Tunbridge Wells confidence

Arriva Southern Counties’ latest investment in Tunbridge Wells’ network saw the launch on Friday (27 February) of six new buses to upgrade the commercially-operated route 281 Royal Tunbridge Wells Town Centre Bus Link.

It runs across the town from High Brooms to Rusthall and links the shopping and historic areas on the way. Evening and Sunday journeys are supported by Kent County Council.

The 8.8m wheel-forward Wrightbus StreetLites incorporate the ‘micro-hybrid’ package and are in Arriva’s lime green and dark blue livery used for hybrid, gas and electric buses.

Inside they have brighter lighting, e-leather Esteban seating and free on-board Wi-Fi.

They replace an equal number of 57-plate Enviro200s that are being cascaded to other duties at Tunbridge Wells.

The addition of the low-carbon buses to the local fleet marks an investment by Arriva of 840,000 and brings the total invested in new buses at its depots in Kent and Medway since last July to over 6m.

Giving the buses a civic send-off, the Mayor of Tunbridge Wells, Cllr Julian Stanyer, said: “I am absolutely delighted that Arriva are launching brand-new buses on this much-valued service.

“Not only do they signify a huge vote of confidence in the town and its residents by Arriva, but also it will set a marker for other towns by introducing new technology with reduced carbon emissions and greater fuel economy.”

The town centre bus link part of the service is complemented by Arriva’s 1 shopper-hopper ticket that allows unlimited travel on all Arriva buses for the day in the core shopping area.

It is the latest in a series of improvements since 2006, when refurbished step-entrance Dennis Darts with distinctive branding were used to give the service a higher profile, followed a year later by new Enviro200s that brought low-floor buses to the route.

The Enviros’ arrival coincided with a frequency uplift from every 15 to every 12 minutes and subsequently they were fitted with free on-board Wi-Fi and an increase in the evening service from hourly to half-hourly.