Stagecoach, the country’s largest bus operator, is helping customers get into the festive spirit again this year by running specially decorated Santa buses, holding Santa’s grottos, and raising money for local charities.
At Stagecoach Yorkshire, the depot team at Chesterfield are running a Santa’s grotto bus in the town centre on Saturday 17 December in aid of CMT UK, with Chesterfield FC’s mascot Chester also attending. It’s completely free to attend, but donations will be welcome. Over in Barnsley, the team have sponsored the Christmas Tree in the town centre at St. Mary’s Church in support of the Air Ambulance and local charity ‘Bettalives Barnsley’, a day provision for adults with additional needs. Staff from Barnsley depot are also donating their Christmas jumper money to Bettalives Barnsley. Holbrook depot have organised a collection for their local S2 foodbank.
Over in Stagecoach South, Santa buses are running across different routes each day raising money for a charity chosen by each of the depots, driven either by Santa or one of his elves. The festive buses will run across routes in Aldershot, Andover, Basingstoke, Chichester, Guildford, Portsmouth, Winchester and Worthing.
The team at Stagecoach South East have gone all out for Christmas this year. The training team have released their own version of ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas’, raising money for local charity Butterflies, who provide counselling services for children and young people across the South East. At Thanet depot, a Santa bus is raising money for Demelza’s Festive Wishes, and has so far raised £765 since its launch on 1 December. The team are also supporting local charities including the Toy Appeal in East Sussex, helping to collect toys and gifts for underprivileged children in the county, and supporting the Christmas Dinner Folkestone event which provides care leavers in East Kent with presents and a dinner on Christmas Day.
In the west of the country, Stagecoach West drivers will be dressing up as Santa in December to raise money for local animal charities.
There’s also a raft of activity taking place at Stagecoach East Midlands. The team are supporting the charity Cash4Kids – Mission Christmas via Bauer Media. They have partnered with Lincs FM to do a ‘Fill the Bus’ Tour to collection donations of gifts for children who otherwise are likely not to receive a gift this year. Staff in each depot are helping with donations.
In Wales, Stagecoach South Wales are running a special Christmas themed bus handing out chocolates and colouring packs for children as well as a Christmas timetable. A spot the Christmas bus competition is running on Twitter and a cute colouring competition too.
In Stagecoach North East, drivers in Newcastle have a vehicle decorated for Christmas and they’re holding multiple Santa’s grotto events with all proceeds being donated to Daft as a Brush (Cancer Patient Care) or The Chronicle Sunshine Fund. Sweets and giveaways are being handed out at all events plus a visit with Stagecoach Santa.
Over in Stagecoach Merseyside, a group of drivers in Birkenhead have teamed up again to turn a bus into a mobile Santa’s grotto to raise money for the Tiny Stars Neonatal Appeal as part of the Wirral University Teaching Hospital Charity. A charity prize draw offers prizes including tickets to see Pink Live in Bolton, food hampers and supermarket vouchers.
Three Christmas buses will be travelling around the Stagecoach Cumbria and North Lancashire area, with the livery encouraging the public to shop local this Christmas. Donations have also been made to CFM’s Cash for Kids Mission Christmas.
In East Scotland, the team will be handing out printed festive timetable guides over the next two weeks, along with free mince pies, in order to help customers plan their journeys over the Christmas and New Year period. In addition, customers in the Perth and Kinross area can benefit from free travel on the Saturdays in the lead up to Christmas, as a result of an initiative by Perth & Kinross Council to offer free travel on local bus services. For more information visit https://www.pkc.gov.uk/freesatbus.
Up in Stagecoach West Scotland, some furry customers were welcomed onto the 43A service to Annbank last week as the bus operator made a special delivery to the Night Before Christmas Campaign. Employees across each of the seven West Scotland depots have been making donations and pledges to fill a single-decker bus, including 500 limited edition Stagecoach teddy bears, selection boxes, and 100s of little red bags of joy to bring some festive cheer to children and young people this Christmas. Drop-off hubs were set up at Ayr and Kilmarnock bus stations, with members of the public also encouraged to donate anything they could.
Even further up north, Stagecoach Bluebird has announced that it has relaunched free night buses throughout December with the help of Aberdeen Inspired and Aberdeen City Council. Stagecoach is running the night buses for weekends in December to Westhill, Stonehaven, Inverurie and Ellon, and passengers will be able to ride the buses for free to ensure a safe and smooth return home after a Christmas night out.
Stagecoach continues to make a significant contribution towards the communities it serves through time, resource, money and sponsorship, both centrally and within its local operating companies as part of its ‘Giving for Good’ community initiative.
Carla Stockton-Jones, UK Managing Director for Stagecoach said: “I am incredibly proud of our teams for everything they are doing to help people mark the festive season and at the same time keep our buses moving so people can get to where they need to be.
“We have some amazing work going on across the country in support of local charities and we know this will help so many people at this time of year whilst also bringing happiness to our customers and colleagues.”