Arriva's brand-new low-carbon buses get civic send-off as company invests £840,000 in town centre bus link upgrade

02 March 15

Arriva’s latest investment in Tunbridge Wells’ bus network was marked by the launch of six new buses that have brought an upgrade to the Royal Tunbridge Wells Town Centre Bus Link service that runs from High Brooms to Rusthall and links the town’s shopping and historic areas on the way.

The fully-accessible buses incorporate ‘micro-hybrid’ technology to reduce carbon emissions to a minimal level while inside they feature brighter lighting, smart e-leather seating and free on-board Wi-Fi in a bright and airy environment to ensure a comfortable and pleasant journey.

The addition of the low-carbon buses to the local fleet based in Tunbridge Wells marks an investment by Arriva of £840,000 and brings the total invested in new buses at its depots in Kent and Medway since last July to over £6 million.

Giving the buses a civic send-off last Friday at The Skinners’ Kent Academy, the Mayor of Tunbridge Wells, Councillor Julian Stanyer, said “I am absolutely delighted that Arriva are launching six brand-new buses on this much-valued service.

“Not only do they signify a huge vote of confidence in the town and its residents by Arriva, who have invested over £840,000 in the scheme, but also it will set a marker for other towns by introducing new technology with reduced carbon emissions and greater fuel economy.

“I am also very pleased to note that the town centre bus link part of the service is complemented by Arriva’s £1 shopper-hopper ticket that allows unlimited travel on all Arriva buses for the day in the core shopping area. Tourists and shoppers will undoubtedly welcome this innovative way of making the most of the Tunbridge Wells experience.

“I compliment the company on their forward thinking and look forward to working with them in the future.”

As well as bright interiors the new buses are making heads turn in Tunbridge Wells as they are of a new design for the town and carry a bright green and dark blue colour scheme that sets them apart from the other Arriva buses.

Like most of its services, the popular 281 Town Centre Bus Link is run by Arriva on a commercial basis and mainly without financial support, with just the evening and Sunday journeys being financially supported by Kent County Council.

Over recent years the service has been developed in stages with improved buses, enhanced frequencies and the introduction of innovative features such as on-board Wi-Fi to improve the travel experience.

These changes have been welcomed by local MP Greg Clark who has witnessed the positive developments and who commented “This new fleet of buses is going to look great in Tunbridge Wells.  The number 281 service is a very popular route and these smart new environmentally-friendly buses will encourage even more people to use it.  I look forward to the day when these modern well-equipped buses can be found on all the Arriva routes in our local area.”

The choice of The Skinners’ Kent Academy to launch the buses brought together two important investments in the borough and two organisations committed to serving the local population.

Arriva Marketing Manager Richard Lewis said “We are delighted to once again invest in new buses for Tunbridge Wells and to launch them at The Skinners’ Kent Academy which offers a bright, modern environment in which the students can study.

“Bus companies and academic establishments are important to each other and it was therefore appropriate to launch our buses at the academy.

“Like schools, academies and colleges, bus companies are embracing new technology and the new Arriva Bus App for smartphones and tablets puts a wide range of information at people’s fingertips.

“Having confidence that the bus will arrive at the bus stop is key to encouraging people to leave their cars at home and take the bus for some of their journeys. With the live map feature showing exactly where all Arriva buses are along their routes in real time, people waiting at bus stops can see exactly where their bus is and when it will arrive at their stop.

“This feature is proving very popular and, even if their bus is delayed by traffic, our customers will be able to see that it is on its way and can be reassured that it will arrive to pick them up.”

In addition to the Arriva Bus App, the free Wi-Fi facility allows people travelling on the new buses to catch up with their emails, chat to friends, browse the internet or do a spot of online shopping to make the most of their travel time.