Bournemouth hit the national news today—as the town likely to be the first in England to require *local* telephone customers to dial the full 01202 code ahead of the usual six-figure subscriber number. This is thanks to a shortage of lines in Bournemouth, Poole, Christchurch & Wimborne Minster which, in turn, reflects demand following the significant economic growth in the area. Locally, the Echo reports that this will allow new six-digit numbers beginning with “0” and “1”.
Meanwhile, in more important news, Yellow Buses revealed it will gradually roll out a “new” RATP livery, first used on its 1B/1C Christchurch-Bournemouth-Poole service with the arrival in June 2011 of its Volvo B9TL/Eclipse Gemini 2 double decks.
The in-house design comprises a giant stylised seashell on plain yellow, one that then becomes exaggerated over the rear wheel arch. Views on the livery on the 1B/1C range from “at least it’s still yellow” to a shrugging of the shoulders to positives that it reflects the town’s seaside heritage. Few people seem to wish to pass judgement on the livery. Perhaps that’s because it isn’t anything like ubiquitous enough, quite yet. Or perhaps because it’s still yellow (a condition of the sale into private hands) so they see little real difference.
Since Yellow Buses was sold to previous owner Transdev, Bournemouth people seem less concerned about the livery of their buses than had previously been the case. Livery modifications of the past, even seemingly subtle ones, had provoked a reaction of some kind. Angst was at its highest when Bournemouth Transport deigned to paint its rears out of yellow—the very thought. This unnecessary and surprisingly negative reaction confirmed Bournemouth had a rather conservative attitude. At least it showed that Bournemouth people took an interest in its operator. Now, the buses no longer substantially belong to the people and, while more are using them, they seem less vocal.
The new design sees the end of the attractive 2006 blue and green leaf effect which, though most definitely last century, was nonetheless attractive. It played a considerable part within a wider package of measures in giving the operator a more modern image and in reversing the fortunes of this once traditional municipal. It seems finally to have played its part.
Out, too, goes the marketing concept of images of real people (with their white borders) that adorned some buses.
The revised design bucks something of a recent trend in that it’s (a) simple in application and (b) doesn’t rely on a Best Impressions or a Stenningesk lookilikey approach. As a result, some might call the revision stark. Others, though, would say it complements Bournemouth’s perfect beach holiday resort atmosphere exactly.
What do *you* say?