Arriva and Stagecoach in partnership (2024)

Thursday 2nd May 2024

Arriva and Stagecoach in partnership (1)

A few weeks ago a partnership between Arriva and Stagecoach was announced. It’s part of the Leicestershire Enhanced Bus Partnership and has seen the two bus companies amend timetables of their respective hourly routes (X3 and X7) between Market Harborough and Leicester so there’s a more even half hourly frequency from either end on Mondays to Saturdays.

Arriva and Stagecoach in partnership (2)

In the grand scheme of things it’s not exactly ‘ground breaking’ or ‘world beating’ but for passengers using the bus on this busy inter-urban corridor it’s a very welcome timely development in every sense of that word.

Arriva and Stagecoach in partnership (3)

The new arrangement also includes mutual acceptance of each other’s day, weekly and monthly tickets for adults and young people but strangely not for student tickets.

Stagecoach’s X7 is limited stop observing 14 bus stops along the route whereas Arriva’s X3 is an all stopper.

Arriva and Stagecoach in partnership (4)

Arriva deploys three single deck buses on its route X3 which shuttles between Market Harborough and Leicester, deviating off the A6 to serve Kibworth and Great Glen. The timetable gives an end to end journey time of 63 minutes southbound and 66 minutes northbound making for a rather slack schedule with 47 minutes stand time at Leicester and only four minutes in Market Harborough.

Stagecoach ‘s longer route X7 originates in Northampton with Market Harborough being the halfway point on the journey to Leicester. This route also serves Kibworth but omits Great Glen making for a reduced journey time of 43 minutes northbound and 46 minutes southbound. Stagecoach operates four buses with a fifth in peak periods when a half hourly frequency is provided from Northampton meaning three buses an hour between Market Harborough and Leicester.

Arriva and Stagecoach in partnership (5)

Southbound departures from Leicester are at 07 (X7) and 37 (X3) minutes past the off-peak hour but northbound from Market Harborough are 44 (X3) and 18 (X7) minutes past the hour. It’s a shame an exact half hour gap wasn’t achieved in the northbound direction although it’s very close.

I made a return journey from Market Harborough to Leicester sampling both routes a couple of weeks ago and found impressively well used buses on both trips as well as observing all the other buses we passed being equally busy.

Arriva and Stagecoach in partnership (6)

The 11:44 X3 from Market Harborough left its terminus stop immediately outside the town’s Market Hall with only five on board but 14 more boarded at the next stop, The Square, just up the road and another one at St Luke’s Hospital as we headed north.

Nineteen minutes later, arriving in Kibworth, five alighted and six boarded and back on the A6 we lost four more but gained three with two more leaving us in Great Glen. Heading towards Oadby, on the outskirts of Leicester, we gained six more and three alighted and as we crossed the city boundary one alighted and three boarded while we waited time for three minutes which was good going as we’d left Market Harborough two minutes late. Five alighted at Leicester rail station with one boarding and at two more city centre stops approaching Haymarket bus station five and three alighted with 11 left on board who got off at the bus station making for total passengers on the journey of 39.

Arriva and Stagecoach in partnership (7)

We arrived five minutes early at 12:45 so with the aforementioned five minutes saved, we didn’t need ten minutes of the allotted 66 minutes running time.

I’d planned to catch the next departure back from Leicester to Market Harborough which is the 13:07 Stagecoach operated X7. The bus was due in at 13:01 giving six minutes stand time – whereas the Arriva X3 wouldn’t leave until 13:37 enjoying its 47 minutes layover.

Arriva and Stagecoach in partnership (8)

At 13:07 I spotted a yellow liveried bus in the distance heading towards Haymarket bus station and guessed this was my steed and sure enough it pulled into stand HJ with a good number of alighting passengers.

Arriva and Stagecoach in partnership (9)

After the driver had a well deserved short break for a few vape puffs standing outside the bus station he got all 29 of us, patiently waiting. on board and we left just six minutes down at 13:13 with three more boarding at the rail station and four more in Oadby making for an impressive tally of 36.

Arriva and Stagecoach in partnership (10)

It was a spirited run back down to Market Harborough with four alighting and two boarding in Kibworth and three alighting as we approached The Square and 10 getting off at that stop with ten more boarding. We arrived at The Square at 13:56 maintaining the lateness at six minutes and you can see that a 43 minute journey compared to Arriva’s actual wheel turning northbound time from The Square of 54 minutes meaning the Great Glen deviation, and being an all stopper, costs eight minutes journey time.

It’s good to see bus companies working with the County Council to promote coordinated frequencies and a shout out to Stagecoach which, in the spirit of partnership, promotes both Arriva’s X3 along with its own X7 times in its timetable….

Arriva and Stagecoach in partnership (11)

… whereas Arriva just promotes its own X3 (and a peak X31).

Arriva and Stagecoach in partnership (12)

And it’s a pity Leicestershire County Council doesn’t provide coordinated departure lists at bus stops as Leicester City Council does. For example, here’s the display at Haymarket bus station in the city.

Arriva and Stagecoach in partnership (13)

And here’s The Square Market Harborough.

Arriva and Stagecoach in partnership (14)

Where there’s a timetable case showing Stagecoach departures on X7 (together with its local route 33A)…

Arriva and Stagecoach in partnership (15)

…and in the other timetable case are Arriva departures on X3.

Arriva and Stagecoach in partnership (16)

The bus stop plates are also a complete hotch-potch with a Leicester city logo appearing at The Square in Kibworth (which is well south of the city)…

Arriva and Stagecoach in partnership (17)

… and some stops are just showing Stagecoach X7 but where Arriva’s X3 also stops…

Arriva and Stagecoach in partnership (18)

…and some stops showing Sapphire branding.

Arriva and Stagecoach in partnership (19)

‘Work in progress’ is the the most charitable description of this pioneering partnership.

Roger French

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Arriva and Stagecoach in partnership (2024)


Arriva and Stagecoach in partnership? ›

Bus companies Arriva

Arriva are one of the leading passenger transport operators in Europe, providing bus and coach services, as well as train, tram and even bike-sharing. Every day our 35,500 colleagues work hard to connect millions of people safely, reliably and sustainably to people, places and venues they value. › our-values › our-history
and Stagecoach have joined forces to introduce a simpler, more coordinated, more reliable timetable for buses between Leicester and Market Harborough. Tickets will be accepted by either operator on two routes, which means passengers won't have to worry about which service comes first.

Are Arriva and Stagecoach the same? ›

Arriva have partnered with Stagecoach, MerseyTravel and local councils to make bus travel in Merseyside quicker and more convenient.

Can you use Arriva card on Stagecoach? ›

Brought to you as a Smartcard, these Weekly or 4-Weekly tickets allow unlimited travel at any time of the day on Arriva North East, Go North East and Stagecoach buses in the North East SmartZone.

Can I use a Stagecoach ticket on Arriva Liverpool? ›

You can use your StagecoachSmart megarider plus+ on Arriva services in the same way you would use your old paper ticket. However, you must activate your card on a Stagecoach bus by placing your card on the reader after you buy or top up your smart card online.

Who owns Arriva bus company? ›

As of 2024 Arriva will be owned by I Squared Capital. Arriva UK Bus operates 793 buses in the North East, North West, South East, Yorkshire & the Humber, West Midlands, East Midlands, Greater London and Wales. It employs 16,000 people.

Who bought out Stagecoach? ›

Bus operator Stagecoach [SGC] is set to delist from the London Stock Exchange by the end of June following its recent £600m acquisition by European infrastructure fund Inframobility UK.

Who owns Stagecoach? ›

Can you use Arriva Day Rider on Stagecoach? ›

Passengers will able to use any valid Arriva or Stagecoach adult or child/young person day, week, or 4-week ticket for travel on either the Stagecoach route X7 or the Arriva X3. Student Term and Academic Year products will continue to be valid onboard the buses of the operator issuing the ticket.

Is Stagecoach the same as Megabus? ›

Megabus is a long-distance intercity coach service operator owned by Scottish Citylink and based in the United Kingdom. Founded by Stagecoach Group (through Midland Red (South) Ltd) in August 2003, it operates using low-cost fares, formerly starting at £1, based on a yield management model.

What buses does Stagecoach use? ›

Both single-decker and double-decker gold buses are used. Stagecoach SimpliBus operates in the East Midlands.

Does London use Stagecoach? ›

Find out how Stagecoach London operates, including key facts and information on our passengers, staff, services, fares, fleet and environmental commitments. We run safe, reliable, clean, punctual and comfortable local bus services in East and South East London. Our services run into the City and the West End.

Can you use a go north east ticket on an Arriva bus? ›

Tickets are valid on all Go North East, Stagecoach and Arriva bus services in the relevant areas.

Can I use my card on Arriva buses? ›

Tap On Tap Off, the quick and easy way to pay for your adult bus travel at the best price*, is now on board Arriva Buses. Simply hop on the bus and tap on with your driver using a credit/debit card or with Google Pay or Apple Pay and when you leave just tap off with the dedicated reader.

What did Arriva used to be called? ›

Arriva plc is a British multinational public transport company headquartered in Sunderland, England. The company was originally established in 1938 as T Cowie Ltd. Initially focused on the sale of motorcycles, it relaunched shortly after the Second World War by Tom Cowie.

Which country owns Arriva? ›

Deutsche Bahn which is owned by Germany and has run Arriva since 2010 has sold the company to I Squared Capital for 1.6bn euros. I Squared Capital is registered in the Cayman Islands tax-haven and recently had a bid for First Group rejected.

Is Arriva public or private? ›

We are the leading private passenger transport operator in most of our markets in mainland Europe – a key growth engine for Arriva with significant opportunities across markets in both bus and rail. We have around 17,200 colleagues, operating a fleet of: 8,634 buses. 276 trains.

Are Megabus and Stagecoach the same company? ›

Megabus is a long-distance intercity coach service operator owned by Scottish Citylink and based in the United Kingdom. Founded by Stagecoach Group (through Midland Red (South) Ltd) in August 2003, it operates using low-cost fares, formerly starting at £1, based on a yield management model.

What bus do Arriva use? ›

Buses to be proud of

Our fleet of 1600 vehicles includes over 400 hybrid vehicles, just under 300 New Routemasters and more than 30 electric buses, with this number set to increase in future years. Around 85% of our fleet are double-deckers.

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