Stagecoach Merseyside and South Lancashire has been awarded Cheshire West and Chester Council’s Park and Ride contract, which will see Stagecoach operate the Park and Ride programme until 2021 with the option for it to be extended for a further two years.
The agreement between Cheshire West and Chester Council and Stagecoach Merseyside and South Lancashire comes after the contract was put out to tender earlier this year.
Stagecoach was picked after beating three unnamed bus companies. Stagecoach took over the scheme in 2013 following its acquisition of First Chester & Wirral. The previous deal, originally on a five-year contract, was extended in 2014 until July 2016.
As part of the contract, Stagecoach will be rolling out 12 new Alexander Dennis Enviro 200 MMC buses with Euro 6 engines. All buses will come complete with e-leather seating, free 4G WiFi, state-of-the-art air chill and the latest audio visual, next stop announcement system.
Elisabeth Tasker, managing director of Stagecoach Merseyside and South Lancashire, said: “Our continued partnership with Cheshire West and Chester Council signifies our commitment to providing a cost effective and reliable service for commuters and shoppers across the Cheshire region.
“With limited availability for car parking in the city centre and rising train fares, taking the bus has never easier or better value for money. We have made a significant investment to our buses over the past 12 months to ensure they are fuel efficient and environmentally friendly.”
Councillor Brian Clarke, Cabinet Member for Economic Development and Infrastructure said: “The popular Park and Ride service will now be updated and should have a wider appeal, including to new customers and employers.
“As well as a brand new fleet of Euro 6 buses, there will be cross-city routing and additional, intermediate stops in key locations to increase service flexibility for customers which will be in place throughout the five-year contract.”
The Park and Ride initiative aims to reduce congestion in Chester city centre by offering a simpler and affordable alternative to driving. Available from popular stops outside Chester, the shuttle bus ferries customers into the city centre every 12 minutes with return tickets costing £2 for an adult and two children. The service operates seven days a week with a reduced service on Sundays and bank holidays.