Park and ride services in Canterbury are now operated by Stagecoach after the bus company won the city council’s five year contract. It won the rights to run the operation following a competitive tender process. The previous operator was Kent Top Travel, who chose not to bid after providing the service over the last five years. Stagecoach has introduced a new fleet of six ADL Enviro300 single deckers and four Enviro400 double deckers all with free Wi-fi for use on the services. It has also brought in extended operating hours.
MD of Stagecoach in East Kent, Philip Norwell, said, ‘We are delighted to have won the opportunity to operate such an important public service for Canterbury. We are committed to reducing traffic congestion by continually improving public transport and the brand new fleet of park and ride buses, free Wi-fi and extended operating hours will hopefully encourage more people to use the service rather than driving into the city centre.’
Stagecoach Bluebird has revised some of its single fares in the Moray area, resulting in a reduction in fares for passengers in Burghead. The move was motivated by feedback from customers received in recent months. The change will affect route 32 serving Burghead to Bishopmill via Hopeman, Duffus and Elgin. Single fares on this service will reduce from £4.60 to £4 and from £4 to £3.50, a reduction of 13%.
MD, Stagecoach North Scotland, Steve Walker, said, ‘It was noted through customer feedback recently that the local dayrider ticket worked out cheaper than a single fare on sections of this route. As such, we’re amending the single fares on route 32 to better reflect the wider fare structure. The calculations used for return tickets will remain the same therefore return fares will also see a reduction from this date. In March this year Stagecoach launched a new ticket zone in the region, the Moray coast megarider ticket, offering unlimited travel through the Moray and Banffshire areas for just £35 per week, providing new ticket options for commuters across Moray and the coastal towns. We work hard to keep fares down for those who rely on the bus the most and the feedback we receive from our customers can help to shape our network and the fares and tickets we offer. As the cost of motoring continues to rise, our dayrider and megarider tickets continue to offer great value travel for our regular commuters.’
Stagecoach will launch a new bus route between Tenterden and Ashford on Monday 29 July offering free travel on the service on that day. Numbered the 2A, it will operate via Shadoxhurst and replaces routes 295 and 296 which were provided by various bus companies. In combination with the existing route 2 via High Halden, there will now be a bus between Ashford and Tenterden every 30 minutes for the first time.
Jeremy Cooper, Commercial Director of Stagecoach in East Kent said: ‘With so many buses to chose from we hope many more people will now travel from Tenterden to Ashford by bus, particularly with the high speed trains offering an attractive route into London. We hope the free travel on Monday will help passengers have a great day out at the start of the school holidays and we plan to have a classic 1968 AEC Regent double-decker in use on some of the journeys as an added bit of fun.’
Stagecoach Midlands has donated a 1996 Leyland Olympian to Boughton Leigh Infant School in Brownsover, Rugby for use as a library by around 260 children aged between three and seven years. The school is very short of space and did not have a library. Headteacher, Andrew Moorcroft, heard of a London School using a bus as a library and contacted Stagecoach and Steve Burd, MD of Stagecoach Midlands, offered to help.
The bus was painted in London Transport red, most of the seats were removed and those which were left we re-upholstered and re-positioned to allow for carpeted areas for children to sit on to read. The bus was delivered to the school free of charge on 20 July by Crouch Commercial Recovery, of Lutterworth.
Steve Burd, MD of Stagecoach Midlands, said, ‘We like to support communities, which we are part of, and we were delighted to be in a position to help Boughton Leigh Infant School. This has been a unique project, which will bring benefits to the school for a long time to come.’
Two new additions have been made to the marketing team at Stagecoach Group’s UK Bus division. Craig Carrington has joined as UK Bus Assistant Marketing Manager. Based in Rugby, Craig is responsible for assisting in the development of the UK Bus marketing, branding and customer experience development and roll out. He was most recently employed in the packaging industry, handling brands such as Coca Cola, Lego and Nestle.
Additionally, Alan Sawyers has taken on the role of UK Bus Senior Designer. Alan has worked with Stagecoach UK Bus as an external designer since 2006 and worked on megabus.com and its associated brands. He has also worked with many Stagecoach regional operating companies and will continue to provide services for all of these brands in his new role. He will provide design support and direction on driving and rolling out UK Bus branding strategies, as well as supporting marketing units and working on national projects and campaigns.
UK Bus Marketing Manager, Jodine Milne-Reader, said, ‘We’re delighted to welcome Craig and Alan to Stagecoach UK Bus. Both have significant experience in their fields and will play a very important part within the wider marketing team. This is an exciting time of development and innovation for Stagecoach UK Bus, in which marketing and customer focus will play a key role. The aim is to provide central support to our local businesses to help in their development and growth. I look forward to working with them as we aim to attract even more people out of their cars and on to our greener, smarter bus services.’
Stagecoach has announced it is to launch a new Citylink Gold service in Scotland using two 15m Volvo based Plaxton Elite 54-seater coaches operated by Parks of Hamilton with leather seats, tables, power sockets, a toilet and free Wi-Fi. From 19 July, the new services will operate between Edinburgh and Aberdeen, with two departures in each direction every day of the week. Customer service hosts will provide passengers with at seat, rail-style service. The launch follows the success of the existing Citylink Gold services that link Glasgow with Aberdeen and Inverness.
MD of Stagecoach’s UK Coach Division, Elizabeth Esnouf, said, ‘Our Citylink Gold services in Scotland have proved extremely popular so we are delighted to be expanding the network. This new link between Edinburgh and Aberdeen will provide customers with a new luxury travel option. More and more people are making coach travel their number one transport choice. These new services offer a comfortable and stress-free journey that takes passengers right to the heart of the city and lets them enjoy luxury travel at affordable prices.’
Stagecoach has made a multi-million pound investment in an automatic vehicle location system to track its 7,000 strong regional bus fleet in the UK. The contract for the technology was awarded to VIX Technology. Work on a pilot is expected to be completed by summer 2014, with the system fully deployed in late 2015. The system will be used to track vehicle location, monitoring and reporting progress in real time. It will provide this information to back office systems for use on bus stop displays, mobile apps and the internet. Stagecoach claims it will be the first major UK bus operator to use ticketing system technology in this way nationally. It also expects the technology will help improve schedule efficiency and service performance. The operator’s existing VIX TP5000 ticket machines already support ITSO smartcards.
MD of Stagecoach UK Bus, Robert Montgomery, said, ‘Technology is opening up new ways to make travel easier for our customers and Stagecoach has a track record of being at the forefront of transport innovation. Passengers want certainty over when their bus will arrive. Investment in this new system will help deliver a platform to provide better journeys for our customers, more cost effective information provision by local authorities and improve the efficiency of our own operation. We already provide the lowest bus fares of any major bus operator in the country, as well as delivering the best customer satisfaction of any national bus operator. We hope this new technology will help encourage car users to make the switch to greener, smarter bus travel.’