Is there scope for a new bus service in the area?
The piece of coursework which I have chosen is ‘A’ – ‘is there scope for a new business in the local area? ‘ The business that I have chosen is a bus. It will operate in the winter as a normal service bus but in the summer it will be quite different. It will operate on a route taking it past or very near major tourist attractions, beaches and through the main areas for hotels. I will generate profits by selling tickets for these attractions, perhaps offering a guided tour both in the day and at night, advertising the attractions both inside and outside the bus and offering a simple bus journey in the winter.
I have chosen to do this topic as I was a conductor on the model village bus in the summer of 2000 which operates in a similar manner to the bus I shall set up. Thus, I have contacts with the company which ran the bus: Celebration Travel. My father worked for Wallace Arnold which operated yet another similar bus in the area. He is another contact. I also saw this as a way to interact with members of the public during my fact-finding missions which I thoroughly enjoy. In order to assess the feasibility of this idea I shall conduct a number of tests and investigations.
The first will be into procuring the vehicle. I was thinking of an old London Route Master for approximately ten to twelve thousand pounds. It should accommodate approximately 65 people in addition to the driver and conductor. I plan to scour the internet and specialist magazines such as Coach and Bus Week (CBW), Coach Tours and Bus & Coach Buyer. The second will be a number of practical tasks in Torquay. This will include questionnaires for the public, the taking of photographs, foot counts and looking for premises for the bus.
The third will be an interview with a representative from Celebration Travel to find out how they ran their service with the Model Village and the costs involved with running such a business. I will also be able to find out what licences I will need to run a bus an well as what insurance. The bus that I intend to buy will be an old London Routemaster (see photo in appendices) . They are the old, double-decker buses that used to travel around London. They used to be owned by London Transport and are sold off to private groups when they are obsolete or for a multitude of other reasons. They can be bought in the region of i??
10,000 to i?? 12,000. During the mid 1950s,it was decided to replace London transport’s old fleet of Trolleybuses with a standard type of diesel engined bus which would give greater flexibility in operation. As a result, London transport developed the Routemaster, a bus with a varying capacity (the one I have chosen being 69 (36 upstairs, 28 downstairs and 5 standing)) which could move passengers quickly through the bust London streets. The actual chassis was made of state of the art materials at the time which gave the added benefits of being easier to control and it uses up less fuel.
The bus needs a compliment of two crew. There is one driver and one conductor. Should the bus be hired out for an extended period then both crew could be drivers who swap roles as government laws dictate. Passengers board the bus by a platform at the rear. This is the primary point of exit in the event of an accident. There are also easily breakable windows upstairs which can be used. The total fleet of over 2,700 buses was slowly brought into service between 1959 and 1968. I managed to get the information on the buses form the London Bus Company website.
I was sent some information on different types of buses (see appendices) from the company but I had already made up my mind. The London Routemaster would be the ideal bus. It has a large capacity which would prove useful in the summer. There is also the added benefit of how bold and eye catching the bus is. The majority of buses in the area are white, approximately 30 seaters operated by stagecoach. These are single deck and are as common as muck. The bus I shall choose is a massive 69 seater, 8. 395m in length, 4. 382m high and 2. 426m wide. It is also bright red.
It does, however, loose some of the nostalgia value of the Model Village’s 1964 replica of a 1908 design Leyland LGOC type B bus. But it is still very eye catching. This will lead to me being able to charge higher prices for advertising (externally that is). They can hold 69 passengers. Assuming a full compliment of passengers, which is very likely in the height of the summer, each giving me up to i?? 5. 00 gross profit (sales turnover minus costs of goods sold) would come to around i?? 350. That would be the money they give me minus the costs of the tickets. Say a ticket was bought for one adult to go to Bygones (ticket cost i??
2. 00 and are sold for i?? 3. 50) and to the Model Village (cost i?? 2. 60 and told for i?? 3. 90) gives a gross profit of i?? 2. 80. Although I dare say many people are likely to be charged extra for the sight seeing tour and for tickets for other attractions slightly farther afield such as Neptune cruises (a company offering cruises along the coast to Teignmouth and Dartmouth) and to Paignton Zoo (as the name suggests, a zoo) and possibly attractions further inland such as Becky Falls (a waterfall near Chudleigh) or Woodlands (an adventure area / park near Dartmouth).