London buses finally catch up with Derby’s

London’s famous red buses are to catch up with Derbyshire’s 23 years after trentbarton pioneered colourful branding of services.

The capital’s Mayor Sadiq Khan has announced London bus routes are to get tube line style colour coding to make it easier for passengers to get on the right bus.

It’s an innovation first made in Derbyshire in 1994, when trentbarton’s spondon flyer was given a distinctive brand name and colour codes to indicate different directions of the route.

In another pioneer move, spondon flyer was the first brand to carry trentbarton’s famous money back guarantee. Customers could ask for an on-the-spot refund if they were not satisfied.

After privatisation in 1989, public transport was in decline due to the rise of private car ownership. Bus services had complicated routes and random numbers to indicate their destination.

The spondon flyer got its name in 1994 after trentbarton researched what people wanted from buses. The answer was clean, friendly, frequent buses that were easy to use. By making the services eye-catching and distinctive, trentbarton boosted use of public transport.

Jordan Kemp, marketing & communications manager at trentbarton, said: “spondon flyer really redefined local bus services. After listening to our customers, we pulled out the stops, literally, to make spondon flyer a fast, comfy and friendly alternative to the car.

“We had no idea how customers would respond to this innovation, but the ‘after’ research was impressive. When we asked 200 non-bus users about their local bus, every one of them could recall the new name.”

After the success of spondon flyer came the rainbow routes numbered one to six. They have evolved into rainbow one, the two, the threes, i4, indigo and the sixes. Fast forward to 2017, and there is now a rainbow of 40 colours used – reds, blues, greens, yellows, oranges, pinks, purples, black and grey.

The designer Ray Stenning at Best Impressions took transport livery to a new level and extended trentbarton’s service branding to every square inch of the vehicles, including the interior elements such as flooring and headrests.

Jordan added: “It’s nice to see that where trentbarton leads in Derbyshire, London follows. Making public transport a colourful, visually appealing choice has long been second nature for us.”

trentbarton’s routes and colours are at: trentbarton.co.uk/bus-information/route-list