Yellow bus, school, parents, transport, safety, students, brand, operating, environment, recognition, passenger, journey.
Most people in the UK will have seen yellow school buses in American films.
It is one of the classic icons of American culture, representing a child-centred world in which children's safety and well-being lie at the heart of community values.
With the help of mass communication channels, such brands have become part of popular culture and are instantly recognised worldwide. This recognition helps firms to introduce their product in countries where it has yet to be experienced directly 'for real'.
In the USA, First Student, the company's USA school bus operation, transports over 1 million students to and from school each day in 36 states.
As its name suggests, the company aims to be 'First' in the transport market by providing the best and most comprehensive service to consumers.
Before going ahead with a new venture, organisations need to assess the business environment. A useful framework for doing this is a PEST analysis.
This examines the political, economic, social and technological factors that make up the business environment and indicates just how favourable they are.
Currently parents' school runs in cars account for around 20of urban morning rush hour congestion.
The government wants to cut traffic congestion and to see the number of car journeys to school reduced. This involves creating bus lanes, providing better buses, introducing more convenient ticketing arrangements, planning better routes and frequencies, and operating a customer-friendly service.
In the UK, bus travel has experienced 40 years of decline, but there are signs that the market is picking up.
Parents, however, have been reluctant to change the way that they transport their children to school because of the perceived safety of the door-to-door nature of the car journey.
However, buses are much safer than cars and the yellow school bus is designed to be one of the safest vehicles in passenger service.
Recent official surveys showed that parents who drive their children to school would consider switching to a high quality school bus service.
So there is a clear opportunity for the Yellow Bus, which can provide an integrated school transport system that will:
- ease congestion, improve air quality, speed traffic flows and promote public transport
- reduce child road accidents
- create a more secure environment for travel and enable children to become more independent
- provide a disciplined start to the school day that also provides early warnings about truancy
- help parents by accepting responsibility for taking children safely to school
- support the transport aims of local government.
As a result of carefully reading this case study, students should be able to:
- explain the importance of having a recognised brand
- describe why and how the Yellow Bus is so easily recognised in the UK
- identify the need for a safe and environmentally friendly school transport system
- describe the role of parents, students, school managers, local authorities and the regulatory framework in shaping the demand for school transport
- understand the four main elements of a PEST analysis
- explain the importance of research and piloting in launching an existing brand in a new market/country
- identify key service features of the Yellow Bus service
- explain why Yellow Buses for the UK market cost more than twice the price of their USA counterparts.