Patronage growth on first Sapphire route

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The first Arriva Sapphire route from Wrexham to Chester was launched on April 29, with other launches following in Leicester and Oxford
The first Arriva Sapphire route from Wrexham to Chester was launched on April 29, with other launches following in Leicester and Oxford

Arriva’s first Sapphire route, service 1 linking Wrexham with Chester has attracted around a 9% increase in patronage since its introduction on April 29. The news emerged during a visit to Arriva Bus Wales Wrexham depot where the buses are based by Welsh Assembly Member for Wrexham, Lesley Griffiths.

Nine Enviro400s that had previously operated on Merseyside were refurbished for the route. They have E-Leather covered twoby- one coach style Esteban seating upstairs and free Wi-Fi. Each seat position also has a 13-amp plug socket and a USB port so that passengers can use their mobiles, tablets and laptops.

Arriva has since launched Sapphire routes in Leicester and between Aylesbury and Oxford. While all three use refurbished buses, a trial service between Darlington and Durham will be unveiled later this year with new Wrightbus-bodied VDL SB200s.

Michael Morton, Area Managing Director Arriva Buses Wales said: “Route 1 was the first Arriva service across the whole of the UK to benefit from the Sapphire upgrade. It offers our customers something different and we have seen more people on board as a result.”