UpFirst bus in collaboration with UpFest

UP First: First Bus partners with UPFEST PRESENTS to bring colourful commutes to Bristol

Bristol street artist, Cheo, has created a driveable work of art, which will have Bristolians double-taking across the city

First Bus is driving its attention towards UPFEST PRESENTS, with a bottom-to-top-deck transformation of one of its double decker buses, as legendary street artist Cheo unveils his design, depicting iconic Bristol and West of England landmarks and signature scenes.

Over the past few days the bus has been prepped and primed ready for Cheo’s work, to turn the vehicle into the UP First bus one spray at a time. As one of Bristol’s most well known street artists, Cheo’s signature cartoon style is instantly recognisable. Inspired by the diverse local area covered by First Bus, Cheo’s design showcases the best of Bristol and the West of England in a bold, playful and unmissable way as the design will take eyes from the city to the country and coast. 

Officially in service from Monday 13 May, the partnership between First Bus and UPFEST PRESENTS is the perfect blend of creativity and championing of everything in Bristol and the West of England. The UP First bus will be in service for the rest of the year, leaving a legacy long beyond the event’s 17-day cultural programme; bringing street art to communities outside of central Bristol with this mobile artwork.

As well as brightening up Bristol’s bus routes, First Bus’ role as UPFEST PRESENTS’ official sustainable transport partner will see the event’s 200 artists given free bus travel to explore the city during the 17-day event.

Sarah Wallbridge, Senior Marketing Manager for First Bus Wales and West, said: We’re really excited to be bringing Europe’s largest street art event literally to the streets of Bristol for its first ever mobile piece of artwork. Through his design, Cheo has really captured the essence of Upfest while also helping us to reflect the diverse area we serve in the West of England, from the busy cityscape of Bristol to the rolling hills of the Mendip countryside and the famous coastline of Weston-super-Mare. This bus screams the West Country, and we love it. This is the first time we’ve worked in collaboration with a street artist, and it has been amazing to watch Cheo at work with his spray cans to transform this blank canvas into one of our most detailed and impressive bus designs to date.

“Upfest is such an eye-catching and iconic date in the West of England diary, and we’re delighted to be a part of it this year. We’re sure this specially designed bus will be a real head-turner, and will encourage you to get your phones out to snap pictures of it as it makes its way on many of our Bristol routes. And if you see it out and about, why not hop on it for a ride for as little as £2 for an adult single?”

Stephen Hayles, co-founder of Upfest, said: “This collaboration between UPFEST PRESENTS and First Bus is an inspired way of showcasing exactly what Bristol and the West of England is about. We’re creative, we’re bold and we have big ideas… and when it comes to transport, can you get bigger than a double-decker? We’re so grateful to First Bus for sponsoring the event this year and giving the artists bus passes for when they’re painting in Bedminster. It’s important to us that we put on the best event that we possibly can, and First Bus, along with Arts Council England and the community donations, has allowed us to do that.”

The bus will come into service on Monday 13 May and will travel out of the city towards Yate and Thornbury. For more information on UPFEST PRESENTS, head to the website. To keep up to date with the latest news, follow Upfest on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and use the hashtag #UPFIRST to share sightings of the Cheo double-decker.