A bus passenger from Lower Ford in Sunderland has become the 100,000th customer to travel on the X24 express service from Sunderland to Newcastle and was rewarded with a gift from Stagecoach North East.
Andy Clifford, 37, was the first bus passenger to board one of the X24 express buses, which launched in January this year, and has now become its 100,000th customer.
The local bus operator was delighted to present Andy with the gift of a Fire HD tablet as a thank you for his custom and in recognition of the milestone.
Andy popped into the depot to receive his prize and meet some of the bus drivers who drive on the X24 route from Sunderland to Newcastle, including Wayne Doran and Steven Kirkhouse.
Andy said: “I use the X24 several times a week, travelling between Sunderland and Newcastle for work. Being able to get around via the X24 has been a game changer I believe; it’s easy to use and has been long needed in Sunderland. Previous bus services travelled through many estates, which if you are in a hurry can be a little frustrating, so a direct service was much needed.
“The service is extremely quick after leaving Chester Road in Sunderland - if there are road works, the service can divert anywhere as its none stop between there and Gateshead. The X24 staff are also very friendly and polite, the leather seats are really comfortable and its 20p cheaper than a single journey on the metro. It’s been really nice to meet the drivers Wayne and Steven and also a big thank you to my regular driver, Ian Alderson.”
Laura Smith, Operations Manager for the Stagecoach North East depot in Sunderland, said: “We were delighted to welcome Andy to the depot and present him with a small gift as a token of appreciation for his continued custom and to acknowledge the landmark of 100,000 customers on this recently launched service.
“The X24 service represents further investment from Stagecoach North East and demonstrates our commitment to delivering more choice, more value for money and more opportunities to travel whether business or pleasure.”
The X24 inter-urban route operates every 30 minutes Monday to Saturday from Fawcett Street in Sunderland City Centre to Pilgrim Street in Newcastle.
Introduced following a high level of customer demand, the express service also runs evening services at 7.24pm in Sunderland and 8.10pm in Newcastle respectively. At £2.90 for an adult single, £4.00 for a Tyne and Wear dayrider or £16.00 all week with a Tyne and Wear Megarider PLUS, the X24 offers a speedy service for commuters and shoppers in both cities and excellent value for money.
Travelling via Chester Road in Sunderland and Gateshead High Street, the newly liveried buses with the striking X24 blue design presents an alternative method of travel to the Metro.