With so much happening at The Trent & Barton Motor Traction Co, I’ve thought about renaming this blog http://trentbarton.blogspot.com/. Forgive me for a third post on matters from Heanor but things are developing quickly. And, as befits industry watchers, opinions are split.
From this...On Saturday, Premiere Travel announced via Facebook direct debit customers could have 28 days worth of travel for £30. Said Premiere, “Now that’s cheaper than any imitation cheap bus”.
... to this. Spot the differenceOn Monday, Wellglade countered by morphing its 99P bus into “Bargain Bus”, halving fares from 99p to 50p. Out went 99pbus.co.uk in favour of hastily registered bargainbus.co.uk.
Now, I’m prepared to consider that Midland General’s 99P was aimed at “market segmentation” but with this latest development, that prospect looks increasingly less likely. Does such a move confirm the true intention behind Wellglade’s registration: old fashioned competition?
Opinions, via Friday’s post’s comments box, certainly varied. On the one hand, there are those who suggest that Trent Barton is facing its first major across the board attack since the area first saw Gilbert Kinch, more than a decade ago. Wellglade had thus far not reacted, but in the face of increasing competition must now do so. To do nothing would be a sign of weakness to be exploited.
On the other hand, there are those who felt that Wellglade was effectively setting a Competition Commission trap into which the entire industry would fall. “Bargain Bus” was nothing short of predition. Predictions were that “Bargain Bus” will last just as long as it needs to. It was a very 20th century response, even down to a week’s free service beginning this week, ahead of the main launch.
Where, then, does the modern industry draw the line? Venturer made the point that competition has arrived “precisely because the high quality service provided by Trent Barton has grown the market to the point where a competitor sees a large enough customer base for two operators”.
How will the Competition Commission view this and the response?
One commenter hoped that in the process Wellglade wouldn’t destroy its reputation. Welglade is at pains to distance its cheaper competition from the work it’s done at Trent Barton. Interestingly, 99pbus.co.uk and bargainbus.co.uk domains websites were registered by the Trent Motor Traction Co Ltd.
As if to emphasise the difference, “Bargain Bus” uses the 24 hour clock on its printed publicity. Yet, this is not a novelty for Wellglade. So, your starter for ten is, what other pure-Trent Barton product uses a 24-hour format timetable? Round the clock Kinchbus’ Skylink doesn’t count.