is there an elephant in the room with selling 'the bus' as a brand?

Stagecoach is the main operator in my hometown of Gloucester, where they run both Gold and standard services.

The Gold service has low emissions, comfy leather seats, USB sockets, wifi, and smartly dressed drivers alongside a bespoke livery - meaning they're a flagship bus for the operator. Cost for a Dayrider (best value for a Tuffley to city centre return journey) is £3.70 on the app.

Now let's move to another part of the city. The buses in the likes of Matson are standard fayre, and to say they vary in quality, by comparison, would be an understatement. You wouldn't have to worry about slipping off the leather seats or needing your phone charger if you get my drift.

Cost for a Dayrider (best value for a Matson to city centre return journey) is £3.70 on the app.

So there you have a consistency in price but massive inconsistency in the quality of product you'd get in return.

Whether you like it or not it's a scenario that is repeated up and down the country and this inconsistency becomes the massive elephant in the room when selling 'the bus' as a brand.

Growing any brand requires customers to be treated the same way and customers to receive the same product, no matter where they come into contact with it. It's for that very reason Mcdonalds spends millions ensuring a Big Mac looks the same and tastes the same in Peterborough as it does in Peterlee. They know consistency removes the fear of the unknown. If you're hungry in a strange city, why would you take a chance on a restaurant you know nothing about when everyone understands what they're getting with a Big Mac?

We all know there are some operators with better reputations than others - the standard of buses, attention to detail, dealing with customer enquires etc. They set the benchmark. Unfortunately, that benchmark is seldom achieved with any regularity throughout the rest of the country.

And herein lies a massive problem if you're trying to build a brand.