Fun With Bus Route Branding

A fun little article on How to brand or rebrand our bus routes

One of the key parts of the Department for Transport’s National Bus Strategy is local branding based on community focus instead of operational needs. At present, there are some examples of best practice with Transdev and The Go-Ahead Group marketing its bus routes under memorable names. So much so that passengers are able to remember their bus routes by name instead of number.

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Leyland Titan, Trans-Lancs Vehicle Rally, 2013.

Bus Back Better: Towards a Second Bus Renaissance?

With the possibility of bus franchising in Greater Manchester and improved local networks, has the government fallen in love with our buses?

There are four things that the creator of this blog shares with Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, otherwise known as Prime Minister Boris Johnson MP. One of them is a lackadaisical approach to haircare, plus we share the same horoscope (both myself and the PM are Geminis). We also have impeccable taste in doggies with Jack Russell Terriers. The fourth one is a love of buses.

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Holy Island, 2015

A Northern Wake-Up Call: IPPR North Report Confirms Westminster Failings

How COVID-19 has intensified inequalities in Northern England

This week, IPPR North’s report The State of the North has confirmed what many Northerners have known since the height of Thatcher’s term in office. With Brexit and COVID-19, the North-South divide has grown dramatically – to a point that the gap between South East England and North West England could be akin to that of West Germany and East Germany prior to reunification.

Before last week, one of the few things that set Northern England apart from the South East of England was consigned to history forever. If you wanted to know where the North of England really began, it was at the most southerly terminus of a rail service that was served by Class 142 Pacer units. With franchised buses as part of a fully integrated transport system, Greater London feels like another planet compared with Greater Manchester.

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Middlesbrough Transporter Bridge, 11 October 2009

What Has the North Done For Us?

Quite a lot to be honest!

Middlesbrough Transporter Bridge (widescreen)
The iconic Middlesbrough Transporter Bridge

Imagine a world without Northern England. It would be a dull place devoid of The Beatles, iconic suspension bridges, daft footballers, and railway lines. Prior to the late 1970s, we were the manufacturing heart of the world. We built bridges, ships, made cutlery and built the world its locomotives and carriages. Today, most of what manufacturing capacity we had has been eviscerated by London-centric governments and globalisation. Prior to the mid 1980s, we kept most of our country’s power stations ticking over and our houses warm, before they closed down the pits and started importing its coal.

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Hyde North station by Rept0n1x, 2013 (Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported)

Rose Hill Marple Rail Services Saved From Temporary Axe

People power helps to save important rail service that links Hyde with Marple

From the 14 September, rail passengers in Hyde, Woodley and Marple would have been left high and dry by temporary changes to their rail service. In just over a week’s time, there would have been no trains from Rose Hill Marple apart from a once weekly parliamentary service. This would have meant more traffic congestion, little scope for social distancing on alternative routes, and more finicky journeys.

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Eton College Entrance

How COVID-19 was a Foil for Gerrymandering our ‘A’ Level Grades

Algorithm used to favour Eton over Eltham, Harrow over Harlow, and Millfield over Middleton

If you wish to better yourself, I urge you not to be Northern, working-class, nor a former pupil of a bog-standard comprehensive or academy in an impoverished area. That it seems is the message we are getting from this year’s ‘A’ Level results. A staggering 40% of results were downgraded from the teachers’ predictions at each College of Further Education and Sixth Form Department.

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“The Next Train Will Not Be Calling At Un-Fairfield Station…”

Outrage as staffing issues sees cessation of train services at Tameside railway station

Prior to seeing its franchise being taken over by the Department for Transport’s Operator of Last Resort, Arriva’s Northern operation was noted for its staffing issues. Tameside’s rail passengers were at the sharpest end of Arriva’s staffing issues, as Stalybridge to Manchester Victoria trains were cancelled and replaced by buses.

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Rishi’s Meal Deal: Let Them Eat Luncheon Vouchers

Midweek meal ticket plan offers no real deal for families hit by Coronavirus

In the last two days since Chancellor Rishi Sunak made his Summer Statement, I was reminded of two things. The first was a children’s television programme which inspired two stunning C64 games. The second one was a more contemporary reference: a radio advert for Confused.com with references to cheap carbonara. In the advert, there is some confusion over cheap car insurance deals or cheap pasta meals.

I shall focus on the latter reference as few people under the age of 30 would have heard of Junior Kickstart. (Unless they have Half Man Half Biscuit’s This Leaden Pall LP where it is mentioned on the final track, Footprints). Kickstart (as in Sunak’s future employment programme) may be dealt with in a separate East of the M60 post.

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Stalybridge Old Band getting ready for their deportment march.

Don’t Forget our Brass Bands!

East of the M60 hopes brass band music isn’t forgotten by HM Government funding pledge

On a normal Monday night, I would be writing a review of the previous night’s concert at Boarshurst Band Club. Since lockdown, The Mecca of Brass Banding has been quiet, leaving a significant cultural void in the hearts of brass band players and concertgoers.

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SV and GMT face mask image

Face Masks to be Made Compulsory on Public Transport

Face coverings compulsory from the 15 June in England

If you haven’t already ordered a face mask or face covering like the genius behind East of the M60, now is the time to buy one. Especially so if you make your daily commute on public transport.

In today’s COVID-19 statement from the Houses of Parliament, Transport Minister Grant Shapps stated that all public transport users in England will have to wear a face covering. He also stated that the face covering could also be purchased or made at home. (Some posh folk like this gentleman could go for a custom-made one, manufactured in the UK by Contrado).

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