Arriva North West introduced the first two of a batch of twenty six brand new double deck buses into traffic on two of Arriva North West’s Quality Bus Partnership routes in Liverpool on Monday 12th January 2015,
Representing part of a £10 million investment in new buses which will hit the roads of Merseyside throughout the first quarter of the year. A small launch for the new vehicles was held on Saturday 31st January in St Helens town centre. The remaining twenty four vehicles of the batch entered service the following day.
They are the first brand new double decker buses new to St Helens depot since a batch of ten Northern Counties bodied Leyland Olympians were delivered to the depot in 1989 when it was operated by Merseybus. In recent times the depot has seen a return in the operation of double deck vehicles with two former Arriva London Volvo B7TLs with Wright Eclipse Gemini bodywork being allocated to the depot before they transferred to Speke depot in the summer of last year. A further two vehicles of this type were recently loaned by the depot and primarily deployed on services 10 and 10A.
The routes these vehicles are deployed on are high-frequency services 10 between Liverpool and St Helens via Prescot and 10A between Liverpool and St Helens via Rainhill. Previously the route was operated by VDL SB200LFs with Wright Pulsar and Wright Pulsar 2 bodywork although on occasion other vehicles types were employed on these routes.
The vehicles that will be operating on services 10 and 10A are twenty six brand new Alexander Dennis Enviro400s on the company’s own Alexander Dennis Enviro40D chassis. They are powered by the Cummins ISB6.7EV engine and feature a six speed ZF 6HP1203B gearbox – featuring Euro V emissions. The new Enviro400s feature a higher specification from the vehicles that previously operated this service although they aren’t quite to Arriva MAX or Arriva Sapphire specification.
On board the vehicles have 58 Esteban Civic V2 seats with the lower saloon featuring three tip up seats and around twenty modular seats which are found over the wheel arches and the back seats of the lower and upper saloons. All 78 seats are covered by a navy blue e-leather whilst the saloon lighting is LED. Also featured on board is free WiFi which is provided by Icomera’s Moovbox. All round Hanover LED destination equipment is also fitted to these vehicles.
Howard Farrall, the area managing director for Arriva Merseyside said: “Arriva is committed to providing the best possible service for our customers, and we continue to invest in our fleet.
“New buses not only make a huge difference to our passengers in terms of comfort and reliability, but also have an impressive environmental impact. The 10s are an important group of services which link St Helens, Prescot, Page Moss, Huyton and Liverpool, and are part of the Quality Bus Network, so it’s great that we are able to invest in new buses for the route.”
This batch of Enviro400s follows on from those delivered to Arriva North West’s Green Lane depot for service 10B between Liverpool and Huyton. For our readers who may be interested the details of these vehicles are: SL64 JEO (4595), SL64 JEU (4596), SL64 JFA (4597), SL64 JFE (4598), SL64 JFF (4599), SL64 JFG (4600), SL64 JFJ (4601), SL64 JFK (4602), SL64 JFN (4603), SL64 JFO (4604), SL64 JFU (4605), SL64 JFV (4606), SL64 JFX (4607), SL64 JFY (4608) SL64 JFZ (4609), SL64 JGX (4610), SL64 JGY (4611), SL64 JGZ (4612), SL64 JHA (4613), SL64 JHE (4614), SL64 JHH (4615), SL64 JHJ (4616), SL64 JHK (4617), SL64 JHO (4618), SL64 JHU (4619) and SL64 JHV (4620).
I sampled three vehicles over the course of the day and overall I was very impressed with the new vehicles, however I am planning to sample more examples in the near future. The e-leather seating was very comfortable for the length of the journey between each terminus, and the on board complimentary WiFi worked excellently on all three vehicles I sampled.
I look forward to reporting on the launch of even more new double deckers for services 52 and 52A between Liverpool and Netherton at the start of March, as well as new double deckers for the 12, 13 that run between Liverpool and Stockbridge Village and the 15 service that operates between Liverpool and Huyton in the spring.
To celebrate the launch of these vehicles in conjunction with Wish FM, who were also present at the launch in St Helens Town Centre, Arriva North West is running a “Mystery Rider” competition every day from Monday 9th February through to Friday 13th February where a lucky contestant can win a £200 cash prize! You can find out how you can win by tuning in to 102.4 Wish FM and by following them on Twitter!
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