10 March 2008

New bus services

The last information I received was that the new Target Travel service 52A and the Northern Connect services were both due to start today. As I am home today on babysitting duties while wife is in for a minor op at Derriford Hospital I found myself with a spare 40 mins to see what buses would turn up. It was soon apparent that the Northern Connect wasn't running today. I did however see a Target Travel bus on the 52A

Target Travel X315WFX

Not brilliant but at least it was running. I was half expecting a Solo on this as I knew Target had acquired some. Not sure how many passengers it is likely to get though as I have not seen any timetables anywhere for this service other than the one I received at work.

The timetable display at the bus stop I was sheltering in (the weather was horrible!) had this display...

No timetables

Eve the timetables that were there have now disappeared!

When I got home I found a posting on one of the bus groups about the new services:

The 3 x am and 3 x pm peak journeys on 52 still operated by Citybus are the bare minimum for PHNHST staff. At Target, we're aware from comments from those
staff and others that there is a wider demand. Whether this meets it or not, we'll see. It is a first stab and no doubt the timetable will need tweaking in future. Both Derriford area and Langage area in Plympton, where we're based, are expanding employment sites, so no doubt both Citybus and ourselves will be keeping tabs on these services. .
The timetable is a bit messy as it is composed of positioning journeys for other vehicle workings at peak times. About half of the journeys will be operated by our "55" plated ex-Norwich Orbital Solos. These have been bought for the "Northern Connect" services X56 and X57 which are peak hour routes around Derriford, Estover and Belliver employment areas under the Urban Bus Challenge initiative, start now delayed to 31st March. One will then operate  "Clover leaf" 57 off peak, the other the 52A. Our out of date website is in the process of being brought up to date, I'll hopefully have photos of most vehicles on there. Should be live by end March.

So at least we will get Solos eventually! I didn't know the start of Northern Connect was now 31st March. It also states peak hours only whereas the timetable I have seen seems to indicate a 15 min services all day - so it looks like a timetable change to the one I have? At least it looks like the Target Travel web site will be updated and timetables made available. In order for these services to be a success they will need to be available!

I guess I will have to make other arrangements for next week when i move offices - either change buses at Derriford of have a long walk!

One thing I was impressed with was that the 52A was running on time although it may have only just started its first proper journey. Citybus 52 was running well late again this morning, but then so were the 50s. The reason?

Bridge Works

Major roadworks at Leigham. two sets of traffic lights and two bus stops closed including the ones I was wanting to use. I could see the 50 coming nearly 5 mins before it reached the bus stop!

The final quick photo from this morning:

JC Decaux LX06KKB

The pile of rubble in the corner of the bus shelter is the remains of the glass panel from the front of the shelter. Not sure if this was vandals again - or possibly storm damage. Surely not even vandals would have wanted to be out last night!


  1. Saw one of their new Solos on Sandy Road today on the way to work (Orange, Langage Business Park). It was a pretty big shock to see how new it was, given how old the rest of Target's fleet is.

    It was in Northern Connect 57-branded livery, kinda similar to their Urbanlink 53 livery on their Marshall-bodied dart, but in purple. Pretty smart, does the job, but I'm wondering why they didn't stick to their traditional Green and White livery.

    That leads me onto another point - why is almost every branded route in Plymouth nowadays set in a Purple/Pink livery? First Tamar Link, then TavyLynx and now Northern Connect. Expect Citybus to break away from the crimson and white any time soon? :D

  2. The Solos were previously with Norwich County Council for Park and Ride - and were in the pink livery. I guess it just made sense to keep them in such a bright livery rather than repaint them. They certainly stand out - even with all the pink we get down here (new blog post just done on this theme!)
    As to a bight pink version of the citybus livery - sounds good to me!


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