In a major investment, Arriva is to roll out its Sapphire brand of premium services with 11 new routes this year. .
The first three, in Rhyl and Wigan, were launched last week using royal lookalike character actors.
Sapphire offers a first-class journey experience with at-seat power points to charge phones and laptops, free Wi-Fi, audio visual next-stop announcements and extra-comfy seating. In 2013 four pioneering routes, in Chester, Leicester, Oxford and Durham, were launched.
At Rhyl Arena a display of all 20 new ADL Enviro400 ‘deckers â€“ a 4m investment â€“ was visited by William and Kate royal ‘lookalikes’, local schoolchildren and Welsh Minister for Economy, Science and Transport, Edwina Hart.
They are being used on the 10-minute interval Rhyl-Llandudno route 12.
Says Arriva Wales MD Michael Morton: â€œWe’re confident that passengers will be delighted with the enhancements and we hope to encourage more people to join us on board.â€
Arriva North West has brought the Sapphire brand to tworoutes, using 15 totally refurbished five-year-old VDL/Wrightbus Pulsar 2 single-deckers.
To mark the occasion Arriva ran a competition to give residents the opportunity to win their own regal title, presented by a HM the Queen lookalike at the launch event on Standishgate in Wigan.
The two Sapphire routes, each with 15-minute frequencies, are the Wigan-Chorley 362 and Wigan-Bolton 575.
Arriva Manchester Area MD John Rimmer says: â€œWe’ve developed the Sapphire concept based on what our customers told us in extensive research including surveys, site visits and focus groups.
â€œSapphire gives us the opportunity to improve perceptions of the bus, encourage non-users to give the bus a try and improve the journey for our existing customers.â€
Picture shows route launch using royal ‘lookalike’ characters