VIPs in the driving seat
Dignitaries, VIPs and transport officials from across Merseyside took the opportunity to take the wheel of a nine tonne bus as part of Arriva's inaugural bus travel partnership event last Friday (24th September), at the legendary Aintree racecourse.
More than 20 MPs, mayors, councillors, local transport officials and guests were invited to test their eco-driving credentials on a driving simulator; run through the safety checks drivers must complete before buses go out on the road; test their knowledge with a driving theory test; and drive an Arriva bus around a course set by a driving examiner.
Phil Stone, managing director Arriva North West and Wales said “The event was all about working together, and it’s fantastic so many of our partners came along to meet the Arriva Merseyside team. They got to see close up the importance we put on safety and the focus on reducing fuel consumption and exhaust emissions.
“The feedback we have received has been so positive, everyone has commented on how good it was to have first-hand experience of driving one of our buses.”
Speaking after the event, director of integrated transport for Merseytravel, Alan Stilwell said: 'We have built a great working relationship with Arriva, and we have made so much progress over the last couple of years. Events like this are an excellent way to share knowledge and appreciate differing viewpoints.” He praised the Arriva team's attitude to partnership working.
Arriva UK Bus managing director Mike Cooper also attended the day and reiterated the company's commitment to investing in new buses and responding to customer needs.
Arriva in Merseyside has a number of recent success stories in terms of encouraging increased use of its buses. For example, the Cross River Express services between West Kirby, Birkenhead, Wallasey and Liverpool are extremely popular and well used, with Arriva recently increasing frequency due to the increased demand. The £3.7 million investment in brand new double deck buses meeting the latest environmental standards in 2009 has helped persuade more people to travel by public transport.
In the picture
Upper picture shows (left to right): Sefton Central MP Bill Esterson, director of integrated transport for Merseytravel Alan Stilwell, Arriva UK Bus managing director Mike Cooper and Arriva North West and Wales managing director Phil Stone.
Centre picture shows distuished guests at the Arriva event at Aintree.
Lower picture shows buses lined up ready for their VIP drivers.