28 Nov 2014
Christmas came early for passengers in the Grimsby and Cleethorpes area when a new state-of-the-art bus was unveiled at the Riverhead Exchange.
The new Simplibus service will serve two of the busiest routes in the area and allow passengers to access information in its simplest form, making travelling easier and more accessible for everyone.
Wrapped in paper and decorated with a bow, the Simplibus was unveiled by staff from Stagecoach, which has invested more than £4-million in a new fleet of 23 single-decker and five double-decker buses.
Stagecoach East Midlands managing director Michelle Hargreaves said: “It’s a big investment but we believe in Grimsby.
“This investment is about making our services simple for customers to use. We want people to be encouraged to travel by bus and feel confident in doing so.”
The new single-decker buses will be used on the popular 3 and 4 routes between Laceby Road in Grimsby, to Cleethorpes Pier, via Grimsby town centre, running up to every 10 minutes.
“Simplibus is all about simplicity,” said Michelle. “We have simplified the route numbers, the timetables and the fares. We want to show people just how easy it is to travel by bus.”
And Jon Donnelly, Stagecoach East Midlands Commercial Manager (North), said many people could find travelling by public transport challenging.
“People won’t travel on our transport if they don’t know how it works,” he said. “Our Simplibus service will help them understand how it can work for them. It’s easy to get to where you need to be.”
The unveiling of the new bus was a huge hit with Weston Primary School pupil James Bingham, who wants to be a bus driver when he grows up.
The five-year-old got the chance to sit behind the wheel of one of the new double-deckers, which are equipped with the latest Wi-fi technology and high-spec seating. These buses will travel between Grimsby and Louth.
“James absolutely loves buses and was thrilled when I told him he was going to see a brand new one,” said his mum Elisia Bingham, of Pershore Avenue, Grimsby.
“We use the bus every single day and to have new buses on our route is fantastic – it’s just what’s needed.”
And Cleethorpes MP Martin Vickers described the introduction of the new buses as ‘extremely good news’.
“It’s a massive investment and it will improve the travelling experience for everyone in the area,” he said.
Once the new Simplibus was unveiled eager passengers queued up to have a look on board.
With its bright blue and orange interior, everything on the bus is designed to keep passengers informed and feeling confident about their journeys.
Councillor Jane Hyldon-King, who sits on the Eng-Age transport group in Grimsby, said Stagecoach had done a ‘great job’ bringing the new fleet of buses to the town.
“There is still work to be done but this is major investment on two of the busiest routes,” she said.
“An awful lot of people depend entirely on public transport in Grimsby and Cleethorpes. We have an ageing population in North East Lincolnshire and these buses are really important to them.”
Father Christmas and Stagecoach’s mascot Ralfie Rabbit helped entertain the crowd and money was raised for St Andrew’s Children’s Hospice.
A tombola saw two lucky passengers win Megarider passes worth more than £400 each. Sharon Mitchell of Patrick Street, Grimsby, and eight-year-old Dieter Eidson of Park Street, Cleethorpes, were the lucky winners.
The Stagecoach investment supports the on-going multi-million-pound development by North East Lincolnshire Council to transform the heart of Grimsby. The £6-million project includes the creation of a new pedestrian and cycle link from Grimsby Town railway station to Victoria Street and a redevelopment of the town’s bus station to include the Riverhead Exchange public transport hub.
New bus stops and shelters have also been built incorporating ‘real-time’ travel information displays, with the system set to go live in the New Year.