Two passengers have been the lucky recipients of a small gift from their bus operator, after becoming the 1,000th person to use new smart ticketing services.
In September this year, PCL Travel won a contract to deliver the 470 and 473 services between Wooler and Alnwick on behalf of Northumberland County Council and since then, it has been investing in the service.
PCL has purchased two modern, fuel-efficient, Optare Versa, 48-seat vehicles which are fitted with seat belts and have low floor and wheelchair access.
Further investment then followed with the installation of smart ticketing machines, which in the future will allow live tracking of the services using the Nexus live travel map and were provided as part of a North East-wide initiative that saw six of Northumberland’s small operators benefit from a subsidy to enable smart ticketing.
To celebrate, PCL offered a £20 voucher to the passenger purchasing the 1,000th ticket on both the 470 and 473 services. In little over a week, the 470 bus service carried its 1,000th passenger, Alan Ingleton, from Alnwick, who uses the service twice daily to get to work in Eglingham.
A few days later, the 473 also carried its 1,000th passenger, William Parkin, from Wooler, who was travelling to Alnwick for leisure reasons.
Coun Anthony Murray, civic head of the council and ward member for Wooler, said: “These services between Wooler and Alnwick provide key transport links to education, employment and social activities and I am pleased that the county council is able to provide ongoing support to them.
“Public transport services such as these are of great importance for rural communities like those at and around Wooler and Alnwick. I am delighted that so many passengers are using them and it’s great to see that Alan and William have both benefited from being the 1,000th passenger on each service.”