Stagecoach Highlands has welcomed the first of their new-look vehicles to Inverness.
In January Stagecoach unveiled a brand new look for its buses, shaped by the needs of customers it proudly serves across the UK, every day.
The new look is part of a wider commitment from Stagecoach to simplify, modernise and enhance its customer experience, whilst reaffirming the customer-first approach that runs through everything it does – from its drivers and buses, to its customer service and technology solutions.
The new look is being rolled out across the fleet of 200 buses and coaches in the Highlands over a three-year period, with customers seeing the first buses on the road in the Highlands this week.
Stagecoach’s instantly recognisable ‘roundel’ icon, a familiar sight on the British road for two decades, has been rejuvenated, modernised and simplified and will be universally adopted across everything that the bus operator offers, representing the three different types of journey. These include:
- Local buses – these are everyday community buses with strong local connections that take people to work, education, hospitals, leisure activities with friends and family and life’s important moments.
- Longer distance – buses with added comfort and value for customers that need to take a bus beyond the place they live.
- Specialist – these are specialist services built for purpose – for drivers who need to park their car outside of town and use park and ride services, university students who need a lift to class and tourists who want to go sightseeing around the country
Three buses in the new ‘longer distance’ paintwork joined the Highlands fleet in early March and will initially be operating on the X99 route between Inverness and Caithness.
The previous coaches that have operated on the route for almost 2 years remain in the Caithness fleet.
David Beaton, managing director at Stagecoach Highlands said: “The last few months have been an extremely challenging time within the business. We are pleased to have been in a position to be able to increase bus services in the Highlands from Monday 29th June as well as get these coaches out on the road. In line with social distancing implemented on board our buses and coaches, we have made a series of changes to the routes our vehicles operate on to provide the highest capacity where there is the highest demand. We hope as lockdown continues to ease we will start to welcome more customers on board all of our services across the Highlands once again.”
Trudy Morris, Chief Executive of Caithness Chamber of Commerce said: “As we begin to move out of lockdown, bus services will play a key role in connecting our communities and providing us with links to opportunities and services in Inverness and beyond.
"We are delighted to see Stagecoach investing in their fleet in the area, and we very much welcome the introduction of these new vehicles to key routes in the North Highlands. This is a clear demonstration of Stagecoach’s ongoing commitment to the region.”
Passenger journeys have fallen by over 80% on service X99 since lockdown began on 23 March.
The capacity on board an X99 coach is now 14 customers (full capacity is 59 plus one wheelchair user) and customers are reminded that they can book their seat in advance at citylink.co.uk. If unable to book in advance, customers can also check how busy the bus is using the Stagecoach mobile app using the new busy bus indicator.
The local bus operator is also reminding customers to follow the latest government advice regarding mandatory face coverings on public transport as well as the restrictions on travel distance, to protect others against coronavirus.
More information on staying safe travelling by bus is available here.