A BUS company has apologised after fliers advertising its improved bus service in Darlington were sent to a village that has lost all of its buses.

Arriva has launched a Love Your Bus scheme, which aims to give its customers a cleaner and more pleasant ride by deep cleaning its vehicles, giving them a paint job and adding air fresheners.

The company sent fliers about the improvements in the shape of Valentine’s cards to homes across Darlington, but upset the residents of Brafferton, on the outskirts of the town, who received the cards despite the village losing its Arriva service last January.

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Since the subsidised service was axed due to Darlington Borough Council budget cuts, Brafferton residents have faced with a three-quarter-mile walk down an unlit country road to the nearest bus stop in Coatham Mundeville.

In an email to Arriva, one Brafferton resident said: “No thanks for your 'Valentine Card' re improved bus services within DBC area. Air fresheners? We get plenty of fresh air on our very long walks from Brafferton to try and catch a bus!

“How insensitive can you people be to the plight of those suffering rural isolation?”

Councillor Brian Jones, ward member for Brafferton, said he was "amazed" that Arriva was promoting clean buses and added: “They’re spending money on marketing that could have gone to providing a much needed bus service.”

An Arriva spokeswoman apologised for the flier error and said: “We were disappointed to learn that some of the mailers advertising the investment we have made in our services along North Road had reached some households that do not have a local Arriva service.”

Arriva’s Love Your Bus scheme is being rolled out on services across the town, starting on North Road services five, seven and eight.

A launch event was held in Darlington’s market square today (Tuesday, February 12) to highlight the improvements and the benefits of the new North Road Bus Priority Scheme, which the company said has already improved its reliability and time-keeping.

Nick Knox, area manager for Arriva North East said: “We’ve made a number of improvements by providing newly painted, cleaner buses with special additions such as air fresheners and shiny new wheel trims.

“Overall we have been working hard to ensure that our passengers have a more comfortable and pleasant ride.”