2017 was another very busy year for Transdev, with some showcase events, new routes, new vehicles and more ‘revitalised’ buses with inspired liveries and new innovations to mobile tickets and Apps. Improved webpages and even more online ticket offers. Now let’s begin the review of 2017………………………………………………………………………………………………………. All photographs are taken by Scott Poole and are published here for viewing only, no photographs are to use without written permission via the author. Thank you for your understanding with this matter.
The year started with the introduction of the new high specification Volvo B5TL/Wrightbus Gemini 3 double deckers for the Yorkshire Coastliner fleet. Here 3631 is seen working the Tadcaster diversion, as the bridge was being rebuilt after the 2015 boxing day floods. The bridge was eventually completed in February 2017, with huge celebrations and 3635 being the first bus to cross the river Wharfe, since December 26th, 2015.
Harrogate bus drivers, engineers, management and the local community were out to pay their respects to Peter-Melville-Smith, who passed away shortly before Christmas 2016. Harrogate Bus Company employees attended the funeral at St. Johns Church in Bilton, then guests were driven through Harrogate bus station, as Peter was laid to rest in a private family gathering. 3615 was named in respect to Peter, who would stand-in for extra driving duties when called upon. Thoughts go out to Peter’s family.
Major gas works saw many routes in Harrogate diverted along Victoria Avenue and Marlborough Road and North Park Road, for several weeks as Bridge Street was closed for these essential works
1800 is seen entering Marlborough Road while working on the detour of the 1 group of services on January 18th, 2017. This bus joined the ‘revitalised’ former Blackburn and Harrogate Volvo saloons on the extensive 1 routes. The 770/771 routes were also diverted via this route until the gas works were completed
At the beginning of the month, Harrogate held a very special event out lining the next five years of investment for the services, within the Harrogate district. These included the ‘revitalised’ buses offering many features as USB power, free Wi-Fi, individual seats, bright interiors and next stop audio/visual announcements
A special visitor was also brought in from the Swedish city of Gothenburg, a Volvo 7900EV fully electric vehicle. Here the bus is seen outside the Ceder Court Hotel, before the evenings events. The 36 also saw a few timetable amendments, with the withdrawal of the A61 Scott Hall road fast sections to keep Peak-time journeys on track. A special day happened on February 19th the Tadcaster Bridge had just been re-opened after the Boxing day floods devastated parts of North and West Yorkshire, affecting many bus services. It was a particular honour for Transdev to be naming a bus for the town’s people of Tadcaster, who now had their town back together. 3635 was officially named ‘The Sprit of Tadcaster’ by the major along with applauding locals, who found the name very fitting.
Here 3635 is seen departing Tadcaster, after the weekend celebrations has come to and end, with Malton based driver Adam Daveis at the wheel.
Late March 2017 saw the official launch of the new Transdev group pool livery, Pride of The North, which replaced the overall white livery. Here 2764 is seen at York bus depot, permission was granted for entry into the depot for the photos to be taken on behalf of Transdev. So far, the following buses have gained the new pool livery 2763, 421, 2750, 2754, 2755, 2721-23, 2725 and 1867.
April saw two more important events to be held, along with the busy behind the scenes activity at Transdev, more new ideas for journeys were being thought and brought to the public attention. Contactless payment was being experimented on a few key services, with possible fleet wide use beyond 2017 into 2018. Mobile apps were also being developed and would later appear towards the end of 2017, as ‘Transdev Go’. Keighley Bus Company held a special day in Bingley to promote the Shuttle and the 760, which would later in 2017 become the 60, between Leeds & Keighley, one Shuttle liveried bus was used on this day. Vamooz! The crowd funding/surfing service was launched with Alex Hornby and Rebecca using bus 404 a pink liveried Volvo/Gemini a former Yorkshire Coastliner vehicle. The Vamooz idea saw passengers purchase seats via an app and on the Vamooz website, trips were to Blackpool, Manchester and the Yorkshire dales and Coast, with the first trip to Manchester to join the ‘One Love Manchester’ concert organised to remember those affected, injured and killed in the Manchester arena bombing.
404 is seen here working the 36 to Leeds during a morning stint on the service on June 12th, 2017.
Its was a very busy month for Transdev in May 2017, with new vehicles on order, service rebranding and a celebration of all places to visit in Yorkshire.
Former Keighley Volvo/Wright saloon 566 is seen operating the new fresh look for the Blackburn to Clitheroe 22 Valleyline service, which saw a new livery and the usual Transdev vehicle refinements, to add to the passenger experience. The order for 30 new Optare Versa saloons were nearing completion, a May drew to a close, with four more Versa’s on order for Keighley and seven more Solo SRs for Keighley as well. Late May saw Transdev’s marketing team take two buses into Leeds, on Briggate to Celebrate ‘Amazing Yorkshire Days out’. A booklet developed by the marketing team to promote all that is good about Yorkshire, using Transdev bus routes to visit various places. Plus, details of how to continue the journey onto Lancashire via the Day Tripper ticket and Burnley and Blackburn bus services.
As already mentioned in the April section, June saw the first Vamooz trip to the ‘One Love’ Manchester concert. It also saw the official introduction of the former Yorkshire Coastliner ‘revitalised’ saloons 450-453 to work the B1, B2 & B3 ‘Bronte Bus’ services serving Haworth, Stanbury, Oakworth and Hebden Bridge.
451 shows the new look, with full ‘Bronte Bus’ branding while passing through Haworth heading for Oakworth, on the B2 route. But the K1-10 local routes in Keighley were also to get a brand refresh as the ‘Keighley Jets’, towards the end of summer 2017, more of which later. The Optare Versa saloons for the new look Mainline in Burnley were now in delivery and being prepped for service, with the seven Optare Solo SRs now in build and due for entry into service in August 2017.
Eight former Mainline Volvo/Eclipse2 saloons were ‘revitalised’ in time for the introduction of the ‘Superior 70/71’ brand refresh in late July 2017. 1854-1860 were given the two-tone red Harrogate livery, with USB power sockets, free Wi-Fi, improved seats and next stop audio/visual announcements, these were slowly entered into service from July 2017, with 1853 as a spare vehicle.
1857 is seen on the hourly 70 service between Harrogate & Wetherby, which ventures through Follifoot village and Spofforth. The bus is working on the first Monday into service on 24th July 2017. The new 30 Optare Versa saloons were now ready for the official launch of the whole brand refresh, which would include a full open depot day at Burnley. Queensgate. On Friday July 21st 245 was used at Nelson for promotional duties outside the main Library for the day, with Ben, Chris and Steve and later Burnley depot manager Steve popped across for a look at proceedings.
On Saturday the 22nd, 245 was parked in central Burnley for more promo work as the Burnley team were gearing up for the depot open day on the 23rd on Sunday. With many new features to grace the Versa model, such as double-glazed windows, outside lights along the roof coving, USB power, Wi-Fi, new seating and local voices used for the next stop announcements. The depot open day was another hugely successful day, with families enjoying vintage bus trips on former Burnley, Colne and Nelson buses, the launch of the new Mainline buses and much more. A tradition now on the open days was a group photograph of all the volunteers and visiting members of the public to be involved in.
August was another busy month for Transdev as plans for the new look Keighley Jets were finalized, the newly introduced former Mainline Volvo’s on the 70/71 services, the new school term transport, using Vamooz and Pride of The North liveried vehicles on the ne V numbered services, all taking place during September. One special moment was the naming of 1837 as John Metcalfe better known to Knaresborough locals as ‘Blind Jack’. Attending the service were Transdev management, the Harrogate Mayor and relations of John Metcalfe. Below 1837 is seen passing through Flaxby, in North Yorkshire, while heading for Boroughbridge on the 1A service. On October 23rd, 2017, a few days before the introduction of the new 21 service between Knaresborough and Boroughbridge, which Volvo/Wright 305 was used on the first trip out.
Transdev continued with more partnership news for the customers, with service extensions via the Stagecoach Mega bus services around the north of England, extending to London, Newcastle, Glasgow and Cardiff. Passengers could also use tickets to travel on all Transdev routes from Leeds to Harrogate, York, Keighley and the East Coast. Keighley also introduced the re-branded local services K1-10 as the ‘Keighley Jets’ using the existing and seven new Optare Solo SRs, around the town. It allowed for several inter-connecting trips on each bus, changing easily from one route to another. The new Solos were shorter at 9.25 metres in length, while 154 was 9.5 the same as 150-153.
160 is seen operating the K6 Fell Lane service having just entered into revenue earning service on September 5th, 2017.
October was to be quite a busy month, with new vehicles for the 60 ‘Aireline’ Leeds to Keighley service, the improved Monday to Saturday day time frequency of the 36 to 10 minutes and a special evening event to celebrate the Transdev brand ‘Pride of the North’ and the new CityZap service to Manchester, which was organised for early November also being planned.
A special invite, to Victoria Hall in Keighley saw the official launch of the new look Aireline service 60, which ‘Follows the River’ and the newly introduced Keighley Jets local services. Here both 158 and 274 bask in early October sun on Friday the 6th, Keithley based Phil and Keith joined Ben Mansfield, along with local invited press and transport officials to look at both buses and launch the Aireline service.
277 is seen arriving at Shipley, during the first Monday out on the service, the four dedicated liveried vehicles were joined by several Keighley buses including two Plaxton President bodied Volvo B7TLs.
Harrogate saw the 36-service enhanced and improved, with alterations to the timetable, which saw the withdrawal of evening ‘Neighbourhood’ services to Bilton & Jennyfeild, with extensions to Ripon. Here 3640 is paused in Harrogate, to promote the 10-minute frequency of the service. For this new revision of the route three brand new Volvo B5TLs with Wrights Gemini 3 bodywork were delivered in October to Harrogate. These featured a few adjustments and tweaks to issues which will be addressed on 3615-3628. The Wharfelinks services, which are operated by Keighley Bus Company, taking over from another company. In October, from the 23rd, Keighley took over one operational journey on the 965 from First West Yorkshire. Initially using a 2017 Solo SR minibus, eventually a Transbus Dart 720 returned to Keighley in the new Keighley livery and branding for the 965.
After months of planning and driver familiarization the next CityZap service between Leeds and Manchester was set-up, using ‘revitalised’ former Mainline Volvo B7RLEs/Wrightbus saloons, 1868-1871 with 1867 as a spare vehicle in the Pride Of The North livery. For the new service, specially invited guests from the press and industry were gathered to celebrate the new service and the team who would drive the buses. The new service commenced on Sunday November 5th, with four dedicated liveried buses working the route. Which uses the M62 motorway, via Ainley Top, for connections to Halifax and Huddersfield. The first week of operation saw 1500 passengers use the one-pound flat fare deal, it was a successful move, as the service has proved to be a hit with passengers, even train passengers have swapped over. The advantage of Transdev also allows the use of the Day Tripper ticket from York through to Manchester and beyond. Like the York CityZap, drivers can use ‘ZapNav’ to find the best route in and out of Leeds and Manchester, saving time and even allowing for a quicker journey.
1870 is seen at Ainley Top working the CityZap to Manchester during the during the first week of operation. During September and October Keighley withdrew its final examples of the Volvo B10BLE/Wrightbus saloons, some are held for additional service requirements.
1078 is seen here in late April working the long K10 service to Oakworth, with a few months service still left. The bus was new to Lancashire United in August 2001 and moved to Keighley in 2010, it was taken out of service in September 2017.
Harrogate would also bid farewell to its former Lancashire United Volvo/Wright Renown’s towards September 2017, like 1085 seen above in the Village of Thorner. Transdev also got three winners in November, via the 2017 Bus Awards, with a one, two and three or Gold Silver and Bronze awards. Entered into three categories, the 36 won the Gold award for sustained marketing excellence, York based Driver Dale French got the Silver award for bus driver of the year, while Ben Mansfield gain the Bronze award for Young Bus Manager of the year. CEO of Transdev-Blazefield Alex Hornby, was very excited and proud of the achievements of his outstanding team at the awards.
November saw many Transdev buses with Remembrance Poppies worn, to remember those who had fallen in war, as the country remembered those across the weekend of the 10th and 11th of November.
The festive season fast approaches as Transdev prepare for the season of goodwill to all, with many drivers and senior staff enjoying the Christmas jumper day on December 15th, some drivers even dressed in Santa outfits to bring more cheer, with the Bus Butlers also bringing breakfast treats to passengers. The final buses to be completed by the ESU department before the festive break were three ‘revitalised’ former Mainline saloons 1863-1865. These were fully overhauled and with Transdev interior cloth seating covers, installation of USB power, Wi-Fi and improved legroom, the buses were quietly deployed on the number 1 service between Blackburn, Darwen and Bolton. Former Volvo B7RLE demonstrator which Wrightbus Eclipse bodywork, which was delivered to Harrogate & District in 2003. Later numbered 1700 in the fleet, this bus was withdrawn from Harrogate during September 2017 and it was sent to the ESU department, where it was again 'revitalised' into the Blackburn Bus Company livery with a new interior and standard improved Transdev features.
1864 is seen departing Blackburn in very early 2018 in the full ‘The Blackburn Bus Company’ livery, heading for Bolton. And finally, …………………. On December 20th after some final negotiations had been completed it was confirmed that Rossendale Council had finalized the sale of ‘Rosso Bus’ to Transdev. The deal was sweetened with the promise of a £3 million investment of new buses, for the major trunk services operated. It also means that some former Transdev saloons and deckers are returning into Transdev ownership too. Such as this former Yorkshire Coastliner B9TL/Wrightbus working in Blackburn, pictured below.
I hope you have enjoyed this look back at 2017, which has been a very busy year for Transdev and its staff. No doubt the marketing team and senior management are working on new ideas for 2018, such as more Vamooz journeys, group wide use of contactless payments, mobile apps and tickets all this and the highly successful ‘Day Tripper’ network ticket. Investment in new vehicles is promised for the ‘Rosso Bus’ fleet. Harrogate are preparing for the eight electric Volvo 7900EV’s due to enter service in the spring and who know what is planned for the rest of the year, exciting times.
Here are my personal views on bus activity in my area and beyond