Abellio London's Walworth Depot Open Day

near Camberwell, London, UK
Saturday 19th July 2014 saw me visit Abellio's Walworth Bus Depot in south London, which opened its doors to members of the public. It forms part of a series of free bus depot and garage open days across the capital in celebration of the Year of the Bus. All proceeds generated from the day are to be donated charity of their choice.

The family orientated day housed a selection of varying vehicles from a day gone by through to the modern day era.

The first bus garage open day was held at Catford on 10th May 2014 and attracted around 3,000 visitors. Since then, Alperton, Stockwell, Fulwell and Potters Bar Bus Garages have all opened their doors to the public to offer behind-the-scenes access in celebration of the Year of the Bus. The last bus garage open day will take place at Dartford Bus Garage on Sunday 7th September - so don't forget to note it in your diary.

Events and activities are being held throughout 2014 to celebrate the role that London buses, bus drivers and the staff who support them play in keeping the capital moving, and mark a number of important anniversaries. These include 60 years since the creation of the original and iconic Routemaster, 75 years since the launch of its predecessor the RT-type bus, and 100 years since hundreds of London buses were sent to the Western Front to play a crucial role during the First World War.

Arriva Sapphire adds sparkle to Bolton, Chorley and Wigan

near Standishgate, Wigan WN1, UK
Arriva North West is bringing a new concept in bus travel to the people of Wigan, Bolton and Chorley with the introduction of the Sapphire brand. Sapphire will see buses that are fit for royalty, with great on board facilities including free Wi-Fi provided by Icomera, extra legroom as well as 240v plug sockets and USB charging points.

Arriva Sapphire CX58 EVJ VDL SB200/Wrightbus Pulsar takes pride of place on Wigan's Standishgate for the royal celebration.

The Sapphire concept is based on what Arriva's customers told them in extensive research including surveys, site visits and focus groups, with the main appeal of attracting first-time users and reluctant bus users out of their cars and on public transport. Friday 4th July was the service's official launch party, with the first vehicles hitting the road at 05:40 on Monday 7th July 2014.

Arriva Sapphire adds sparkle to Llandudno and Rhyl

near Rhyl, Denbighshire, UK
A special display of twenty brand new buses for service 12 was officially unveiled at Rhyl Arena by William and Kate ‘lookalikes’ and school children from Bryn Hedydd and Christ Church schools earlier today, who made sure guests and passers-by enjoyed a ‘right royal welcome’.

Sapphire representatives and William and Kate lookalikes at the Sapphire Launch

Thursday 3rd July 2014 was the official launch party, with the first vehicles expected to hit the roads of North Wales at 07:10 on Sunday 6th July 2014. The high-specification service is certainly a step up from the previous operation, which used Arriva standard VDL SB200 single decks and DAF DB250s originally hailing from London.

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