A Cannock update

Wednesday 23rd June 2021

Following the recent post describing my travels between Cannock and Telford with D&G Bus’s new Chaserider branded route X14, I received some feedback from Centrebus/D&G Bus owner and bus industry entrepreneur, Julian Peddle, who’d leapt into action to pursue my reported lack of information at Cannock bus station and why I hadn’t found timetables that had been printed for new route X14 to Telford and Oakengates.

I’m delighted to report Cannock bus station now has very helpful “Where to board the bus in Cannock Bus Station from 21 June 2021” posters in the empty cases together with a splendid colourful network map of Chaserider’s bus routes in the Cannock and Stafford areas.

Timetables for the new route X14 have also been installed at the new McArthurGlen Outlet in Cannock …

Julian also confirmed timetable leaflets are printed and available for the whole network served by D&G Bus/Centrebus from Luton to Leicester, and he kindly sent me a set.

And very good they are too, folding out to give a network map, bus station guide and route listing on one side together with some timetables…

… with the rest of the timetables displayed on the other side with information about how to track your bus and use cashless ticketing with a mobile.

The same format and layout also applies to the other brochures for Stafford, Leicester and Luton.

There are also leaflets for route X99 to Alton Towers and the new X14 which I sampled on my trip a couple of weeks ago.

These give details of each service including fares and a timetable for the X99 and a timetable, route map and a ‘2for1 offer’ for admittance to Weston Park for the X14.

Well done to everyone involved in their production. It’s great to see a bus company seeing the value of printed material to make people aware of the routes they operate with an aim of enticing passengers on board.

On the same day the postman delivered Julian’s leaflets I also received a bundle of printed brochures promoting First Kernow’s Adventures By Bus range of services which are now out and being distributed.

Also sent was a copy of the “Cornwall local bus guide” to the services operated by First Kernow, which includes timetables, ticket prices and a couple of splendid network maps. It’s a very useful and colourful production and I’m sure will be welcomed by the thousands of tourists flocking to Cornwall this summer.

As I’ve commented before, it’s a shame that some coordination of information with the tendered network operated under the Transport for Cornwall brand hasn’t been possible for this summer, but maybe that will develop later in the year.

If only Cornwall Council would commission Best Impressions to produce an ‘integrated’ comprehensive map and guide to both bus networks.

At least printed information is available. There’s a disturbing trend among some bus operators to cease production of timetables and maps using the “it’s all on line” mantra as a lazy cop-out. This really is a short sighted approach and will do nothing to win back passengers.

There’s never been a more important time to be producing and distributing enticing printed marketing material to encourage passengers. Merely expecting potential customers to seek out information on a website is not going to do it..

Also delivered to my door this week with my pinta delivery was the latest edition of a regular colourful publication to encourage me to buy more products from the doorstep delivery company, Milk & More.

The whole Milk & More operation is now an online business with customers ordering and paying for goods through the company’s website.

It’s no longer possible to leave a note out for the milkman (or woman). Everything is now a click operation. But that doesn’t stop Müller, the giant international dairy company which owns Milk & More, from producing and delivering a full colour brochure with splendid photography to entice me to make more purchases in addition to a pint of milk.

Everything in the printed brochure is also listed online, but Müller sensibly don’t leave it to me to find products. They encourage and entice me through their brochure leading me to their website to make the purchase.

There’s a few bus companies out there who could learn a thing or two from Milk & More’s approach as well as the excellent examples set by Centrebus and First Kernow, and, thankfully, many others too, who do ‘get it’.

Roger French

10 thoughts on “A Cannock update

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  1. I’m recently back from a holiday in Manchester. It’s amazing that TfGM don’t get it with their current “scorched earth”, no printed publicity policy, meaning rack upon rack of empty timetable dispensers in most of their interchanges. In Bolton this occupies an entire wall. If this is what taking control of the local bus network means for the future then good look to Andy Burnham. He’s going to need it
    However, there is a “rogue” operator (I use this term in an endearing way) on his patch who are still filling up timetable racks at least in Rochdale Interchange with their excellent brochures, namely Rosso who being part of Transdev very visibly do “get it” as well.


  2. Sadly Centrebus operations at Grantham don’t have any publicity like you describe. The bus station has not displayed any timetables since March 2020 for there services. When you contact there Head Office in Leicester you get told it’s all on line!! Back to that cop out.


    1. Most bus operators are still in the Stone Age when it comes to communicating with their customers and your comment doesn’t surprise me in the least. But they’ve had 35 years since Deregulation to prove the private sector can do it better. Few have done so. Now, it’s over to the likes of Andy Burnham and Tracy Brabin, with Baroness Vere of Norbiton chipping-in from the sidelines.


  3. Wonderful publicity for the new Chaserider operation. Some of the same attention to their Potteries operation would be great, hard pressed to find an accurate roadside timetable anywhere on the network and no hope of a map or anything remotely commercial and enticing.

    D&G seemed to be coming into its own a couple of years ago with a spurge of colourfully branded commercial routes, innovative service tweaks and always a ready supply of timetable books in the luggage rack. Things have been slow to return post-pandemic compared to what they’ve demonstrated is possible at Cannock. They risk becoming the Potteries’ ‘other bus’, simply operating the scraps falling from First’s table – rather than having their own cohesive network.

    The break up of their 14 group of services into an incomprehensible jumble is a shame, especially as 6 out of the 7 buses employed on the replacements are from the associated companies of D&G & Select. I did a very rough working out of a 7 bus diagram that provided the same links as the current set-up as well as including Hanley route 43, doubling the frequency on service 24 and restoring a regular service to the Saxonfields & Meir Hay estates, plus re-introducing a partial Stone town service.

    I’ve noticed a considerable increase in traffic at all times of the day competes to 2019 as something close to normal life resumes. I really worry a car-led recovery is well underway in Stoke, with the local authorities deeply uninterested in public transport for many years. I’m part of the problem – I drive everywhere. The bus stop at the end of my drive (the next closest one a 25 minute walk) was due to be served by a revised D&G service 94 which was abandoned as lockdown first hit and hasn’t been changed since. The stop was built to serve a humongous distribution centre and business park but has never seen a bus call.

    I really admire anyone involved running a bus company at the minute with and wouldn’t want to be in their position; I maintain it’s great to see Chaserider flourish, but hopefully not at the expense of D&G.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m happy to report in a recent trip to Keighley I managed to pick up leaflets for most of the bus services there alongside a full leaflet from dalesbus detailing all of their services which is great to see


    1. Now remind me, which Transdev company operates the bus shop in Keighley bus station? Oh, The Keighley Bus Company of course!


  5. On a visit to Seaford on 8 June the tourist information centre had copies of the London Buses March 2016 maps for Central, North West and North East London available, as well as a selection of local Stagecoach bus timetables.


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