Isn’t it exciting when you unexpectedly sneak up on a soprano or trip over a tenor?
Shoppers were more than a little startled when a series of festive “buses” trundled across the pedestrian walkways under Liverpool One and around Birkenhead’s Pyramids. Surprise turned to delight as they were treated to a jaw-dropping impromptu performance of opera favourites – from none other than the Christmas Fairy and Father Christmas himself.
The “walking” buses – teams of six elves led by two of the season’s favourite characters – were out and about to provide a classical alternative to carols.
The busker bus stopped crowds in their tracks as the fairy and Santa belted out a few crowd-pleasers while their elves worked the crowd to distribute little gifts for some and complimentary bus travel vouchers for others.
The walking buses were part of an initiative to prompt car drivers to consider taking the bus.
As crowds filmed the action on their mobile phones, there’s since been a flurry of followers checking out the big voices from the walking bus at #santasbuskingbus. A mini fleet of busking buses will visit shopping hubs around the region over the weekend.
Other areas to get a visit from the operatic Santa and Christmas Fairy-led walking buses include Sefton, St Helens and Knowsley.
The initiative has been organised by the “Bus Alliance” – a new formal partnership between Merseytravel and bus operators Arriva and Stagecoach. The aim of the Alliance is to encourage more people to use the bus, promoting investment and further improvement of bus services.
A spokesperson for the Bus Alliance said:
“We wanted to do something unexpected and fun as a treat for shoppers. At a time when everyone is thinking about their New Year’s resolutions, we wanted them to consider how best to start their journey for 2016, and try the bus.”