24 Feb 2015
Thankfully the sun was shining on the 18th February when Stagecoach and Hayling Hardware joined up to run a special launch event for the new £500 million investment in the 30/31 Hayling Island bus service.
The event was held at the busy Hardware store as it used to be the Island’s bus station before being sold, repaired and adapted to be used as an essential hardware store in 1993. One of the green 1956 Southdowns buses (a vintage Leyland PD2) was accompanied by some tiny, ride-on replicas, as a backdrop for exhibiting the brand new E200 buses which increase the routes overall green credential and environmental efficiency.
The very talented, local face and body artist Elissa Barrett was busy face painting all day and requests varied from Peppa Pig to an actual Stagecoach bus.
Bob Jackson, Operations Manager for Stagecoach said: “you could not have wished for weather or, a better audience. Residents loved boarding the vehicles, trying out the driver’s seat and for some – enjoying a bit of nostalgia”.
Andrew Dyer, Regional Managing Director added: “Stagecoach is committed to providing the best possible service for our customer and we will continue to invest in our fleet.
This latest investment will mean that half of the bus fleet in the South Hampshire area are less than 3 years of age.”
2015 marks 100 years since Stagecoach’s predecessor ‘ Southdown Motor Services’ was formed and this was the first of many events to commemorate the special year.
Some of the young guests on the day had travelled from as far as Basingstoke for the event and the glee on the children’s faces – even before the free sweets and face painting was heart warming.
A number of bus enthusiasts also made it to the event including Paul Gainsborough, Editor for the Southdowns Enthusiasts Club.
Three of the four new buses have been named after points of historical interest for the Island, The Oliver Leaf, (after the first Lifeboat), The Coppists (after the WW2 heroes) and The Hayling Billy (after the Steam Train). There is a competition on now to name the fourth with a fantastic prize, a Kindle fire, could you name that final bus?
For more information about this competition, events, timetables and promotions, please visit www.stagecoachbus.com/south.