Following his popular first post, Oneman continues his look at Premiere and Trent Barton. Omnibuses welcomes contributions
Nottingham’s infamous bus war between Trent Barton and Premiere makes its way to East Midlands airport from today. The exact reason is unknown (speculation is rife) but Trent Barton has registered a commercial Skylink service, resulting in the current subsidised Nottingham City Transport service being scrapped.
Photo by Ginga PerryAll seemed good—Trent Barton would get all the passengers from two services, the Loughborough branch of Indigo and Skylink, onto one bus. But then Premiere decided to intervene. They will run “The Red Flyer” along the current Skylink route, using coaches on an hourly frequency, from the 23rd March, deliberately starting on a Friday, to overlap with NCT. So, who will win? Let’s look at the benefits of both services:
The last thing you want to do after catching a flight is to hang around waiting for a bus. For this reason, Skylink’s 30-minute frequency has the upper hand, although Red Flyer has a 30-minute frequency during peak times.
RedFlyer wins this time, with a journey time of 43 minutes compared to Skylink’s 55 minutes
A bit hazy, owing to the variety of tickets on offer, but overall a RedFlyer win. A RedFlyer two trip is £3.50, which has no expiry date. A Trent Barton day return is priced at £5 and an open return at £8. Skylink will have an £18 ten-trip ticket and RedFlyer’s 7-day ticket will cost £14. £5 zigzags can be used on Skylink after 9am though, allowing connections from all around Nottingham and Mango will be available, giving a 25 per cent discount on those prices.
Purely opinion based here, but Skylink’s a clear winner. Skylink will use Scania/Wrightbus Solars in an attractive, Ray Stenning-designed blue livery. RedFlyer will use all over white coaches with quite basic branding; previous images suggest that the coach’s previous National Express livery hasn’t been properly removed. The fact that Skylink is a well-known name and is also given to the Derby/Leicester service will help.
Other Areas Served
Another Skylink win, fast buses to Long Eaton will compete with Red5, and special 10 trip tickets are available Long Eaton to Nottingham for just £10. NCT’s Skylink relied on trade from Clifton; people would catch the next NCT bus from Nottingham to Clifton, Skylink or Navy Line, owing to eligibility of tickets. This will no longer be the case; combined with NCT “sewing up” the gaps left by Skylink will make RedFlyer suffer.
RedFlyer has a pre-booking service, good for peace of mind if you’re taking large groups to the airport. Skylink will be fitted with free on-board wi-fi, a major bonus for business travellers.
Overall, Skylink seems to be the more likely to thrive, in my opinion. East Midlands airport really isn’t that big, services need other areas to sustain them, hence why the last Skylink needed subsidy. Only time will tell, but if one service is to survive, I think it will be Skylink.