Here we are. The last ever winner on #AYearOfBuses. And what a winner it is.
Stagecoach Cumbria and North Lancashire’s Lakesider 599 is the scenic, open top bus ride to top them all. Playing the part of your personal tour guide through the Lakes, it runs from Grasmere to Ambleside, Windermere and Bowness-on-Windermere, where you’ll find a fantastic pier hosting boat cruises over England’s largest lake.
As if the 599 wasn’t spectacular enough, Stagecoach invested £1.5million in a fleet of seven brand new, purpose-built open top Wright-bodied Volvo B5TLs for Lakesider in 2017. They feature not only free WiFi and USB power, but panoramic forward glasswork and a fantastic array of audio commentary along the route. And of course, you simply cannot miss that drop-dead gorgeous, best-in-class visual identity courtesy of Best Impressions – a true swansong.
But it’s not just the buses, or indeed the route which make the 599 a worthy final entry on #AYearOfBuses. Lakesider is a marketing masterclass. At the roadside, you’ll find guides to local attractions alongside timetable information. Stagecoach have produced a downloadable ‘Guide to the Lakes’ brochure to help with forward planning. And links have been built around mainline rail stations along the route, to help keep people out of their cars even as they travel to connect with the bus.
In a stroke of marketing genius, Stagecoach sent the new fleet of buses out in service on a variety of city routes across the North of England to promote their arrival during the summer of 2017. Nothing sends a more powerful message than a brand new, eye-catching open-topper turning up on Manchester’s 192 – what a stunt!
Lakesider then, is quite simply a lesson in how things should be done – for all of us.
Image credit: Mdw3