Max Brand
#21
RE: Max Brand
(25 Feb 2021, 5:46 pm)omnicity4659 Wrote: Yes, when done properly, it does. Arriva recorded growth on their Northumbria Sapphire and Max services after every upgrade.

Branding raises awareness to the route existing, a physical object driving past someone is one of the best forms of advertising, ultimately keeping you in a job.
If Arriva were willing to put the time & money in, the MAX brand could be as good as GoNE's X-Lines.

#22
RE: Max Brand
(25 Feb 2021, 7:20 pm)L469 YVK Wrote: If Arriva were willing to put the time & money in, the MAX brand could be as good as GoNE's X-Lines.
Same with Sapphire, but Arriva will be Arriva.
They invest all that money in refurbishing vehicles to a very good spec, and then do absolutely nothing with them.

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#23
RE: Max Brand
(25 Feb 2021, 11:21 am)mb134 Wrote: Sapphire wise, again I don't see why the Jesmond 43/44/45 were converted really. I can't actually remember when the brand went from feeling reasonably premium, with the launch of the 7 and then X21/22, to very diluted as it happened so quickly. 2014-6 Arriva must have found a good deal with a paint supplier.

The only reason that Jesmond's 43/44/45 were converted to become Sapphire routes was that Arriva needed to put the Sapphire ex X21 & X22 E400s (that had been replaced by the new E400MMCs) somewhere.

By making the 43/44/45 Sapphire routes all Arriva needed to do was peel off the X21 & X22 branding and the buses would be ready for use, if the buses needed to de-Sapphiring, that would have taken time and cost money, which Arriva did not think was worth doing.

#24
RE: Max Brand
(25 Feb 2021, 11:21 am)mb134 Wrote: Sapphire wise, again I don't see why the Jesmond 43/44/45 were converted really. I can't actually remember when the brand went from feeling reasonably premium, with the launch of the 7 and then X21/22, to very diluted as it happened so quickly. 2014-6 Arriva must have found a good deal with a paint supplier.

(25 Feb 2021, 10:10 pm)IRHardy Wrote: The only reason that Jesmond's 43/44/45 were converted to become Sapphire routes was that Arriva needed to put the Sapphire ex X21 & X22 E400s (that had been replaced by the new E400MMCs) somewhere.

By making the 43/44/45 Sapphire routes all Arriva needed to do was peel off the X21 & X22 branding and the buses would be ready for use, if the buses needed to de-Sapphiring, that would have taken time and cost money, which Arriva did not think was worth doing.

The 43/44/45 upgrade also coincided with complaints from the residents of Gosforth about the poor environmental standard of the Great North Road ALX400's which previously operated on those routes. The arrival of the MMCs and the displacement of the older X21/22 E400's (some of which were a bit worse for wear after use on the X93 in the past) aligned perfectly with the requested removal of those elderly ex-london ALX400's and sticking them on a double-deck route that wouldn't be too taxing, rather than it being a genuine desire to upgrade them to 'Sapphire.' If they hadn't been Sapphire already, I doubt they would have been upgraded for those routes specifically, but the fact that they were would have been a bonus for passengers and possibly helped to improve patronage/public perception considering the previous option were W/X/Y-reg standard spec vehicles.

#25
RE: Max Brand
(25 Feb 2021, 5:46 pm)omnicity4659 Wrote: Yes, when done properly, it does. Arriva recorded growth on their Northumbria Sapphire and Max services after every upgrade.

Branding raises awareness to the route existing, a physical object driving past someone is one of the best forms of advertising, ultimately keeping you in a job.
I keep myself in a job by turning up to work every day, not because the bus is painted a certain colour.

#26
RE: Max Brand
(26 Feb 2021, 8:36 pm)Driver9*** Wrote: I keep myself in a job by turning up to work every day, not because the bus is painted a certain colour.
That's part of it. But the experience onboard is also another part of the equation.

A bus running late every morning when it hasn't even hit the A19 & A1 (timetable issue, not driver related) combined with a VDL DB300 Gemini in limp mode or a B7TL that's seen better days isn't going to keep customers using buses. 

To give Arriva credit on timetabling, the 308 was improved with an increased PVR & more running time. But that won't be sustained if Arriva fail to invest.

#27
RE: Max Brand
(26 Feb 2021, 8:36 pm)Driver9*** Wrote: I keep myself in a job by turning up to work every day, not because the bus is painted a certain colour.

The drivers of the thousands of duties, buses and services that have been permanently withdrawn all turned up for work every day until they were out of a job. Commercial efforts to boost passenger new numbers could save jobs.

#28
RE: Max Brand
(26 Feb 2021, 10:50 pm)James101 Wrote: The drivers of the thousands of duties, buses and services that have been permanently withdrawn all turned up for work every day until they were out of a job. Commercial efforts to boost passenger new numbers could save jobs.
I've worked for Arriva a long long time and in that time not one driver has ever been made redundant. But if they did offer it because of covid I'd be at the front of the queue to volunteer for it.

#29
RE: Max Brand
(26 Feb 2021, 8:36 pm)Driver9*** Wrote: I keep myself in a job by turning up to work every day, not because the bus is painted a certain colour.

The drivers of the thousands of duties, buses and services that have been permanently withdrawn all turned up for work every day until they were out of a job. Commercial efforts to boost passenger new numbers could save jobs.

#30
RE: Max Brand
(26 Feb 2021, 11:01 pm)Driver9*** Wrote: I've worked for Arriva a long long time and in that time not one driver has ever been made redundant. But if they did offer it because of covid I'd be at the front of the queue to volunteer for it.

That may be so, but may be no consolation to drivers whose depots have been closed and their job moved to a location unworkable for their circumstances so they’ve been pushed out. Arriva have closed Bishop, Peterlee, Richmond & Loftus in living memory and in other Op-Cos, say Midlands, Stafford closed a couple of years ago and the remaining operation in Cannock (a former HQ no less) has only just been taken over by D&G who are thinning out services and driver duties permanently at a pace. I hope all bus industry workers enjoy job security but the reality is it’s a diminishing industry. The beacon of hope for hospitality after the pandemic is that it’s clear people are generally gasping to get back out into pubs & restaurants. Recovery for bus travel, now that customers have had a year of getting used to travelling, working and shopping in a different way, is less clear.

#31
RE: Max Brand
(28 Feb 2021, 1:36 am)James101 Wrote: That may be so, but may be no consolation to drivers whose depots have been closed and their job moved to a location unworkable for their circumstances so they’ve been pushed out. Arriva have closed Bishop, Peterlee, Richmond & Loftus in living memory and in other Op-Cos, say Midlands, Stafford closed a couple of years ago and the remaining operation in Cannock (a former HQ no less) has only just been taken over by D&G who are thinning out services and driver duties permanently at a pace. I hope all bus industry workers enjoy job security but the reality is it’s a diminishing industry. The beacon of hope for hospitality after the pandemic is that it’s clear people are generally gasping to get back out into pubs & restaurants. Recovery for bus travel, now that customers have had a year of getting used to travelling, working and shopping in a different way, is less clear.

I don't know how many times I've said it now (and I'll continue to say it), but operators just haven't adapted to changes in customer habits.
They cut services due to changes to passenger habits (or trot out the line), but across the country we see the same old types of services seen 20/30/40 years ago.

Shields was mentioned a while back and SNE continuing to work the estate - town centre services, despite the town centre dying on its arse and people going elsewhere (either for work or pleasure).
There's mention of the threat ANE would have if the B&T line reopened (yet very little about how they could adapt to compliment the line).
GNE constantly witter on about traffic in and around Gateshead, but don't do anything to open up new corridors so that some car users have the option of using public transport.
The network in central Gateshead hasn't evolved since the interchange opened more than 40 years ago and the only changes in West Gateshead seemed to occur back in 86 when the Metrocentre opened.

Liveries and on-board features are only part of the solution imo.

If you look at the hospitality trade now versus 10 - 20 years ago, it has adapted massively. Interior updates or changes to branding are just part of the adaptations. The core ingredients and options for customers a major part.
The innovators thrive and survive. The big chains stumble along, cutting venues to survive...

If a restaurant serve up the exact same menu as they did 30 years ago, they're asking for trouble. Yet operators continue to do just that...
'Illegitimis non carborundum'

#32
RE: Max Brand
(28 Feb 2021, 10:30 am)Andreos1 Wrote: I don't know how many times I've said it now (and I'll continue to say it), but operators just haven't adapted to changes in customer habits.
They cut services due to changes to passenger habits (or trot out the line), but across the country we see the same old types of services seen 20/30/40 years ago.

Shields was mentioned a while back and SNE continuing to work the estate - town centre services, despite the town centre dying on its arse and people going elsewhere (either for work or pleasure).
There's mention of the threat ANE would have if the B&T line reopened (yet very little about how they could adapt to compliment the line).
GNE constantly witter on about traffic in and around Gateshead, but don't do anything to open up new corridors so that some car users have the option of using public transport.
The network in central Gateshead hasn't evolved since the interchange opened more than 40 years ago and the only changes in West Gateshead seemed to occur back in 86 when the Metrocentre opened.

Liveries and on-board features are only part of the solution imo.
For Ashington, I'd say

Out of Town Shopping:
- Create a more frequent & streamlined service between Ashington, Bedlington & Cramlington. Would also act as a hub & spoke for a revised X21 (see below).

Competition with BRT:
- X22 scrapped (replaced with above) and X21 increased to every 15 mins with strong marketing. Runs via Hartlands instead of Nedderton giving faster & more frequent journeys from Bedlington Station.

- X21 between Ashington & Newbiggin reduced to hourly with X19 introduced from Newbiggin to Newcastle via Woodhorn then same route as X20. Would provide a "fast" bus every 30 mins between Wansbeck Hospital and Newcastle providing strong competition against the train with appropriate marketing.

#33
RE: Max Brand
(28 Feb 2021, 10:30 am)Andreos1 Wrote: I don't know how many times I've said it now (and I'll continue to say it), but operators just haven't adapted to changes in customer habits.
They cut services due to changes to passenger habits (or trot out the line), but across the country we see the same old types of services seen 20/30/40 years ago.

Shields was mentioned a while back and SNE continuing to work the estate - town centre services, despite the town centre dying on its arse and people going elsewhere (either for work or pleasure).
There's mention of the threat ANE would have if the B&T line reopened (yet very little about how they could adapt to compliment the line).
GNE constantly witter on about traffic in and around Gateshead, but don't do anything to open up new corridors so that some car users have the option of using public transport.
The network in central Gateshead hasn't evolved since the interchange opened more than 40 years ago and the only changes in West Gateshead seemed to occur back in 86 when the Metrocentre opened.

Liveries and on-board features are only part of the solution imo.

If you look at the hospitality trade now versus 10 - 20 years ago, it has adapted massively. Interior updates or changes to branding are just part of the adaptations. The core ingredients and options for customers a major part.
The innovators thrive and survive. The big chains stumble along, cutting venues to survive...

If a restaurant serve up the exact same menu as they did 30 years ago, they're asking for trouble. Yet operators continue to do just that...

Christ, are you feeling alright? Admitting that they are 'part' of the solution must have took some real courage   Big Grin

GNE are starting to adapt to changing customer demands, with a number of services being adapted to serve retail parks, X21 to Tindale, 21 to Arnison, 10B to Tyne View. While I don't know what they're planning, I do get the feeling that had COVID not buggered things up we would have seen even more changes

#34
RE: Max Brand
(28 Feb 2021, 3:50 pm)streetdeckfan Wrote: Christ, are you feeling alright? Admitting that they are 'part' of the solution must have took some real courage   Big Grin

GNE are starting to adapt to changing customer demands, with a number of services being adapted to serve retail parks, X21 to Tindale, 21 to Arnison, 10B to Tyne View. While I don't know what they're planning, I do get the feeling that had COVID not buggered things up we would have seen even more changes

I didn't say how small that part was though Wink

To be fair, the X21 to Tindale means that those living in the estate who would get the 18, now can't and other links were also lost https://www.swd.news/shadow-transport-se...strations/ . So I'm not sure that adaptation was the best. 
The others, yes I agree. Those small extentions have the potential to make a big difference to those communities. 
However it still doesn't take away the fact that 99.9% of the network (whoever the operator) is pretty much as it was in the pte days (and probably earlier) across T&W and there's been many an opportunity prior to Covid to actually do something about it.
As drawn out as the last 12 months have been, it hasn't been around forever and I'd hope it isn't the 'excuse' we will see trotted out time after time.

Shields hasn't just been dying in the last 12months. 
The traffic around Team Valley hasn't just been causing issues to the 93/94 for the last 12months.
SE Northumberland has needed more than the network it has, for more than 12 months. 
East Cleveland needed fresh impetus and improved connections prior to Teesflex launching (otherwise it wouldn't have been launched...).
Hartlepool and its stand-alone network has needed work doing to it for longer than 12months.
Anyway, you get the gist.

Frankie & Bennies and Chiquitos dined-out on what worked 20-30 years ago.
Needless to say, they went the way they did, because they didn't adapt to changing customer needs, wants and expectations.
However many times we hear operators bleeting on about traffic lights, bus lanes and traffic jams - there is the potential for those operators to go exactly the same way as the once ubiquitous F&B's did (even after new tables, seats a refresh and re-brand) - because the customers adapting tastes aren't catered for.
'Illegitimis non carborundum'

#35
RE: Max Brand
I think Arriva should have one or the other Max or Sapphire brands, but look after them properly.
For example, they have Sapphire vehicles running on the X3/X4 that still have out of date internal marketing from when the buses were introduced. The plug sockets never work. The next stop display screens often dont work. The next stop announcements can have different names for the same bus stop depending on which bus you get.

The industry is going to face difficult times ahead as we come out of the pandemic, and I fear more cuts will be coming. Good quality branding and on-board features can only do so much, but at least these have been proven to increase passenger numbers when done well.

Arriva are just very half-hearted, lethargic and risk averse at the best of times, sadly.

#36
RE: Max Brand
I think the major issue here is the 'decline' seen since the money tap was turned off at the very top, ie Deutsche Bahn and the ongoing saga of attempting to sell/float (don't know what the current situation is!) the Arriva group across Europe. Until this is concluded the investment is seemingly not happening and with an ageing fleet, poor reliability looms and more cuts seem to be the only way to solve it at present. If DB can find a buyer (at a price they want, which seems to be the sticking point) then you may see fresh ideas and money to spend but until that time, I personally wonder what the future holds. I hope I'm wrong but I see death by a thousand cuts coming.

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#37
RE: Max Brand
(03 Mar 2021, 1:26 pm)tyresmoke Wrote: I think the major issue here is the 'decline' seen since the money tap was turned off at the very top, ie Deutsche Bahn and the ongoing saga of attempting to sell/float (don't know what the current situation is!) the Arriva group across Europe. Until this is concluded the investment is seemingly not happening and with an ageing fleet, poor reliability looms and more cuts seem to be the only way to solve it at present. If DB can find a buyer (at a price they want, which seems to be the sticking point) then you may see fresh ideas and money to spend but until that time, I personally wonder what the future holds. I hope I'm wrong but I see death by a thousand cuts coming.
I think short term, there will no doubt be cuts to the major trunk service frequencies out of Blyth & Ashington.

Longer term if sold in units, I'd love to see GNE take the Ashington operations on.

Transdev would also be good for Redcar & Whitby.

#38
Max Brand
This is what happens when DB purchased Arriva, all profits are used to upgrade and maintain their own transport infrastructure in there own country,and to maintain the UK bus side there asking for handouts from the UK government, this is what happened when the government stripped them from northern rail , it’s ashame the uk government could do the same to there buses in the UK, DB asking to much for the bus side and only selling as a job lot and not individually, since there realised there couldn’t sell as a job lot then there turned to floating it on the stock market.


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#39
RE: Max Brand
(03 Mar 2021, 6:32 pm)L469 YVK Wrote: I think short term, there will no doubt be cuts to the major trunk service frequencies out of Blyth & Ashington.

Longer term if sold in units, I'd love to see GNE take the Ashington operations on.

Transdev would also be good for Redcar & Whitby.


I'd like to see any of the operators try the odd new route and challenge another company's area maybe.

Once things reopen, people will looking to make the most of the summer and have trips out to the coast. Arriva could consider extending from Scarborough to the holiday camps, Filey and Bridlington as a limited summer service. Scarborough & District now part of Go North East could try competing, have the odd run through to Whitby/Middlesbrough, connect with their X9/X10 and promote some day returns.

I suspect not much will happen, but if I was in charge I'd at least be considering any numbers of ideas that get people back to using buses, or attract new customers. The decline in the industry may be inevitable, but I think without trying new things - which could be ticket offers, not just new routes - the decline is pretty much certain to continue.

#40
RE: Max Brand
(04 Mar 2021, 10:25 am)tvd Wrote: I'd like to see any of the operators try the odd new route and challenge another company's area maybe.

Once things reopen, people will looking to make the most of the summer and have trips out to the coast.  Arriva could consider extending from Scarborough to the holiday camps, Filey and Bridlington as a limited summer service.  Scarborough & District now part of Go North East could try competing, have the odd run through to Whitby/Middlesbrough, connect with their X9/X10 and promote some day returns.

I suspect not much will happen, but if I was in charge I'd at least be considering any numbers of ideas that get people back to using buses, or attract new customers.  The decline in the industry may be inevitable, but I think without trying new things - which could be ticket offers, not just new routes - the decline is pretty much certain to continue.

I disagree with this personally it never ends well and just leads to cheaper fares, horrid price wars and one of the companies losing out which never helps the operators - good for passengers though while it lasts.

Imo buses need to go the opposite way where the operator is irrelevant like with trains with the option to purchase tickets which go across multiple companies. For example if you get on a bus at Blyth for example and want to go to Scarborough one way, you can purchase a single all the way through and can use any bus to get there with a journey planner online which will tell you how to get there and what buses you need to use - even possibly only allow the tickets to be bought online before you even board the bus. Make the fact whether its GNE / Stagecoach / Arriva / Gateshead Taxis etc irrelevant otherwise it creates invisible barriers to travelling between areas.