Arriva upgrades in Cannock
Arriva Midlands has invested in seven new Wrightbus VDL single-deckers to upgrade the intensive 25/26 Pye Green Circular services to the north of Cannock. Five of the vehicles are route branded with three entering service early on launch day and two displayed in the town’s Market Place where they were formally unveiled to the public
Aidan Burley, MP for Cannock, was the guest of honour at the launch event, joining Area Director West of Arriva Midlands, Rob Cheveaux and Cannock Chase District Council leader, George Adamson to view the vehicles and learn of Arriva Midland’s proposals to introduce the service commercially on Sundays from 23 March 2014. The circular service runs every twelve minutes in each direction during the week giving Pye Green residents the benefit of ten journeys per hour into Cannock.
Rob Cheveaux commented: ‘We’re proud to deliver these high quality vehicles to our customers on route 25/26 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.’
Both Aidan Burley and George Adamson expressed satisfaction that investment was now being made by Arriva Midlands in the Cannock area with formal recognition being made by Staffordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Economy and Infrastructure, Cllr Mark Winnington, ‘I am delighted to see the introduction of the new buses for Cannock and investment by Arriva. Our vision is for a truly connected county and we are keen to get more people using buses as we continue to promote more sustainable travel. The more reliable and attractive we can make public transport, the more likely we are to get people to use it. The arrival of the new buses is great news for local commuters and should help to encourage more people to use public transport. We are also trying to encourage more young people to use buses through the ‘Your Staffordshire Card’ travel scheme, which now has over 35,000 teenagers signed up.’
The new Wrightbus VDL vehicles represent a £1.1m investment and feature low-emission engines, CCTV, moquette seating and LED lighting together with buggy and wheelchair areas. Five of the vehicles are route branded for the Pye Green circulars, appropriately using a green base for the route details. The route numbers 25/26 feature prominently and the route detail is restated via a circular device towards the rear on both sides. The rear panel gives details of the onward connections available from Cannock bus station, continuing a theme from posters inside the vehicles.
The Pye Green circular serves a well populated area on the southern flanks of Cannock Chase. Originally an area dominated by coal mining and associated communities, significant housing growth took place from the mid twentieth century with further expansion planned. Bus services have always provided a vital role in connecting the area with local facilities in Cannock and Hednesford and in time past these were provided by diverse operations. The original Green Bus Company of Rugeley and the later Green Bus Company of Great Wyrley both served the area alongside the muncipal buses of Walsall, significantly outside the core operating area of that operator and its successor, WMPTE. Arriva Midland’s predecessor, the then NBC owned Midland Red North, acquired the original Green Bus Company in 1973 and opened an operating base in Cannock in 1977, a rare investment in new premises in that era for NBC. The depot became the headquarters of Midland Red North and continues to play a vital role today for Arriva Midlands in the area, with 52 vehicles based there.