Following Transdev’s recent aquisition of Tiger bus services, they showcased their vision for bus travel; Team Pennine this morning.
The company are keen to make it clear that this is more than just a ‘new name and a lick of paint’, and this is certainly the impression that comes across from their bold advertising campaign and engaging social media presence. They promise to replace a third of the fleet within the first 3 months of operation, and improvements have been made to the existing bunch – such as free WiFi, USB charging points (that actually work) and on-screen displays telling you what the next stop is. Seats have been upholstered in a funky, hardwearing fabric with headrests in the signature shade of pink.
Team Pennine will be starting with their Denby Darts route, formerly known as the 233, from this Sunday (25/7). Buses serving this route have their own livery that gives a tip of the hat to the area’s pie-making history and iconic viaduct. Inside the buses, information boards feature local legends such as Harold Wilson and Jodie Whittaker. There’s a real feel that a lot of effort has been put into making these buses Huddersfield buses. And we heartily approve!
This morning’s sneak preview was attended by Councillor Kim Groves, chair of the Transport Committee for West Yorkshire Combined Authority, along with Councillors Will Simpson (Denby Dale) and Eric Firth (Dewsbury East). Also present was Louise Collins of transport watchdog Transport Focus, Transdev CEO Alex Hornby and Operations Director Vitto Pizzuti. A couple of Team Pennine drivers were also present, resplendant in their brand new uniforms, and were visibly excited to get behind the wheel of the shiny pink buses.
Of course, all the planned changes can’t happen overnight, and CEO Alex Hornby wants us to give them a chance to make things better, saying “We want to tell people ‘We’re here, and this is what we’re doing’ – changes will happen, but we need people to be patient until we can get everything in place”. Which seems a reasonable request, don’t you think?
Transdev are renowned for being a company that looks after its staff as well as their customers, so this move could be really positive all round.
With town centre parking often being mentioned as a barrier to shopping locally, perhaps a cleaner, more comfortable bus service will tempt drivers back to using buses to get into town…we’d be interested to know what people think.
Members of the public will be able to get an up close and personal look at Team Pennine tomorrow (Friday), with a preview being held from 10am outside the bus station and Plumber’s Arms on Macauley Street.