30 November 2009

Go Ahead gets the Go Ahead

City Council to sell Plymouth Citybus

The controversial sale of a council-owned bus firm to a private company in Devon has been approved. A £20.2m bid by Go-Ahead for Plymouth Citybus was agreed at a meeting of the city council. A group of campaigners gathered outside waved placards and shouted "shame" as councillors went into the meeting. The Unite union fears the sell-off will lead to job losses and a reduction in routes, but the council said the money from the sale would go into services. The Conservative-controlled council said it was not equipped to run a bus service. Go-Ahead has promised to keep the same routes for six months and protect bus drivers' jobs for 12 months. During the three-hour meeting, Labour leader Councillor Tudor Evans said the council was underselling Citybus and told the meeting it was a "terrible deal for council tax payers". Council leader Vivien Pengelly said it was a good decision which would benefit the city and improve local bus services. "I am very pleased that councillors have made the right decision based on what will be best for people living in the city and public transport users," she said. "This was a tough decision to make and I'm proud that this city's politicians are mature and responsible enough, in the most part, to set aside our political agendas to ensure that we put the lives of Plymouth people first and foremost in the choices we make." The sale of Citybus, which will retain its name, will be completed on Tuesday with a formal handover and signing of the sale agreement.
BBC Devon

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  1. Plymouth can now look forward to receiving more of London's cast-off buses.

  2. Thinking aloud about what might happen to the Citybus fleet in the near future, I suspect the remaining Mercedes minis will be quickly withdrawn and replaced with some tired, worn out Solo's transferred in from another division. The Step Darts and the B6 trio will also be on the chopping block, to be replaced by SLF Pointers in more transfers. The Citybus SLF Darts I would say are safe, as they form the backbone of the fleet. I would say the same about the Enviros, but I do think these buses are leased, and GA may be unwilling to continue paying for them. The Citaros are also leased, plus Go South Coast and North East both operate this type of bus on their "premier" routes. Could we see some or all of the Plymouth examples going to join them? I suspect the new deckers will stay, and their numbers will be bolstered with some more London cast-off's.

    What could be the future of Citycoach? Well, First have kept Truronian's coach fleet and schedule, so who knows!

  3. Thanks Nick. I have to agree that the Mercs will probably go pretty quickly and yes, Solos seem the likely replacement. Not sure how many Solos are available within the group though? Go Ahead are fans of the Citaro so I would guess they are safe. Wouldnt be suprised to see more DDs either - indeed would welcome them. Some nice new Scanias would be nice!
    GA are open minded about Citycoach - if they can make it pay then they poss will keep it. At least they wont just get rid of it because 'they dont do coaches'.

    Its going to be very interesting next year!

  4. If solos are to be brought in, I wouldn't be surprised if they were the slim kind you find in Exeter. On the 31 it's hard enough even for a breadvan to get around Ford Park! Mind you, the 31 is probably the most marginal service run by Citybus, so I don't expect it to last long past the initial 6 months.

    Citaros could go either way. On the one hand, GA love them so may keep them on the usual routes (21/51 and 8/9 in particular). 43 will probably get something a bit newer, maybe doubles to compete with First's 13. However, on the other hand they could be transferred, Blue Star in Southampton seems the most likely candidate for such a move.

    Still unhappy this went through, and the Conservative Councillors will be losing quite a few voters come May, but what's done is done, and it was certainly a better option than the alternative: Stagecoach.

  5. Bluestar are getting the seven Citaros new to Southern Vectis. This will make the whole fleet low floor, and, apart from short Solos and MPDs, all single deckers will be Citaros.

    So I don't think the Plymouth ones will end up there! Metrobus and Brighton like Scania, so they probably won't go there, and Southern Vectis are getting rid of theirs (becuase of too low concennionary fares payments), so they probably won't go there.

    Oxford love them, but they've got enough. I'd say the Citaros are safe!

  6. Re the above post about leased buses, are you sure that the Citaros and the new Enviro 200's are leased? On the 'news' section of the Citybus website, it says that these buses were purchased:


    June 2008 when the Enviro's came into service it says "Plymouth Citybus have invested £1.4 million into their fleet with the purchase of 11
    new buses". Then in Jan 2007 when the last batch of Citaros came into service, it says on the website "the Company has bought a further 7 ‘state of the art’ Citaro buses".

    Suggests that they are definitely owned not leased. So hopefully they'll all be staying.


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