Monday, September 26, 2011

“About Us” Evaluation: Peter Pan Gets an A

Peter Pan is one of America’s largest privately owned intercity bus companies, carrying over 4 million passengers per year in the Northeast on Peter Pan, ShowBus, BoltBus and other lines. Founded in 1933 in Springfield, Massachusetts and still headquartered there, it has been run by the Picknelly family for four generations. The company's main About Us page is here.


Our one criticism Peter Pan’s site is technical. When its pages print, the tabs turn into a vertical list of links. People who print the pages will sigh in exasperation at the extra sheets of paper this requires.

Personality: A

Peter Pan’s Company History page is not full of bells and whistles, but it’s well laid out: broken into paragraphs with headings and with well-chosen photos. More importantly, its content is fascinating. It presents the company history as the history of four generations of the Picknelly family, noting coups such as providing the bus service for Bill Clinton’s 1992 whistle-stop tour and introducing e-tickets for buses.

We were impressed by the novelty of having the mission statement at the end of the company history. In that context, we can see how the mission has ruled company policy: it’s not a pie-in-the-sky statement.

The management page doesn’t tell us anything about the people who run the company, but it does make it clear that Peter Pan is still a family-run business.

Products/Services: A

The reason for acquiring each major bus line is explained in the history. We applaud this as an excellent way to mention what each line specializes in. We also like the fact that Peter Pan’s best drivers, the ones who have driven over a million miles without an accident, are showcased in the Safety and Drivers page. For good measure, customer testimonials are scattered throughout the site as well as on the Testimonials page.

Accessibility: A+

The Contact Us page is always available via a link at the upper right. We were pleasantly surprised to see the Mission Statement filling most of the page, with the email form tucked in at the right side. Many people would not bother to click on a separate Mission Statement page, but including the statement here, when customers are about to contact the company, helps remind customers about reasonable expectations for bus travel. (The company motto since the 1930s has been, “On time if possible with safety … late if necessary for safety’s sake.”)


A company’s mission statement tends to be a noble abstraction. It’s exciting to see it placed where it makes sense: at the end of the company history and on the contact page.

Does your Web site’s “About Us” section accurately convey your organization’s history and capabilities? Every two weeks we evaluate one example, grading it in three areas that are key to potential customers: Personality (Who are you?), Products/Services (What can you do for us?), and Accessibility (How can we reach you?). Contact us if you’d like to have your site evaluated—there’s no charge and no obligation.

Today’s example was chosen at random; has no ties to this company, although company president Marian Calabro recently traveled from New York City to Amherst, Mass., on Peter Pan; she enjoyed the experience.