Today saw formal introduction of Blackpool Transport's new single deck buses. A ribbon cutting on the steps of Fleet Number 550 was performed by the Chair of the BTS Board of Directors aided by Bob Mason, Service Delivery Director, jointly with Board Members and Jane Cole, the new MD of BTS. The sight of five of the ten Mercedes Citaro vehicles (550 - 559) in new palladium branding with striking side band (not quite yellow) brought home just how far Blackpool Transport has come in the years since its formation in 1986. Then a new Council owned arms-length business proudly introduced its new minibuses in distinctive yellow and black 'Handibus' branding. From these diminutive designs, which were popular at the time - the Company has gravitated through successive vehicle types, and it has to be said - a wide variation of liveries, starting of course with Corporation green and cream. Each Managing Director has faced their own challenges during the twenty nine years of the Company's operation, culminating with the total overhaul of the tramway which was completed in 2011.
From Handibuses to Tridents and Excels to the brand new Mercedes Citaros. BTS has come a long way in providing successive generations of vehicles for residents, students and visitors. Tony Depledge, Steve Burd, Trevor Roberts and now Jane Cole have overseen cummulative improvement in this Council owned operation. It is to the credit of successive Council Leadership that they have ensured public ownership of the Fylde coast's principal transport operator.
Travellers on Service 5 operating between Victoria Hospital and Halfway House will very shortly be introduced to the new Citaro fleet delivering its higher standard of comfort and design. While there are no indications of the new colours being further extended to other buses in the fleet - (or the trams) the Palladium branding will no doubt provide a marker for future service improvements. Congratulations are certainly due at Rigby Road for the quality vehicles being introduced to the town.
Yellow ribbons await cutting on Citaro 550 on the Tower Headland May 21st.
The line up and a closeup of the rear styling and finish.
BTS Directors and MD Jane Cole with Bob Mason pose for their official handover image.