Sunday 16 October 2011

First's Five-Towns Fanfare [2]

Going for Gold.
From September 2011 two buses have been repainted in the Potteries Motor Traction traditional pre-barbie livery as part of the relaunch of two frequent cross-city routes in Stoke on Trent. See First's Five-Towns Fanfare [1] (read again). 

To mark the official launch of a gold service of bus travel, which is intended to improve levels of customer service on Services 25 and 26/26A in the Potteries, managers from First in Potteries met with representatives from the local authorities in Newcastle-under-Lyme and Stoke on Trent on Friday 23 September.

Since the beginning of this week (26 September) people using Service 25 (City Centre Hanley to Keele via Stoke and Newcastle) and Service 26/26A (City Centre Hanley to Newcastle via Dividy Road, Brookwood Drive, Longton and Stoke) should have noticed some significant differences to the service they receive. As well as having dedicated drivers, and extra bus cleans throughout the day to ensure the buses remain clean and tidy, one bus on each route has been returned to heritage red and yellow livery, with other vehicles bearing recognisable local symbols of the area, giving the two services a greater local identity. 

Needless to say, useful cartographic information is difficult to come by. First's map is very diagrammatic ...
... and well-nigh incomprehensible; whereas Stoke-on-Trent's web site offers in interactive map which fbb failed to successfully interact with. Maybe others will have more luck.
Not a black hole, but a mysterious white hole obliterating part of whatever was displayed.

So you might find an fbb cartographical effort more helpful. The "Six Towns" have yellow blobs and 26A route varieties have been ignored.
What makes life a little more tricky, however, is that the centre of the City of Stoke-on-Trent is at Hanley, not Stoke. Once you get that fanciful factoid fixed in your fervid mind, everything becomes a little clearer. Possibly.

So the 25 runs from the City Centre (Hanley) via Stoke and Newcastle to Keele University ...
... whilst the 26/26A takes a more circuitous route from Newcastle via Stoke, Longton, Meir and Weston Coyney with every other journey continuing to City Centre (Hanley).
Both services run up to every ten minutes on Monday to Saturday daytimes.

So what does the customer get for his "goldness". If you are keen, read the whole "charter" (here).
But via fbb's expurgated version, First are offering:- good time keeping, clean vehicles, polite staff and prompt replies to any enquiries.

But, hang on a minute!

Isn't that what we should be getting from EVERY bus service? As standard practice. Always.

One thing is certain, however. The bright "heritage" yellow-and-red ex PMT single deckers look more business-like and attractive than the usual First's fare, seen here between Keele and Newcastle..
Maybe a recipe for other First operations, Mr Fearnley? Crimson red in Northampton, maroon and cream in Leicester, cream with blue stripes in Sheffield. Maybe, maybe not!

We are all eagerly awaiting the promised "new image", superseding the bland and boring barbie blue and mauve. fbb did once offer a suggestion. [click on the image to view in full size]
But, assuredly, expensive and highly skilled design consultants will have come up with something much more appropriate and meaningful; a bit like the recently aired First Bus tv advert.

You haven't seen it? Shame on you; so here it is.
fbb declines to comment.

Next blog : due Monday October 17th

1 comment:

  1. When a livery from the mid-1980s is described as 'heritage' or 'traditional' then I start to feel old! To be fair, the red and yellow scheme is bright and at least as good as the best current schemes - and certainly much more attractive than standard First livery. It also stands out, whereas other modern liveries seem to be a form of camouflage.

    As for your purple suggestion, well, it would stand out as well, but I have to admit to preferring the PMT red and yellow!