Thursday, 24 July 2014

Fruit in Pots [4]

We learned yesterday that First Potteries Cherry Line service 3 turns into a 4A at Kidsgrove.
But a close examination of the previous service 20A timetable ...
... shows that buses for Talke Pits leave Kidsgrove at (for example) 0902, 0922 and 0942. It is no surprise, then to note that the 34A from Kidsgrove to Newcastle ...
... also leaves at 0902, 0922 and 0942.
Even a non-expert in public transport operation might conclude that, as cherry 3s become cherry 4As so the old, outdated and unfruity 20A became an equally unfruity 34A. Nothing much has changed at Talke and Talke Pits; except of course missing out the needs of Iris!
The "other half" of the cherry 4 veers left ...
to be a simple copy of the former 34.
The improvement in network map when compared to the crude "Overground" style is very gratifying; there is something comforting about a map which looks as if it is part of the real world. The 4, with the 4A, maintains the ten minute frequency between Newcastle and Chesterton.
Both old and new services gave the shopaholic the opportunity to be delivered right outside the doors of the Freeport shopping centre once an hour.
Aaah, the deep joys of "Outlet Shopping"! [It's a euphemism for retail units selling old stock at "discount" prices.]

We've over 40 great stores offering up to 60% off, so you'll find a fantastic range of fashion and footwear, plus gifts, homeware and accessories all at amazingly low prices.
It's a recipe!

Which leaves the final stalk of the Cherry, which is former services 25, 25A and X25 ...
... linking Hanley and Newcastle with Keele University and village. This is, you may remember, where we began on Monday with a mention of fbb's abortive visit and Uni interview! It was also the route which broke the mold for First bus with one of the first revolts against corporate "daughter of barbie" colours.
The revised cherries all run via Poolfields ...
... every 10 minutes Mondays to Fridays and every 20 on Saturdays.
X3s run at peak times during Uni term times only.

It would be tedious (and far to much like hard work for fbb) to review every group of services; but, like other network re-jigs from First (Portsmouth, Southampton, Norwich) the principle has been to concentrate resources on frequent routes and provide the opportunity for distinctive marketing. For the record the full list of fruit and other "brands" is shown below. Will it be successful? We will all have to wait and see.

Hopefully, if First in Staffordshire & South Cheshire ever wake up, fbb will have a set of leaflets to look at in due course. Wonders do sometimes happen.

Perhaps with a little more imagination, the network designers could have used other fruit to complete the image. fbb has added some that First have forgotten.
Where next for branding? Wild animals?
Don't be ridiculous!
And talking of First Bus liveries; today fbb is in Leicester.
A full report will follow as soon as possible.

 Next bus blog : Friday 25th July 

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