Liverpool to Chester Quality Bus Partnership to end in September

Liverpool to Chester Quality Bus Partnership to end in September
An Arriva North West VDL SB200/Wrightbus Pulsar 2 passes through Hope FarmTom Harrison

The Quality Bus Partnership between Arriva North West and Stagecoach Merseyside & South Lancashire on Chester to Liverpool routes 1 and 2 is to end on the 4th September 2016.

The Quality Bus Partnership was formed in July 2012 and originally included three routes that were jointly operated by Arriva North West and First Chester & Wirral.

Route 1 – between Liverpool and Chester via Cheshire Oaks & Chester Zoo wholly operated by First and latterly Stagecoach.

Route 2 – between Chester and Liverpool via Stanney Oaks and Overpool operated jointly by Arriva North West & Stagecoach Merseyside & South Lancashire.

Route X2 – a direct short working between Chester and Ellesmere Port operated jointly by Arriva Buses Wales & Stagecoach Merseyside & South Lancashire.

The X2 has recently become operated entirely by Stagecoach Merseyside & South Lancashire, on an hourly basis, after Arriva Buses Wales withdrew from it earlier this year.

Arriva has deregistered its journeys on route 2, and as a result, the joint ticketing scheme, as part of the partnership, will cease on the 4th September 2016.

Stagecoach’s contribution to the Liverpool to Chester Quality Bus Partnership is operated with high-specification Gold-branded Alexander Dennis Enviro300s that are less than a year old; Arriva uses standard-spec Wrightbus Pulsar 2 bodied VDL SB200 saloons (pictured).

Elisabeth Tasker, Stagecoach Merseyside and South Lancashire managing director, said: “Stagecoach is increasing the frequency of buses on this route from every 40 minutes to every 30 minutes to reduce waiting times and ensure that passengers continue to benefit from a regular service.

“The number 2 Liverpool to Chester route, which travels through the Mersey Tunnel linking Liverpool and Wirral, provides a key connection to one of the busiest employment hubs across the region and we want to ensure that our customers can continue to travel between these two key locations.

“We also want to continue to deliver strong intercity transport links between Liverpool and Chester for tourists, students and commuters alike.”

Commercial director of Arriva North West, commented, “Regrettably, Arriva journeys on service 2 have not been commercially viable for some time and we can no longer continue to operate them.”

“The QBP will not continue after 4 September, but we are continuing to work in partnerships on seven voluntary QBPs across the region,” says Merseytravel.

Chester Quality Bus Partnership routes 1, 1A and 15 a partnership between Cheshire West Council, Stagecoach Merseyside & South Lancashire and Arriva Buses Wales are unaffected.

Customers are being advised to contact Arriva directly regarding the validity of pre purchased long term Arriva tickets and has put a page together on future ticketing arrangements and scenarios.

Valid Merseytravel tickets will continue to be accepted on the number 1 and 2 bus routes within Merseyside.

Tom Harrison

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