Stagecoach is launching a revamped fleet of open top buses for the holiday season in Skegness.
The Seasiders are based on classic holiday themes, with each of the six buses designed to be characters in their own right: Rocky, Shelly, Candy, Pierre and Sandy, with one more character design to be chosen following a competition involving local youngsters.
The revamp, which includes new livery and refurbished seats and interiors, is part of the bus company’s efforts to support the local tourism industry and provide fun holiday-themed accessible public transport for residents and visitors to Skegness.
The striking fleet will be unveiled at a special launch on the Tower Esplanade in Skegness by Mayor Jim Carpenter, at 11.30am, Monday, April 7, the start of the Easter school holidays.
Michelle Hargreaves, Stagecoach East Midlands managing director, said: “We’re delighted to be introducing the Seasiders to Skegness. Tourism is a vital part of the town’s economy and a fantastic place for a family holiday.
“We want to support tourism in the town and what better way than the Seasiders?
“It’s all the fun of the seaside! We’re hoping they’ll be a hit with residents and tourists alike.”
The Seasiders will be on display at the launch along with the as-yet-unnamed bus.
The event runs from 11am to 4pm, with some of the Seasiders heading out and into service on the day.
The launch will feature music, children’s entertainment with Mr Shiney, balloon-making, magic shows, a Wheel of Fortune to claim free goody beach bags and a new timetable packed with money-saving holiday attraction offers.
There will also be the chance at the launch to enter a competition to design the sixth and final member of the Seasider open-top bus family. Stagecoach staff will be on hand to provide information about the service.
A children’s storybook about the adventures of Rocky has also been produced, and will be on sale for £2 to raise money for the When You Wish Upon a Star charity, which helps grant the wishes of children living with life threatening illnesses.
Stagecoach will be making a £1,000 donation to the charity at the launch.
East Lindsey District Council’s portfolio holder for economic development Coun Craig Leyland said: “It is great to see Stagecoach supporting our local economy and tourism industry as well as investing in our public transport system.
“We applaud any business which invests in local services and attractions and I hope that these wonderful open top busses will not only provide a way to access the resorts of Skegness, Ingoldmells and Chapel St Leonards and all that they have to offer, but also create an experience in themselves at a very reasonable cost.”
The Seasiders will connect Skegness and Ingoldmells on service number 3 along the coast. Stagecoach has teamed up with numerous local attractions including Fantasy Island, Butlin’s, The Pleasure Beach and Skegness Pier, to offer a range of money-saving deals.
Mark Mageean, Stagecoach’s Skegness operations manager, said: “We’re hoping the Seasiders will bring a touch of colour and fun to Skegness. They look fantastic and everyone has their own favourite – mine is Rocky.
“All the buses are being kept hidden until the launch, even to the point of only being moved from different depots at night. We don’t want to spoil the surprise ahead of the big launch on Monday!”
Tony Tye, chairman of the Skegness and District Chamber of Commerce, said: ”It’s vital that organisations and businesses all work together to provide the best experience possible, as we continue to develop new offerings for visitors to Skegness.
“Combining these wonderful buses with simple timetables that now provide discounts to attractions along the route is a great idea to encourage more people to explore and enjoy the best of Skegness without having to rely on their car.”
Tickets start from £2.10 for adults and £1 for children, with an Adult Dayrider £4 and Family Dayrider, offering unlimited rides for a family of up to five on all the Seasiders, £10. The buses are all wheelchair and buggy-friendly.
For more information about the Seasiders go to www.skegnessseasiders.co.uk
See this week’s paper for an entry form to design one of the new buses.