Stagecoach South launches £2.5m fleet in Winchester

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The metallic champagne was chosen as it is a similar shade to the stonework in Winchester. MARK LYONS
The metallic champagne was chosen as it is a similar shade to the stonework in Winchester. MARK LYONS

Fleet of 18 ADL Enviro200 MMCs feature branding by Ray Stenning at Best Impressions

Winchester was buzzing on Tuesday, October 27 as Stagecoach South launched 18 brand new buses onto the city streets and its suburbs, representing an investment of £2.5 million.

The new ADL Enviro 200 MMCs are part of a new package of improvements for the Winchester Community. The new vehicles are 10.8m in length and have a capacity of 37 seated with 43 standees. They are replacing E200s and Euro 3 Darts.

On Sunday, October 25, a more comprehensive network of evening buses was introduced on some of the key city services. To coincide with this, a new night rider ticket was introduced giving unlimited travel after 1900hrs for just £2 on any Stagecoach bus across the city, as well as beyond into other parts of Hampshire, Surrey, Brighton & West Sussex.

The new vehicles which will operate on routes 1, 3, 5 and Spring have a fresh look and a new theme ‘The King’s City’ which was inspired by King Alfred the Great. Already 7 of the 18 new buses are in operation across the city, with more to be added in the fleet in the coming weeks. Incorporating the latest, state of the art, greener engine technology, passengers should enjoy a more refined passenger experience.

In addition to the customary CCTV and GPS tracking technology, the buses have been customised with USB charge ports and WiFi – perfect for using travel time to check emails, Twitter or give phone batteries a boost before the busy day ahead. The company also says the new buses boast a “sophisticated slick livery of champagne and claret with metallic finish,” designed by Best Impressions.

Managing Director for Stagecoach South, Michael Watson, said: “I was so delighted that the Mayor, Councillor Angela Clear and Councillor Sean Woodward could join us in celebration. The event was very well attended – which demonstrates how important buses are to the residents and businesses of Winchester.”

In addition to a formal launch celebration held within the beautiful surrounds of the Great Hall was local entertainment of human statues, daring stilt walkers and fire breathers who joined Stagecoach staff as they handed out (chocolate) gold coins to young shoppers and their parents, as well as stopping by the retailers, shops, eateries, hairdressers and bars to hand out goody bags with information about the new buses.

The new brand was created by Ray Stenning, Design Director at Best Impressions. He told CBW: “Winchester is a proud city with a strong identity – kings were crowned there and it was the Saxon capital. It has a strong association with King Alfred.

“In a city like Winchester I believe firmly that its local public transport needs to resonate with local sensibilities and have some form of identity. When it came to the buses’ livery we wanted to give tradition a modern twist. It’s a new look that pays homage to the history and character of the city.

“The livery still has enough visual attributes to be clearly from Stagecoach, but the colours complement Winchester. There’s a rich, royal purple and a metallic champagne that is a similar shade to the stonework throughout the city.

“The statue of King Alfred by Hamo Thornycroft is an iconic image of Winchester. We created a stylised version of his head which is on the side of the buses.

“Public transport should reflect and enhance the character of the city it is in. Buses need to be part of the soul of a city and have an identity that citizens can feel proud of and own, a bit like the red buses of London. We’re going to bring the love back!”