April 14th 2015 saw all 17 new Alexander Dennis Enviro 400 double deckers assemble at the 'Tetley' in Leeds for yet another grand Arriva service launch. With some neat pyrotechnics, a talented female violinist and the firework display, with Sapphire logo beamed onto the Tetley building. It made for an entertaining evenings display, with Arriva showing First West Yorkshire how to launch a bus service in style.
Sapphire is a new service standard launched by Arriva in February 2013, which some very neat additions to the refurbished ADL E400s used in Oxford and Chester, free Wifi, improved legroom, smart leather seating, new brighter livery, on board power sockets and a money back guarantee! Four routes were chosen in England, buses were refresh/refurbished and the Sapphire was launched during 2013, with swift results showing the need for such quality. This led to more Sapphire brand routes to pop-up around the North East, North West, Kent, Derby and Leicester, again most using refurbished vehicles apart from the Durham-Darlington service which had new saloons.
In early 2012 Arriva Yorkshire launched 41 integral 2DL double deckers at Temple Newsam in Leeds, 17 of which were used for the 110 service, replacing the 2008 East Lancashire bodied Volvo B9TLs. These 2DLs joined the eight similar vehicles at Selby, which are still on the 415 Selby-York service recently upgrade to MAX standard. Arriva had standardized on the 2DL decker for all its operations, which included Hybrid Volvo B5LHs, with the same Wright low height bodywork, again on buses mainly in the North East/West and Yorkshire, with some in the South. But later during 2014 Arriva then started purchasing the complete ADL E40D double deckers for services in Merseyside, naturally orders were made for Yorkshire, with possible upgrading of key Kirklees routes, namely the 202/3, 268A with extension to Wakefield and the 126/7 services, also the 110 was going to be upgraded.
With the planned grand launch done and dusted the new ADL E40Ds were going to go into service on April 15th 2015, for the first full day of operation. The 110 has changed little during its operation from its West Riding days to the Arriva operation, apart from the removal of buses on North Street leading straight on into Westmorland Street. Buses now entered the redeveloped bus station on Union Street, then continued with a right turn into Westmorland Street. Like most West Riding routes the 110 does call at various places along the way to Wakefield, Lofthouse, Outwood, Kettlethorpe and Hall Green, via an Asda superstore before venturing onto Hall Green. The whole route takes just around an hour and eight minutes to complete, with a ten minute headway, which needs a minimum of 12 vehicles on the route. With 17 buses at Belle Isle depot's disposal, it can allow for the usual rush hour/peak time traffic problems to be sorted out, such as a short turn, with another bus complete one half of the service.
Sapphire has also brought out a strap line for the 110 with 'The Grandest Yorkshire Connection' which follows on from the MAX standard strap line 'Grand Yorkshire Connections'. Now most of my readers will know that the Sapphire brand was also designed by Best Impressions, who have Ray Stenning at the helm. Such bright and stunning livery designs by Best Impressions can be seen all around the UK on buses, trains and all timetables and route information posters. So if your in Leeds or Wakefield and fancy a trip on a very posh bus then try the new look Sapphire 110, yes its got WiFi, better legroom, power sockets but it has nice clean seats and bright interior décor.
Here are my personal views on bus activity in my area and beyond