Catch the Bus Week
This week has seen operators across the country join in with campaign group Greener Journeys’ Catch the Bus Week. Running from 28 April to 4 May, the initiative is aimed at promoting bus travel. Almost 100 bus operators, passenger organisations and local authorities are running events, ticket giveaways and community engagement projects across the UK.
As part of ‘Catch the Bus Week’, Cardiff Bus has been encouraging travellers to make the switch from the car to the bus as part of the scheme. The operator has teamed up with Cardiff Metropolitan University, which has been urging staff and students to take the bus instead of drive during the event. It has visited Victoria Primary School in Penarth to discuss the importance of sustainable travel and it has also been posting information on its social media channels informing people of the benefits of catching the bus. Cardiff Bus will also be encouraging passengers to Tweet ‘bus selfies’ using the hashtag #catchthebusweek.
Nottingham City Transport (NCT) has been supporting ‘Catch the Bus Week’ by working in partnership with other local operators, The Big Wheel Nottingham transport organisation and Nottingham City Council. It has held the Easyrider Challenge, with the passenger that used their Easyrider cards the most during the week winning a free month’s travel. NCT ran an information event at the Victoria Centre retail facility and a ‘bus selfie’ competition.
Throughout the week, Stagecoach has been running a number of initiatives, including the ‘Face of Catch the Bus Week’, a call to the public to send in their own stories about why the bus is important to them. It has also held competitions and ‘Meet the bus’ days to encourage local businesses and the public to use the bus more. Also, as part of Catch the Bus week activities, Stagecoach has invited local MPs to hold their local constituency surgeries on board buses in key locations.
The Go-Ahead Group supported ‘Catch the Bus Week’ in a number of ways. The Group’s companies have been ‘hosting’ buses in town and city centres, with staff on hand to talk about local routes and services. Morebus will be giving away 100 free tickets in Poole Town Square. Bluestar, together with Southampton City Council, First and Stagecoach will be giving away free tickets to first time travellers and holding an event with a celebrity chef. The company will also have an online promotional offer for existing bus customers. Salisbury Reds is hosting a bus in the city square, giving away 100 free tickets and offering existing passengers an online discount on ‘the key’ smartcard. Plymouth Citybus is offering 10% off a special mobile ticket with an additional 10% going to charity for every one sold. Oxford Bus ran online daily social media competitions, with free tickets and merchandise giveaways as well as promotions at their High Street shop.
Go-Ahead Group’s Go North East operation is holding social media competitions to win mobile tickets. It has been joining up with Stagecoach and Arriva to host local events. Metrobus will be running daily competitions and mobile tickets flash sales via social media, as well as having giveaways at key stations and town centres. Brighton and Hove MP, Simon Kirby, has hosted his weekly surgery on a Brighton and Hove bus. The Brighton operator is offering free tickets to first time users from the town centre and at key bus stops in the area. Anglian bus and Konectbus have been giving away free tickets and will be promoting events in and around Norwich.
In partnership with First Scotland East, Local Government and Planning Minister, Derek Mackay, promoted the launch of ‘Catch the Bus Week’. As well as the operator, Derek was joined by representatives from Falkirk Business Improvement District (BID) and Scotland’s Towns Partnership in Falkirk’s town centre for the launch.
Derek Mackay said, ‘Good bus services help tackle congestion in town centres and make it easier and economical for people to get to work or the shops. Successful bus services need effective partnership, between operators, local authorities and others. That’s why Transport Minister Keith Brown launched the Bus Investment Fund last year to support partnership working and improve bus services across Scotland. I very much hope that some of the applications in the next round will have a town centre focus.’