Author Topic: Bus liveries – The Good, the Bad and the Ugly  (Read 668 times)

Offline TCD813

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Bus liveries – The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
« on: November 04, 2021, 04:22:13 PM »
This comment on the Bedford Stagecoach thread...

What's up with the plain yellow 905 buses?  I assume they're waiting for some kind of specialist livery?  Does Stagecoach use yellow buses elsewhere, or is it going to be route specific?

... and recent visits to Nottingham and Norwich where I saw route-branding by colour had me thinking. Maybe we need a thread to discuss which liveries Forum members think look good, look awful, help passengers, confuse passengers, enhance a company's image or detract from it.
TCD813? The reg of a Southdown Motor Services, Northern Counties bodied, Leyland Titan PD3/4 FH39/30F (popularly dubbed 'Queen Mary') from the late 50s.
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Offline Steves

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Re: Bus liveries – The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
« Reply #1 on: November 04, 2021, 10:39:26 PM »
The yellow 'Long distance' buses should have a grey beach ball logo similar to the white logo on the Busway vehicles. The all over green version of the livery seems to be  a Cambridge busway special.

Offline Barry

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Re: Bus liveries – The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
« Reply #2 on: November 05, 2021, 01:05:14 AM »
Is thing going to be a national thing rather than a local thing?  Yellow is a very strange colour for a UK bus as (thinks to the US film industry) we very closely associate it with school buses and... well... err... that's it.

Offline thebroadsman

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Re: Bus liveries – The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
« Reply #3 on: November 05, 2021, 07:25:06 AM »
Route branding is not so clever as eventually they find their way onto other routes, and then the public don't know where they are. Locally we have Coastal Reds our so called local bus, then there's the Clipper which runs to and fro Norwich, but of course Coastal Red show up in Norwich.
Also we're painting buses that are twenty years old, the public don't notice what's the point. we spend hundreds on reseating old buses, these leather things that you slide off, when the vehicle brakes hard.
Cheaper fares is the way to go, get the public back on the bus, else we'll lose them like we've just lost our Natex service.


Offline TCD813

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Re: Bus liveries – The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
« Reply #4 on: November 05, 2021, 07:55:36 AM »
Is thing going to be a national thing rather than a local thing?  Yellow is a very strange colour for a UK bus as (thinks to the US film industry) we very closely associate it with school buses and... well... err... that's it.

National.

Bournemouth’s Yellow Buses look smart, I reckon.
TCD813? The reg of a Southdown Motor Services, Northern Counties bodied, Leyland Titan PD3/4 FH39/30F (popularly dubbed 'Queen Mary') from the late 50s.
There's all 'manor' of stuff on my Twitter A/c.

Offline dwarfer1979

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Re: Bus liveries – The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
« Reply #5 on: November 05, 2021, 12:45:18 PM »
Route branding is not so clever as eventually they find their way onto other routes, and then the public don't know where they are. Locally we have Coastal Reds our so called local bus, then there's the Clipper which runs to and fro Norwich, but of course Coastal Red show up in Norwich.
Also we're painting buses that are twenty years old, the public don't notice what's the point. we spend hundreds on reseating old buses, these leather things that you slide off, when the vehicle brakes hard.
Cheaper fares is the way to go, get the public back on the bus, else we'll lose them like we've just lost our Natex service.
Route branding works, and can be very effective, if you have organisational buy in (driven by senior management but flowing down to the supervisors) that ensures correct allocation so passengers can trust it.  Trent Barton are a particularly major example of this way of operating, I don't think I have ever seen an incorrectly branded vehicle on another route (as opposed to un-branded spares) and given there was a report that they lost mileage as they didn't have a replacement ticket machine in the right colour for the brand (which is clearly going too far) you suspect it is very rare though the sister companies like Kinch & TM Travel aren't as good.  Reportedly when James Freeman was running Reading Buses the supervisors would have to explain any incorrect allocation to him personally with their reason for doing so and the vehicle would have to swapped off as soon as a more correct vehicle was available - and it is this level of senior management driven scrutiny that can be needed to ensure this works which can be difficult for the teams at larger groups who are covering larger geographic areas & larger fleets (though First Leicester tend to be quite good most of the time so it can be done).  The question of spares can be a problem, you can rarely justify having branded spares without increasing they number of buses you own uneconomically (you would need a very large PVR of close to 20 vehicles for a brand to get to a point where a spare branded bus wouldn't spend much of its time doing nothing) so if your brands are very different colours you will always have some different coloured vehicles on the route which undermines the branding a little.  Trent Barton normally effectively have all their spares in advertising liveries for their various ticket products & the like (rather than commercial advertising) which is a useful way of doing it, though they are a little behind at the moment from their recent heavy fleet replacement cycle so there are a number of buses simply debranded but in various colour schemes.

The Stagecoach branding is just all a little confused and doesn't clearly delineate the products as well in reality as it may have appeared in real life.  There are three colour schemes, the main one with the multi colour 'beachball' pieces on a white base, the specialist services (Park & Rides and the like) which I think has the 'beachball' pieces in a sea-green on a white base (so the Busway is a little of a reverse of this just for Cambridgeshire) though not many have appeared in this to be sure what they should look like, and then the long distance livery in Yellow with gold 'beachball' pieces which was intended to replace the old Gold branding but also cover the local coach services such as those in Scotland though the shade of yellow doesn't really have the same premium image that the old Gold livery did given the pop culture link to school buses (outside those areas like Bournemouth where the colour has been used for years).

Offline Barry

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Re: Bus liveries – The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
« Reply #6 on: November 05, 2021, 03:35:39 PM »
Yellow replacing gold?   :o :o :o

That's a terrible decision!!!

Offline TCD813

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Re: Bus liveries – The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
« Reply #7 on: November 05, 2021, 04:08:19 PM »
Route branding works, and can be very effective, if you have organisational buy in (driven by senior management but flowing down to the supervisors) that ensures correct allocation so passengers can trust it. Trent Barton are a particularly major example of this way of operating, I don't think I have ever seen an incorrectly branded vehicle on another route (as opposed to un-branded spares)...

Reportedly when James Freeman was running Reading Buses the supervisors would have to explain any incorrect allocation to him personally with their reason for doing so and the vehicle would have to swapped off as soon as a more correct vehicle was available - and it is this level of senior management driven scrutiny that can be needed to ensure this works which can be difficult for the teams at larger groups who are covering larger geographic areas & larger fleets (though First Leicester tend to be quite good most of the time so it can be done)...

Excellent points. It would seem that the enthusiasm of local management and a consistent approach in the local area is key. If local management is given the leeway to apply a solution which adds clarity to routes taken, and builds ridership and loyalty in their area, it seems likely to be much more effective than something imposed from a head office at the other end of the country.

The coloured 'lines' of Nottingham City Transport (including the South Notts brand) or First Bus's Network Norwich would be unlikely to work for Cambridge, Peterborough or Bedford.

I must say, though, that what lets down the Network Norwich concept, as far as I'm concerned, is the retention of the dingy purple-grey livery at the back of the vehicles. Did the local management not appreciate that people might be scurrying for 'their' bus from the rear?

The Stagecoach branding is just all a little confused and doesn't clearly delineate the products as well in reality as it may have appeared in real life.  There are three colour schemes, the main one with the multi colour 'beachball' pieces on a white base, the specialist services (Park & Rides and the like) which I think has the 'beachball' pieces in a sea-green on a white base (so the Busway is a little of a reverse of this just for Cambridgeshire) though not many have appeared in this to be sure what they should look like, and then the long distance livery in Yellow with gold 'beachball' pieces which was intended to replace the old Gold branding but also cover the local coach services such as those in Scotland though the shade of yellow doesn't really have the same premium image that the old Gold livery did given the pop culture link to school buses (outside those areas like Bournemouth where the colour has been used for years).

This is, for me, a top-down national colour scheme which makes little sense to the passenger, and is simply a waste of paint. Coupled with the local muddle with 13/13a/X13 Gold-branded or P&R-branded buses appearing on random routes, it makes Stagecoach's Cambridge area bus services seem a rare old muddle.
TCD813? The reg of a Southdown Motor Services, Northern Counties bodied, Leyland Titan PD3/4 FH39/30F (popularly dubbed 'Queen Mary') from the late 50s.
There's all 'manor' of stuff on my Twitter A/c.

Offline TCD813

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Re: Bus liveries – The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
« Reply #8 on: November 05, 2021, 04:09:34 PM »
Yellow replacing gold?   :o :o :o

That's a terrible decision!!!

In Torquay and Plymouth a few weeks ago , I was able to photograph “yellow” Enviro 400s , with a Gold “Beachball” superimposed there on , towards the back covering both decks .
They were working on an erstwhile “Gold Branded” Route .
TCD813? The reg of a Southdown Motor Services, Northern Counties bodied, Leyland Titan PD3/4 FH39/30F (popularly dubbed 'Queen Mary') from the late 50s.
There's all 'manor' of stuff on my Twitter A/c.

Offline Barry

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Re: Bus liveries – The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
« Reply #9 on: November 07, 2021, 02:09:00 AM »
In general terms I'm quite unlikely to get worked up about a livery unless it's Best Impressions (and therefore always excellent both on its own and as part of the complete package) or First (and therefore often vomit inducing, or in the case of FGW dynamic lines, appears to be actual vomit).

I thought beachball was harmless enough.  I think part of what I liked about beachball was that it set the right tone.  You would never get on a beachball bus and feel that it didn't live up to what the outside promised.  Gold probably achieved what it set out to when it was used on appropriate routes (which aren't necessarily the 13?), perhaps better than Sapphire did.  But... how premium can a bus actually be?  If you don't over promise you won't under deliver. 

I don't like the new livery as white is never a good main colour for a smart vehicle.  Yellow says school bus way to much for my liking.  And green means... electric bus or in this case nothing, especially if you use it apparently at random?

We all know Reading made route branding work, and we all know Lothian tried it and maybe almost made it work, or maybe did make it work until they started trying to use it on obscure routes with no obvious individual landmarks or character where not many buses were needed to operate them.  I'm a bit ambivalent about it.  It's nice (and if it's Bertie Blackbird it's amazing!) but is it worth it?  Maybe?