#AYearOfBuses 4: i4 Nottingham – Derby

i4 bus on Old Market Square, Nottingham

Born out of pure Trent Barton ‘Rainbow’ pedigree, i4 (Nottingham – Sandiacre – Derby) is 4th on our list for #AYearOfBuses.

Of course, it was only natural we’d choose i4 to take the number 4 spot – it was the subject of our very first ever article here on Transport Designed, way back in 2012.

The route itself is a fairly bog-standard, well-performing interurban trunk route connecting two major East Midlands cities, run these days with a fleet of new Enviro200MMCs. But for us, it’s that pedigree, that philosophy and that history of the brand from where the interest lies.

Before i4, we had its turquoise-coloured predecessor, Rainbow 4. 

Rainbow was a Trent and Barton initiative taken in the early 1990’s, aiming to give the customer exactly what they said they wanted, with a dedicated team of drivers, the famous ‘money back guarantee’ and of course, fully branded, route-specific buses. Forward time almost 15 years, to 2012 when we published our original article on i4, and then-Commercial Director Alex Hornby, said of Trent Barton’s brand strategy;

‘I call it the Cadburys effect. Cadburys refer to their products as WispaCrunchie and Dairy Milk. They’re all in different coloured wrappers…and are instantly recognisable. It’s the same with our brands’

‘The moment Cadburys’ start calling their chocolate bars “chocolate bar number 43”’, remarked Alex, ‘is the moment when we’ll have another think about what we’re doing…’.

In 2012, Trent Barton evolved the Rainbow concept – enter i4.

With a fleet of brand new and bespoke Optare Tempo SRs, accompanied by a huge media campaign, the aim was to evolve the theory, refocusing their commitment to the customer and to the original values of the company. The launch campaign focused heavily on putting the customer first – from the branding, to the logo change, to the public photoshoots to the faces of the new brand.

Take a look at our 2012 article on i4 (trent barton: a lesson in brand management) here.


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