So successful have been the new nines since their relaunch in May 2009 that timetables are being extended. And research shows the brand to be an outright winner. A birthday party has just been held in Ripley and passenger numbers are still growing despite recession.
trent barton Marketing Manager, Sarah Taylor celebrating the nines 1st birthday with MANGO man and Martin Sharpe, probably one of our youngest customers on the route...
The relaunch last year injected twelve brand new buses complete with designer interiors and leather seating. The frequencies from Sutton to Mansfield were properly regulated and greater emphasis placed on East Midlands Designer Outlet at Junction 28 (twice hourly). Derby was also seen as a bigger draw thanks to the new Westfield Centre, although like the Designer Outlet, too many journeys were being lost to the car - so our extended 9.3s fast to Derby took care of that and became instant winners.
So much so that the off-peak extras which were put in back in October for the Christmas build up became a permanent feature in the new year - and now rush-hour extras have followed. We are also running a brand new Sunday service on the 9.2, every half hour through to Derby. Although a Sunday contract service has run, the introduction of the 9.2 means that trent barton ticket holders (especially MANGO and FRIO) will have a greater choice.
Research has shown just how well the new nines have been received, as Brand Manager Daren Gough told us:
"Almost 300 people took part in the research, and we found that nearly one in ten was a new customer, while 45% told us that they were now using the bus more often.
"The new buses in their Designer style with leather seats, are an enormous success, scoring well over 90% in votes - right up there with friendly drivers - always a hit on this brand.
"Value for money came in at a whopping 80% and in fact only Sundays and the condition of bus shelters came in for any criticism. We will never ease up the pressure on councils to improve shelters, but doing something about Sundays is under our control - so the new 9.2 is our response".