So, did you even read what I posted?!
I pointed out a hybrid system that would solve this problem.
- Unlimited bookings until 5pm like at the moment, Aircoach can then arrange for extra buses if needed.
- Continue to allow for bookings after that up to the number of seats still free on the number of coaches available for that time.
Pretty simple really, I'm not sure why that is hard to understand?
GoBE should also implement the same sort of system. That would also allow them to put extra coaches on for events like Croke Park, etc. Actually there is nothing to say they didn't anyway. Knowing how busy that day was, there is nothing to say that GoBE didn't put on extra coaches and simply increased the number of seats to book online from 50 to 100, etc.
So who do you ring to say I need a coach and driver in an hour because it's busy?
Private operators don't have busses sitting idle it's that simple it takes advance notice to arrange.
So today I used the new 1600 airport to cork direct service (i.e. the one that now starts in town and goes to the airport to go to Cork).
The price for a single journey has been raised by 1€ to 19€ but if booked with a return journey that leg has been lowered by 1€ to 9€ so that the end result is still 28€ for a return journey.
We left the airport 15 minutes late as the bus only arrived at 1600 and the driver has problems loading the webpage which shows him the passengers.
We arrived at 1924 in Cork after there was a lot of traffic on the M50 and then M8 at points, however giving that previously it would have been nearer to 2000 to arrive the new routing was nice for me.
Again, clearly not reading what I'm saying. Operate a hybrid model:
- Until 5pm the day before, allow unlimited bookings (or up to whatever number they feel comfortable that they can easily get extra coaches for with 24 hour notice). Now lets say you now have 75 bookings, they call around to the various contractors to get a spare coach. They now have 100 seats available for that time between two coaches, with 25 seats spare (lets say 50 seats per coach to keep the example simple, I know it differs between coaches).
- After 5pm and up until an hour before departure, allow those 25 seats to be reserved online. Once those 25 are gone, close the bookings online then (obviously this can all happen automatically).
Pretty simple and the best of both worlds with maximum flexibility. It is a little of the current Aircoach model and a little of the current GoBE model.
Certainly I think that the Aircoach system can be improved but operational and financial concerns will come in and this is why you see few bus operators will operate the hybrid system that you propose, if it was so simple everyone would be doing it but yet none of the big operators do.
I think that GoBe have great customer service, great engagement on social media though and they are far better with this side of thing and always have been than Aircoach. Don't get me wrong Aircoach are ahead of where they were in 2012 as far as that is concerned but GoBe still far better and I think that is pretty plain for everyone to see!
Aircoach recently lost what some regard as one of the best commercial and operational minds in the industry. They've gained someone with operational experience but new ideas and more focused on technological change and the customer experience even if they don't have the commercial knowledge of who they replaced (hence why they are recruiting a commercial manager).
In the last few months they've made their website mobile friendly, launched a coach tracker which is based on the leading coach tracking software in the UK, rolled out new ticket machines, new on-board tracking devices and had software custom designed for the first multi-currency contactless system which probably wasn't cheap.
According to this interview as well, they are still very much in the middle of change so it's possible you'll see a little more flexibility with ticketing once it's complete
The article also mentions that we're going to see a new fleet of coaches from Aircoach, so hopefully the renewed competition from GoBe can help to keep both operators on their toes, since I don't think it's unfair to say that until quite recently, Aircoach had somewhat rested on their laurels and came a little bit complacent with their dominance of the route which was reflected in the lower spec vehicles etc.
GoBe are executing their strategy for the new services well at the moment though, they've not got into the self yield destroying tactics that happened 6 years ago where they cut the price too much and Aircoach easily saw them off and they had to retreat with their tail between their legs. Plus as said before, Aircoach are vulnerable right now, without the commercial experience they had in the past and the fact the person who knows their business inside out for the last decade is now in the BE/GoBe camp.
If GoBe were ever going to make serious inroads into the market share of Aircoach, now is the best chance in the last few years to do it and those chances don't come around very often, so when presented with them you need to take them.
There was a caller on Red FM complaining about GOBE loading and unloading passengers on the road at Patrick's Quay. The problem is that the tour coaches park on the space designated for GOBE.
It is not really sustainable long term for GOBE to loading and unloading on the road at Patrick's Quay at certain times of the day.
Aircoach have a strong brand and good reputation built up on the Cork route. They will continue to be the dominant player on that route.
Oh, that is interesting. Any rumours on what they might be? Just newer Panthers or perhaps something a bit higher spec?
I don't think the panthers are a bad coach, but if GoBE are upping their game, then perhaps something a little better speced would keep them in front.
I was just reading about the Plaxton Elite-i overdecker the other day, sounds like a very nice coach, would be nice to see it here.
It can be hard to tell from the outside, but they do feel a bit busier since they moved out of the bus stations. Still far off full or up to Aircoach yet.
To be honest, they will need to do a lot more to compete with Aircoach. The Volvo's seem to be only ok too, nothing mind blowing, but you can certainly tell they are hand me downs from the Galway fleet. A few years older and a bit rough around the edges. Power plugs rarely work, etc. Nothing like Dublin Coaches maintenance issues, but just seems a bit sloppy if they intend to compete on such a busy route.
Don't get me wrong, still much better then BE and I still take them more often then not due to the more flexible booking options. But the Cork route still fells a bit immature, both Aircoach and GoBE.
Yes, I experienced exactly that this weekend, both arriving and leaving. Both times the coach had to stop on the outside road to load/unload due to tour coaches parked in their spot! Definitely not good.
The issue is due to the works for the new bridge at the Quay, some of the tour coach parking bays have been closed for the building work and rather then parking over on their newly designated street, then are just parking in the GoBE spots!
BTW it wasn't me on Red FM complaining!
Coaches parking/loading/unloading on the road is nothing usual along there.
What should probably be done is to make the whole left side of that quay coach parking only, as roughly the lower half of it has cars,but then again there will probably be calls for a cycle lane there as well.