Arriva invests £660,000 in new buses for Bluewater to Orpington service
Arriva has invested £660,000 in five brand-new buses for Service 477 between Bluewater, Dartford, Swanley and Orpington.
The new 41-seat single-deckers built in Northern Ireland by Wrightbus, one of the UK's leading bus builders, are running on the service now being publicised as '477 Shoppers' Heaven' to reflect the fact that it gives direct links to Bluewater from the Kent/London borders, as well as serving the town centres at Dartford, Swanley and Orpington.
The buses carry eye-catching graphics which include images of lots of different items which you might like to buy at places the buses serve. These graphics are in a different colour (green, orange, pink, purple and yellow) on each of the five buses to attract further attention.
Like all new buses, these are fully-accessible with a ramp at the entrance to assist wheelchair users and they have no steps in the front half, making getting on and off easy for customers with heavy bags of shopping, parents with children in buggies and anyone who might otherwise have difficulty in negotiating steps.
The buses also have a kneeling facility which allows the driver to lower the entrance platform so that it lines up with the pavement and local authorities are continuing to raise kerb levels at bus stops to enable bus entrances to line up with the pavement.
The engines of the new buses are built to the latest stringent 'Euro 5' regulations on exhaust emissions in order to help reduce pollution. This is the latest in an ongoing series of changes to the regulations which have been progressing over several years and has resulted in buses becoming very environmentally friendly and polluition free with minimal exhaust emissions.
The interiors of the buses give a bright and airy space in which to travel and they are fitted with comfortable seats and cream-coloured handrails. There are seats for 41 people but some of these can be tipped up to allow space for wheelchairs or buggies. They also have ample space to carry standing passengers at busy times.
Before the buses entered service an official launch event was held at Bluewater, at which the Mayor of Dartford, Councillor Mrs. Ann Allen, was Arriva's guest. Speaking in front of the five buses she said “On behalf of the residents of Dartford I thank Arriva for their investment into this popular service
“I was very impressed that they are fully-accessible and the eye-catching graphics promoting the services were a great advertisement for Arriva and our partners. I certainly shall be using this service.”
Arriva's Regional General Manager, Heath Williams, responded by stating “I’m delighted that we have once again been able to make a major investment in new buses for our services in North West Kent, especially in the present economic climate.
“This is the latest phase in an ongoing programme of upgrading our fleet and will offer new standards of comfort to our customers on the 477 route which not only serves Bluewater but also gives important links to Darent Valley Hospital and town centres and rail stations along its route.”
Our picture taken at the launch event shows Cllr. Bryan Sweetland (Cabinet Member for Environment, Highways and Waste, Kent County Council), Cllr. Mrs. Ann Allen (Mayor of Dartford), Heath Williams (Regional Managing Director, Arriva Southern Counties) and Robert Hardman (General Manager, Bluewater).
As well as serving Bluewater and the town centres, the 477 can be used to get to Darent Valley Hospital and also stops close to the rail stations at Dartford, Swanley and Orpington, making the service ideal for those travelling to make train connections or to commute to London.