Warrington's Own Buses

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Warrington's Own Buses
Network Warrington 96 YJ13HKC (8751662624).jpg
A "Connect17" branded Optare Versa
ParentWarrington Borough Council
Founded1986
HeadquartersWarrington
Service areaCheshire
Greater Manchester
Service typeBus services
Fleet96 vehicles (May 2018)
Chief executiveBen Wakerley
WebsiteWarrington's Own Buses

Warrington's Own Buses[1] is a municipal bus company which operates a network of services within the Borough of Warrington and the surrounding area, including Altrincham, Leigh, Earlestown and Northwich.

The company previously traded as Warrington Borough Transport up until 2006 and as Network Warrington between 2006 and 2018.

History[edit]

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.

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 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.

To comply with the Transport Act 1985, Warrington Borough Transport was incorporated in 1986. The company's mission was that if money could be made by operating services deemed uneconomic by other operators, then it 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 North Western (trading as Warrington Goldlines) duplicating the vast majority of the existing bus network with their own services, taking over from another new competitor Lancashire Travel when they decided to stop competing after a few months. In retaliation, Warrington Borough Transport began operating new services in competition with North Western, to places such as Wigan, St Helens, Widnes, Runcorn, Chester and Liverpool, as well as commencing a local minibus service in Northwich. After eighteen months of intense competition, both companies agreed a truce. Warrington Borough Transport kept routes to Prescot and St Helens, whilst giving up operations in the Birchwood area of town, which were operated North Western.[2] North Western was rebranded as Arriva North West in 1997.

In February 2002, Arriva North West decided to close its depot in Warrington and transferred the interurban routes to depots in Liverpool and St Helens.[3] Warrington Borough Transport 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[4] and Altrincham in 2006.[5]

Throughout the mid-late 2000s, Warrington Borough Transport made several cuts to their longer distance services as part of preparations for their eventual rebrand. In 2006, the company became known as Network Warrington, with a new livery designed by Samantha Beeley.[6][7][8] However, this did lead to a streamlining of other routes, both long distance and in the town centre, which were operated with increased frequencies to shorten journey times.[9][10][11]

Budget cuts by Warrington Borough Council resulted in the network of Sunday evening services being completely withdrawn from 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.[12]

In April 2018, the company was rebranded as Warrington's Own Buses.[13]

Routes[edit]

Warrington's Own Buses operate a number of routes across the Warrington borough, Cheshire and Greater Manchester.[14]

Ticket types[edit]

Warrington's Own Buses offer a wide range of ticket options for passengers, including singles, returns and all day tickets.[15] Smartcard ticketing is also available.

Offices and depot[edit]

The frontage of the bus depot on Wilderspool Causeway

The main depot and offices for Warrington's Own Buses are located on Wilderspool Causeway at the junction with Chester Road.

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 until they were purchased by Warrington Corporation in 1947.[16] This site eventually became the main operational centre, with the frontage of the depot dating from 1964. The ground floor consists of a reception area and vehicle inspection bays, with the company's offices on the upper floor.[17]

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.

Former[edit]

The original tram system was operated from an eight-track depot at the junction of Mersey Street and Lower Bank Street.[18] 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.[19] 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[20] and is today the site of a DW Sports Fitness Club.

Fleet[edit]

A Warrington's Own Buses Wright Eclipse Gemini bodied Volvo B7TL at Warrington Bus Interchange

As at May 2018, Warrington's Own Buses' fleet consists of 96 vehicles.[21] The fleet is entirely low floor and the majority of vehicles in the fleet are single deck, with the most common vehicle type being the Volvo Merit/Wright Cadet midibus, of which there are 44 examples. The newest buses in the fleet date from 2018.

Other single deck types in service are the integral Alexander Dennis Enviro200, Optare Versa (including six diesel-electric "hybrid" examples) and the Wright Eclipse 2-bodied Volvo B7RLE, with the latter being the company's largest single deckers.

Warrington's Own Buses operate fifteen double deck vehicles. These are eleven Volvo B7TLs (six with Alexander and five with Wrightbus bodywork) and a batch of four Wright Pulsar Gemini bodied DAF DB250s, all of which were acquired from other operators between 2011 and 2016.

Additionally, the company also maintains a heritage fleet. This consists of an East Lancs bodied Leyland PD2/40 from 1965 in addition to an open top Alexander bodied Volvo Olympian. The Olympian was originally new to Dublin Bus and acquired in 2008.

Both vehicles are used for special occasions and are also available for private hire.

Branding[edit]

Including the standard fleet livery, which updated in 2018, Warrington's Own Buses has a wide range of branding, which include route specific and advertising liveries.

Dedicated route liveries include:

  • Connect17 – routes 17/17A.
  • The Cheshire Cat – routes CAT5, CAT6, CAT7, CAT8 and CAT9 (including variants).
  • The Pops – routes 20/21.

There is also a wide range of historical branding and liveries, which include the town's traditional dark red and ivory two-tone livery dating from 1945, with the dark red continuing to feature after the company's 2006 and 2018 re-brands. Some of company's former brands include Super Midi, Super Mini, MidiLines and Centrelink.

Gallery[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Judd, Lydia. "Out with Network Warrington – in with Warrington's Own Buses". Warrington Guardian. Warrington Guardian. Retrieved 26 April 2018.
  2. ^ "Peace deal ends bus war". Warrington Guardian. 14 June 1996.
  3. ^ "Bus company set to bid Arriva-derci". Warrington Guardian. 10 January 2002.
  4. ^ "Thumbs up to pram friendly transport". Warrington Guardian. 23 January 2006. Retrieved 5 June 2011.
  5. ^ "Lifeline for bus link". Warrington Worldwide. 9 August 2006.
  6. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20061007220806/http://www.warringtonboroughtransport.co.uk/new/timetables.htm
  7. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20061206040615/http://www.warringtonboroughtransport.co.uk/new/timetables.htm
  8. ^ http://www.networkwarrington.co.uk/assets/library/original/pdf/3/future-timetable-5-6-35-47---september-2015_web.f54ab2443c9033e4eaa57f9cff682eaf.1439555183.pdf
  9. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20061007220855/http://www.warringtonboroughtransport.co.uk/new/tables_pdf/45%20TT.pdf
  10. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20061007220932/http://www.warringtonboroughtransport.co.uk/new/tables_pdf/45%20Map.pdf
  11. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20060524045909/http://www.warringtonboroughtransport.co.uk/new/tables_pdf/43%20TT%20Summary.pdf
  12. ^ "Services on Warrington Borough Transport to be cut". Warrington Guardian. 3 June 2010. Retrieved 14 June 2010.
  13. ^ Judd, Lydia. "Out with Network Warrington – in with Warrington's Own Buses". Warrington Guardian. Warrington Guardian. Retrieved 26 April 2018.
  14. ^ "Bus Timetables & Routes". Network Warrington. Network Warrington. Retrieved 27 May 2018.
  15. ^ "On The Bus". Network Warrington. Network Warrington. Retrieved 27 May 2018.
  16. ^ Robinson 1987, p.13
  17. ^ Robinson 1987, p.15
  18. ^ Robinson 1987, p.5
  19. ^ Robinson 1987, p.9
  20. ^ Robinson 1987, p.16
  21. ^ Network Warrington Fleet List Network Warrington March 2017

Bibliography[edit]

  • 75 Years of Municipal Transport in Warrington 1902–1977, Warrington Transport Department.
  • Hesketh, Peter (1998) "After the War is Over". Buses 50 (523). ISSN 0007-6392
  • Hesketh, Peter (2005) "A Model of a Modern Municipal". Buses 57 (601). ISSN 0007-6392
  • Hesketh, Peter (2006) "A Merseyside Makeover". Buses 57 (616). ISSN 0007-6392
  • Morris, Stephen (2004) "Warrington – Heading for a Golden Future". Buses Focus 32. ISSN 1355-3011
  • 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 0141-9927

External links[edit]