£4.4 million investment creates made to measure buses for East Lancashire

24 July 2017

Innovative #MakeMyMainline market research shapes bespoke design for Burnley’s new Mainline fleet.

Transdev Blazefield has launched 30 Optare Versa buses onto its Mainline branded network in East Lancashire, in a £4.4 million investment. The buses are equipped to a bespoke design drawn up to launch the operator’s newly named subsidiary, The Burnley Bus Company.

Many of the interior and exterior design details for the new buses have come directly from customers, who took part in one of the most far-reaching and well-supported market research programmes yet seen in the UK bus industry.

The new buses were launched at Turf Moor with the Friends of Burnley FC in the Community programme and then showcased to the public in Nelson and Burnley town centres before entering service on Sunday 23rd July.

Transdev Blazefield CEO Alex Hornby says: “No-one knows better what makes an amazing bus journey than our own customers, who travel with us every day. They know what they want from their buses – so we asked them to tell us!

Transdev launched its Make My Mainline programme in 2016, rapidly harnessing the power of social media by inviting Mainline customers to follow and tweet @burnleybuses to share their own eye-catching ideas with hundreds of commuters who check its social media channels for up-to-date travel information every day. 

Traditional on-board face to face surveys also contributed to the research mix, with customers taking part offered the added incentive of a chance to win in a prize draw for taking part.

Transdev CEO Alex Hornby says: “We started out with the lightweight and striking Optare Versa, built right here in the North of England and already in successful operation with our neighbouring Blackburn and Keighley depots. Then we asked our customers to tell us what features they most wanted to see added on-board.

“Most people told us that they wanted fast, free and reliable Wi-Fi, at seat USB power points and wireless charging. Better legroom, a bright and well-lit environment, a safe place to rest belongings and a bigger litter bin also rated highly – and we ensured we included the top five most popular suggested features in the design of our new Mainline buses, and many more besides.

“The feedback from customers on the first day in service has been absolutely tremendous – the people of Burnley and Pendle clearly love their new Mainline buses!”

Key features of Transdev’s new Mainline buses include:

• Superfast and free 4G Wi-Fi

• USB power at every seat, with wireless charging for compatible phones

• Digital displays with countdown to departure timers at key points on each route

• Next stop screens and audio announcements for key stops, provided by two winners of a customer competition to find the ‘Voices of Mainline’

• Illuminated ‘Mainline’ logo on the front of each vehicle

• A bigger bin to help keep interiors sparkling clean

• Comfortable high back seating with leather headrests

• A bright new livery designed by industry leading consultancy Best Impressions

• Low emission engines, producing less NOx and CO2 than previous designs

• Mini tables at certain seats

• Roofline LED lighting, helping to create a modern and inviting interior

The new Mainline buses are now in service on four routes provided by The Burnley Bus Company, radiating from Burnley to serve Accrington, Clitheroe, Padiham, Nelson, Colne, Barnoldswick, Trawden and Keighley, with buses running up to every 7 minutes.