Saturday, 1 May 2010
Petuaria Parisorum Poser?
Brand awareness came quite late to the bus industry. Apart from a few early successes - one being the "City Clipper" (* see below) city centre service in Sheffield (long since withdrawn) - it was probably Trent that began the modern trend. There was the "Red" and the "Blue", then routes like the "Spondon Flyer" and, joint with the appropriate named Felix Motors, the "Black Cat". Some are simply meaningless, like "Pronto" from Nottingham to Mansfield and beyond. The mantra was then taken up by Go-Ahead in the Gateshead and Washington areas. But Trent remains a pioneer of the total abandonment of route numbers in favour of brands.
Stagecoach took up the challenge of "silly names" with things like "The Bridge" between Havant and Hayling Island, the recently abandoned "Pulse" brand in Salisbury and a whole range of wonderful titles in the former East Kent area.
Harrogate and District began emphasising route numbers as a brand with "The 36" between Leeds and Ripon and fellow Blazefield company created the "Spot On" network in Blackburn. First Bus introduced its "Overground" branding and "line" colours - "Lime Line", "Teal Line" and we await the arrival of "Heliotrope Line" and "Muddy Grey with a touch of Pink Line".
But my vote for the weirdest (or is that the most imaginative?) name must go to Peter Shipp's East Yorkshire. On April 24th 2010 the company started the X55 from Gilberdyke via Brough to Hull. It is branded the Petuaria Express! Petuaria? ...
This picture (from the Hull and East Riding Museum) reconstructs part of the Roman Fort of Petuaria Parisorum standing where Brough does today. The fort was abandoned by 120AD but Brough's attractive Community Centre still uses the Petuaria name.
You have to wonder, however, how many extra customers will use the service - attracted by its somewhat eclectic brand name?
*P.S. One Christmas, an enterprising enterpreneur ran a horse-drawn carriage tour of Sheffield city illuminations. And they named it ...
... "The City Clopper".