Trains rebranding labelled waste of cash

COMMUTERS have hit out at the re-branding of train operator One, which they say is “a waste of money” that could be better spent on upgrading its service.

COMMUTERS have hit out at the re-branding of train operator One, which they say is “a waste of money” that could be better spent on upgrading its service.

But One said the re-brand is not just about changing liveries and logos and will allow it to invest more money in its operations.

One's parent group, National Express, yesterday officially announced plans to go ahead with a new company-wide brand, linking its coach, bus and rail operations, that will see One be renamed National Express East Anglia.

The move will see conductors issued with new uniforms and the livery on the trains on all lines around East Anglia changed to National Express East Anglia, starting from around February.

The re-branding of National Express, Britain's joint second biggest transport operator, is expected to cost hundreds of thousands of pounds.

Commuters in Suffolk have labelled the move “a waste of money” and say they expect improvements to “out-dated” trains to come first.

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Regular user Nigel Bryan said: “I think this is a huge waste of money re-branding this company; the money could be better spent on improving the service and renewing the 20- plus-year-old trains that run on the mainline.

“As a regular commuter I don't care what the company's called, I just want a reliable, comfortable service.”

Another commuter, who did not wish to be named, but uses the Ipswich to Liverpool Street service, said: “It is a disgrace. They should invest more in the actual trains rather than just changing the name.

“I travel on Virgin trains as well and they are really good but our current trains are their old ones and they are terrible. You would not drive a 25-year-old car to London everyday.”

However, Andrew Chivers, managing director for One, said: “Our transition from One to National Express East Anglia is a logical step as part of our parent company's brand development and their drive to make travel simpler for customers across the UK.

“The introduction of the new identity will coincide with additional investment in customer-focused enhancements designed to further improve our service standards and build on this year's improvements in punctuality.”

Jonathon Denby, One's head of corporate affairs, said the change was all about achieving higher standards through an expectation of consistency across a single brand, as is currently seen with market leaders, such as the big supermarkets.

He said marketing a single brand would be a more cost effective approach and the re-brand was not just about changing the logo and liveries on the trains, which would be done as part of the natural cycle of refurbishment.

“There is no point in us spending lots of money just changing all the trains over night. They will be phased in so it will be costive effective and not have a negative impact on the service,” he said.

But he admitted this would mean a mix of liveries for some time, with Great Eastern liveries from four years ago still operating.

He said East Anglian customers would still continue to use the customer service line in Norwich to buy their tickets, but the plan on the web was for “a single portal” site.

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