriva bus tickets were also handed out to those who got involved in the Formby Beach clean, with plans to do the same at future events. You can learn more about the clean up in June and September by visiting the Marine Conservation Society website.
The 16-year-old has memorised all the local bus numbers and routes that he sees on his way in to school. Corey, who has autism, is currently in year 11 and has ambitions of becoming a mechanic when he leaves education.
Corey and his family were picked up from their school in their own private bus before being driven to the depot where they met other drivers and engineers. The family also received a behind-the-scenes tour of the facilities. He quizzed bosses at Stagecoach about their apprenticeship scheme where he can learn to become a mechanic.
As a special treat Stagecoach also arranged to have his name emblazoned on the front of one of their bus. The bus fanatic was even given the opportunity to sit in the driver’s seat.
Speaking after his visit, Corey said: “I’ve had such a great day. It was incredible to get so close to so many buses and actually sit in the driver’s seat! It has only made me love buses even more.”
Rob Jones, managing director at Stagecoach Merseyside, Cheshire and South Lancashire, said: “It was a privilege to welcome Corey and his family to the depot. When we heard about Corey’s passion for buses, we knew we had to invite him down to meet some of the team.
“Corey is a shining example of someone who hasn’t let disability get in the way of his desire and drive. We hope that today has inspired Corey to further consider a career working in our industry.”
Stagecoach is part of Liverpool City Region’s Bus Alliance, a partnership between Liverpool’s biggest bus operators and Merseytravel. The Alliance is focused on the quality of vehicles and customer service, value for money journeys and straightforward travel from simple fare structures to easy to understand journey planning and a clear, simple bus network.
For more information on Stagecoach bus timetables, routes, jobs and apprenticeships, you can follow the company online at stagecoachbus.com.
This is a festival that’s seasoned with all the flavors of the region’s vibrant culinary scene and served in the beautiful setting of the town’s Victoria Park.
People attending the event will be able to travel to the festival via Arriva services across Southport, meaning they are able to enjoy all of the food and drink on offer, without having to worry about driving or parking.
The sponsorship of the festival comes as part of Arriva’s wider community work across Southport.
Last year, local residents were actively encouraged to start using public transport to travel to and from matches at Southport FC as part of an ongoing partnership between the football club and the bus company.
Southport Food & Drink Festival is a free event is for all the family, with plenty of entertainment taking place alongside an eclectic mix of food and drink and live music.
There’s an array of street food stalls to choose from serving lots of savory and sweet dishes, an international flavour and healthy as well as vegetarian options.
There will also be a huge variety of food and drink producers from the region, showcasing the very best creations imaginable; from Posh Pots to Retro Shots, herbs and spices, to pies and puddings.
The special Southport FC Arriva bus, One Port, will also be present at the festival over the weekend, giving people the chance to find out more about the partnership and match day travel options.
Tourism Service Manager, Mark Catherall said ‘We have worked closely with Arriva North West to promote Southport for many years. The sponsorship will not only give Arriva a great platform to promote their routes into and around Southport but is also an excellent addition to partnership working.
If you are planning to come to the festival you can leave the car at home, jump the bus, eat good food, soak up the atmosphere and make a day of it.
Talking about the partnership, Arriva North West’s head of marketing, Lisa Pearson, said: “We are always looking for ways to support the local community and we know how important the Food and Drink Festival is to residents and those visiting the local area.
“Our services offer the people of Southport a convenient and comfortable journey, allowing them to relax and enjoy everything the day has to offer.”
The Southport Food and Drink Festival is from Friday 31st May 2019 to Sunday 2nd June 2019. Entry is free and opening hours are 10am to 6pm. It takes place in Victoria Park, Rotten Row, Southport, PR8 2BZ. For further information and to plan your day visit: www.VisitSouthport.com.
The trial will initially be deployed on the 23 service between Stockport and intu Trafford Centre as well as the 325 Brinnington circular service in Stockport.
Next Stop Audio Visual technology speaks and displays next and final stop information, assisting those visually impaired, deaf and hard of hearing along with people new to an area to use the bus with confidence.
The technology uses GPS data to provide real-time next stop announcements to aid customers. If successful, the system will be adopted on all new buses later this year as Stagecoach Manchester continues to invest in its services for local communities.
In addition to providing live announcements for those on board its services, customers can also take advantage of improved travel information by monitoring live times for expected buses on the Stagecoach app.
Stagecoach Manchester managing director, Elisabeth Tasker, said: “We want to ensure every customer who would like to, or who does, use our services, can travel by Stagecoach bus with complete confidence.
“All customers can also benefit from tracking live bus times via the Stagecoach app as we continue to provide ever-improving live travel information to our customers, making bus travel as practical and efficient as it can be.”
Place 2 Place is a Wigan-based charity which focuses on promoting a positive attitude towards men’s mental health, encouraging people to open up and talk about the problems they face. The team regularly host charity football matches to help players and family members to get active, have fun and spend time with friends.
Stagecoach Manchester supported the fight against mental health problems by sponsoring the mascot’s football kits, which were presented to children to wear before they walked the players onto the pitch for Sunday’s game, as well as providing transport to the stadium for the players.
Elisabeth Tasker, managing director for Stagecoach Manchester, said: “Discussions around mental health are far more common now than they have been in my lifetime, but there is still work to do, particularly with young and middle-aged men. Suicide is the biggest killer of people within this demographic, and as a result, we’re keen to help raise awareness of events within the local community which provide a platform to promote a better mental health as well as giving people a place to chat.”
In England and Wales, suicide is the most common cause of death in men between 20-49, with 6% of UK fathers having reported mental health issues at least once in their life. Charities such as Place 2 Place help to tackle the effects of mental health in men, encouraging open communication with friends and family in a relaxed and familiar setting, such as a football match.
Peter Hill, founder of Place 2 Place said: “The support from local businesses and the wider community is vital in order for Place 2 Place to provide help to all of those who need it, through both platforms to discuss their own personal wellbeing and advice from our team on how to help improve mental health. As a result, we’re grateful to Stagecoach and Talk First for throwing their support behind this event, and I’m just relieved the game had some goals, so we sent everyone home happy!”
If you fancy going along for a kick about, you can find out more about Place 2 Place and see information on upcoming games on their Facebook page.
Steve Pugh who is 54 and from St Helens was presented with the prestigious title at the Made a Difference Awards on 25th April 2019, in Leicestershire, where the final six shortlisted drivers came together with Arriva staff to celebrate the awards.
The Driver of the Year award, which is given as part of Arriva’s annual awards, is presented to an individual in recognition of their dedication and willingness to go the extra mile over the course of the last 12 months.
Steve, who operates a number of services in the St Helens area, was recognised for his ongoing passion for the job, and commitment to delivering the best possible service for his passengers, over the last three and a half years.
Talking about his award win, Steve, said: “I feel so honoured; to be nominated was a complete shock, so I am over the moon to have won the award.
“I’m extremely humbled especially because there are so many great drivers at Arriva. I would just like to thank all of my lovely and kind passengers who have made this all happen, without them it wouldn’t have been possible.”
Steve was initially shortlisted for the award in February after being nominated by local passengers for his passion, enthusiasm and commitment to the job. Since then, he has gone head-to-head with other Arriva drivers in the North West area and the rest of the UK.
Bill Parkinson, general manager at Arriva St.Helens, said: “We’re thrilled Steve has been selected as the ‘Driver of the Year’. To have won the title ahead of so many other fantastic and talented Arriva drivers is an honour, and Steve should be very proud of this massive achievement.
“It has been a true pleasure to see how committed and passionate Steve is to his job, his fantastic personality and patience makes him a real asset to the company.”
Steve continued: “It’s great to feel appreciated for the work that I do. I really enjoy being a bus driver, every day I get to do two of the things that I love the most; driving and meeting new people so it couldn’t be a more perfect job for me!”
The new X30 bus service launched on
Sunday 28th April and runs non-stop via the M60 and M56 motorways from
Stockport to Manchester Airport, stopping at both the Manchester Airport
Interchange and World Freight Terminal.
The new X30 will partially replace the existing 330 service which runs from Ashton to Manchester Airport. The 330 will continue to run from Ashton to Stockport, and the X30 will now travel from Stockport to the Airport.
The existing 103 service also continues to run from Manchester Piccadilly to the Airport and has now been extended through to the World Freight Terminal. Combined, the X30 and the 103 services will provide up to four buses an hour between the World Freight Terminal and the Airport terminus.
The new route has been designed to
include earlier journeys which tie in with shift patterns for the staff at
Manchester Airport. Services start as early as 04:15 Monday to Saturday and 06:35
on Sundays. The service operates seven days a week, offering a convenient early
morning link for holidaymakers.
Stagecoach Manchester managing director, Elisabeth Tasker, said: “It is crucial our services are designed with the people who rely and use them regularly in mind. We wanted to introduce the new X30 service, and extend the existing 103 service, to ensure that both holidaymakers and staff travelling to the airport are provided with practical and affordable transport links at hours convenient to them.”
Wayne Poole, Landside Operations Director at Manchester Airport, said: “Alongside the other methods of public transport such as rail, tram and coach services, this new bus route will provide a vital link for many people travelling to and from Manchester Airport.
“Giving our 28.5m passengers, and 25,000 staff based on site, increased
options to access the airport is crucial as we continue to grow and play the
role of economic generator and employment creator for the region.”
To celebrate 100 years since that very first historic journey, bus operator Transdev has now unveiled one of its modern Wrightbus Gemini bodied Volvo B7TL double-deckers in a specially-designed livery sporting the iconic cherry red and cream Ribble colours.
Transdev colleagues who started their careers with Ribble
were on hand to help unveil the special centenary bus for the first time, with
many sharing their own happy memories of providing a friendly and reliable
service to towns and villages across the North West.
Transdev’s CEO Alex Hornby said: “People are always at the
heart of what we do today, and so it’s entirely appropriate that we recognise
the efforts of those who helped to make Ribble a household name in Lancashire
with the unveiling of bus 100 in the iconic Ribble colours.
“Our livery design features a selection of the people, buses and coaches which earned Ribble a formidable reputation far beyond its Lancashire roots and led to the company we are proud to work for today – including its pioneering double deck express coaches of the 1960s, the predecessors of our own premium and well-known Hotline, Red Express and Witchway brands.
“We’re constantly investing in our buses and our people,
building on the best traditions of our predecessors to offer the highest
quality service every day to the people of Lancashire. We’re proud to salute
100 years of service and delighted to share our celebration with some of the
dedicated and hard-working people who helped make it happen.”
The centenary bus – with appropriate fleet number of 100 – will be seen throughout central and east Lancashire during this centenary year, on routes linking Preston, Burnley, Bolton and Accrington, including the Hotline service which follows the route taken by the first ever Ribble bus journey in 1919.
Today’s Hotline buses are packed with customer-friendly features, including luxury leather seats and super fast free 4G WiFi – offering easy travel for everyone at great value fares, with a day’s unlimited travel across Lancashire starting from just £6.80.
Full details of all services operated by The Blackburn Bus Company and other Transdev Blazefield routes across Lancashire and the North West are available online.
The local bus operator launched a four-week campaign which included a series of indoor events to support retirees living in Greater Manchester, helping them to attend community get-togethers and meet with friends using the city’s transport links.
Loneliness and social isolation are increasingly prominent issues, not just in Greater Manchester but throughout the UK. In fact, research from Age UK shows that almost 1.9 million older people living in the UK often feel ignored or invisible.
To combat this, Stagecoach Manchester worked with four local community centres to host a range of engaging events. From indoor curling to exercise classes, each session gave attendees the chance to enjoy an activity that they may not usually take part in, and have a cup of tea and a chat with some new friends.
Speaking about the campaign, Elisabeth Tasker, managing director for Stagecoach Manchester, said: “As one of the region’s biggest transport providers, we have a huge role to play in bringing people together and connecting them with the services they want and need.
“It is clear community centres are the linchpins of the local areas they serve in many cases, and in the last four weeks, we’ve seen first-hand just how important events to get people out of the house are. Whether you know someone who could benefit from getting out and about, or you yourself could do with a cuppa and someone to talk to – there are community groups and regular events across the region that can help.”
Speaking about the events, a regular attendee at the centre, Bob Dolan, commented: “If you stay in the house all day, you end up looking at the same four walls and they don’t keep you company. Stagecoach has helped me get out and about, meet new people and try new things – it’s been great fun.”
Rachel Hughes, of Barlow Moor Community Association which puts on regular sessions for retirees, commented: “It’s extremely important for the health of retirees to keep active. Through campaigns such as this, older people can build on existing relationships and meet new people, which helps us to tackle loneliness and isolation across Manchester. We, like many other community groups across the region, have a calendar of events which genuinely mean there is something for everyone.”
Stagecoach is supporting a bus industry pledge to tackle loneliness after figures from Greener Journeys, the campaign for more sustainable transport, showed that three in 10 people go at least one day a week without speaking to anyone close to them. One in three people deliberately catch the bus to have some human contact.
The crucial role that buses play in facilitating social interactions and alleviating loneliness is supported by previous research for Greener Journeys, which shows that two-thirds of people believe that buses improve community ties.