A bus service from Chester Railway Station to Chester Zoo has been relaunched to help people get quickly and easily to and from the leading wildlife attraction.

The existing X8 Chester to Liverpool bus service has been rerouted to include a new stop at the zoo in Upton, which welcomed more than 1.6 million visitors in 2015.

Visitors from Liverpool will be able to use the service to get to the zoo in under an hour.

The new route will see the X8 continue to use the M53 motorway, however it will now follow the A41 towards the zoo, after its current stop at Cheshire Oaks.

The changes also provide greater access to the X8 for local passengers looking to travel between Liverpool and Chester.

Visitors travelling to the zoo from Chester Train Station will be able to quickly and easily hop on the X8 bus and buy a ticket on board instead of queuing up for tickets at the busy station ticket counter.

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The journey from Chester Train Station to the zoo will take just 15 minutes.

People travelling from further afield, who have bought combined travel and zoo tickets, will now hop on the faster X8 service at Chester Train Station rather than boarding the Park and Ride to complete their journey, making the journey quicker and more convenient.

Managing director of Stagecoach Merseyside and South Lancashire Elisabeth Tasker said: “Chester Zoo is one of the UK’s leading visitor destinations and is an incredibly popular attraction for people across the North West and beyond, so we’re delighted to have teamed up with the zoo to be providing visitors and families with a fast, affordable and convenient travel option.

“We look forward to working closely with the zoo team to encourage more people to choose the sustainable transport option by starting their day out on the bus. We’re also pleased to be making the zoo more accessible to people who don’t have access to cars and giving families and friends the chance to spend time together without the hassle and expense of driving. Our friendly drivers, comfy buses and free Wi-Fi will help to ensure that the fun starts as soon as people board the bus, and we look forward to being part of a fantastic day out!

“The addition of this new stop marks our continuing commitment to expanding and diversifying our routes across Merseyside and Cheshire, improving local transport links and encouraging more people to travel by bus.”

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General manager from Chester Zoo Jon Turley said: “We’re delighted to be working with Stagecoach to provide a fast and convenient bus service to the zoo. We think that this will make a huge difference to our visitors and helps us to provide world class experiences for people coming to the zoo. As a conservation organisation we’re also committed to promoting more sustainable ways of travelling to the zoo so the partnership with Stagecoach is hugely valuable to us.”

Day ticket prices start from £2, with free travel available on the X8 for Chester Zoo employees with valid ID.