On Wednesday, Coach & Bus Week reaches its 800th edition...
Has Coach & Bus Week bounced back? Less than two years after Rouncy Media took it over, has this long-standing weekly trade rag made up any lost ground?
CBW’s probably the best designed bus industry weekly, leaving aside the once quirky feel it adopted for a while. There are usually a number of good product, operator and personal profiles and test drives, plus a useful regional news round up. The magazine feels much "fatter" than it used to. It also arrives first each week, a day ahead of its principle competitor, though this can be a double-edged sword as its early press day means it can miss the news as well as get it out first.
The CBW team has gone all-out to bring it back to where it once was. How, though, does it compare to its main rival, routeONE? Here's how they compare this week.
|Coach & Bus Week No. 799||routeONE No. 198|
|Established||Over 25 years (as Coachmart)||Four years|
|Strapline||"Serving the needs of the coach & bus operator"||"Number one for PCV professionals"|
|Price p.a.||£69 p.a.||£69 p.a. (first copy free to operators)|
|Circulation||Not stated||5,870 copies|
|Publishing frequency||Weekly (51 issues)||Weekly (51 issues)|
|Also get||Annual industry directory, monthly tourism supplement, monthly Minibus supplement||Access plus (bi-monthly). Twice yearly contact directory, monthly tourism supplement and annual coach drivers' yearbook with paid-for subscription|
|Format||A4 full colour||A4 full colour|
|Pages this week||64 pages||76 pages|
|With this issue||Two free 92 page A5 workshop health & safety guides||19 page A4 bi-monthly Access Plus supplement|
|News and Editorial||14 pages||9½ pages|
|Tours news||2 pages||0 pages|
|Legal news/Legal features||2 pages/2 pages = 4 pages||2 pages/1 page = 3 pages|
|Product news||1 page||½ page|
|People news||1 page||2 pages|
|Columnists||1 page||½ page|
|Personal profile||4 pages||0 pages|
|Features||2 at 4 pages each = 8 pages||1 at 2; 1 at 1; and 1 at 3 = 6 pages|
|Tests||0 pages||1 at 3 and 1 at 4 = 7 pages|
|Deliveries||2 pages||2 pages|
|Display advertising||8½ pages||21 pages|
|Classifieds||18 pages||22½ pages|
|Off-beat||1 page||½ page E&OE|
CBW carries a four page interview with First UK Bus' Leon Daniels, an analysis of Arriva UK Bus financial performance, four pages on Kent's Fastrack and, rather unusually for a trade journal, four pages on Showbus.
A brief analysis of the news items carried by the two shows that, excluding a page of CBW’s Irish stories, CBW had some 62 news items to routeONE’s approximately 50. Only about eight news items appeared in both journals. routeONE featured nine new deliveries to CBW’s six, but this time around they were all different. Similarly, product news can vary. If you are looking for vehicles, routeONE has more trade classifieds and each of the two seems to attract different display advertisers (though Ensign Bus, for example, reaches both).
To get the best weekly rounded picture of the bus and coach industry, the safest conclusion therefore is that you need to be prepared to receive both products. But as the number within the coaching side of the industry continues to fall, can there be room in the future for two such publications? And the fact that routeONE is free to operators gives it an awful lot of appeal...