I was going to wait with writing this article until First Leicester had completed their roll out of the colour-coordinated buses but I decided to write it now as, to be honest, I have seen enough and it has made my eyes hurt too much.
A few years ago First Leicester had the bright idea of colour coding their routes. Their bus maps now resemble the London Underground Tube Map. When they had this bright idea they decided to paint a strip around the bus of the colour of the route (as well as flashing it on the destination board). As someone with a vision problem I could live with that as I could see the destination of the bus on the destination board.
Fast forward to the present day. In their great wisdom First Leicester have decided to take this idea one step further (and a step too far if you ask me).
The first I saw of this new phenomenon was when an eye-shatteringly bright yellow fronted bus passed me as I was waiting on Charles Street. I had no way of finding out the destination of the bus as the brightness of the yellow had all but hidden the destination board from view (is it me or have the new buses got smaller destination boards anyway?). Helpfully painted on the side of the bus was the number 54 - the route number of this particular bus. I wonder what will happen when they run out of buses which have been painted in the correct colours for each route and one breaks down???
I had been hoping that First Leicester would have toned down the brightness of the colours as they rolled more buses out on different routes. No such luck. So far we have Yellow, Blue, Green and Orange having been rolled out – none of which colours make the destination board easy to see. (Even those people with “normal” sight have a problem seeing the destination boards on the coloured fronts.) For me catching a First Leicester bus on any of the coloured routes has turned into a guessing game where I have to know which way the bus is pointing in order to attempt to work out its destination.
As someone who – through no fault of my own – relies on buses to get me from A to B, I would actually like to know where the bus is going before I get on it without having to either consult a coloured route map or speak to the driver.
In the future I will attempt to avoid First Leicester buses and find a route operated by an alternative bus company.