MTL (Transport Company) - Fareway Passenger Services Ltd/MTL Fareway - B

MTL (Transport Company) - B
Fareway Passenger Services Ltd/MTL Fareway
Fareway Passenger Services was Merseyside's first major newcomer to bus operation in the post-deregulation period. It was established by four former Merseyside Transport bus drivers who re-mortgaged their homes and used the redundancy payments they received prior to the formation of Merseybus in 1986. Fareway commenced operations in January 1987 with a fleet of 15-20 ex-Merseyside Transport East Lancs bodied Bristol VRs on the F1 service between their depot at Hornhouse Lane on the Kirkby Industrial Estate to Liverpool's Pier Head.
Prior to the arrival of Fareway, Merseybus had significantly increased the fare scales previously used by Merseyside Transport and reduced/withdrawn service levels on a number of routes across Merseyside. Fareway tapped into this by having fares significantly lower than Merseybus and plugging a gap with the F1 route along the popular Black Bull/County Road/Scotland Road corridor.
This was very popular with bus users in North Liverpool and Kirkby which at the time had high levels of unemployment and low levels of income and car ownership and the success of the F1 set the tone for Fareway's expansion. The F1 quickly gained 30-minute evening and Sunday operation and over the next 18 months Fareway expanded rapidly.
40-50 Northern Counties/Park Royal bodied Daimler Fleetlines originally new to Greater Manchester Transport entered the fleet along with 10 ex London Transport Fleetlines which came from Cumberland Motor Services as well as Fareway's first new vehicles, 10 Northern Counties bodied Leyland Olympians which arrived in 1988/89. Fareway's route network also expanded during this period and by the end 1989 Fareway had a core network 7 high frequency commercial services on the major bus corridors linking Kirkby and North Liverpool to Liverpool city centre and a number of Merseytravel contracts.
Merseybus was generally complacent to the competitive threat posed by Fareway and it took a while for it to respond. However, with its profitable routes under threat and passenger opinion becoming negative to Merseybus and more favourable to Fareway, it responded with a re-launch of its Kirkby and North Liverpool service network in the spring of 1988 with similar fare levels to those of Fareway, new services which mirrored Fareway's and increased frequencies.
North Western also competed with Fareway on its F1 service using high frequency minibuses with Faresaver' branding on a Monday to Saturday daytime from the summer of 1988. However North Western was unsuccessful and withdrew their F1 service by the autumn of 1989.
Despite this competition, Fareway would successfully maintain its network of services in Kirkby and North Liverpool for the next 2–3 years and modernised its fleet with newer ex-Greater Manchester Northern Counties bodied Leyland Fleetlines and four Northern Counties bodied Leyland Olympians new to London Buses' Bexleybus division in 1987, that were originally intended for GM Buses. In addition a coach excursion/private hire division was also established.
However, by 1992 rumours began circulating that Fareway was in financial trouble and the once generally clean, well maintained fleet was starting to look tried and dirty. With Merseybus now part of MTL Trust Holdings and engaged in a programme of consolidation and expansion acquiring Fareway would naturally be of interest to MTL especially if Fareway was in financial difficulty and in the early spring of 1993, Fareway was acquired by MTL.
Initially MTL kept Fareway as a separate entity from the core Merseybus division maintaining the Fareway route network and its yellow and blue livery. The only sign of MTL ownership of Fareway were stickers for the SuperSaver season ticket that Merseybus had introduced in 1990, now also valid on Fareway services. Fareway was also a useful weapon for MTL to defend itself from GM Buses (North/South) who launched a network of commercial services in North Merseyside from September 1993 in retaliation to MTL's expansion in Greater Manchester with Lancashire Travel and MTL Manchester. However, by late 1993 MTL began to exert more influence over the Fareway operation.
The ex-Greater Manchester Fleetlines had started to become time expired and were replaced with newer Metro Cammell Weymann bodied Leyland Fleetlines from Busways Travel Services Some Eastern Coach Works and Northern Counties bodied Leyland Olympians and Leyland Nationals from the main Merseybus fleet were also drafted into Fareway along with three brand new Plaxton Pointer bodied Volvo B6s for use on Merseytravel contracts in Merseytravel livery.
In the summer of 1995, MTL's corporate livery of cream and crimson relief replaced Fareway's yellow and blue livery. This was initially introduced to a batch of 10 new Wright Endurance bodied Volvo B10Bs branded for the F3 service along with a new fleetname MTL Fareway'. MTL further updated the MTL Fareway fleet with a batch of ex-London Buses Leyland Titans from the main Merseybus fleet and secondhand MCW Metrobuses from Lancashire Travel.
Despite this next few years would see MTL gradually close down the MTL Fareway operation with the Northern Counties Leyland Olympians that were new to Fareway and Merseybus being transferred to Liverbus in 1996 and by the spring of 1997, what remained of the MTL Fareway was transferred to Merseybus and operated by their Gillmoss depot.
MTL (Transport Company) Overview
MTL Industry: Transport
MTL Founded: 1992
MTL Defunct: 2000
MTL Fate: Purchased by Arriva
MTL Successor: Arriva
MTL Headquarters: Merseyside
MTL Products: Rail transport, Bus transport, Coach travel
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