09 June 2011

The Battle over Barne Barton

There seems to be a very clear strategy at First regarding competition with Citybus. With the exception of the 15, all the 'new' Ugo bus routes introduced against Citybus will have gone by this weekend. Instead we see First pulling back into their traditional operating areas and being more aggressive with its fare structure in order to win passengers back from Citybus.
We're pleased to announce our ugobus service 3, operating between Barne Barton, St Budeaux, Devonport and Plymouth City Centre is increasing its frequency from Monday 13 June. From this date ugobus service 3 will operate a high frequency service up to every 7/8 minutes from Monday to Saturday and every 30 minutes on Sundays and Public Holidays.
To celebrate the improved frequency on service 3 we're also pleased to announce we'll be extending our Plymouth City Zone to include St Budeaux and Barne Barton so our FirstWeek Plymouth City and FirstMonth Plymouth City tickets will be valid anywhere on service 3 (previously they could only be used as far as Devonport and Camel's Head.
This means....
7 days travel on ugobus service 3 will now cost just £10.50 (instead of the previous £14.00 for a FirstWeek Plymouth ticket) - that's a saving of £3.50. 1 month's travel on ugobus service 3 will now cost just £35.00 (instead of £54 for a FirstMonth Plymouth ticket) That's a saving of £19.00! Both of these tickets are available to buy from your driver. (to view the Plymouth ticket zone map please click
HERE) In addition to these cheaper week and month tickets we've also reduced some of the single and return fares on the ugobus 3 route. A few examples include:
  • Barne Barton - City Centre £2.40 return
  • Barne Barton - City Centre £1.60 single
  • HMS Drake - City Centre £1.50 single
The big question is - What will Citybus do next? Do they join in the fun and reduce their fares on their St Budeaux buses (or at the very least postpone their impending fare rise)?
First 48271 WK02TYF 22 February 2011
With all of this extra promotion going on its a real shame that we are loosing some of the better buses to other areas and we are having to put up with buses like this one. These Volvos are incredibly uncomfortable and noisy (at least the ex Yorkshire ones are) and seem to hate hills. I think Id rather have more of those Marshall bodied Darts back from South Wales!

Related Links

  • More buses and cheaper fares First

Elsewhere on the net

  • Remember the two-day Bristol free bus (BFB) service experiment? Not only did it succeed, the organisers have raised enough funding for its permanent introduction. Hooray for the BFB! Omnibuses
  • For the very first time in his long and comparatively ignoble life, on Saturday 4th June 2011 fbb set off to visit a bus and rail collectors' fair .. Public Transport Experience
  • Astra (Anonima Sarda Trasporti) S.p.A. is an Italian company which produces trucks, construction dump truck, heavy transport vehicles and military vehicles. Astra was privately founded in 1946 in Cagliari, and since 1986 is a member of Iveco, part of Fiat Industrial. TGP Photos Unlimited
  • Heading north to Runcorn for a few days once more last week I called into the city's large bus station for a quick half hour en route, to get a flavour, if not a detailed study of the city's buses, which despite the dominance of First still shows quite a variety of operators and liveries. Transport Illustrated


  1. My personal opinion is that First is not a good bus operator. I am not sure about Go-Ahead but First are aggressive and at their heart totally customer unfriendly, something that the good people of Wembury have already sadly experienced with First Group’s operation of the 48. I must say that First’s drivers are, however, excellent and do a very good job for First, in comparison with their management. In Plymouth it is now manifesting itself with their competition against Citybus. The fact that they are now cheaper than Go-Ahead (City bus) is great if you want to travel between 7am and 6pm but First often then abandon any evening services, whereas at the moment Citybus will still provide them. Sorry I do not and never have liked First Group and their tactics. Rant over!

  2. this is great if you live in these areas and cold see the end of Citybus in Devonport/St Budeaux etc pretty quickly...you would have to be mad to pay Citybus (GO Aheasd) way more in fares etc for a less frequent and in my opinion reliable service!!

    If First win this one..and Plymstock has they are much cheaper here too..plus hold their fares on the main Derriford,Mutley,City corridor where they will be cheaper from next week too thenthey could do quite well here at the expense of citybus!!

    Perhaps they could consider lowering fares on UGO 15 as well..although not a traditional area of First it seems to do very well and I am sure with fare promo could persuade Estover service 50 customers to swap???

  3. Hasn't Go Ahead got a reputation of putting up fares/cutting routes for maximum profit and if not making the money they want just giving up on a company???
    If so Perhaps First are trying to killthem off one area at a time...if Citybus dont lower their fares it could seriously dent their business in quite a few areas here...ST Budeaux/Barne Barton/Devonport (probably finish off the 26 and I would imagine the 43A as it will lose all the Plymouth customers - First already seem to have upper in Saltash)and Plymstock.

    If they win that they can then increase these fares with no competition and perhaps work on Estover/Deriford areas with UGO 15 promo. I am sure Citybus cant survive on Just Whiteigh/southway/Plympton no matter how much profi thyey make!!!

  4. THe one thing I have noticed is First seemto have the ability to put fares up in one area, keepthem the same in another whilst doing promo in another...which puts them in a better position than Citybus with their blamket 20p rises.

    First are able to put their fares up In Cornwall, and rural areas in Devon to pay for lower fares in areas with competition, namely Plymouth and North Devon against Stagecoach!!!

  5. Hi, I'm new to Plymothian Transit, although not to Plymouth itself. I just wanted to challenge the comment that the 'old' Wright bodied Volvo B6LE's are less preferable. For myself I love them, but hate those Gemini/Solar (or whatever they are called) things !! Send 'em away !! It'll never be the same without the Bristols' of course, but as for Double Decks, more Presidents please !! Thank heavens the latest intake by PCB are of these, and not yet more ruddy East Lancs Utility buses !! Brian


Have something interesting to say? Please share it here!

(Moderation is currently switched on so please allow a short while before your comment appears on the site. This is only to cut down on spam - not to cut out people who disagree with me!)