Stagecoach Merseyside & South Lancashire has invested £3 million in eighteen high specification Alexander Dennis Enviro 300 buses, distinguishable with their gold and blue livery.
The new buses will only operate on upgraded Quality Bus Partnership routes 1 and 2 that operates between Liverpool, Birkenhead, Ellesmere Port, Chester Zoo and Chester.
Featuring a high-quality interior complete with hand stitched leather seats, free WiFi, floor level lighting, tinted glass and a distinct flooring which is complimented by noise-reducing moquette fabric, Stagecoach Gold buses are designed to allow passengers to travel in comfort whilst encouraging them to think of the environment by leaving the car at home.
The Quality Bus Partnership scheme is a partnership between Merseytravel, Cheshire West & Chester, Knowsley, Liverpool, St. Helens, Sefton and Wirral councils are working with Arriva North West, Arriva Buses Wales and Stagecoach Merseyside & South Lancashire to make bus travel more convenient and quicker for passengers.
Stagecoach solely operates route 1 from Liverpool to Chester at a 20-minute frequency Monday to Sunday daytimes, dropping down to half-hourly at evenings. The route provides a frequent service from two of the North West’s primary retail and leisure hubs in Liverpool and Chester enabling shoppers from both cities to reach key destinations as it traverses near Liverpool One, to Cheshire Oaks, the Blue Planet Aquarium, the world-renowned Chester Zoo and connecting with Merseyrail at Bache station.
Arriva North West and Stagecoach Merseyside & South Lancashire jointly operate route 2 from Liverpool to Chester, running at a 20-minute frequency, this route duplicates the 1 route from Liverpool to Little Sutton where it veers off to Overpool, then serving Ellesmere Port and Hope Farm before serving Backford Cross and past the Countess of Chester Hospital to Chester, making a combined timetable on routes 1 and 2 every 10 minutes Monday to Saturday daytime.
These routes are complemented in Cheshire with the X2 service that run from Ellesmere Port to Chester and operated by Arriva Buses Wales and Stagecoach Merseyside & South Lancashire, this route boosts capacity over part of the 2 route, leaving Chester via the Countess of Chester Hospital to Backford Cross, then to Strawberry Fields passing Ellesmere Port Hospital and on to Ellesmere Port Bus Station.
Travelling by Stagecoach Gold is a truly first class experience…
Stagecoach Gold is characterised by its ‘Customer Promise’ which enshrines the service standards customers can expect from the company, vehicles and drivers.
Managing director for Stagecoach Merseyside and South Lancashire, Elisabeth Tasker, said: “This is an exciting time for the business – we’re delighted to be introducing the first Stagecoach gold buses to the region. Our new fleet of gold standard buses are top of the range and will deliver a new level of quality for passengers.
“We continue to significantly invest in our fleet to improve our service and passenger experience, without passing on any additional cost to our customers. These ‘next generation’ buses will enhance connectivity, comfort and sustainability for passengers– signifying our solid commitment to delivering an unbeatable, eco-friendly travel experience.”
Hand stitched Italian Leather Seats
These new buses come with Italian-designed Lazzarini Transito high back seats, finished in bold blue with complementary cream piping, as well as orange downlighting on isle seats. These replace the usual Lazzarini Practico seats normally specified on Stagecoach buses.
Cleaner, greener engines
A more comfortable and luxurious way to go, each of the new Stagecoach Gold buses hasn’t just been designed to really look after the passengers. Thanks to their Euro 5 Cummins ISBe6 engines with Voith D854.5 4 speed gearbox, designed to help out exhaust gas emissions, they’re also helping to look after the planet.
Each Stagecoach Gold bus features tinted windows, well-spaced seats and extra legroom for extra comfort, free WiFi by Icomera so you can surf online saving your precious data allowance, and to top that off, each bus has USB charging points helping you kick back and relax as the bus takes you to Liverpool, Cheshire Oaks, the Blue Planet Aquarium, Chester Zoo or Chester city centre.
Friendly, uniformed drivers
Behind the wheel of these Stagecoach gold buses you’ll find friendly, welcoming drivers; smartly dressed in their specially designed uniform. It’s their job to make sure that your journey is as pleasant as it could possibly be.
Where are they now?
The buses previously used by Stagecoach on the 1 and 2 services were inherited from the sale of First Chester & Wirral to Stagecoach back in 2012. The fleet originally consisted of eight Wrightbus Solar bodied Scania L94UBs dating back to 2005 for route 1, as these are only 10 years old at the time of writing, they are now being used on routes 41 and 42 between Mill Park, Birkenhead and Woodchurch. These were complimented by two additional examples dating back to 2004 around 2010.
First Chester & Wirral drafted in seven Wrightbus Eclipse Urban bodied Volvo B7RLE’s from First Yorkshire in 2012 which first arrived at Stagecoach’s Chester depot, later passing on to Rock Ferry in 2013. One unfortunate example caught fire and was later replaced with two additional Volvo B7RLE’s from Stagecoach’s Wigan operation which are expected to stay at Rock Ferry.
Unusually a sole Alexander Dennis Enviro 300 bodied MAN 18.240 was drafted in from Stagecoach’s Gillmoss depot in Liverpool, presumably to work the first X8 journey operated by Rock Ferry in the morning, with the rest of the journeys operated by Stagecoach’s Chester depot.
Stagecoach Merseyside & South Lancashire will also be introducing their Stagecoach Gold brand in Lancashire on route 125 which operates from Preston to Bolton via Chorley, Bamber Bridge and Horwich from Monday 16th November.