A special display of five out of nine brand new buses for Arriva North West services 375 and 385 was unveiled at Southport Eco Centre earlier on this afternoon.
The centre is the terminus for one of the towns frequent Southport Park & Ride routes that operate to and from the town centre up to every 10 minutes or better.
Friday 3rd October 2014 was the official launch gathering, with the first vehicles expected to enter traffic on Saturday the 11th October 2014 in an investment representing £1.7 million. The specification of these vehicles is a step up from the previous operation but not quite that of Arriva MAX or Arriva Sapphire standard.
The previous allocation on the two routes used Volvo B7TL’s with Alexander ALX400 double decks dating from 2005, which were originally employed on services 82, 86 and 86A at Speke depot, and more recently fully refurbished Wrightbus Gemini bodied Volvo B7TL’s cascaded from London.
They will be employed on the 375 route that runs from Southport to Wigan via Heatons Bridge, Ormskirk, Skelmersdale and Orrell, as well as the 385 service that runs between Southport and Wigan via Pinfold, Ormskirk, Skelmersdale and Orrell. A journey from Southport to Wigan takes approximately 110 minutes from start to finish. The 375 and 385 provide an ideal link to Ormskirk Bus Station for Edge Hill University, providing students with retail and leisure facilities throughout the two routes.
The vehicles are nineteen brand new Alexander Dennis Enviro 400 double decks with Alexander Dennis’ own E40D chassis. They feature a Cummins ISB6.7EV engine coupled up to a 6 speed ZF 6HP1203B gearbox and feature Euro 5 emissions.
Internally they feature 58 Esteban Civic V2 seats, the lower saloon features three tip-up seats and between the two decks some 20 modular seats (over the wheel arches and back seats on both decks) all covered in a navy blue e-leather, LED saloon lighting, free on-board WiFi provided by Icomera as well as all round Hanover Displays LED destination equipment.
Howard Farrall, area managing director, Arriva Merseyside said “These new buses are fantastic, it’s great news that we can continue to invest in the bus services we provide in Merseyside and beyond.
“We are sure that the e-leather seats and free WiFi will be warmly welcomed by customers, and we hope that the brand new buses will tempt a few drivers to leave the car at home and make some trips by bus.
John Pugh MP added “It is essential that companies like Arriva Southport invest in our local services, and these 9 new buses at a cost of £1.7 million are a fantastic addition to the area. I am delighted that these new vehicles will make bus travel even better for those travelling between Southport, Skelmersdale, Ormskirk and Wigan.”
This batch of Enviro 400’s follow in sequence from the ones at Arriva North West’s Speke depot for services 86 and 86A, and for our for our enthusiast readers the registrations are as follows, YX64 VPN (4575), YX64 VPO (4576), YX64 VPR (4577), YX64 VPT (4578), YX64 VPU (4579), YX64 VPV (4580), YX64 VPW (4581), YX64 VPY (4582) and YX64 VPZ (4583).
In addition to the new buses, Arriva is also introducing some new tickets to make local bus travel even easier in Southport, seeing a reduction of up to 12% in some fares.
The Southport Zone will be introduced from 12th October 2014, travel on any Arriva service within the zone for a flat fare of just £2.20, or if you’re making more than one trip, the brand new Southport zone day saver is the one for you – for just £4, you can hop on and off all day! The £13 weekly saver is great value for more regular bus users in the Southport area.