Arriva in control at Centrebus (Holdings)

Arriva’s joint venture partners in Centrebus (Holdings) Ltd have decided to leave, making Arriva the sole operator of the business. The company operates 152 vehicles and employs 360 people in West Yorkshire and Hinckley. The operations in West Yorkshire will be led by Business Director, Martijn Gilbert and the Hinckley operation will report into Arriva’s Midlands region. Arriva has confirmed that it is business as usual for customers and employees, with no planned changes to fares, service levels or day to day operations.

Arriva created the partnership of Centrebus (Holdings) in May 2008 to purchase K-Line Travel and Stagecoach Yorkshire’s Huddersfield operations. It is thought to be the second largest operator in Huddersfield. Centrebus (Holdings) is separate from Centrebus Ltd, whose operations are in Leicestershire, Northamptonshire, Luton, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire.

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Arriva launches Villa service

ImageArriva Midlands has launched the AV1 dedicated bus service, which offers supporters of Aston Villa FC easier access to most home games from the Tamworth area. For the 2013/14 Premiership Season, it will operate during the daytime on Saturday and Sunday, in line with kick off times for home matches. It will also offer transport for the Boxing Day match against Crystal Palace.

Regional Marketing Manager for Arriva Midlands, Keith Myatt, said, ‘With tickets costing only £6 for an adult day return, £4 for a child or over 65 day return, or £4 for a single fare, this service will not only ensure you make it to the ground in plenty of time for kick off, but it will also make sure you have a little extra money left in your pocket so that you can celebrate a home win in style.’

Pic: General Manager, Arriva Midlands’ Tamworth depot, Dan Flanagan.

‘Get yourselves down here’

ImageArriva has launched a marketing campaign aimed at encouraging tourism in the north east and attracting passengers onto its 93/X93 service (between Middlesbrough, Whitby and Scarborough). The operator has produced tongue in cheek ‘Wish you were here’ style videos featuring the three towns, entitled ‘Get yourselves down here’. Four double deck buses used on the route have been branded with traditional seaside images including lemon tops, the Ferris wheel at Scarborough and Middlesbrough’s Captain Cook inspired ‘Bottle of Notes’ sculpture. Money off vouchers in the style of postcards have been sent to 15,000 homes in Middlesbrough, Whitby and Scarborough.

Area MD of Arriva North East, Nick Knox, said, ‘We have seen an increase in demand for this service and have now introduced four double deckers all year round to allow us to carry more passengers. This seemed like a perfect opportunity to really celebrate the localness of the service by branding up the buses with recognisable summer images from along the route. We want to encourage more people to visit the towns and experience everything that they have to offer.’

Go to http://www.arrivabus.co.uk/get-yourself-down-here to view the videos.

Pic: (LtoR) ‘Dracula’, Ray Jackson and Arriva’s Judy Falmer.

Arriva launches third Sapphire scheme

ImageThe latest stage of the rollout of Arriva’s premium Sapphire brand took place in Aylesbury’s Kingsbury Square last week. A launch was held for introduction of the 11 high specification buses that are entering service on the 280 between Oxford and Aylesbury after extensive refurbishment involving a £400,000 investment.

Shoppers, commuters and local dignitaries were among those at the unveiling with Arriva advisors on hand to talk about the additional benefits of the improved fleet, including the high back, “leather-look” seats, additional leg room, free WiFi and power points, audio visual facilities and CCTV for added security. With the new features comes a commitment to deliver a punctual, reliable service, running directly between Oxford Railway Station and Aylesbury, via Haddenham, Thame and Wheatley, every 20 minutes, 7 days a week.
 
Paul Adcock, Area Managing Director for Arriva, commented: ‘Route 280 is a real gateway service as it opens up the opportunity to travel more widely across Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire. We’re delighted to be bringing the Sapphire brand to such a pivotal route as it will certainly offer our customers something different and we hope it will tempt more people to try the bus as a result. We’ll be working with our customers to gauge their feedback throughout the coming weeks and months.’

Arriva launches Wrightbus VDLs

ImageArriva Midlands has launched three new Wrightbus bodied VDL SB200 single deckers onto its Burton on Trent and Derby services. Representing an investment of £450,000, the buses each feature free Wi-Fi, CCTV and E-leather trimmed seats. Two of the vehicles will be utilised on the X38 route, a direct service between Burton on Trent and Derby, which is operated in partnership with trentbarton. It runs up to every 20 minutes in the daytime Monday to Saturday and every 30 minutes in the day on Sundays. The third will be used on local bus services in Burton on Trent.

Area MD of Arriva Midlands, Alex Parry, said, ‘We’re proud to deliver these high quality vehicles to our customers on X38 who are now able to enjoy their journeys in even greater comfort, with the added benefit of travelling in a more environmentally friendly way. We are committed to leading the way when it comes to using technology to provide solid benefits to our customers and the environment, and the introduction of these new vehicles is a prime example of how we are working together to deliver a better quality transport service across the county.’

Arriva wins CILT ‘green’ award

ImageArriva North West has been commended for its commitment to improving environmental standards in passenger transport by the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT) North West at its annual awards for Education and Excellence. The awards celebrate educational and commercial excellence in freight and passenger transport across the north west region. Arriva won in the ‘Environmental Improvement in Passenger Transport’ category for reducing its carbon emissions and improving sustainability across its operations. Carbon neutral gas buses and new Volvo hybrid buses form part of a group wide campaign by the company to introduce over £26.7m of new low carbon emission buses to its UK fleet. Arriva is funding £22.2m of the investment with the remainder provided by the Green Bus Fund.

Green Line changes

ImageArriva’s Green Line coach service between Luton and London is set to change on 30 June. Set to be introduced are a revised timetable; new commuter links direct from Stopsley, Leagrave and Marsh Farm; and a new ticket for commuters, day-trippers and families. The round-the-clock 757 service will be running seven days a week and to a half-hourly frequency for the main part of the day between Luton Rail Station, the town centre, Stockwood Park and London. The move follows developments earlier this year that saw Arriva take legal proceedings against Luton Airport following its decision to give the contract to operate services to the airport to National Express, who took over the running of services to the facility on 1 May 2013. Arriva claimed the Spanish-owned London Luton Airport Operations Ltd (LLAOL) is trying to block coach travellers from using the 30 year old 757 service by offering the rights to National Express. Arriva claims easyBus’s new service from central London to the airport, which also started on 1 May, contradicts LLAOL’s position of preventing other operators like Arriva in favour of an ‘exclusive’ operator.

Despite this disagreement, Arriva is to run extra coaches to and from London at peak times. Another new feature is the inclusion of free bus travel on all Arriva services in the Luton and Dunstable area with some Green Line tickets. This will apply to commuters’ Season Tickets and also to the Green Liner Plus ticket. New ten trip fares are also being introduced for people travelling regularly but not always five days each week. All coaches are fitted with free Wi-Fi, air conditioning and reclining seats and stop at Brent Cross, Finchley Road, Baker Street, Marble Arch and Victoria for easy access to London’s bus and tube network. Arriva has also arranged with some of the main tourist attractions in the capital for Green Line customers to have two-for-one entry.

Arriva’s MD, Paul Adcock, said, ‘We have taken the opportunity to make some changes to our popular Green Line service between Luton and London which are designed to appeal both to commuters and to day trippers visiting the capital. Our new range of Green Line tickets allows customers to start their journey on our local buses in and around Luton and Dunstable at no extra cost, and the extension of some journeys to start in outlying areas is expected to be popular with commuters who will be able to get on the coach near their home and then sit back and relax until they reach London. With free on-board Wi-Fi our customers will be able to make the most of their journey by chatting to friends, checking their emails, browsing the internet or doing some online shopping. Amongst our new range of tickets is a £30 family day return ticket for up to two adults and two children travelling together which really cuts the cost of travel to London and some of the commuter tickets work out at less than £51 per week.’