Commuters across Teesside are being urged to leave the car at home this week.
Stagecoach, Arriva and Connect Tees Valley have joined forces to encourage workers to give the bus a go during ‘catch the bus’ week.
During catch the bus week, which runs till Friday (July 8), Arriva and Stagecoach will tour locations across the Tees Valley giving away ‘Pop Pay As You Go’ smartcards pre-loaded with £15 which can be used on buses across the North East.
As in previous years bus drivers have been put at the heart of the catch the bus week campaign, and this year’s slightly tongue in cheek campaign features a young toddler who aspires to be a bus driver when he grows up.
Colin Newbury of Stagecoach North East said: “Every year we like to have a bit of fun with our catch the bus week campaign while at the same time telling people that our drivers are dedicated professionals who look forward to welcoming our passengers on board.
“Of course, not all our drivers have wanted to drive buses since they were little, but all of them are committed to giving a first class service to customers.
“To help give people a nudge to try the bus we’ll be giving away Popcards, the North Easts new pay as you go smartcard that allows cashless travel on buses throughout the region.’
Nick Knox of Arriva North East added: “Catch the bus week is a great time to remind people about how important their local bus service is and how we work closely with other bus companies and the local authorities to deliver a high quality public transport system to residents across the Tees Valley.”
Dave Budd, chair of the Tees Valley Combined Authority, said: “A significant amount of money has been invested into the bus network across Tees Valley.
“I hope that this fantastic initiative will encourage more people to catch the bus and those who are not regular public transport users realise what a prize asset we have and take advantage of it more often.”
Recent surveys reveal that thanks to recent investment by bus operators, local councils and the Department for Transport in highways and new buses a record 90% of bus users are happy with their local services and 9/10 buses are running time.
As part of this year’s catch the bus week activities to encourage people to give their local bus service a go, £1000’s worth of bus travel is being given away at a series of events across the Tees Valley.