29 May 2006

Soapbox Monday - Marketing

"A soapbox is a raised, improvised platform on which one stands to make an impromptu speech, often about a political subject. Alternately, the word may be used to describe the box that soap comes in." Wikipedia

The 11 is one of the bus routes which sees quite major changes this weekend. By major changes I mean cuts. Or at least thats how I see it being a potential passenger from Derriford as the route is reduced to hourly. There do seem to be some improvements made to the rest of the service though - but this is of little use to me. This does illustrate how difficult it is for the bus companies when making changes like this. Any publicity for route changes always focuses on those that loose out. The passengers who benefit with more services wont make headlines. Those who complain about loosing services will. But of course those if us that loose services (the Citybus 46/47 no longer comes down my road for much of the day) have every right to complain when we keep hearing people tell us we should be using the bus more! Ever increasing bus fares and ever reducing services is not a good way to increase passenger numbers!
I am sure the bus companies could and should do more to market their services better though. The 11 is a good case in point. First D&C actually made a good stab at decent marketing with the Overground Network. Each of the main routes were allocated a colour which appeared on timetables and buses and marked out the route and made life easier for passengers. It is clearly not quite so easy for the bus companies to keep the right buses on the right 'Lines' but for a while FDC did at least make an effort. Sadly these days they seem to have all but given up. According to the timetables the 11 is 'Brown Line' It has been for a while. However, there never has been any Brown Line dedicated buses out there! Most services in Plymouth are run by plain Barbie buses with no branding at all. A few red line and blue line buses are still running around - but can appear on any routes. I really do hope that the new management makes up their minds - either make an effort to have the coloured lines properly publicised with branded buses running on designated routes for at least most of the time - or just give up - and stop pretending they still are coloured lines.
Mind you - below we see Plymouth Citybus using all their creative might on route branding the 152 service.


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