Thanks to Humber Transport for pointing out that the new timetable for Premier’s Red 5 has been published on Derbyshire Count Council’s timetable download site.
Most notably, the daytime frequency between Long Eaton Green and Nottingham has been increased to every 10 minutes. 3 per hour continue to New Sawley.
This improvement, added to the recent extensions to the number of early and late buses Monday – Saturday leads to a surprisingly complete service. The strengthening loadings on this route, appears to have driven these changes, now that the “fare wars” have vanished.
I can’t decide if Red 5 has genuinely grown usage on this route, something which Long Eaton Express never managed to do, or whether it is simply a shift of patronage from Indigo. Indigo’s loadings still appear to be good.
So where now for Red 5? I can’t see a great deal of scope for further frequency improvements – perhaps a couple of later runs on Sundays, but that is about all that is left. One area of weakness that remains, and it is evident across Premier’s network is the inconsistency of the fleet. The same trip could easily be delivered with a double decker one day and a solo the next. A fleet of better branded, similar vehicles would certainly lift the brand.
As far as Trent Barton are concerned, I’m not sure I can see what options they have left to contain the Red 5. It is probably too late to resurrect the Long Eaton Express, and that may well cannibalise patronage from Indigo anyway, and Skylink seems to be seen as having a separate purpose.