A MERSEYSIDE bus company is offering free tickets to passengers with red hair.
From today anyone with auburn locks can travel free on routes between St Helens, Skelmersdale and Warrington.
The hourly service is operated by a company called Strawberry, which was set up by husband and wife Oliver and Lorraine Howarth.
Drivers will have a colour chart to check passengers qualify and dyed red hair will also count.
Strawberry Bus managing director Oliver Howarth said the promotion would add a touch of fun to the daily drives. He hopes the campaign will raise awareness of the decline of redheads after research claimed ginger hair colours could become extinct within the next 100 years.
Oliver said: “At Strawberry we love everything red so when we heard about the decline of red-haired people we wanted to mark the news with our own tribute to redheads.”
Strawberry, which is based in St Helens, will offer the redhead promotion until December 15.
Mr Howarth said the free service will be welcome on Merseyside, which is the birthplace of some of the most famous redheads including Cilla Black, singer Sonia, Girls Aloud star Nicola Roberts, TV personality Anne Robinson and legendary Liverpool comedian Arthur Askey.
Others include Warrington presenter Chris Evans, former Liverpool stars David Fairclough and John Arne Riise and Everton’s sandy-haired manager David Moyes.
Strawberry launched its new service last month and provides routes through housing estates and industrial areas not served by larger bus companies.
Mr Howarth said: “I was looking for a place to set up a bus service for some time. I felt that in the area I’ve chosen there was a gap in the market.
“We wanted a name that was fresh and friendly and forward looking. We want to encourage people to think about the environment a bit more, get out of their cars and travel in a more sustainable way. We believe the way to do that is through listening to local people and offering them hourly services that meet their needs.”
Strawberry has direct services to Billinge, Upholland and Skelmersdale and a direct link to the St Helens College Technology Campus.