Sapphire services

Getting you there in style

Travel in style

  • Relax into comfortable leather-style seats
  • Charge your device at a USB charging point
  • Free 4G WiFi throughout the bus
  • You won't miss your stop with our audio-visual next-stop announcements
  • Dedicated space for a baby in a buggy
  • Dedicated space for someone in a wheelchair

Sapphire is a premium service from Arriva. We’ve developed the concept based on what our customers have told us as part of extensive research including surveys, site visits and focus groups.

Sapphire allows us to improve perceptions of bus travel, encourage non-users to give the bus a try and infrequent users to make more of their journeys on the bus.

You told us you wanted:

A punctual, reliable, frequent and direct service

Sapphire will be launched first on four already popular routes across the UK. All our Sapphire services go by the most direct route, run frequently and will have special attention paid to them to ensure good timekeeping.

Well-presented, customer-focused drivers

Arriva drivers are highly skilled professionals and we’re giving those working the Sapphire routes some extra training to help them give you the best possible experience when you travel with us on a Sapphire bus.

An enhanced feeling of space and comfort

New, more comfortable luxury seats, with high backs, deeper bases and more space – in some areas of the buses we’ve used the space normally taken by four seats to have three, more spacious, places to sit.

To see a route, search the service number in the 'Find my bus' section of the journey planner

Where we operate

North East

  • Ashington to Newcastle upon Tyne – X21, X22
  • Newcastle upon Tyne to Morpeth - 43
  • Newcastle upon Tyne to Dinnington - 44
  • Newcastle upon Tyne to Dinnington - 45
  • Durham to Sunderland – 22
  • Hartlepool to Sunderland - 23
  • Durham to Hartlepool - 24
  • Durham to Barnard Castle - 6
  • Darlington to Durham – 7
  • Darlington to Tow Law – X1
  • Easington to Middlesbrough – 5, 5A, X5
  • Lingdale and Skelton to Middlesbrough – 3, X3, X3A
  • Whitby and Loftus to Middlesbrough – X4


  • Leeds to Wakefield and Hall Green – 110
  • Leeds to Castleford via Garforth and Kippax – 163, 166
  • Leeds to Castleford via Woodlesford – 167, 168
  • Leeds to Huddersfield via Birstall and Heckmondwike – 229
  • York to Selby via Designer Outlet – 415

North West

  • Chorley to Wigan - 362
  • Wigan to Bolton - 575
  • Macclesfield to East Didsbury - 130
  • Crewe to Macclesfield - 38
  • Manchester to Altrincham - 263
  • Windmill Hill to Liverpool – X1


  • Wrexham to Chester - 1
  • Rhyl to Llandudno – 12, X12


  • Tamworth to Birmingham - 110
  • Stenson Fields to Derby - 38
  • Oadby to Leicester – 31, 31A
  • Leicester to Nuneaton - 158
  • Leicester to Market Harborough – X3

Beds and Bucks

  • Lakes Estate to Wolverton – 5, 6
  • Aylesbury to Oxford – 280, X8

Herts and Essex

  • Stevenage to Luton – 100, 101
  • Colchester to Stansted Airport - 133
  • Hemel Hempstead to Rickmansworth – 320

Kent and Surrey

  • Dartford to Valley Drive – 480, 490
  • Chatham to Bluewater - 700
  • Gillingham to Maidstone – 101

Frequently asked questions

These are the questions we’re asked most often about the new Sapphire service, and we hope they’ll answer your queries too. If you can’t find what you’re looking for please Contact Us or for more general bus-related questions and answers you can check out the FAQ section on the main Arriva bus site.

How do I catch a Sapphire bus?


Go to one of the Sapphire bus stops along the route and hold out your hand as the bus approaches. This signal will let the driver know you want to get on the bus. When the bus stops simply step aboard - our easy access buses make it easy even if you have a buggy, shopping trolley or wheelchair. Click here to find out more.

What ticket types can I buy?


If you’re only going one way get a single ticket, or if you’re coming back later the same day get a return ticket. But if you are going to be travelling with us regularly we have a range of Saver tickets covering different parts of the route (we call them zones) and for different lengths of time which quickly work out cheaper if you’re making more frequent trips.

How can I pay?


You’ll need cash or a contactless credit or debit card if you’re buying your ticket on the bus. If you buy longer term Saver tickets you can do this on the Arriva UK Bus App or online 

How do I use my smartphone as my ticket?


Simply buy a ticket through the Arriva UK Bus App and activate it. Scan the QR code on the ticket machine as you board the bus. 

How often do Sapphire buses run?


One of the key features of Sapphire services is that they run at least every 60 minutes. Many run even more often. Check out the journey planner to get accurate, real-time information of all our buses. 

How do I use the free WiFi?


The first time you access the free Wi-Fi on the bus with your phone or laptop you will be asked to go through a simple registration process. After that, your device will be recognised each time you travel and you will be taken straight to a standard landing page.

How do I recharge my phone on the bus?


You will see normal sockets and/or USB charging points by seats throughout the bus. You can charge your phone, laptop or tablet and it’s completely free.

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