Buses are given City Status as part of revamp
BUS passengers will be cruising around Chelmsford in newly branded motors that hope to give the city a fresh new look.
More than 30 officials gathered outside County Hall this week to see the newly refurbished First buses adorned with a "Chelmsford city" logo containing silhouettes of famous Chelmsford landmarks.
The occasion marked the beginning of changes to the First bus service in and around the city, with 19 more buses to be introduced by the end of the year.
Four of the new buses will be hybrids, which are powered by battery and diesel, while 15 will be fuel-efficient to reduce air pollution.
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Regional managing director Nigel Barrett said: "We felt it was appropriate to rebrand the buses now that Chelmsford is a city and is important we recognise this achievement. This bus is a ten-year-old bus that has been refitted and branded, and now it has another five years left in it. I nearly always use public transport to get around, even if I am going quite far. It is quicker and cheaper nowadays."
So far, two of Chelmsford service Optare Solo's have been branded with the Chelmsford City logo.
Mark Hallett, 42, from Chelmsford, a First bus driver for 11 years, is pleased with the changes and optimistic about the future.
"The buses definitely do look better, and it shows that we are supporting Chelmsford city," he said.
"Hopefully it will mean more people will use the buses, and really improve Chelmsford for the future.
"It is now a fresher and well-needed image change and will mean bigger and better things."
Chelmsford mayor Bob Shepherd added: "It is absolutely delightful for the community of Chelmsford.
"City status will hopefully mean lots of investment money, and great benefits.
"Let's face it, we were the underdog to get city status but it was through the hard work of the council that we did it.
"Now we can also apply for faster broadband, which is marvellous because in some villages it is quicker to shout at your neighbour than use the computer."