Friday 28 July 2017

Branded Buses; Bland Buses; Well Planned ... (2)

Any Colour As Long As It Is Red ...
... or yellow, or blue, or orange or purple. The return of the craze for all-over advertising buses in the Metropolis makes a nonsense of the edict that all London Buses must be plain red to reinforce the image. 

Route 724 was a Greenline service from Gravesend to Windsor.
Subsequently, following the demise of the long distance network, it has been branded ...
... privatised and unbranded ...
... threatened with total withdrawal, renumbered X26 and ignominiously truncated to a plain red non-event.
Before "mainly red" became "totally red", Metrobus managed to maintain a smidgen of its identity with a bit of blue and yellow.
Withing living memory, there have been a number of route branding "crazes" whilst retaining "mainly red".

The 38 with a weird font was a case in point.
Some services gained a sort of yellow ribbon effect on the side.
Whether putting a large number 11 on the front, right next to the same number 11 on the blind was really helpful is a moot point ...
... but route details were repeated to the right of the blind display, just next to the blind's route details. There was also a route "strip" at cantrail level. 

Such whimsies disappeared, as did intermediate route details in favour of a simple ultimate destination.
From too much information is changed to too little?

From white on black lettering ...
... to yellow on black lettering ...
... and now; back to white on black as on the Borismaster, above!

But, guess what, the powers that be at Transport for London have come up with yet another jackpot idea.

The think tank has been working on overdrive. "How about ..." say the lads and lassies, "if we put route branding on our all-red buses."

 "And, while we are at it ..." chortle the excited planners, "put the route details along the side instead of those horrid adverts."
Super smashing!

"And - it gets better ..." they exude, warming to their task, "... we can put some odd-shaped and trendy bits of colour on the back of the bus so folk can see that it is a trendy clourful route branded route!"

"And - even better ..." they cry as tears of inventiveness dampen their cheeks, "we can tell people how often their bus might run at the same time."

The originality of these ideas is truly mind-blowing.

The new “Tube-style” design approach aims to make the UK capital’s buses “as simple to use as the London Underground”, says the Mayor’s office.

The trial – which is taking place in Barkingside, east London – will see individual bus routes given their own colour in a system similar to the one used throughout London’s Tube network.

Buses and stop signs will be marked with these easy-to-identify colours, while key destinations and interchanges on bus routes will be listed on the side of the buses so that passengers can tell “at a glance” where they are travelling.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, says: “By bringing these new distinctive route colours to areas of the network, we’re making it as easy to navigate areas of London by bus as it is by Tube. It’s another key part in our efforts to encourage Londoners to take to the bus and help us tackle congestion, air pollution and make our city better for everyone.”


How about producing a timetable and a route map for the customer to carry with them. No need to prod a mobile phone or peer at a departure list. Just look it up on a ....


It is a pity that the colours (247 YELLOW) ...
... don't always match he spider maps (247 GREEN)
But the 150 is BLUE on both and the 128 is PURPLE on both.
Sadly, the 275 cannot be red, can it; as the bus is red. MAGENTA does not match the Barkingside map.

Of course it is nowhere near as simple as it seems because colours might be right at Barkingside, but, for example, conflict when the route reaches Romford.

Hmm again? A good idea, but impracticable for the whole network?

Tomorrow : A flash and a spark and it all changes!
Personal Note

fbb is in Sheffield today, having left Axminster at 1606 yesterday. The meeting which he is attending may result, amongst other things, in a small but significant breakthrough for GoTimetable Sheffield. If negotiations progress according to plan, the old man will have a frantic few weeks of on-line work in preparation for a big timetable change at the start of September.
Please excuse any blog inadequacies over the next few weeks.

Blogs may need to be shorter or (like trains into Waterloo) be cancelled entirely!
 Next branded bus blog : Saturday 29th July 

1 comment:

  1. Andrew Kleissner28 July 2017 at 08:35

    If you read "The Diary of a Nobody", published about 1890, you will discover that Mr. Pooter always used the "blue bus" to get to work from Holloway. Equally the Glasgow trams were designated by colour coding until about 1940, though route numbers had been introduced some years before.

    Colour coding is useful when one has a simple network (eg Norwich P&R), when - as in Victorian times - many transport users may be illiterate, and when vehicles aren't moved between services. But they don't work in a complex network where buses crisscross (just how many definable shades of green, say, are there?) and they either limit the flexibility of the fleet or confuse the passengers (you need a bus in an emergency but the only one left in the garage is branded for a different route).