This category focuses especially on the development, operation and promotion of bus services especially for our rural areas - whether targeted at residents or visitors.This award is designed to reward schemes that encourage or promote the use of bus services in rural areas. The versatility of the bus needs to be exploited in rural areas for many reasons including:
- Minimising the environmental impacts of increasing leisure and tourist travel
- Providing access for local residents who do not use cars
- Providing increased access to the countryside for those who do not use cars or wish to leave them at home
- Reducing congestion in many of our scenic and tourist areas.
This award will attract entries which:
- enhance the attractiveness and use of existing services
- provide innovative service designs and marketing
- provide innovative and attractive products for visitors and tourists
Although manay rural bus services will always require external support, nonetheless they must be shown to represent value for money and tested against alternatives. Entrants MUST therefore include evidence that demonstrates the effectiveness of their project.
Winners: Norfolk Green and Norfolk County Council
In an area where public transport had all but collapsed 30 years ago Coasthopper has grown both in size and reputation to the point where it is seen by many people as a tourist attraction in its own right.
Coasthopper is operated by Norfolk Green on behalf of Norfolk County Council and actually consists of three interlinked routes between King’s Lynn, Hunstanton, Wells and Cromer a total distance of 50 miles. The service is also designed to link with trains from London, Cambridge and Norwich.
With a summer frequencies of every 30 minutes and hourly during the winter, the Coasthopper carried over 270,000 passengers last year and now in its 14th year of operation continues to go from strength to strength.
Now supporting a fresh new image, new low floor buses and improved timetable and greater value fares, 2009 is set to be another bumper year.
Coasthopper represents all that is good for both the North Norfolk coast and for rural transport generally and is testament to the dedication and enthusiasm of all who work to make this route the success it is.
Runners Up: Arriva North East
for Coast and Castles Connection
Coast and Castle connections offers a new and improved bus service to passengers wishing to access the North Northumberland area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Responding to visitor surveys Arriva have increased frequencies including a commercial Sunday service, which operates all the year round. Improved links from Newcastle, Morpeth, Alnwick to the coastal area and onto Berwick are included in a revised timetable.
Operated by four new low floor buses and supported by extensive door to door timetable leaflets and tourist office distribution, new ticketing offers including discounts at the areas top three tourist attractions has resulted in a passengers numbers soaring by 43%.
Clearly this initiative is meeting its objective of reducing car trips in the AONB.
Brighton & Hove City Council
Breeze up to the Downs
Breeze up to the Downs is a partnership to promote inclusive sustainable access to rural leisure destinations. A recent study concluded that Breeze is the most popular of all leisure bus networks in Britain, carrying the greatest number of people and compared to similar leisure services, Breeze attracts a younger age profile, higher numbers identifying as Black and Minority Ethnic Groups, a higher proportion of women and a higher proportion of people accompanied by children.
Stagecoach East Midlands with East Yorkshire Motor Services for
Humber FastCat is the distinctive brand new look for the low floor accessible bus service through the rural villages between Scunthorpe and Hull on an improved thirty minute frequency. It has rejuvenated the public transport market by making buses fashionable, fun and attractive for young people, convenient and quick for commuters, and easier for older and disabled people.
Bringing 'Vitality' to Reading Buses
Reading Transport Ltd
In 2008, Reading Buses noticed five of its rural routes had reached a 20% year-on-year decrease. By consulting with customers, new plans for the routes were hatched. In April 2009, these services were relaunched and branded: 'Vitality', which has brought energy to rural bus travel. The first four weeks of operation have seen a 13% increase in customers.
Who could be nominated?
Entries were welcomed from operators, local authorities and others specifying and securing services, partnerships and tourist agencies.
...and by whom?
Nominations were accepted from all eligible organisations, and self-nomination was acceptable.
Criteria and Entry Requirements
The judges will be looking for entries which demonstrate how buses in the countryside have built patronage and improved access. Decision will be based on the quality of the submissions made, and the extent to which they address the criteria.
Entry submissions should therefore:
- Describe the services or schemes (e.g. fares and ticketing, enhanced marketing) involved.
- State whether a partnership was involved. This may include service specification and financing and any interested bodies, including local authorities, local bus operators and other commercial organisations or user, leisure and tourist representative groups.
- Show how environmental impact was minimised.
- Describe the objectives set for the initiative.
- Describe how:
- needs and the potential needs were assessed, including details of market evaluation and customer research
- potential customers were informed of the improved or new product(s)
- interest in, or desire for, the product(s) was facilitated.
- Indicate the methods used to measure:
- the progress made towards meeting the objectives,
- overall patronage, and
- the impact of marketing campaigns before, during and after the initiative
- State whether any changes were made as a result of the monitoring.
- Supply statistical evidence showing the results of the initiative in terms of patronage, revenue or other appropriate indicators, and modal shift.
- State whether the results are likely to be sustainable.
- Describe any future plans for further development.
- Include any relevant supporting material.