SPECIAL events have been taking place to unveil the new-look 144 buses which will be operating between Worcester, Droitwich, Bromsgrove, Rubery and Birmingham.
On Monday there were Roman Centurions, free Wychbold Fudge and representatives from First Bus in Victoria Square, Droitwich, to launch the ‘Salt Road’ route which celebrates the route and the area’s heritage.
Similar events took place in Birmingham on Saturday and Worcester on Wednesday.
And one will be taking place in Bromsgrove Town Centre between 11am and 2pm this Tuesday, June 19.
The buses have been refurbished inside and out, the exhausts are now Euro 6 compliant so they fulfil air quality legislation standards.
There is new seating inside, along with USB charging points on all seats, free WiFi and screens and audio announcements detailing the next approaching stop.
A sign on the bus not only details the stops, but also venues people can visit, such as the Lido, the Chateau Impney, Webbs Garden Centre and some pubs.
The new tweaked timetable also includes details of each town the bus visits and information about attractions there, along with historical facts.
The Salt Road theme was chosen as, when the Romans used the valuable commodity and later the Anglo Saxons, the main road between Worcester and Birmingham would have been crucial in transporting it.
First’s fleet engineer Carl Woolley said: “It has gone very well and we have had a good turn-out today.
“The Salt Road livery is different from the way our buses usually look.”
Nigel Eggleton, First’s managing director, said there had been a great response at the launch events and the operator had been letting people know about the buses now running every 15 minutes during the day.
“We wanted to let people know about the other towns they could visit and that, because of the screens and announcements on board, they can be confident about using them to get to where they want to go.”
He said it would also be good for South Birmingham residents as the 144, as it travels to Birmingham City Centre, was a ‘limited stop’ so could often be quicker than other services.
He added he knew one of the criticisms of the 144 was the time it stopped running.
The last bus from Birmingham is 9.45pm on weekdays, with an 11.25pm on Fridays and Saturdays.
The last bus from Worcester is 8.15pm on weekdays, 10pm to Birmingham and 11.15pm to Droitwich and Bromsgrove.
“If more people use the bus and we see a growth in passenger numbers then running services later is something we could look at doing,” added Mr Eggleton.
He also urged bus users to get in touch to let First know what they thought of the new buses and the revamped service by visiting tellfirstbus.com or by calling 0345 602 0121.