Volvo B7RLE bus at Warrington Interchange
|Slogan||making warrington move|
|Founded||Warrington Corporation Tramways in 1902;
Warrington Corporation Transport Department in 1935;
Warrington Borough Council Transport Department in 1972;
Warrington Borough Transport Ltd in 1986
|Headquarters||Wilderspool Causeway, Warrington|
|Locale||Cheshire, Greater Manchester, Merseyside|
|Service type||Urban and interurban bus services, school bus, bus charter|
|Destinations||Warrington Borough, Altrincham, Earlestown, Leigh, Northwich|
|Fleet||Around 110 buses|
|Operator||Warrington Borough Transport Ltd|
|Managing director||David Squire|
Network Warrington is a bus operator running a network of services within the Borough of Warrington, England and into the surrounding area, including Altrincham, Leigh, Earlestown and Northwich. The limited company "Warrington Borough Transport Ltd" (WBT) is wholly owned by Warrington Borough Council and makes Network Warrington one of the few remaining municipal bus companies in the United Kingdom today.
The company was named UK Bus Operator of the Year at the 2008 UK Bus Awards, in part due to their success in increasing ridership by 20% over the previous two years and attaining up to 98% satisfaction in customer surveys.
Warrington Corporation Tramways started operating a network of five radial tramways from the town centre in 1902, with the first motor bus service starting in 1913. Buses replaced trams on routes starting in 1931, with the infrastructure starting to require major renewal which could not be justified economically. The last tram operated in 1935.
Services expanded rapidly after the Second World War as new housing estates grew in areas such as Orford and Great Sankey. The conversion of bus routes with conductors into one-man operated services began in 1965 as changes in society such as home entertainment and the increasing availability of cars forced cost savings on all bus operators in the country.
Warrington was designated as a new town in 1968, which led to new housing estates planned in the Birchwood and Westbrook areas of town. As such, Warrington Borough Council Transport Department (as the transport department was then called) started operating new services to these new developments as they started to grow in the 1970s and beyond. The department also began operating new services jointly with Crosville upon the split of the old Stockport-based North Western Road Car Company in 1972.
Following the deregulation of bus services in the UK, Warrington Borough Transport Ltd took over operations as a limited company, albeit owned 100% by the council. The company's mission was that if money could be made by operating services deemed uneconomic by other operators, then WBT should assume operation. This policy led to an increase in services operated as other bus companies who ran into the area decided to concentrate on their own core areas.
Competition from other operators flared up in 1995, with the new North Western company (operating as "Warrington Goldlines") duplicating the vast majority of the existing bus network with their own services, taking over from another new competitor MTL (operating as "Lancashire Travel") when they decided to stop competing after a few months. In retaliation, WBT began operating new services in competition with North Western, to places such as Wigan, St Helens, Widnes, Runcorn, Chester and Liverpool – even starting a local minibus service in Northwich. After 18 months of intense competition, both companies decided to scale-back. WBT kept routes to Prescot and St Helens, whilst giving up operations to the Birchwood area of town in favour of North Western, who later rebranded as Arriva.
In February 2002, Arriva decided to close its depot in Warrington and transfer interurban routes to depots in neighbouring towns. WBT resumed operation of town routes to Birchwood, Cinnamon Brow and Woolston, but transferred the St Helens route back to Arriva. Further withdrawals by Arriva led to the takeover of routes to Leigh in 2005 and Altrincham in 2006. The latest new route for the company began in July 2008 and serves the new Chapelford Urban Village housing development, with initial funding provided by the developers.
Large investments have been made in more recent times to replace the fleet with new low-floor single deck buses that are wheelchair accessible and more friendly to people with pushchairs, and marketing efforts have seen the introduction of the Metro Map, to highlight the relatively straightforward nature of the network operated (in an Underground-style format).
Budget cuts by Warrington Borough Council have resulted in the network of Sunday evening services operated by Warrington Borough Transport being completely withdrawn from Sunday 27 June 2010, as these socially necessary services no longer receive any subsidy from the council. The company continues to operate a service during daytime shopping hours on a commercial basis.
Six diesel-electric hybrid Optare Versa single deckers entered service in November 2012, after the DfT awarded the company a £523,000 grant under its Green Bus Fund scheme. A further six standard Optare Versa are entered service in April 2013, also part-funded by the DfT as part of the Local Sustainable Transport Fund scheme for use on orbital service 17.
Night services 
There are no year-round night bus services operated, although the company has in the past operated a seasonal night bus network centered on Warrington town centre over the Christmas and New Year period. The services ran between 2004 and 2008 with the support of Warrington Borough Council, several parish councils, town centre licensees and Cheshire Police, but sufficient funding was not forthcoming for 2009 due to a decline in passenger numbers the previous year. At its peak six separate services were operated serving most suburbs as well as Birchwood and Burtonwood.
Park & ride services 
There are currently no dedicated year-round park and ride services, although Network Warrington operates a seasonal Saturdays-only scheme to Warrington town centre to cater for Christmas shopping. This began in 2005 with a single service from the Northwest Regional Development Agency offices at Centre Park business park, but was expanded in 2007 to operate from two separate sites: car parking available at the Warrington Collegiate campus to the north of the town centre, and at the Bruntwood Wilderspool Park business park to the south (next to Morrisons), both locations just off the A49.
As a condition of planning consent for the B&Q superstore next to the M62 at Winwick, a section of the car park was designated as "Park & Ride" albeit using the existing bus services and fares provided by Warrington Borough Transport and Arriva. There were up to seven buses an hour during Monday to Saturday daytimes provided by the two operators, however the success of this scheme was questionable due to the lack of a dedicated express bus service to the town centre, tickets which were not interchangeable between the two operators, and a lack of publicity for the facility. B&Q withdrew from the scheme in 2006, claiming that the facility "was being abused".
Contract services 
Network Warrington operate a variety of works and contract services. Work services generally operate in conjunction with large employers or business parks, operate at peak times for pass-holding employees, and are not available to the general public. Services operated include:
- Birchwood Park shuttle: Birchwood railway station – Birchwood Park business park
- O2 works service: Warrington – O2 call centre (Preston Brook)
- Olympic Park shuttle: Birchwood railway station – Olympic Park business park (Longbarn)
- United Utilities works service: Warrington – United Utilities offices (Dawson House and Lingley Mere)
There are also a number of routes which operate in conjunction with special events, and thus only operate on certain days of the year. Some routes are free, others have a flat fare, whilst a few require pre-booking. Recent shuttle services operated include:
- Creamfields: Warrington / Manchester – Creamfields (Daresbury)
- Warrington Disability Awareness Day: Warrington – Disability Awareness Day (Walton Gardens)
School services 
Ticket types 
Network Warrington offer a selection of tickets that can be bought with cash from the driver: change is available, but customers are asked to provide the exact fare if possible. Single journey tickets vary in price depending on the length of journey, as do day return tickets which allow a return journey to be made on the same day. Neither of these ticket types allow a transfer to another route, but there is a special add-on "thrufare" for journeys to Warrington Hospital. Family Day Return tickets exist for groups of up to four people travelling together, as long as one person is aged under sixteen. Day Rover tickets allow one day's unlimited travel on Network Warrington services.
Free concessionary travel is available to senior citizens and the disabled on display of a valid pass, after 0930 on Mondays to Fridays and all day on Saturdays, Sundays and Public Holidays. Half-fare is charged prior to 0930 on weekdays. Children under 16 can travel for half fare, though teenagers are advised to carry proof of age in the form of an Under 16 Permit—for journeys wholly within Greater Manchester, an "igo" card is compulsory for 11–16 year olds.
Season tickets for all Network Warrington services can be purchased from the Travel Centre at Warrington Interchange in the form of "Touch & Go!" contactless smart cards. These bear the name and photograph of the user and can be purchased for either the Warrington town area or the whole network. Weekly, monthly and annual versions are available, with discounts for students up to the age of 19.
The TfGM System One range of tickets is accepted for journeys within Greater Manchester, but is also valid outside the county as far as Lymm Church and Culcheth Library on routes from Altrincham and Leigh respectively. The Merseytravel range of tickets is accepted for journeys within Merseyside only. Cheshire Stored Value Travelcards can be used to purchase tickets on all services, and the company also participates in the Plusbus scheme for add-ons to rail tickets.
Offices and depot 
The main depot and offices for Network Warrington are located on Wilderspool Causeway (A49) at the junction with Chester Road (A5060), on the southern periphery of the town centre close to the crossing of the Mersey at Bridge Foot ( ). The two main sheds to the rear of the site were originally built in 1943 for Fairey Aviation and used to assemble wings for their Fulmar bomber, before being bought by Warrington Corporation in 1947 as a place to park buses. The site eventually became the main operational centre, with the frontage of the depot dating from 1964 and consisting of a reception area and vehicle inspection bays at ground level with offices above. The maintenance facilities are licensed to perform MOT tests for HGVs and PSVs.
The original tram system was operated from an eight-track depot at the junction of Mersey Street and Lower Bank Street. A purpose built bus garage was constructed on Lower Bank Street in 1930, although buses were also housed in the old tram sheds following the withdrawal of trams. Despite the move to the new Wilderspool garage, the old staff canteen on Lower Bank Street remained in use until the opening of the new bus station in 1979. The building was demolished in 1981 and is today the site of a DW Sports Fitness Club.
The current depot's location next to the old Wilderspool Stadium and close to the town centre led to interest from developers in redeveloping the site of the depot and the stadium during 2006. As part of this, a new depot would have been constructed at the nearby Centre Park business park on the other side of the Mersey but still close to the town centre. Whilst the company was reported to be seriously considering the proposed move, the scheme never moved beyond the drawing board and foundered around the end of the year having failed to gain favour with council planning officers.
The Travel Centre on the main concourse at Warrington Bus Interchange provides for season ticket sales and information. Other facilities are located here for driving and supervisory staff.
WBT has a fleet of 109 active buses, consisting of 87 single-deck buses (including 6 minibuses) and 22 double-decker buses as of 28 March 2013[update]. The single deck fleet is 100% low-floor and—along with eleven low-floor double-deckers—operates all of the company's scheduled bus network. The remaining step-entrance double-deckers operate on school and contract services.
There is a small reserve fleet consisting of vehicles that are stored pending further use or awaiting disposal, but these are not included in the list below. Additionally, the company also maintains a heritage East Lancs bodied Leyland PD2/40 (Special) dating from 1965, along with an open-top Volvo Olympian, both vehicles used on special occasions and available for private hire.
Current fleet 
|VDL SB120||Wright Merit
Five vehicles from Arriva Bus & Coach dealer stock
|Volvo B7RLE||Wright Eclipse 2||
Six vehicles are diesel-electric hybrids
|Dennis Dart SLF||Marshall Capital
|Optare Solo M780||Optare||
|Total (single deck)||
|Volvo Olympian||Alexander (Belfast)||
||Formerly Dublin Bus, arrived 2008–9|
|Volvo B7TL||Alexander ALX400||
Formerly London Central, arrived 2011–2
|Volvo B7TL||Wright Eclipse Gemini||
Two vehicles formerly London General, arrived 2011
Three vehicles formerly London United, arrived 2012
||Formerly Huntingdon & District, arrived 2003|
|Total (double deck)||
|Total (all vehicles)||
Past fleet 
Previous types of buses in use with the company include:
Preserved vehicles 
There are examples of several former vehicles that used to operate for the company that are now preserved or undergoing restoration. Some of these are located at transport museums, whilst others can be seen at rallies and historic running days around the country. Many of the earlier examples feature the traditional Warrington licence plate area letter code "ED".
- Warrington Corporation Tramways
- The original livery adopted on trams and early motorbuses was a deep crimson and light yellow, with ornate gold lettering and lining.
- Warrington Corporation
- In 1945 a new livery was introduced of maroon with ivory bands, three bands on double deckers and one on single deck vehicles.
- Warrington Borough Council
Following the local government reorganisation of 1974, vehicles started appearing in a mainly light red livery with a large white band around the windows. The new logo of Warrington Borough Council was applied, consisting of a large stylised "W" encompassing the Cheshire sheaf of wheat and the Lancashire rose. This would be replaced with the borough's revised coat of arms in the early 1980s.
- Advertising liveries
- The first all-over advertising bus appeared in 1977 when a Daimler Fleetline was painted in a mainly white livery with graphics advertising Baldwins, the local Leyland car dealership. Other all-over advertisements have appeared for Vladivar Vodka and Warrington Wolves amongst others.
- Warrington Borough Transport
- Upon the establishment of the arms-length company WBT Ltd in 1986, a new logo appeared incorporating the borough coat of arms. The primary colours of red and white remained generally the same until the white was replaced with ivory in the late 1990s, although vehicles started to appear with a "Welcome aboard" legend in the front windscreen and forward near-side window.
- CoachLines of Warrington
Set up as a subsidiary company in 1987 offering coach hire and a programme of tours and excursions, the coach fleet built up to 14 vehicles before being downsized around 1995. The subsidiary ceased trading a few years later. The livery used was Aircraft Blue and Canary Yellow diagonal stripes on a Naples Blue livery.
Mini bus services to Penketh and Dudlows Green were started in 1987 and used a primrose and blue livery, the colours used by the local rugby league club. The MiniLines fleet was repainted into the standard red and white livery around 1995.
- Mid-Cheshire Bus Lines
Four vehicles bought in 1988 to operate newly acquired services to Northwich retained the blue and cream livery of their previous owner, Eastbourne Buses. Crosville were said to be unhappy at the introduction of this brand due to the fact that they had used it as a local branding scheme for vehicles in the Northwich area in the early part of the 1980s, the original Mid Cheshire Bus Co Ltd having sold out to North Western in 1924. A new service to Warburton saw the arrival of four additional vehicles from Preston Bus in 1990 wearing a similar blue and cream livery. The fleetname would be phased out of use by 1995, with the vehicles receiving standard WBT red and white livery.
New deliveries of Dennis Darts up until 1995 received the CoachLines livery but with MidiLines fleetnames. New deliveries and repaints from 1995 onwards retained the MidiLines branding as secondary to the main WBT logo on the standard red and white/ivory livery.
- Route branding
Most buses are used on several routes so route branding has been limited. In 1999, new low floor buses were delivered with extra yellow logos for the 20•21 circular services, and in 2001 two buses featured purple and blue branding for the 16•16A service. Both of these brands have been lost in recent years as a common pool of low-floor buses has been established.
- Super Mini and Super Midi
The fleet renewal started in 1998 saw new mini and (low-floor) midi buses appearing with this branding instead of the ones previously used (i.e. MiniLines and MidiLines).
- network warrington
To co-incide with the 2006 opening of the new bus interchange in Warrington town centre, the front-line fleet has been rebranded in a new red livery with cream and orange circular detailing, designed by Samantha Beeley. The fleetname "network warrington" is used, with "warrington borough transport" appearing underneath in small letters. The original design contained the strapline "connecting warrington" but this was soon replaced by "making warrington move". The borough coat of arms was deliberately left off the sample vehicle, but was added after 92% of respondents to feedback questionnaires felt it should.
A special purple and yellow livery and brand was introduced in 2002 for the minibus that originally operated the town centre circular service, with publicity and timetable leaflets designed by Best Impressions. This was replaced in 2008 with a new low-floor bus featuring a scheme based on the standard livery, with route branding using the established purple and yellow colours.
- Chapelford Connector/Connect 17
A bus similar from the front to the regular Network Warrington buses but changed at the back to be covered with leaves forming a green/orange colour. This was introduced as route 17 and linked the new Chapelford development to the centre of Warrington. In 2012 the route was extended to provide a service across the north of the town, serving new employment areas, and was rebadged as Connect 17.
Awards and accreditations 
The company gained Investors in People accreditation in 2004, and attained the Charter Mark award for customer service in 2005. Accreditation in Health & Safety management in the work place was achieved in 2008 with the award of the OHSAS 18001 certificate, a first for a UK bus operator.
WBT gained national recognition after being named UK Bus Operator of the Year at the 2008 UK Bus Awards, after having been runners-up in the Shire Operator of the Year category in 2007 behind the highly-regarded Stagecoach Cambridge. The driving team were also shortlisted for Industry People of the Year in 2007, with the company's marketing efforts being shortlisted for Marketing Campaign of the Year in 2008.
|“||Network Warrington has certainly transformed the quality of bus travel in the town, backed up by customer satisfaction surveys showing ratings of 98%. Understandably, all this impressed the judges but, even more importantly, the evidence on the ground certainly impressed our intrepid mystery traveller and his findings confirm that Warrington Borough Transport is the truly deserving bus operator of the year 2008.||”|
—Judging panel, 2008 UK Bus Awards
Locally, the company has won several awards at the Warrington Business Awards, winning the Social Responsibility Award in 2001 and 2007 and the Business Survivor Award in 2003. They were also awarded overall winner at The Mayor's Sustainable Business Awards in 2007.
The company's Manchester based advertising agency And Partners have won several awards for their "Good Signs" campaign: gold award in the Regional Newspaper Campaign category at the 2007 Fresh Creative Awards; named Best Regional Press Ad of 2007 in Campaign magazine's end of year review; gold award for Best Press Campaign and silver award for Best Advertisement on a Mobile Medium at the Roses Advertising Awards 2008. The campaign consisted of a series of adverts featuring bus signage promoting recent achievements in humorous fashion, including "Please mind the step, it's brand spanking new" highlighting investment in new vehicles and "Please do not hug the driver while bus is in motion" referring to high levels of customer satisfaction in surveys.
See also 
- "2008 UK Bus Operator of the Year". UK Bus Awards. Retrieved 2008-11-18.
- "Peace deal ends bus war". Warrington Guardian. 1996-06-14. Retrieved 2011-06-05.
- "Bus company set to bid Arriva-derci". Warrington Guardian. 2002-01-10. Retrieved 2011-06-05.
- "Thumbs up to pram friendly transport". Warrington Guardian. 2006-01-23. Retrieved 2011-06-05.
- "Lifeline for bus link". Warrington Worldwide. 2006-08-09. Retrieved 2011-06-05.
- "The future for new developments". Easierproperty. 2008-07-24. Retrieved 2011-06-05.
- "Services on Warrington Borough Transport to be cut". Warrington Guardian. 2010-06-03. Retrieved 2010-06-14.
- "Electric buses to be on the roads in Warrington". Warrington Guardian. Retrieved 2012-03-29.
- "New bus service launches". Warrington Worldwide. Retrieved 2013-05-07.
- "Unanimous verdict to make night bus a permanent fixture". Warrington Guardian. Retrieved 2007-11-03.
- "October 2009 Minutes". Stockton Heath Parish Council. Retrieved 2009-11-18.
- "All aboard night bus to Burtonwood". Warrington Guardian. Retrieved 2008-01-11.
- "On the buses". Warrington Guardian. Retrieved 2007-11-03.
- "Park and Ride Pride". Warrington Guardian. Retrieved 2007-11-05.
- "Park and ride scheme from B&Q withdrawn". Warrington Guardian. Retrieved 2007-11-03.
- "Contract Services". Network Warrington. Retrieved 2012-05-06.
- "Shuttle Bus". Parklife, MEPC Birchwood Park. Retrieved 2011-11-02.
- "Travel by shuttle bus". Muse Developments, Lingley Mere. Retrieved 2011-11-02.
- "Shuttle Buses". Creamfields 2012. Retrieved 2012-06-05.
- "School Services". Network Warrington. Retrieved 2012-06-05.
- "On The Bus". Network Warrington. Retrieved 2012-06-05.
- "Concessions". Network Warrington. Retrieved 2012-06-05.
- "igo pass". TfGM. Retrieved 2012-06-05.
- "Touch & Go!". Network Warrington. Retrieved 2012-06-05.
- "Where to use System One". System One Travelcards. Retrieved 2012-06-05.
- "Season Tickets". Merseytravel. Retrieved 2012-06-05.
- "Travelcard". Cheshire West and Cheshire Council. Retrieved 2012-06-05.
- "Warrington PLUSBUS". PLUSBUS. Retrieved 2012-06-05.
- Robinson 1987, p.13
- Robinson 1987, p.15
- "VOSA Test Station Locations". Vehicle and Operator Services Agency. Retrieved 2010-11-18.
- Robinson 1987, p.5
- Robinson 1987, p.9
- Robinson 1987, p.16
- "Can our town take any more?". Warrington Guardian. Retrieved 2007-11-03.
- "Brakes on bus depot's Slutchers Lane move". Warrington Guardian. Retrieved 2007-11-03.
- "Fleet list". Network Warrington. Retrieved 2013-05-07.
- Robinson 1990, p. 44
- Hesketh 1998, p. 25
- Hesketh 2006, p. 28
- "Top marks as town's bus company scoops award". Warrington Guardian. Retrieved 2007-11-03.
- "WBT is first UK bus operator to win international best practice accreditation for Health and Safety" (Press release). Retrieved 2008-11-18.
- "2007 Shire Operator of the Year". UK Bus Awards. Retrieved 2008-11-18.
- "2007 Industry People of the Year". UK Bus Awards. Retrieved 2008-11-18.
- "2008 Marketing Campaign of the Year". UK Bus Awards. Retrieved 2008-11-18.
- "The Mayor's Sustainable Environment Business Awards". Warrington Borough Council. Retrieved 2007-11-03.[dead link]
- "Advertising wins award". Warrington Guardian. Retrieved 2007-11-05.
- "Best Regional Ad 2007". Newspaper Society. Retrieved 2008-09-17.
- "Roses Advertising Awards 2008". The Drum. Retrieved 2008-11-19.
- "Profile: Nigel Featham - Small is Bountiful". Bus and Coach. Retrieved 2007-11-03.
- 75 Years of Municipal Transport in Warrington 1902–1977, Warrington Transport Department.
- Hesketh, Peter (1998) "After the War is Over". Buses 50 (523). ISSN 00076392
- Hesketh, Peter (2005) "A Model of a Modern Municipal". Buses 57 (601). ISSN 00076392
- Hesketh, Peter (2006) "A Merseyside Makeover". Buses 57 (616). ISSN 00076392
- Morris, Stephen (2004) "Warrington - Heading for a Golden Future". Buses Focus 32. ISSN 13553011
- Phillips, Ron. (2002) Warrington Borough Transport, 1902–2002: 100 Years of Service to the Community, DTS Publishing. ISBN 1-900515-50-4
- Robinson, John P. (1987) Warrington Trams & Buses: A History of Municipal Transport in Warrington, Cheshire Libraries & Museums. ISBN 0-904532-24-0
- Robinson, John P. (1990) "Warrington Borough Transport Since Deregulation". Buses Extra 66. ISSN 01419927
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Warrington Borough Transport|
- Network Warrington official website
- Yahoo Group mailing list for news and information on bus operations in Warrington area
- Flickr group for pictures of buses in Warrington
- Restoration project for Warrington tram no. 2
- Pole to Pole - short documentary about a Polish rock star turned bus driver