Transdev redesigns buses through market research

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he operator’s upcoming fleet of 30 Optare Versas will feature a specification informed by an extensive market research programme

New Optare Versa fleet expected to arrive this summer

Transdev Burnley is investing £4.6m in a new fleet of 30 buses for its Mainline network.

The new vehicles are to be built by Optare and will be launched in Summer 2017 on Mainline routes serving Burnley, Colne, Nelson and Padiham.

The new vehicles will feature design details which have come directly from customers who took part in a far-reaching market research programme.

Transdev Blazefield CEO, Alex Hornby, said: “No-one knows better than our own customers what makes an amazing journey – they travel with us every day, and they’re best placed to tell us what they want from their buses.

“No motor manufacturer would design a new car without thinking long and hard about the features most likely to attract buyers, and so why would we possibly design our new Mainline buses without capturing the views of our customers from across Burnley and Pendle?

“We knew the only way to come up with a new fleet of buses that our customers will really love using was to put their ideas centre stage – and they’ve done us proud with some fantastic ideas, as well as a firm reminder about basic requirements too.”

Transdev launched the ‘Make My Mainline’ programme, harnessing social media by inviting Mainline customers to follow and tweet @burnleybuses to share their ideas with hundreds of commuters who check its social media for latest travel updates each day. Online surveys also offered the added incentive of a chance to win in prize draw for everyone taking part.

Alex added: “It’s relatively easy to come up with a new bus, bought ‘off the peg’ from one of the big manufacturers that offers standard design features which passengers have come to expect nowadays. We started with the already very successful and popular Optare Versa single- decker as the basis of our new buses, and then we decided to invite our customers to tell us what they most wanted to see on-board.
“Some of the wackiest ideas suggested to us included amphibious buses that could drive along Pendle Water, or having coffee machines and baristas on every bus.

“But we found out that most of our passengers really want fast, free and reliable WiFi, at-seat USB power points and more wireless charging points, which are now expected as standard.

“Perhaps surprisingly, the demand for more basic things like better legroom, a bright and well-lit environment, a place to rest belongings and even a bigger litter bin all rated highly in the survey – all of which have led to enhancements on these new Mainline buses, compared to previous models.”