Winning New Customers 2009

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This award is designed to recognise radical initiatives which increase patronage and demonstrably attract car users to leave their car at home and use the bus.

We are particularly looking for schemes that aim to achieve modal shift, so the category is broader than the ‘Bus Marketing Campaign’ Award. The winning entry will be the one which, in the opinion of the judges, most contributed to improved perception of the bus in the eyes of non-users.

A double decker on the Go2 West Bridgford routeThe Winners: Nottingham City Transport

for  Go2 West Bridgford – Introducing a Vehicle So Advanced You Don’t Even Have to Drive It

The campaign was built around the investment of £3m in a fleet of 22 new buses to serve the West Bridgeford area, with new features deliberately designed to mimic modern car specifications and to minimise the environmental impact of the route. The launch featured a vibrant new livery, a dedicated marketing campaign featuring a range of different activities including print and broadcast advertising, sponsorship, e-marketing and door-to-door mailing. The result is that up to 41% of passengers using the routes have a car alternative available, and growth of 8% has been achieved in a year, of whom 65% quoted the campaign as the reason for their switch.

The judges greatly admired what they considered to be a model campaign, using a range of individual initiatives to build a consistent approach. The results in terms of both overall growth and modal shift was very impressive indeed.

RUnners Up:Translink

for Putting the Friday Fun back into Bus Travel

Part of Translink's witty campaignThe redesign of Belfast’s bus network and the launch of Metro in 2005 has led to a 20% increase in passenger numbers in the city. Translink’s ongoing strategy is to persuade more people to use the Metro network, and this campaign was designed to deliver real and sustainable business growth by changing attitudes and converting trail use into loyalty, and to reinforce stakeholder relationships by promoting public transport as a key driver of economic sustainability and social inclusion.

The campaign used a variety of marketing tools including advertising on bus stops, in store changing rooms, pubs and clubs, commercial radio, local and regional press. PR and campaign techniques were also used. The result was an extra 500,000 users of the network – and a 6% growth in bus use after 1900 on Fridays.

The judges admired this integrated campaign to a tightly defined target market, which built on the excellent growth seen in the wider network since its relaunch four years ago.

Highly Commended

The new fleet lines up in DerbyArriva Midlands for We are Derby

Having identified the potential for increased patronage in Derby, in 2008, Arriva Midlands embarked on a £7m investment in the city.  There were a number of issues to address, however, and the need for a very innovative communications plan, in order to achieve the 8% increased patronage target and a 10% increase in revenue - along with a modal shift.  Not only were the targets met, in some areas they were doubled.

First Glasgow for Fancy a Spin?

An innovative approach to the launch and development of a new all-day high-frequency express bus service in the Greater Glasgow area has seen a dramatic increase in passenger numbers, modal shift in an area where traditionally the car is king, and improved satisfaction and customer loyalty.

The team that runs the ULink serviceWessex Connect for the Ulink Bus Service

Since September 2007 the Ulink Service has formed a vital part of transporting students and staff to and from the University of West of England (UWE) from various areas of Bristol.  Over the last two years PVR has gone from 7 to 17 buses per day, with some 1.5 million passengers carried and a reduction in car use from 35% to 22%.

One of the new double deckers on the X2 serviceStagecoach North West for Stagecoach X2 Preston to Liverpool

Stagecoach launched Service X2 in June 2006, to further enhance the existing bus service on the route between Preston and Southport and providing new links through to Birkdale, Crosby and Liverpool.  The aim was to encourage new commuter and leisure journeys as well as linking with new destinations and establishing a strong identifiable brand, which has seen 820% passenger growth.

Who could be nominated?

This category was open to operators, local authorities, partnerships or other organisations participating in the securing, marketing or promotion of registered local bus services.

… and by whom?

We welcomed nominations from customers, local authorities, user groups or bus operators. Self-nomination was acceptable.  

The Criteria and Entry Requirements

The judges were looking for successful innovative promotional ideas which got the message about bus services over to the target market by advertising, PR activity or sales promotion schemes.  A successful nomination for this award needed to demonstrate:

  • development of an original or novel idea, which breaks new ground in promoting the bus the extent to which the initiative:
    • informs potential customers
    • stimulates interest in, or desire for, the product
    • provides customers with access to the product
    • the objectives achieved or the lessons learned

Entrants needed to:

  • 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 

Inclusion of statistical evidence, particularly of any modal shift achieved, was regarded as essential by the judges.

The TEG logoThe UK Bus Awards scheme is organised by The Bus Industry Awards Limited, a company registered in England & Wales No 3332837.

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