Premier have followed up their cancellation of the Red Flyer with a marketing campaign to encourage regular users to pay to maintain the service. In an interesting move, they have suggested that 75 regular users pay £70 per month / £17.50 per week, to stem the £1000 per week loss that the service is suffering.
First, to quickly analyse that figure. The service is approximately 20 return journeys a day. So the loss is approximately £4 per single journey. One or two extra passengers per single journey would make up the loss. The real issue, however is the looming winter period.. The coming months will see a lower patronage as the old NCT service has historically shown.
For this reason, Premier have made a good move, the regular passengers probably is its only chance. If they “pay up” the offer is, that if the service returns to profit, they will see fare reductions later (but if it doesn’t, won’t it simply get cancelled again?)
A further aspect of the post is to canvass ideas where these extra passengers may come from:
The key to saving the service also hinges on getting more people to use the service so let us know where we are missing a trick in promoting the service.
My initial thoughts are:
- A few poor decisions at the onset. Using Broadmarsh as a terminus and neglecting Nottingham Station lacked convenience. These decisions were later reversed.
- The fleet (in true Premier style) was lacklustre. The coaches in random liveries were damaging, buses lightly branded for other routes (even from time to time using Nottingham University Hopper branded vehicles), and the Enviro 200 “spares” gave a feeling of inconsistency. Better branding and better buses could make a difference.
- I’m sure they have an answer to this one, but is every journey loss making? If not can the service be better tailored to its base usage (travel to work?). Is 24 hour actually feasible?
- There has been a feeling that Red Flyer is a direct competitor to Skylink. Whilst the Yourbus style “on street competition” may be an adrenaline filled experience for newcomers to Nottingham, Red Flyer is Premier’s own route. To develop it, working with Trent Barton may add value. Joint ticketing, for example could cushion the blow of the cancellation of overnight services. On a service which is a little “lean” cooperation can be a saviour.