01 January 2008


I'm sitting here at my computer with a very large glass of red wine and feeling good. I've just spent the last half hour or so on my daily reading list and of course many of the blogs I read have been either looking back at 2007 - or looking forward to 2008. I'm looking forward at some of the things which may or may not happen in Plymouth, and may or may not appear in this little blog.

One thing which will happen and will have a major impact of bus travel across the country is the new pensioners free travel pass now being available England Wide. For many pensioners this is great news and I am sure many of them will enjoy the extra freedom they will get. For some though the first thing they will see is actually the opposite. Many councils are currently giving their pensioners extra benefits beyond the minimum as set out by central government. Many allow travel before 9:30 and after 11:00. The new arrangements are much more set in stone so far fewer councils will continue to pay for this extra perk. Bus companies and councils are all complaining that they are being left short of money to pay for it all. Councils are blaming government and the bus companies. Bus companies are blaming councils and the government. The government are denying there are any issues with funding and therefore blaming the councils and the bus companies. Passengers are in the middle of all this and it will be interesting to see who they blame for all this. I have been doing some background work on this subject nationwide over the past few weeks so expect more over the next week or so...

Other bus happenings in 2008? Citybus will no doubt soon be taking delivery of their new buses - which it seems may well be Enviros by the sound of it - although how many remains to be seen. First have seen quite an influx of new buses over the past few years so the need for fleet replacement in Plymouth at least isn't quite so urgent. Will we see new buses join their fleet in 2008 or just a trickle of second hand additions from elsewhere in the national fleet?
First of course have just taken over a few routes from Citybus on tender to the council. I would expect to see a few more changes over the next twelve months as some of the lesser routes are dropped as costs continue to rise. This though depends on how much the council have left to subsidise routes that are being dropped.
First also have Stagecoach just up the road and competition between the two will continue along the Plymouth - Torbay corridor. I dont expect it will be quite so intense this year though as Stagecoach have been cutting back quite a bit over the past few months as they have been hit hard by inadequate revenues from the current pensioner bus passes. They are much more open to issues like this in Torbay especially so expect to see issues arise between the councils and the bus operators. I am sure it will all be very interesting and fun to watch and it will all be covered here!
As for this blog - well expect more of the same plus a bit more!
I am aiming to cover a lot more railway issues over the next year and will be looking back at the history of the railways in Plymouth in this blog.
Well the wine has just run out and its getting late. Happy New year to you all and I hope you will stay with me in 2008!

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