Monday, April 14, 2014

Here Comes trentbarton's Big Bus and Train Bash

On Saturday 10 May something very special is coming to trentbarton land – the first ever Big Bus and Train Bash! Held at Wirksworth Station, there’ll be loads for engine enthusiasts of all ages to enjoy, from free vintage bus and train rides, to fairground rides – and much more – all in aid of our charity of the year, Help For Heroes.

We thought our buses were getting a bit lonely here at trentbarton HQ, so we decided to team up with the Ecclesbourne Valley Railway to bring our buses and their trains together. So far, it’s been a match made in heaven, with the zigzag choo choo giving our customers unlimited travel on our buses and on the railway – where vintage railcars and locomotives carry passengers along a scenic 9 mile countryside track.

In fact, this partnership has turned out to be so perfect that we’re throwing a party to celebrate, and you’re invited! The Big Bus and Train Bash is set to be a super day out, and all the money raised will go to the Help For Heroes charity, trentbarton’s charity of the year. Highlights of the day will include free vintage bus rides, the chance to drive a steam train, free train rides for kids, Help for Heroes display, live music stage, market stalls, competitions and giveaways. Little engine fans will be kept busy with fairground rides and face painting and magicians on board the trains, while mum and dad might want to indulge in our new scenic sixes beer in the beer garden. There’s something for all ages and, as it’s in aid of such a fantastic cause, we’re sure you’ll agree that it’ll be worth getting out and about for!

It’s really easy to get to Wirksworth Station on trentbarton buses – and a great opportunity to see what the new zigzag choo choo and the brand new look sixes are all about! the sixes run every 15 mins from Derby and Belper to Duffield station, where you can use your zigzag choo choo to change onto the EVR for Wirksworth. Or, get the sixes 6.1 hourly from Derby, Belper or Bakewell to Wirksworth, or half hourly from Matlock or Matlock Bath. As we’re currently rolling out our brand new, top-spec buses with extra six appeal, you’re guaranteed a really good ride and a chuff-ing brilliant day out!


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

trentbarton land’s Easter Eggstravaganza!

Go on an egg-cellent adventure this Easter with trentbarton. There’s a basket full of yummy things to do for all ages so grab a zigzag group ticket for £9 and take the whole family in search of the Easter bunny – having fun at one of these attractions or events along the way!

We're running as normal right throughout the Easter Holiday, including usual Friday times on Good Friday - with just a Sunday service on Bank Holiday Monday.

Making It!, Mansfield, 7-21 Apr, admission £8.25, workshops £8 per child
The Easter fun programme at the Making It! Discovery Centre in Mansfield is full to bursting, with interactive galleries and workshops including making sweet treats, easter eggs, chocolate nests and flower pot chicks! Be sure to pop into the interactive gallery while you’re there – it’s buy one get one free for MANGO card holders!

Derby Theatre, 14-16 Apr
If you’ve got older kids to keep occupied this Easter break then this theatre festival offers workshops and performances aimed at 11-25 year olds.
micro MANGO, 16-19 MANGO and student MANGO all make travel cheaper for young bus users.

Quad, Derby Market Place, 16-17 Apr, £30 for both sessions
This photoshop workshop at QUAD should also get older kids interested. In the digital studio they can experiment with photoshop techniques to turn photos and text into digital artwork.
Catch any bus to Derby.

Planet Happy, Heage Rd Ind Estate, 18 April, £7.50
Take the kids down to the Planet Happy soft play centre on Apr 18 and they’re sure of a big, bunny-shaped surprise! From 4-6.30pm it’s Easter party time with food, disco, crafts and a visit from the big man himself.
The sixes 6.2 or 6.3  runs past Planet Happy.

Derby Theatre, 18-19 Apr, Tickets £9/£6
Follow the White Rabbit into Wonderland at this family show at Derby Theatre. Alice’s adventures are sure to be wild, wacky and wonderful, so go along for the ride!
Don’t forget that a zigzag group ticket is the best value way to get out and about with the whole family this Easter.

Derby Museum and Art Gallery, 19 Apr, 10am-3pm, FREE
Let the kids make their very own Easter baskets, then put them to good use on the museum’s egg trail – taking in the exhibits as they go. Basket making is free and the trail costs 50p including a chocolate egg.

Kings Court, Bakewell, 19-20 Apr, 11am-3pm, £2
Baked Well Pottery and Naughty and Nice Chocolatiers come together again to hold this fun egg hunt. Every hunter wins a hand-made golden egg, with more prizes up for grabs as well!
Catch the sixes 6.1 to Bakewell from Derby, Ripley, Belper and Matlock.

Gulliver’s Kingdom, Matlock Bath, 19-20 Apr, £15.95
It’s all bunnies, bonnets and egg hunts at Gulliver’s Kingdom this Easter – not forgetting the great selection of usual rides and attractions. Why not try the brand new Spy Zone and Nerf Zone while you’re there? Remember, MANGO or zigzag holders get entry to the park for just £10.95 for up to 4 people!
The sixes 6.1 is your really good bus to Matlock Bath.

Old Market Square, 20-21 Apr, FREE
This fine foods market features regional and speciality foods from the area. Have a browse and pick up local food for your Easter feasts.
Catch any bus to Nottingham.

Derby Theatre, 21-26 Apr, Tickets from £14.50
Agatha Christies’ classic mystery thriller, The Mousetrap, is the longest running show in the history of British theatre! This tour celebrates the 60th anniversary of the show, which will keep you guessing ‘whodunnit?’ until the very last, nerve-shredding moment!
Catch any bus to Derby.

Guildhall Theatre, Derby, 21-22 Apr, Tickets £15
This Easter panto will be a great treat for kids during the school holidays. Bobby Davro and Dani Harmer (Tracy Beaker) star in this classic tale that will take you to Neverland and back, with lots of laughs along the way.
Don’t forget your zigzag group ticket for unlimited travel for 5 for just £9 after 9am!

Queens Park Sports Centre, 26 Apr, 1-4pm
Treat your tots to a new toy for Easter, without breaking the bank, at this massive baby and children’s market. You’ll find both pre-loved and new items to choose from, so why not have a happy afternoon’s browsing?

Take flight on red arrow for the quick way to Chesterfield from Nottingham and Derby.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

After some six appeal?

six really good reasons to ride the scenic sixes

The time has come for us to shout about the sixes, a superhero service that deserves to no longer be a secret. It runs from the hustle and bustle of Derby city centre, right out into the heart of the Derbyshire Dales. That's right, the sixes 6.1 isn’t happy with just being a city run around bus, a commuter bus or a leisure and pleasure bus, its aim is to keep everyone happy  – and there’s so much to see, do and enjoy along its route that it can!

With free on-board WiFi, posh comfy seating, next-stop displays on board and a bright new look,  it's the latest in our really good makeovers in trentbarton land. 

Read more about our buses with added six appeal here.



Here are six really good reasons to ride the sixes, whether you’re an avid explorer, a weekend daytripper, a super shopper, a social butterfly or a busy parent

1 – A Bite to Eat

A ride on the sixes 6.1 is like a culinary journey, with so many tasty treats to try along the way. Belper is a great place to head for a bite to eat, if you fancy a change from the bright lights of Derby. From cosy cafes like Fresh Basil, to its clutch of top rated restaurants including Nourish, Nonnos, Angelos and Armando’s, this market town is foodie heaven!

Further along the sixes 6.1 route you come to Matlock Bath, where fish and chips on a sunny day make you feel like you’re beside the seaside, Matlock, where you’ll find a quality local farmer’s market on the 3rd Saturday of each month, and then, last but not least, Bakewell, the rightful home of the local institution that is the Bakewell tart (or Bakewell pudding if you really know your stuff!).

Take your MANGO or zigzag along for the ride and you’ll get money off some fantastic foodie treats on the sixes 6.1 route, including 10% off at the Bakewell Pudding Shop, 10% off a £5 spend in the Bakewell Tart Shop and 10% off all food Mon-Thurs at Fresh Basil. Resistance is futile!

2 – A Place to Meet

Whether you’re a city slicker or a small town boy or girl, the sixes 6.1 route offers some great places to meet with friends or loved ones that aren’t too busy, nor too quiet. As Goldilocks would say, ‘they’re just right’ for relaxed get-togethers. 

Whether you want to meet for a meal, enjoy one of the traditional pubs along the way (from the real ale pubs of Derby, to the Fishpond in Matlock for live music, to the 16th century inns at Bakewell – you’ll be spoilt for choice!), or browse the shops with a friend, the list of great spots to stop along this route is never-ending!

If you fancy getting out of Derby for the day and trying a different shopping experience, your MANGO or zigzag with get you 10% off selected goods at the Masson Mills shopping village in Matlock Bath. This historic riverside building houses a shopping complex complete with a cafĂ© with great views of the Derwent rushing below, plus a free children’s soft play area and a museum, making it a great place to meet, eat and treat yourselves on the sixes route.

3 – A Fun Day Out

Keeping the kids occupied can sometimes feel like a mission impossible, but our superhero sixes comes to the rescue! If you’ve got under 12’s you can’t beat a day out at Gulliver’s Kingdom in Matlock, where all the fun of the theme park awaits. Those with pre-schoolers will also love the Chucklebutties soft play centre in Belper, which sits 2 minutes away from the River Gardens playground for double the fun!

Days out with little ones don’t have to cost a small fortune. Put smiles on two little faces with 2 for 1 entry at Chucklebutties with a MANGO or zigzag, or save on entry tickets to Gulliver’s Kingdom for you and three guests.

4 – Ride the Train


With the brand new combo ticket, the zigzag choo choo, you can ride both bus and train to your heart’s content! 

Catch the sixes to the Ecclesbourne Valley Railway at either Duffield or Wirksworth and you can use your zigzag choo choo ticket to ride the scenic route in beautiful Derbyshire countryside on vintage railcars and locomotives. With adult, child and group tickets available, you’ll get a great deal no matter how many engine enthusiasts are in your group.

5 – From Derby to the Dales

Derby is a brilliant trentbarton land destination for shopping, socialising and much more, but sometimes it’s nice to ring the changes and head out of the city for some country air. Our buses on the sixes 6.1 will whisk you from the busy city to the market towns of Ripley, Belper, Matlock and Bakewell, providing an easy gateway to the attractions of the Derbyshire Dales.

Not many people know that the sixes 6.1 actually has a UNESCO World Heritage Site on its route – the Derwent Valley Mills site which runs down the river valley from Matlock Bath to Derby, taking in Cromford Mill on the way. Make the most of having this cultural gem on your doorstep with a guided mill and village tour at Cromford (2 for 1 with MANGO or zigzag!). Or maybe pay a visit to the Masson Mills museum, or the Wirksworth Heritage Centre, if you’re feeling in a cultured mood.

If you’re more of an outdoors type then the sixes 6.1 will drop you at the start of many amazing countryside walks, including the Cromford canal trail, Lovers’ Walk in Matlock Bath and some brilliant ‘Dales trails’ in Bakewell. With the super sixes it’s easy to discover more of trentbarton land and swap city life for country air!

6 – And Back Again!

Exploring the trentbarton land countryside is a treat for active types, but it’s always good to know that the heady delights of Derby lie just at the other end of the sixes route. Whether you fancy a film, a night out dancing or a serious shop-a-thon, you’ll find it all in Derby city centre, with lots more besides!

Don’t forget the special fare zigzag play ticket for cheaper travel when you've got a ticket for Derby Live shows or to watch the the mighty rams play at Pride Park, sorry, the I PRO Stadium!

There’s so much to enjoy along the sixes route that we just had to shout about it! Ride the scenic sixes, from Derby to the Dales, whatever you’re in the mood to do. It’s a route with real six appeal that deserves to be the worst kept secret in trentbarton land!

Come and meet the sixes team and check out our new look buses at our sixes launch parties in Derby Market Place on Thu 27 March or in Belper King Street on Sat 29 March. Both are on from 10am until 2pm.

Monday, March 03, 2014

Win Tickets on Ice!

Have you got a little princess or cowboy in the family? Win tickets to the latest amazing Disney on Ice show, World of Fantasy, at the Capital FM Arena.

The Capital FM Arena in Nottingham is one of trentbarton land’s best venues for live entertainment – with the biggest names in music, comedy, theatre and more stopping at the arena as they tour. The arena also boasts amazing ice rink facilities, which make it the place to see popular ice shows including the Dancing on Ice Tours, Holiday on Ice and, of course, Disney on Ice.



The latter is sure to get the attention of parents, as it brings favourite Disney characters to life for little princesses, princes, cowboys and cowgirls. The latest Disney on Ice show, World of Fantasy, is the perfect show for both little boys and little girls, as it combines scenes from The Little Mermaid and Tinker Bell with Toy Story 3 and Cars.

The way in which the characters are realised on ice is breathtaking, with lots of music and dance, magical sets and stunning skating. Any little Disney fan is sure to be left open-mouthed at the sight of a life-size Lightning McQueen racing across the ice, or a Tinker Bell fluttering by!

Disney on Ice is the perfect family show for those with young children – and you can catch it from Thursday Mar 20 to Sunday Mar 23 at the Capital FM Arena before it flies on to its next destination! Luckily, our friends at the Capital FM Arena have offered us a magical family pass (for 4) for the Mar 23 show, which one of you lucky blog readers can win!

Sorry, the competition has now closed.

Who knows, your little one could be pulling on her fairy wings or cowboy hat ready for a wonderful journey through Disney on Ice’s World of Fantasy – and you might just enjoy singing along to your favourite Disney songs too!

Whether you win tickets or decide to treat the family to a fun-filled day out, trentbarton can help you save money on getting there. For families, the zigzag group ticket is fantastic value for money at just £9 for unlimited travel for up to 5 people. 

For individuals the zigzag play fare offers discounted unlimited travel for £4.50, when you show your Capital FM Arena tickets on the bus. Tickets to Derby Live, Nottingham Playhouse and Quad cinema and art gallery shows and events also qualify, as well as match tickets for Derby County FC, Nottingham Forest FC, Notts County FC, Nottingham Rugby, Ilkeston Football Club, Derbyshire County Cricket Club and GMB Panthers ice hockey.


From gigs, to sports matches, to skating cars and cowboys, trentbarton can get you to all the best shows and events for less – for when the fairy wings aren’t working!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Meet our night owls - Here's Andy!

We're continuing to run a really good offer on our nightbus fares – with £5 zigzag and £9 zigzag group tickets now valid until 4am! This is great news for the dirty stop outs among you, as you get to try our fantastic late night services for less.



To find out more about nightbus, and the friendly folk behind the wheels, we’ve been chatting to some of our nightbus drivers. This week it’s the turn of Andy Haymes, who drives the night shift on the sixes between Derby and Belper. Here’s what he had to say about being one of trentbarton’s afterdark heroes:

Hi Andy, tell us a bit about your history with trentbarton:

I came to trentbarton about two and a half years ago after working for another bus company - Notts+Derby - for about five years, so I knew a lot of the routes and drivers and so on before ‘jumping over the wall’. Since then I’ve not looked back!

I drive the sixes on a Friday and Saturday night until around 4am, and during the week I do more or less any of the late shifts - I normally finish around midnight. I am definitely not a morning person! I've been doing this since I moved over to trentbarton.

What have been your most memorable journeys?

A few trips stand out in my memory. About two winters ago I went on my break at around half ten and it was starting to snow but nothing too bad. By eleven thirty, when I came back, the road was not visible and the round trip to Derby and back took around two and a quarter hours! We knocked it on the head that night but luckily all my customers were waiting at midnight so managed to get them back to Belper.

Do you have a favourite customer?

I've got lots of favourite customers! Sometimes it’s the little things they do. One of my regular young ladies always leaves the bus giving me a peck on the cheek and saying “night night” - little things like that just make you smile.

What are the best bits – and the challenges – of driving a nightbus?

I think the nightbus is a different experience to driving in the daytime, and you see people in lots of different lights as they tend to be more relaxed and light-hearted. Generally it’s a bit of a laugh. I think you do need to be more patient though as obviously alcohol does strange things to folk, but I find being polite and friendly and not taking what's said to heart helps to resolve most situations.

Where on your route would you recommend trentbarton customers to go after dark?

There are lots of good places to try in Derby but I would recommend the real ale pubs being a real ale drinker myself. Luckily we’re blessed with some really good ones in Derby.

Do you think the nightbus fares represent good value for money?

Us and our customers don't like it when fares go up as we worry some customers may look elsewhere. However I think the zigzag promotion will help win some of these customers back as it offers fantastic value.

What do you like to do when you’re not driving buses, Andy?

I live with my lovely partner Clare and we both share a passion for fishing and spend a lot of time driving around the country to some wild and remote locations. When we’re not doing that we’re generally spoiling our nieces and nephews and spending time with friends, a lot of whom are fellow drivers.


With zigzag now offering unlimited travel up to 4am, there’s never been a better time to try trentbarton’s nightbus services. With comfortable, regular services between main destination points running after midnight at popular times, we can help you to enjoy your nights out in trentbarton land for less. Find out more about where our nightbuses go and where to catch them from right here.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Meet our night owls - Kel tells all

For a limited time trentbarton is giving customers the chance to try the night bus for less, with the £5 zigzag and £9 zigzag group tickets now valid until 4am! This means that you can forget saving cash for a taxi on your next big night out, or having to stick to lemonade to be the designated driver home. Instead you can simply jump on one of trentbarton’s late services without it costing a penny more than your usual unlimited travel zigzag ticket. Read more here.


As promised in the last blog post we caught up with another trentbarton night owl, calverton connection driver Kel Pizzuti, for a behind the scenes look at the afterdark action on our buses:

Hi Kel, have you always driven the night buses?

I started the weekend buses nearly 5 years ago on calverton connection, which connects Calverton and Arnold with Nottingham city centre.

After that I moved onto indigo 24/7 and skylink which I spent about a year on each, only doing nights. By this time I'd drove every vehicle type in trentbarton’s fleet, even helping on red arrow nights one weekend!

I am now back at Sutton driving the calverton connection


Kel has featured on the back of our calverton connection buses 
as well as in the driver's seat

Like Caz Johansson last week, who drives the ilkeston flyer with her husband Jonathan, working for trentbarton is a bit of a family affair for you too…

Yes! I came here after my brother Vitto recommended the company (and me!). He's now service delivery manager at Sutton, which means I try and behave now.... (Ha ha never!!) 

Tell me about a memorable journey or customer:

I absolutely love New Year's Eve - you just never know what's going to happen!

I've got so many customers that I could mention as everybody knows me and they all know that nothing is too big an ask. From borrowing my coat to carrying people into their own houses, it just comes with the job! (Kind-hearted Kel might regret advertising those facts!!)

What are the best parts of driving the night bus?

I love the fact that there's no traffic, very little wiggle room with time and I'm very much my own boss. I've got to make decisions that would normally be left to the others and I've got to make sure I get everybody home. I like that kind of responsibility.

And the challenges?

Dealing with taxis blocking stops or roads is the biggest issue I face - they can be menaces at times! You've got to be pretty resilient too as people can say things they normally wouldn't (after a drink). A lot of the time you're the last person they'll see, so if they've had a bad night it can be the bus driver who gets it. We create a friendly atmosphere though so there is often very little trouble and we see fewer incidents than during the day.

I’d just like to add though that although we operate on our routes on our own, all of trentbarton’s drivers and even our fellow bus companies like NCT do all look out for each other.

calverton connection runs up to 3am from Nottingham on Friday and Saturday nights – is it a busy bus at that time of night?

The 3am just recently has been packed. As you can imagine being right in the city can be a challenge - I've seen it all!

Is it expensive to catch the bus after midnight?

With the nightbus usually at £3.50 single it represents good value -  plus with saver also free to use, people who use our service during the week can commute and club at no extra cost. There's always a friendly face on my bus and most the time it's like a door to door service anyway! 


Of course, with the zigzag promotion it costs even less to catch the night bus at the moment – so there’s never been a better time to give our late services a try. Say hello to Caz and Kel if you do – just don’t ask to borrow Kel’s coat, as he’s fed up of replacing them!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Meet our trentbarton night owls!

We all love a good night out every now and again, but the cost can quickly add up – especially when you throw taxis into the mix! Let trentbarton come to the rescue (fanfare!) with nightbus. Many of our routes run after midnight, with some running extra late on Friday and Saturday nights when most people want to get their glad rags on, and others, like indigo and skylink, running 24/7!

If you want to be a dirty stop out, our buses will see you home safely – and although we can’t do anything about your head, we can make sure that your bank balance looks a little healthier the next morning.




Of course, nightbuses mean that someone has to stay up past their bedtime to drive them, so trentbarton play decided to get all the after-hours gossip from those in the know. I caught up with one of our night bus drivers, Caz Johansson, who you’ll find at the wheel of ilkeston flyer. Caz and her husband Jonathan share shifts on the ilkeston flyer nightbus - as a trentbarton husband and wife team!


It's Caz! 

Hi Caz, tell me about your route:

I drive the ilkeston flyer nightbus, along with my husband Jonathan, and I really enjoy the route as the customers are really great fun - I can have a lot of banter with them! The views are incredible as well. On a clear night, coming from Spondon to Kirk Hallam, you can see Wollaton Hall lit up. It really is spectacular!

Have you always driven the nightbus?

No, I first started at trentbarton in 2002 as a day driver. I was very nervous as I had always worked in care for the elderly and this was something that people had said I could never achieve - but I did! I left in August 2005 after the birth of my daughter but couldn’t stay away and soon returned in November 2006.

About 7 years ago circumstance in my life meant that I had to be at home during the day with my eldest daughter, so I looked into the shifts and found that doing night owls was the best option. I started my nightbus driving on rainbow 1 for about 18 months. I then met my husband Jonathan, another trentbarton driver, and had a daughter –a trentbarton baby! – in 2010. 

This time I was determined to stay at work and, after a discussion with my operations manager Steve Field, we came up with a 2 week rota where Jonathan and I would work opposite shifts on the ilkeston flyer nightbus. So if you see me at work, Jonathan is off and vice versa. Yes we are like ships that pass in the night sometimes, but it’s what we have to do as parents to a young family.

Tell me about a memorable journey you’ve made:

My most memorable journey is when I had the whole cast of Alice in Wonderland get on my bus. That journey to Derby was very eventful and the rest of my customers on board enjoyed seeing it too.

What are the best parts of driving the nightbus?

One of the best things about driving the night buses is that you get to see a different side to the customer - especially when they dress up. I’ve seen a few sights! Men dressed as women, women dressed up as bunny girls. I even had a bloke once dressed up in a Hawaiian girls outfit, with the coconuts, grass skirt and all! That made me chuckle.

Are you naturally a night owl Caz?

No, I’m not a natural night owl. It has taken a while to get used to changing shifts each week, but it is worth it. I do think it takes the right person to drive nightbuses. A very high tolerance is a must, and earplugs on the odd occasion that people can get noisy!

Is there anywhere you’d recommend to customers looking for inspiration for a night out?

I have tried Bartlewood Lodge, which is en route to Spondon - the food is very good there on an evening.

ilkeston flyer runs up to 2.45am from Derby on Fri and Sat nights – is it a busy bus at that time of night?

We've got plenty of opportunities to be busier. I think that people are not aware how easy it is to catch us. I have had some very busy nights though and the atmosphere is great. I always end up giggling at some of the things people say and do when they have had a drink. It makes me wonder what I’m like when I have had a drink on my nights off!

Is it expensive to catch the bus after midnight?

I personally think that the night fare is very reasonable at £3.50 after midnight. And I think that people should at least come and experience how we operate our nightbuses. 

What do you do on your nights off?

My nights off are usually spent at home, enjoying time with my daughters and my 2 dogs. On the very rare occasion I go out I enjoy seeing a few friends. On my days off I enjoy Canix, which is running with my dogs. It keeps me fit and my dogs love it too. My eldest daughter has just started running with me so it’s even more enjoyable as I get to spend a little more time with her. Last year was the first year I achieved a personal goal of running the Robin Hood half marathon, and this year I have decided to do it again.

It definitely sounds like Caz is kept busy day and night – no rest for the wicked, eh Caz? If you’re out and about on Caz’s route afterdark, why not hop on the flyer and say hello? Even better if you’re in a Hawaiian grass skirt and coconut bra!

Next time on the blog we catch up with another trentbarton night owl, Kel Pizzuti, for all the gossip from the after-hours calverton connection.