Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Two years, £500,000 and 178 pages to tell us that we want our trains to be on time and uncrowded!

It was the biggest-ever study of overcrowding on Britain’s railways, taking two years and costing the taxpayer £500,000 as commuters were secretly filmed as they struggled in to work.

But last night the 178-page report for the Rail Safety and Standards Board was condemned as ‘an astonishing exercise in rehashing the blindingly obvious’ – for revealing people are happiest when trains are on time and they can sit down.

To nobody’s surprise, it concluded passengers avoid situations ‘where they are likely to be pushed and shoved’ and that they ‘choose to position themselves away from others to maintain a space around them and minimise discomfort’.

They ‘often seek out suitable seating in preference to standing’, and ‘their emotional state before the journey can affect their tolerance towards others’.

Another less-than-astonishing finding is that putting belongings on a seat discourages others from sitting down, and that commuters are likely to be in a better mood in the evening than the morning because they are on their way home.

The consultants concluded people are likely to be in a ‘positive emotional state’ if their train is punctual and announcements are audible and comprehensible, and in a ‘negative’ frame of mind if the service is late and no one tells them why.

read the full story here

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Leather seats and wooden floors on a bus?

A BRAND new fleet of luxury buses has taken to the road to cope with passenger demand on one of the main corridor routes operated by Transdev Yellow Buses (TYB).

The buses, which boast leather seats and wood-effect floors, can carry up to 66 passengers and cost £1.5 million. To date, TYB has taken delivery of six vehicles with the remaining five expected to be in service by the end of May.

Jenni Wilkinson, TYB’s Head of Marketing, said: “It is no exaggeration to say that passengers love the Versa. We soon discovered that we needed a larger version to satisfy demand.”

If only more buses were like this. No wonder they're proving popular, they're nice! It would certainly make me more likely to get a bus if they were like this in Swindon.

Just a shame that the livery really shatters the illusion. Ouch.

Web-only rail discounts condemned

It is "unacceptable" that low-cost rail fares are easily available only to those with internet access, MPs say.

The House of Commons Public Accounts Committee said people without use of the internet or time to search should have the same access to low fares.

Train operators said fare structures had been simplified and that tickets could be bought in a variety of ways.

The Public Accounts Committee report said that while the Department for Transport (DfT) set requirements for service frequency and punctuality it did not measure rising car park charges, complex fares and overcrowding.

Chairman Edward Leigh said: "It is unacceptable that you have to have access to the internet to get the cheapest fares.

"Those without such access, without time to search or who travel at short notice are stuck with paying through the nose.

"Fare structures should be easy to understand and the cheapest fare for a journey should be publicised and readily available at station ticket offices."

click here to read the full story

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Katie and Peter get the Virgin treatment

Firstly I'll appologise for posting yet another Virgin Trains ad. But hey, they're good.

They're tapping into the tabloid mania over the marriage break-up of Katie Price and Peter Andre, with a tongue-in-cheek press ad.

I love the clever Hello and OK? references in the text.

Friday, 15 May 2009

What a load of bull, or should that be dachshund?

The bus manufacturer Solaris has commissioned a new mascot – a green dachshund. I kid you not.

Just in case you're wondering what the hell a green dog has to do with a bus, here is Solaris chief Solange Olszewska to explain.

"The green dachshund is long like a bus and it has short legs, reminiscent of the easy access of our low-floor buses. Our buses are fuel-efficient like the dachshund's small appetite. Its green colour stands for the green credentials of our buses and the dachshund's legendary fidelity mirrors our loyalty towards our customers.

This is a prime example of the marketing bulls**t that is prevalent throughout our industry.

Do you honestly think that the average passenger would look at the dachshund and think 'oh yes that obviously means easy access, fuel efficiency, eco-friendliness and customer loyalty?

No, he thinks why the hell is there a green dog on the side of my bus, which (more importantly) is late again?

Good product offerings build strong brands. Logos and branding don't.

What do you think?

Thursday, 14 May 2009

Robbie Keane ridiculed in cheeky train advert

I know it's a couple of months old but, I've just found this really great Virgin ad and thought I'd post it.

Robbie Keane has already had plenty of stick over his quick escape from Liverpool.

The striker left Tottenham in a £20million deal last summer, only to return to White Hart Lane earlier this year.

Keane has been the butt of jokes over his amazing U-turn after just six months on Merseyside.

But the Irishman has now been ridiculed in the advert by Virgin Trains for their Liverpool to London service.

Fashion used to get more women on to two wheels

Sustainable transport charity Sustrans has produced a year-long campaign to get women cycling.

The charity's campaign includes a new website – www.bikebelles.org.uk – which offers practical advice on how to look good while cycling.

Now I've heard it all.

Being a Lycra-wearing cyclist myself (don't laugh), I know the importance of being comfortable on a bike. It's the most important thing.

The website give useful tips such as 'Longer skirts can be clipped in the middle with a clothes peg' ...and this campaign is supposed to be about looking good?!

Do me a favour. The reason why cyclists wear Lycra shorts is because it is best thing to wear! You wouldn't go to the gym in a long skirt and high-heeled shoes would you? (hold on that's a good idea to get more women going to the gym).

Gina Alcock, Sustrans events officer, said: "We want to encourage women, and men, to get on their bikes and to show them it is possible to cycle in whatever you're wearing.

"We're really keen to show that whether by wearing heels, your favourite skirt or by putting flowers in your hair, cycling can be beautiful.

"Many of us girls tend to worry that by pedalling to work, to the shops or to see friends we'll arrive in a mess, but that's hardly ever the case.

"Cycling is one of the easiest ways to get fit and feel good – and there is no need to compensate on style."

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Train journey could take 18 hours

A train company's website has caused confusion among its passengers buying tickets for the Bank Holiday weekend.

Northamptonshire-based East Midlands Trains advises its passengers to take an 18-hour trip on trains and buses from Kettering to London.

Usually the journey would take about one hour. But the website has not taken note of the replacement services following engineering works. A two-hour replacement bus service is being finalised, a spokeswoman said.

The suggested 18-hour route would have taken passengers through Derby, Crewe and Rugby before a five hour wait in Milton Keynes.

A spokeswoman said: "This is not something that we would ever recommend to passengers nor would we expect a passenger to use.

"The timetable for services on Saturday 23, Sunday 24 and Monday 25 May is currently being finalised by Network Rail.

"Once this timetable is available, it will give East Midlands Trains passengers the option of travelling between Kettering and London St Pancras via one replacement bus service and an easy transfer onto a train between Bedford and London, taking less than two hours in total."

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

A bus stop with BIG impact

More information needed at bus stops!

A recent survey by Passenger Focus has revealed that people aren't satisfied with the amount of information that their local bus stop provides.

This reinforces our own findings during our bus-to-work week – if you aren't a regular bus user getting hold of the correct service information, quickly and EASILY, is a nightmare.

The survey results were as follows:
If you live in England, outside of London, are you satisfied with the amount of information provided at your local bus stop?
  • 76% No, more information needs to be provided.
  • 18% Yes, there is a satisfactory amount of information.
  • 6% I don't know how much information is available.

Monday, 11 May 2009

New Virgin Trains TV ads

Virgin have produced two new TV spots with the tag line "Where do you want to be?". As usual for Virgin the ads are very well done, and have really strong soundtracks. Nice.

P.s. Can you spot Richard Branson in one of the ads? Answers on a postcard.