Farewell, Little Yellow Bus

It’s the end of the line for Birkenhead’s free eco-bus service. From September 3, the Hamilton Quarter Circular (as it’s so catchily known) will be cancelled. The Wirral Globe had this to say when they were first launched in 1998:

ELECTRIC powered ‘eco-buses’ are now running around Birkenhead town
centre. Mayor Margaret Green launched Jupiter, the free service shuttle
for shoppers, commuters and other passengers. It provides regular
services between the Woodside Ferry Terminal, tourist Hamilton Quarter,
Birkenhead’s new bus station and Conway Park stopping at SMART-ECO bus
shelters.

Six zero-emission electric vehicles, full accessability
for disabled people, are being used in the experiment. The long-term
plan is to cut down on the number of motorists using cars in the town
centre.

I can only assume that lack of use was the problem, which begs the question of why didn’t they run a better route? If the buses had run to the top end of town, where more shops are located, rather than the relatively deserted Kwik Save/Old Co-op carpark, to Woodside and Hamilton Square, then more people would use them. Maybe if they were better publicised, too, they would have been more effective at drawing people from the ferry terminal, up to the Wirral Museum and then on to the shops, or the Williamson Gallery. Still, they lasted almost 8 years, but from next week, Birkenhead’s milk floats will have nothing else to race against. Farewell, Eco-1.

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