Versa fleet launches with Blackburn operator rebrand

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The new Optare Versas feature free WiFi, USB power points and ‘countdown’ destination displays
The new Optare Versas feature free WiFi, USB power points and ‘countdown’ destination displays

Transdev-owned Lancashire United rebrands to Blackburn Bus Company, launching fleet of 18 Optare Versas

The Blackburn Bus Company, part of Transdev, has launched a fleet of new buses in Blackburn and Accrington, in readiness to make the most of a £40m investment in road improvements and infrastructure across Pennine Lancashire.

The launch of the 18 new blue Optare Versas also marks the beginning of the Blackburn Bus Company brand, which replaces Lancashire United.

Passengers at Blackburn Bus Station were first to sample the new buses at a weekend preview event before they entered service on the circular 6 and 7 routes, serving Blackburn, Rishton, Great Harwood, Clayton-le-Moors, Accrington, Oswaldtwistle and Intack.

The vehicles are equipped with superfast free WiFi, USB power points at every seat, next-stop announcements and designer interiors with high-back seating, smart wood-panel flooring and aircraft-style spotlights along the gangway.

Each new bus will also have ‘countdown’ destination displays, which show the remaining time before the bus begins its next journey.

Blackburn General Manager, Shaun Walmsley, said: “We’re delighted with the initial reaction to these amazing new buses, as we launch our new name – The Blackburn Bus Company.

“It reflects our long and proud history of operating services to and from Blackburn since 1929, but it’s also very much about looking to the future.

“Following on from the opening of new bus stations in Blackburn and Accrington, these new buses will ensure we support the area’s regeneration and provide a real and attractive alternative to the car.”

Pennine Reach is a £40 million major transport scheme which aims to implement significant investment in highways and public transport infrastructure between Accrington, Blackburn and Darwen. The project is jointly funded by the Department for Transport, Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council and Lancashire County Council.

The key aims of Pennine Reach are to support the regeneration of Pennine Lancashire’s towns, reduce congestion on the road network, reduce bus journey times and improve the reliability of bus services and improve public transport provision to key strategic employment sites.