Monday, 20 February 2017

Back In Place? It's The Chase!

What Goes Around Comes Around - Again?
The Chase, but not the quiz game! It is this Chase ...
... which gave its name to a a small part of  massive bus branding exercise in the late 1970s. Midland Red came up with a crazy series of names for its widely scattered operations. They never really "caught on" as, for the vast majority of passengers, it was always "Midland Red".

Operations based in Cannock and Stafford were called "Chaserider".
Four articulated buses, originally used in Sheffield and later in Redditch ...
... received the branding.
Publicity was crude by today's standards but there was usually plenty of it ...
... in a variety of styles.
But privatisation largely put paid to these area brands. Privatisation also brought competition and one company expanded quite significantly.
In 2007 Chase was acquired by Arriva, ironically the company that had suffered as a result of competition from Chase!

Perhaps because of poor PR ("Giant Eats Former Competitor Shock"), Arriva began a branding exercise for the Cannock area.
The tower on the hill (right on the logo) is Pye Green B T Tower (Hednesford) ...
... a local landmark and part of the chain of towers that radiates from the "original and best" Post Office Tower (now B T Tower) in London. The bright green and yellow Chaselinx colours made for a very striking leaflet design ...
... but really didn't work with Arriva blue on the buses.
The name and green colour scheme were not long-lasting and have now been replaced on routes 1 and 2 between Cannock and Walsall by Sapphire branding.
But the local press ...
... has recently announced what appears to be a resurrection of the Chase name and potential operating area.
Ashley Fellows has purchased the first bus, an ex-Trent Barton Optare Excel, which will form part of his Chase Bus company fleet.

The 22-year-old decided to start the £40-50k project following the axing of several Arriva services.

He told the Newsletter: "I have drivers lined up ready to go, the only thing that was holding us back is the funding and buses."I hope when the new bus is refurbished and re-branded we can attract investors."

Suggested routes include Cannock to Telford, stopping in Penkridge; a local Stafford route still being established and Cannock to Walsall, as the current Arriva route has been scaled back. Arriva closed its Stafford depot on September 3 and withdrew or changed a number of routes serving Stafford, Penkridge and Cannock Chase.

Mr Fellows, who currently works at Rugeley Tesco as a customer assistant, added: "The Stafford route will service a variety of areas, some not serviced by any other company at the moment, but that is all I can say for now."

He said he wants ticket prices to be as low as possible, low enough to be classed as "cheap but competitive".
The accompanying illustration of "Mr Fellows bus" is captioned "what it may look like".

In fact the orange livery and the logos have been applied, "photoshop-style" over a bus on service 12 going to Chantry Cambridge Drive via Rail Station. Clever bus watchers will know immediately  that he vehicle is from the Ipswich Buses fleet and close examination reveals slightly different bits of orange on the side.
Spot the building behind the bus!

But all power to Mr Fellows' elbow for making a good start PR-wise. One worrying quote (above) from the budding transport tycoon, however, "the only thing that is holding us back is the funding and the buses."

Hmmm (?)

 Next : Groby P.S. blog blog : Tuesday 21st February 


  1. " . . . . . funding and the buses".

    Perhaps also an O-Licence; maintenance arrangements; parking; insurance; ticket machines; banking arrangements . . . .

    Good luck to him, but he's got a ways to go . . . . .

  2. ... part of the CityFox group ...

  3. As an aside, Cannock depot is celebrating its 40th anniversary this month. All the buses have the destinations alternating with "Proud to be serving Cannock for 40 years". That message feels slightly out of place on the 825 from Stafford to Lichfield which doesn't serve Cannock itself...

  4. Arriva have not had a good year or so in Staffs and the West Midlands, giving up on a number of corridors - mainly but not all due to competition. Also, alot of its West Midlands tendered work will transfer to Diamond Bus in April.

    If Ashley Fellows gets up and running ok, he could succeed. But I have no doubt Arriva will respond.

  5. I hope he's got a deep pocket for repair bills. If I were setting up from scratch I wouldn't do so with a 15-year old 12-meter Excel.

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