An upgrade to Chester’s park and ride scheme is coming next year.
A contract to run the bus links into the city was provisionally awarded to Stagecoach by Cheshire West and Chester Council (CWAC) on September 2.
Kneeling buses, on-board Wi-Fi and CCTV are all part of the new service which will start when the current deal finishes in July 2016.
A CWAC report by head of place operations Maria Byrne was put before the Cabinet.
The report said: “Awarding the new contract to Stagecoach will significantly reduce the gross contract costs over the life of the contract, whilst simultaneously delivering an enhanced service.”
Money saved by the new deal will go towards eliminating the subsidies CWAC currently pays to run the service.
Stagecoach beat three other bidders to the deal by clearly achieving the highest score in the procurement process, mainly because of price factors.
One competitor was given a slightly higher rating for the quality of service it would offer.
Buses will run every 12 minutes Monday to Saturday and every 15 minutes on Sundays and bank holidays.
The park and ride system celebrated 30 years in the city in 2013.
Cabinet Member for Environment and Community Councillor Mark Henesy said: “We hope this new scheme will address the year-on-year fall in uptake of park and ride, but it can’t do it alone.
“We will be embarking on a parking strategy review early in the new year.
“This in the hope we can rationalise and benefit the park and ride scheme in a way we haven’t over the past seven or eight years.”
Stagecoach will bring in a fleet of 12 new buses which ‘kneel’ to make it easier to get on, have ramps for wheelchair access and the latest diesel engines to heavily reduce emissions.
Each bus will also be fitted out with on-board Wi-Fi and CCTV security.
The contract runs for five years with the option to extend it for a further two years until 2023.