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Doncaster MP launches first low floor bus service to Royal Infirmary
Tuesday 10 June 2008
TRANSPORT Minister and Doncaster Central MP Rosie Winterton and First, South Yorkshire’s biggest bus operator, have joined forces to meet the needs of hospital-bound bus passengers in Doncaster.
First will provide a fleet of eight modern low-floor buses on the Blue Line 81/82 service that links Doncaster Royal Infirmary with Doncaster City Centre and Armthorpe.
Rosie Winterton MP was at Castle Park in Doncaster on Friday June 6th to officially launch the improved bus service. The double-deckers will begin operating on the route within the next week.
The change has been made following requests from customers that bigger and more passenger-friendly buses are needed on the key hospital route.
First is looking to build on the 5% growth in passenger numbers on the Blue Line in the last year with the low-floor vehicles, which have space for 74 passengers, an increase from the current 51 passengers. This will make it easier for the elderly, wheelchair users, and parents with pushchairs to board buses and the extra capacity will mean more passengers can use the service in comfort and safety.
The £500,000 vehicle investment by First is another significant financial outlay by the region’s biggest bus operator following the recent £6m investment in 20 new buses on X78 (Doncaster–Sheffield) and 19 new buses on the A638 corridor (Rossington, Skellow, Woodlands).
Rosie Winterton MP said: “I am delighted to have been invited by First to the launch of the low floor accessible buses that will run along the 81/82 route, making it much easier for people with mobility problems to access public transport to and from the hospital.”
Bob Hamilton, Managing Director for First in South Yorkshire, said: “We are pleased to listen to our customers and to provide them with an improved fleet of buses to get between Town, DRI and Armthorpe.
“The main benefits of these buses are easier access, which is particularly important on a route serving the Infirmary, and extra capacity to cope with passenger growth.”
Ken Lambert, aged 84, who along with his disabled wife, are regular users of the service, said: “I would like to thank Rosie Winterton and First for listening to the concerns of disabled people by putting low floor buses on this route.”
The Blue Line route runs from The Frenchgate Interchange, across the town centre, to the Doncaster Royal Infirmary. The bus then continues to Armthorpe, where the two routes split in order to serve different parts of the village. Buses run very 7/8 minutes during Monday-Friday daytime.
The 81/82 service is branded as the Blue Line by First because, until 1979, the route was served by a private company in Armthorpe called the Blue Line and elderly residents in Armthorpe still remember this name with affection.