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Stagecoach Merseyside Alexander Dennis Pointer Dart SLF operating route 17 into Liverpool City Centre
Slogan Stagecoach in Merseyside
Parent Stagecoach Group plc
Founded Glenvale Transport Ltd (2001)
Stagecoach Merseyside (2005)
Headquarters Glenvale Transport Ltd T/A Stagecoach in Merseyside, Gillmoss Depot, East Lancashire Road, Liverpool, L11 0BB Telephone (0151) 330 6220
Service area Merseyside, Lancashire
Service type Local bus services
Routes See Services operated
Destinations Liverpool, Knowsley, Sefton, St Helens, West Lancashire
Fleet Approximately 200
Operator Stagecoach Group
Chief executive Brian Souter (CEO Stagecoach Group) Les Warneford (MD Stagecoach UK Bus)
Web site Stagecoach Merseyside

Stagecoach Merseyside is a major operator of bus services in the English city of Liverpool and in the surrounding area of Merseyside. It is a subsidiary of the Stagecoach Group. It was formed in July 2005 due to the acquisition of Glenvale Transport Limited (GTL), which in turn had initially been formed by ex-MTL managers bidding for company, following a Competition Commission ruling that Arriva must sell their newly acquired Gillmoss depot to preserve the competition within the Merseyside area.

The fleet of the newly created Glenvale Transport Limited mostly comprised elderly Leyland Titans and aging Dennis Darts, although efforts were made to update the fleet via an agreement with Essex-based dealer Ensignbus, seeing newer buses arrive regularly from the end of 2003 right up to the Stagecoach takeover in the summer of 2005. Several much newer buses, although in need of repair, were permanently stationed at the depot, likely due to financial struggles making it difficult to repair the buses.[1] Glenvale had an annual turnover of approximately £25 million.[2]

The company was sold to Stagecoach Group in 2005, who pledged to invest in new buses for Merseyside. The result since takeover has been a £6.5m fleet of 75 new low-floor Alexander Dennis Dart buses that have entered service with the company[2], with the sale and disposal of older buses previously in operation with Glenvale.




Glenvale Transport Limited/(GTL)

Stagecoach Merseyside

On numerous occasions Stagecoach made bids for some or all of the companies making up the former MTL Trust Holdings Ltd. At the beginning of 1998 it was rumoured to have bid £100m for the complete MTL group including its Merseyrail and Northern Spirit rail franchises and the MTL London bus operation. In June 1998 MTL did sell off MTL London but Stagecoach were outbid by the then independent Metroline. When MTL went bankrupt in January 2000 Stagecoach were very interested in acquiring the company but was again outbid this time by Arriva. It wasn't known at the time but Stagecoach did bid for the Gillmoss depot after Arriva was ordered to dispose of it. But again it was an unsuccessful bidder losing out to Glenvale Transport Ltd (GTL). Apart from a Stagecoach Ribble/North West service between Southport and Preston and a Sunday only Lancashire County Council contract from Liverpool to Preston/Blackpool it seemed unlikely that Stagecoach would ever have significant operations on Merseyside. When rumours of a sale at GTL surfaced around 2005 it was FirstGroup plc with its nearby operations First Chester & Wirral and First Manchester - which had a school bus division in nearby Kirkby, the Go-Ahead Group plc and Transdev who at the time were bidding for Merseytravel's ill-fated Merseytram scheme who seemed like the front runners to buy GTL. However on Wednesday 13 July 2005, GTL accepted a reported £3.4M cash[3] offer for the company from the Stagecoach Group who in turn agreed to absorb GTL's debt of approximately £7m. The management of Stagecoach Merseyside as GTL had become - although Glenvale Transport Ltd is still the company's legal lettering, was passed over from Dominic Brady and Ian Campbell to Stagecoach UK Bus MD Les Warneford.

A major priority was updating the mainly elderly fleet inherited from GTL and many 'Stagecoach Standard' Volvo B10M/Alexander PS Type's were sent to Merseyside in the initial months after the takeover along with a handful of Leyland Olympian/Alexander R Types and oddities like Volvo B6/Wright Crusader (30342/N416KPS) which had been used in rural Scotland by Docherty of Irvine. A £6.5m order for 75 low-floor Alexander Dennis Dart SLF/Pointer 2 were received from September 2005 to March 2006 along with 8 similar TransBus/Dennis Dart SLFs new in 2003/04 which came from Stagecoach North West's Carlisle operation and refurbished after being damaged in the January 2005 floods in the town. The ex-CMT vehicles which had been left in various states of disrepair after GTL hit financial problems were also refurbished.

ex-CMT Buses & GTL Volvo B10BLE/Wright Renown 2049/W465CRN now Stagecoach Merseyside 21116

Many of the loss making services started by GTL to compete with Arriva along with some Merseytravel contracts have been withdrawn. In turn Arriva has withdrawn from Kirkby and North Liverpool with the exception of the 14/14A (Croxteth-Liverpool). Stagecoach have significantly reduced the fleet from a peak of 290 to approximately 195 vehicles and many of the former GTL vehicles have now left the fleet. The Volvo B6/Alexander Dash were again sold to Ensignbus, although some newer examples moved to other companies within the Stagecoach Group. Stagecoach Yorkshire received some Reeve Burgess/Plaxton Pointer-bodied Dennis Darts along with the ex-CMT Buses Volvo B10B/Wright Endurance and Alexander Striders and the DAF SB220s with Optare Delta and Northern Counties Paladin bodies which had been new to ABC Travel after Stagecoach acquired the Yorkshire Traction Group in December 2005. Stagecoach North West also became home to the ex-CMT Dennis Dart/Northern Counties Paladins, ex-MTL Dennis Dart SLF/Marshall Capitals and a handful of Leyland Titans. The remaining MCW Metrobuses and Leyland Titans, some of which were now 27 years old, were mostly scrapped although given the historical nature the Titan had on Merseyside's post deregulation bus scene Stagecoach Merseyside arranged a Last Titan Day on Saturday 4 February 2006 (see below).

However the new investment and changes at Stagecoach Merseyside has attracted some criticism. Historically the routes inherited from GTL in Kirkby and North Liverpool have been double deck with low - but increasing, levels of car ownership and high - but reducing, passenger numbers. However after the Leyland Titans were withdrawn in February 2006 amidst general concerns about vandalism and anti-social behaviour on public transport - although Merseyside is generally considered no worse than other urban areas in this regard, the management at Stagecoach Merseyside decided to make the operation 100% single deck transferring the remaining Alexander-bodied Leyland Olympians to other parts of the Stagecoach Group. The Alexander Dennis Dart SLF/Pointer 2 now forms the bulk of the frontline fleet and although bus use on Merseyside has to some degree declined in the post deregulation period standing loads and overcrowding is quite common on the vast majority of routes operated Stagecoach Merseyside defeating many of the benefits low-floor vehicles can offer. A Spring 2006 review of services in Kirkby and North Liverpool compounded this problem with many former GTL routes being rationalised, curtailed, withdrawn or reduced in frequency - in particular in the evening and Sunday period, and has attracted adverse comment from both bus users on Merseyside and Merseytravel who've criticised the profit driven approach Stagecoach and Arriva seemingly have towards the Merseyside bus market and Merseytravel has used this as a platform for re-regulation of the bus industry more generally. Observers of the Merseyside bus scene also consider 12m single deckers like the MAN 18.220/Alexander ALX300 and Alexander Dennis Enviro300 more suited to the urban characteristics of the bus network on Merseyside than the midi-sized SLFs Stagecoach Merseyside are operating at present. Perhaps in response to this the Stagecoach Group has on order approximately 46 12m sized MAN 18.240/Alexander Dennis Enviro300 single deckers for Stagecoach Merseyside which are due to be delivered during the Autumn/Winter of 2009. Furthermore a small batch of Northern Counties Palatine I/Volvo Olympian double deckers - new to what was Stagecoach Selkent in 1995, were transferred into Gillmoss in September 2009. This may indicate a change of heart at Stagecoach Merseyside and the all single deck fleet policy it's pursued in recent years.

A recent development was the closure of Aintree depot on 15 June 2007 exactly 4 years after the acquisition of CMT Buses by GTL. Stagecoach Merseyside is unique in being the only company within the Stagecoach Group to have just one depot with all the operations now based at Gillmoss. A small problem was a software incompatibility between the Wayfarer 3 ticket machines used at Aintree and Gillmoss resulting in the former Aintree vehicles staying on their former routes. This problem was resolved on 20 January 2008 when new ERG Group TP5000 machines were introduced resulting in the vehicle allocation at Gillmoss being seen on a wider variety of routes than had previously been the case.

However despite minimal competition and seemingly cordial relations with Arriva Merseyside/North West Ltd a low fare Magic Bus operation began on the 14 group of services between Broadway (Norris Green) and Liverpool City Centre on 15 September 2008. The Magic Bus operation is rumouredly being used by Stagecoach to encourage Arriva to withdraw their 14/14A routes (Croxteth - Liverpool City Centre) along North Liverpool's popular Breck Road corridor. Coincidentally Stagecoach Merseyside withdrew their journeys on route 79 (Netherley - Liverpool City Centre) on 14 September 2008 with the effect that Halton Transport is now Arriva's only competitor on the popular Picton/Wavertree Road corridor in South Liverpool. Further expansion of Magic Bus within Stagecoach Merseyside is possible and route 86/86C (Gartson/Liverpool Hope University-Liverpool City Centre) via South Liverpool's Allerton/Smithdown Road corridor is considered a prime candidate for such a move as it has a student clientele and similar characteristics to that which exists along the Wilmslow Road in South Manchester. Local authority owned Halton Transport did interest Stagecoach and an approach was made by the Stagecoach Group to acquire the company from Halton Borough Council in 2005/06. At the moment Halton Borough Council doesn't want to sell Halton Transport and it's unknown how serious the approach from Stagecoach really was. Halton Transport's Widnes depot could offer more strategic fit for the Stagecoach Merseyside routes in St Helens and East/South Liverpool than Gillmoss currently offers and the sale of municipal bus companies like Yellow Buses Bournemouth and Blackburn Transport to Transdev, Chesterbus to FirstGroup and more recently Eastbourne Buses to the Stagecoach Group does raise the possibility of a sale in the future.

Route network


As at February 2009 [4]

Image Chassis Body Number Year(s)
Low floor? Obtained from
Stagecoach B10M Alexander PS 20901.jpg Volvo B10M Alexander PS Type 34 1992–1998 No Stagecoach group
StagecoachMerseysideVolvoB10L.jpg Volvo B10L Wright Liberator 10 1997–1998 Yes CMT Buses
Wright Renown 1.jpg Volvo B10BLE Wright Renown 18 1998–2000 Yes CMT Buses
Stagecoach Merseyside AD Dart 1.jpg Alexander Dennis Dart SLF
TransBus Dart SLF
Dennis Dart SLF / SPD
Alexander Dennis Pointer
TransBus Pointer
Plaxton Pointer
93 1999–2006 Yes purchased new (75)
Stagecoach Group (13)
CMT Buses (5 SPD)
Stagecoach Merseyside Dart Crusader 1.jpg Dennis Dart SLF Wright Crusader 12 1997 Yes CMT Buses
Stagecoach Merseyside Dart Spryte 1.jpg Dennis Dart SLF East Lancs Spryte 6 1997 Yes GTL Glenvale

Last Leyland Titan Day

In 1992 Merseybus in an effort to modernise its fleet entered into an agreement with London Buses to purchase a significant quantity of their Leyland Titans dating from 1978 to 1984. These proved popular with other operators on Merseyside and overall approximately 400 Titans saw service in the region and by the time of the takeover of GTL by Stagecoach there were still quite healthy numbers in service.

However Stagecoach quickly made the replacement of the aging fleet on Merseyside (see above) a top priority and by the beginning of 2006 only a handful remained in service. Most Merseyside bus enthusiasts took to the Titan well with some of these vehicles spending more time on Merseyside than they did in London and Stagecoach Merseyside therefore decided to hold a Last Titan Day on Saturday 4 February 2006.

The last serviceable examples at Gillmoss (10046/WYV46T), (10377/KYV377X), (10624/NUW624Y), and (10850/A850SUL) - formally 2046, 2377, 2624 and 2850 in the GTL fleet took enthusiasts on a tour of Liverpool and the Wirral and were joined by London's first production Titan (T1/THX401S) at the time still owned by Stagecoach London, Stagecoach North West's (10698/OHV698Y) which had been GTL 2698 and preserved Titan (T910/A910SYE) which had also operated on Merseyside, for Merseyline of Garston.

This event was very successful and also featured a host other vehicles including Stagecoach Chesterfield's ex-Grimsby-Cleethorpes open-top Daimler Fleetline/Roe (15513/MBE613R), Stagecoach Manchester/Magic Bus Scania N113DRB/Northern Counties (15344/J144HMT) which had been new as London Buses S44 and based at the East London subsidiary - a former stronghold of the Titan, ex-Merseyside Transport Leyland Atlantean/Alexander AL (1055/A135HLV) once based at Gillmoss, ex-Greater Manchester Transport (8551/ANA551Y) once based at Wigan and a regular visitor to Merseyside and finally Arriva London AEC Routemaster (RML2716/SMK716F) which was the oldest vehicle to participate in the event.

Liverpool FC Stagecoach Champions of Champions Buses

Stagecoach Merseyside 34815/PX06DVZ and Stagecoach Lancashire 16335/VLT255 at Gillmoss depot

On Wednesday 20 June 2007, Stagecoach Merseyside and Stagecoach North West, in partnership with World Football Exhibitions Ltd and Liverpool Football Club, launched two branded Liverpool FC Champions of Champions buses to celebrate Liverpool FC's remarkable history in European Competition.

Stagecoach Merseyside 34815/PX06DVZ at Gillmoss depot

The buses were launched at Anfield by Tom Wileman, Stagecoach Regional Director, and Liverpool FC legends Phil Neal, Alan Kennedy, David Fairclough, Ian Callaghan, Chris Lawler and David Johnson. Also at the ribbon cutting ceremony was the actual UEFA Champions League trophy which Liverpool FC won for a record fifth time in Istanbul in 2005.

Speaking at the ribbon cutting, Liverpool legend David Fairclough said: "Both buses look brilliant, it's a great tribute to our European history". Tom Wileman of Stagecoach added, "Liverpool's achievements in European football have been fantastic, not only for the city but for the whole region and we wanted to recognise and celebrate that".

The new buses feature images and facts from Liverpool FC's 5 successful European Cup victories of 1977, 1978, 1981, 1984 and 2005. The double decker is operated by Stagecoach North West and will operate on the X2 route between Liverpool, Southport and Preston while the single decker is operated by Stagecoach Merseyside and will operate across the city of Liverpool and other parts of Merseyside.

A similarly branded bus for Everton FC was also introduced into service at the end of September 2007 and these buses will be in service through to 2008 when the city of Liverpool will celebrate being European Capital of Culture.


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