The role of marketing in quality bus corridor promotion
2008-09-05T09:07:49Z (GMT) by
Quality Bus Corridors are being implemented in towns and cities throughout the British Isles in order to improve the image of the bus and to boost patronage, with a view to meeting local and national transport policy objectives such as reduced reliance on the private car. They commonly consist of bus priority measures, improved vehicles, enhanced waiting environments, better information and, sometimes, enhanced service frequencies. The purpose of this paper is to examine the importance of the marketing of the QBC concept to the achievement of its objectives: are infrastructure and services enough, or will careful marketing increase awareness of the QBC and hence its overall effectiveness? To answer this question, the paper considers empirical experience of QBC implementation in one smaller and two larger urban areas in Britain – with its largely deregulated bus system – and the Republic of Ireland. Based on interview data from local authorities and operators, and on other unpublished information, comparisons are drawn between the QBC experience in Perth and Edinburgh in Scotland and Dublin in Ireland. The British examples are of interest because of their creation of an overall image for bus travel – through Greenways in Edinburgh, and “Kick-Start” in Perth. Their Irish comparator has invested in vehicles and infrastructure, with less attention paid to the overall image of the QBCs. The paper will assess whether this is important, or not.