Tuesday 29 October 2013

First Fair Fares Fireworks @ Frenchay & Filton

And all over Bristol!

There have been very few "fares revolutions" in the 60 or so years that fbb has been interested in public transport. Few will remember the Sunderland "flat-fare by token" scheme of 1966 which (if fbb's memory is correct) only lasted for two years.
Red Ken's 1981 London scheme fell foul of Blue Thatcher's political ethos, but it did introduce some longer term benefits although not necessarily at Ken's prices!
When Dan Farr ...
 ... launched his ill-supported Bristol campaign ...
... littered with factual inaccuracies, little did he expect to see such a dramatic result. Even red-trousered cycling Mayor Ferguson ...

... was suspicious of First's "consultation" process. Many thought it would be just a PR exercise and little would change.

See "Bristolians are Revolting 1" (read again)
See "Bristolians are Revolting 2" (read again)

But wow!

First's promotional activity blows fbb's elderly mind! This is what they say they're doing:-

Bus adverts on over 100 buses in Bristol
4 week radio campaign on Jack FM

Dedicated website (here)

1 advert every day for a month in The Post ...

... selling a different message about Fairer Fares

2 weekends of advertising bikes travelling around Bristol city centre giving out flyers [something surreal about advertising buses on bikes]

7 Customer roadshows [but only six on the poster?]

Driver briefing session with 1000 driver manuals

10,000 customer guides to what’s changing and why; to be given out at customer roadshows and at travel shops

New on-bus fare vinyls (by entrance door). On-bus posters

Adverts at Bristol Temple Meads and Bristol Parkway Station for 2 weeks

Window vinyls adverts directing customers to the new flat fare service 8&9
90 Bristol City Council bus shelter posters
Promotion on social media – Facebook ...

... and Twitter

Press releases and press conference
FirstMail [that's email] to customers on the BSA [that's the Twit site] customer database
150,000 flyers showing the new zone map ...

... and key points of change to be distributed on bus, at roadshows, in travel shops and via the ad bikes. [too big to blog in full but the "outer" one extends to Bath, dot, far right]

Window display at Bristol Bus Station

Push notification on the First Bus app ...

... directing customers to the fares website (here)

It all leaves fbb breathless! But two questions remain:-

Will it work for Bristolians? Will Brizzle locals feel more positive about their oft-maligned bus company?

Will it work for FirstBus? Hopefully the company's Bristol bean counters will have done their homework and the plan is for these changes to be at the very least "revenue neutral"; eventually! Even better, there must be an aim for growth in ridership and revenue.

And one final point:- let's hope there won't be fireworks in the morning peak on Monday 4th (or Tuesday 5th!) A tough job for First's well-briefed staff?
South Coast Weather Report
Is this a picture of fbb hard at work yesterday; preparing today's blog? NO! Apart from high winds in the night, Seaton escaped the ravages of the predicted cataclysm; the sea did not deposit even one leaf of seaweed on the Esplanade. The only concession to inclemency yesterday morning was a single deck on the 0733 X53 to Exeter.
This crept out of its snuggly Bridport depot for an 0638 departure; so, presumably, a precaution against high winds on the exposed hills twixt there and Lyme Regis.
 Next Bus Blog : Wednesday 30th October 


  1. Roadshow mystery solved - there are two taking place simultaneously this Friday!

  2. So there are! I should try reading the notice. The price you pay for over-hasty blogging!

  3. Single 3.50 day 4.00 – why do bus companies like ripping off one way travellers?

  4. Well, my two regular trips will still be £4 there-and-back with First, against Wessex Red £2.50 day ticket on one and a Wessex day return of less than £2 on the other, both taking advantage of the discount given by the Wessex LibertyCard stored value smart card.