Sunday, 21 June 2015

What's in a Name [2]

Copycat Again? 360 miles apart!
fbb did think he has seen a grinning star in Aberdeen ...
... but he was sadly mistaken. The horde of jiggling blobs ("busy bodies") seem to have escaped from the Aberdonian PR zoo and are now terrorising the bus passengers of Glasgow! Click (here) to enjoy.
But amongst the assorted blobs is no star. fbb, wrong again!

But we are looking to the former Grampian region today.
First's premium bland in Aberdeen (but, as yet, nowhere else) is "Platinum" complete with shiny letters on the side. Routes 19 and 12 ...
... currently carry the brand.

Platinum is all about high quality. Every single aspect of a Platinum bus journey is about delivering the highest possible standards for our customers: leather seats, free wifi, your very own dedicated driver. Since Platinum's launch in November 2013, we've broken the one million passengers carried barrier. Platinum also recently won the Best Bus Service award at the Scottish Transport Awards in Glasgow in June 2014 - an industry acknowledgement of what the service has achieved in a very short space of time.

But catch a plane south to Birmingham International Airport and there you will meet the 900.
Back in the halcyon days of the great Great Britain Bus Timetable, the 900 ran half hourly ...
... between Birmingham, Sheldon, the Airport and NEC and Coventry. Also in the xephos database was service 57 to Solihull ...
... also via Sheldon. The latter was later rebranded as 957 and, like the 900, runs limited stop for part of the route.
These two routes, now advertised together ...
... have recently received new vehicles in a new livery with the brand name ...

The brand is not emblazoned greatly on the buses but is there, just below the "West Midlands".
The claims for the brand are strangely familiar.
A new premium bus service from National Express West Midlands giving you fast class travel has now launched routes 900 & 957. Developed specifically for you we have added some great upgrades that you wouldn't find on a normal bus ...

EXTRA LEG ROOM & COMFY SEATS with high backs, more padding and loads of extra space.

FREE WIFI so you can work or play on the move using super fast 4G. Please note that Wi-Fi on our Platinum buses has a personal daily download limit.

What they won't do is give you change. OK for regulars but tough cheese if you are a visitor.

A FABULOUS DRIVING TEAM with some of the best trained in the industry. They will do their best to help make your journey as comfortable as possible.

SAFE & SOUND with crystal clear CCTV, bright LED interior lighting, improved sound proofing, suspension & tinted windows.

NEXT STOP audio & visual next stop announcements, helping you get off at the right stop.

A CUSTOMER CHARTER promising to deliver the best service possible to you. View and download the Platinum Customer Charter here.

GREENER BUSES with the latest engine technology minimising fuel usage and nasty carbon emissions.

Services 900 & 957 are the first of a number of routes which will be given a Platinum experience throughout the Summer. Keep an eye out on our website and on twitter for more details over the coming weeks.

Apart from the extra comfort and WiFi, shouldn't these "extras" be standard on all bus services?

Interestingly, there are pictures on-line of the 957 route (Birmingham Sheldon Solihull) ...
... but renumbered X1 and "up to every 10 minutes".
The 957, however, runs every 15 minutes.

Likewise the pre-launch publicity for the new liveries ...
... also showed X1. A designer's suggestion or a branding rethink? Clearly plans have changed over he last few months.

As well as providing brand new buses in a new (red) livery we are pleased to confirm the arrival of our ​new Platinum service ​900 which will be arriving during May on our service between Coventry​, the Airport and Birmingham. These premium buses will provide a step-up in journey experience for customers with a number of on-board features, including, ​luxury high back seats, ​extra leg room, on-board stop announcements and free ​Wi-​Fi​! They will also be in a slick 2 tone grey livery with flashes of brilliant red!

More Platinum buses will arrive shortly after on the 957 service and then later on during the summer we’ll be launching ​Platinum buses in the North Birmingham and Walsall area on services X51, 934, 935, 936 and 997.

But  grey  as a livery?

The Platinum brand does, at least, offer a contrast to an overall refresh of the company with a new "standard" red livery and new branded buses on route 9 ...
... and route 50.
This publicity runs in tandem with the announcement of new vehicles for 2015.
Single decks in the new "normal" red livery are due soon.

You’ve seen the doubles, now it’s time for the singles.
We’ll be launching brand new single decker buses on our busy 37 service between Solihull and Birmingham, which will shortly be followed by our 71 and 72 services between Solihull, Sutton Coldfield and Birmingham. Buses will arrive in late may for the 37 bus service, with the first buses arriving for the 71 & 72 in mid to late June.

There is certainly plenty for the Brummie passenger to look forward to.

Even if National Express have pinched copied some else's brand name!

And talking of brands and bands ...

Blackpool's Palladium Cinema on Waterloo Road used to have a live orchestra in the days of silent films, later a splendid organ. It became the Palladium Bingo ...
... then the Apollo Bingo; then closed completely. 

Today, however, Blackpool buses route 5 is branded ...
... Palladium.

The new Palladium service started operating on route 5 from Sunday 31st May 2015. This investment is the start of a better future for Blackpool Transport with an investment of £1.7 million on new new vehicles and demonstrates our commitment to growing and investing in Blackpool.
It doesn't run along Waterloo Road!


P.S. The two extra pulses referred to in comments on yesterdays blog. fbb might have remembered Salisbury's "Pulseline" ...
... but didn't! Go North East's "Pulse" was one of the plethora of brands "oop north" that passed el chubbo by! 
Many thanks to comment writers for this information.

 Back to Basel blog : Monday 22nd June  


  1. Blackpool's 5 does run on Waterloo Road between Lytham and St. Annes Road passing the former Palladium. Palladium is a precious metal, but perhaps a more obscure one than other bus brands

  2. Thanks for the correction. I misread Blackpool Transport's map.

  3. Interesting to note that whether you like First Aberdeen's Platinum brand/livery or not (no other First companies seem to be scrambling to adopt it), it is one of the few 'premium' bus services which still carry ads, which do detract from the image somewhat. Good to see the latest members of the 'premium' club haven't fallen into that trap.