Love Your Tram / Love Your Bus (but not your shelter)
Blackpool Transport Services have adopted the theme 'Love your bus' on their marketing and information materials, as well as the new ADL double deck buses now transforming the town's services as they edge out the previous fleet branding of black and yellow on Tridents and Solo vehicles.
With the pending new tram service to Blackpool North visitors may be forgiven for not quite grasping that the trams are part and parcel of the same operating system as they enter the terminus facing the railway station precinct. Indeed the mix of Blackpool Council sombre black and purple trams with the dual livery of the bus fleet (not to mention Catch22Bus vehicles) is entirely confusing for non-residents. The trams being owned by the Council (and not the Operator) have a measly vinyl label discretely posted on the lower panels noting the tram service provider - and that is as far as it goes.
Love Your Bus : Blackpool Transport Services Ltd and its image branding in action :
Given the Company's desire? to provide a seamless interchange and integration of its services along the Fylde coast - it must be worth pursuing a parallel makeover of the tram fleet (the light rail one that is) with similar exhortations and branding - 'Love your Tram' from 2019 when the extension is expected to open to Blackpool North.
At the same time a strenuous effort should be put in place by the Council's officers to do something about the dreadful condition of bus shelters which are a blot on the streetscape, with exception of the later glass edifices attracting yobs and stone throwers. Blackpool must now have the most depressing and dilapidated clutter of run down, dirty and broken bus shelters in the country. One would have thought that by now the Council might have grasped whatever nettle is preventing this situation to be rectified. Its all very well and good pointing to the introduction of the expensive glass panelled versions now on the promenade and at some other bus stops in town - but the vast majority of bus shelters are now well past their shelf life and are doing this Council and the town's image no favours whatsoever. At least the tramway has seen its platform shelters given a makeover to strengthen their structural condition - but even these are grey, monotonous and depressing installations not worthy of a premier seaside resort and its light rail line. However they came with the package and there is not much to be done at this point. No doubt the same knock down bargain basement design will be similarly installed on the extension. The Council should take and extremely large leaf out of Blackpool Transport's imaginative marketing and branding team - and assign their professional talents to this now urgent 'bus shelter replacement' challenge. Love Your Bus but Not Your Shelter ?