03 January 2012

two thousand and twelve

Part of me hesitates to try and make predictions for the new year as like with most economic forecasts being made at the moment it is almost bound to be fairly depressing. It is in fact because the economic outlook is so poor that the predictions below are on the gloomy side.

Plymouth Citybus

1. The new livery will continue to be rolled out across the fleet, at a faster rate than we have seen so far.

2. New buses for Citybus. OK so I am cheating here a bit as we already know that we are getting ten new Volvo / Wright single deckers in the Spring. These will be launched with quite a fanfare (I hope) and will make quite an impact on Plymouth. I am guessing that they will be numbered 101 onwards to start a new series and maybe they will even do ‘an Oxford’ and have select ‘PCB’ registrations. Well maybe not that last one!

3. The Citycoach fleet will all be turned out in the new livery, although the fleet will be slightly smaller with older coaches leaving.

4. I would also expect to see a few more ex London Volvo double deckers join the fleet to see off the remaining Volvo Citybuses which wont make it into the new school year in September.

Volvo Line ip


5. There may well be another bit of a shake up on some routes with some areas getting a better service but there will be some areas seeing less buses. School services could well be further cut back seeing off at least some of the Volvo Citybuses without replacement.

6. Any such cuts, no matter how small will be blamed on the council privatisation of Citybus. Any fare rises will also be blamed on this.


7. There will be significant cutbacks on many out of town routes as much down to the Cornwall and Devon County Councils as anything. The city routes will also further contract mainly through reduced frequencies. I can see the 15 for example ending up as every half an hour.

8. Torpoint Tridents will be repainted into a new livery, although there may be fewer of them.

First 32757 WA54OLP


9. There will be a new livery rolled out in Devon & Cornwall as part of First Groups much heralded local branding. It will be fairly underwhelming. No Ray Stenning here!

10. Older Volvo Olympians will bow out but newer Olympians will arrive to replace them. Maybe a few more ex London Tridents will appear in and around Plymouth too. Otherwise not much happening as the fleet contracts.

Other operators

11. Target Travel could well see some of their supported services cut back by the City Council but they will also pick up more school work in the summer.

12. which could lead to more double deckers in the fleet.

13. We will see less Western Greyhound in Plymouth as the full impact of the cuts hit Cornwall hard. I do wonder if the new Cornish network after the cuts will be able to sustain both First and Western Greyhound. It is possible that they could come to some sort of agreement with First withdrawing from Cornwall. I dont think it will happen this year though. (This is more likely if First Group do not retail the rail franchise)

Rail etc

14. Business as usual. More overcrowding and more talk about re opening closed lines. Nothing actually happening. The Great Western franchise will probably stay with First Group. No idea why I think this though!

15. There will be a lot of discussion about re opening of Plymouth Airport. It wont happen.

Plymothian Transit.

16. I will be more organised and make more trips out and about the City and take more photographs. I know I make this every year but you never know…

Related Links

Recommended Links

  • We begin with a Bank Holiday Sheffield "bustermind" question. What links Sheffield with the Howrah to Chennai Railway? (It's in India.) Public Transport Experience
  • 2011 in 300 words Omnibuses
  • Today we are taking a special look back at the early days of Norfolk Green with a photo special, thanks to David Bell who has been scanning his archive of slides into digital format for providing all of the photos in this post. Andys Bus Blog


  1. I do hope that the 15 does not get cut back any more as I think the 20 minute service is about right...although I do wonder if the Saturday afternoon cuts are a precursor for something more later.

    Personally I am beginning to think First might sell their Devon and Cornwall area services in next few years..although I am sure they would hang around more if they keep their rail contract..which I think they will !!!

    If they pull out of Cornwall and cut rural Devon routes it does not leave a lot left..so where next for FDC ????

  2. I think we can expect to see a new uniform for the PCB drivers this year too.

  3. With government cuts...If I were Citybus, I would look to cut 40/41 route to just one way around Southway. I.E Get rid of the 40 and just run the 41 every 20 mins, same with Whitleigh, axe 44a just keep 44 every 20 mins...both hourly in evenings. I do not think they would loose many customers as there is no alternative operator and they would save a lot on outlay/running costs. I think they are possibly over bussing at the mo in these areas...also I think their days in Saltash are numbered!!!

  4. Do you think Citybus will retain their 5/5A Plymstock routes? First are cheaper, especially with their First month Plymstock ticket at £32?

  5. Anonymous 3 January 2012 11:17:

    Good point on the 40/41 44/44A, it does seem a little pointless and with the 42 aswell - ditch the least popular service from each area.

    I don't think that Saltash's days are numbered - more people use it than many think. First price increases this month, I wouldn't be suprised to see more people using it.

  6. I couldn't agree more with the comment made about having three buses in Southway, all on a frequent timetable. This is what I think will happen:

    Services 5 and 5A - cut to every 30 minutes

    Services 8 and 9 – make the least popular one (probably the 9) once an hour and the 8 as normal

    Service 20 (my route) – there’s not a lot more they can cut back on! I can however see it terminating at around 6PM; buses after around 5PM heading into town from Plympton are very quiet

    Service 22 – I can see this being cut down to every 30 mins

    Service 23 and 24 – Again, withdraw the least popular service

    Service 25 – I think it will probably be a permanent summertime only service like it is on a Sunday

    Service 26 – May be increased to every 7/8 mins funded by cuts to other services?

    Service 27 – The Torpoint Ferry part of the service will probably be cut as the 34 already operates to the ferry.

    Services 28/A – 28+28A withdrawn and a permanent 28B will operate

    Service 29 – kept as it is

    Service 40 and 41 – withdraw one of these routes, and both of them in the evening.

    Service 42 – I would be surprised if this route was changed at all as so many people (including me) use it to get to Derriford from the City Centre; 20 minutes!

    Service 43 – Cut back to every 20 minutes (should be every 20 minutes anyway)

    Service 43A – I don’t think this service has long left; especially at the frequency it currently runs at! It will almost certainly be cut back to an hourly service.

    Service 43B – Probably cut back to an hourly service or withdrawn

    Services 44/A – Cut the least popular route

    Service 50 – I would be surprised if this route was cut, it’s a very popular one! One thing that may be cut is the part that runs into the Marsh Mills retail park, e.g. DFS, PCWorld, Homebase ect, it may just run along the A38 up to Leigham and operate into this retail park at peak times, possibly a service 50A?

    Services 61 and 62 – One of these to be withdrawn from Derriford, 62A withdrawn

  7. Western Greyhound fares are increasing. That makes Citybus the cheapest in Saltash but about 20/30p.

  8. how much is a citybus single from saltash to plymouth, not that it matters but on jackett's its £2

  9. Citybus is 2.90, I believe the new First fare is awl whopping 3.15.

  10. Jacketts service through Saltash is bing withdrawn this month anyhow. Personally I also expect Citybus to pull it's 43a from Saltash as well as despite the price First is well in control of this route!!!

  11. Tom: I am not sure Citybus would go this far with cuts but you never know...I would certainly cut one of the 40/41 and 44/44a. I would withdraw evening 40/41 and replace with 42 hourly and perhaps withdraw the 44 in the evenings and replace with 16B route...basically has they do on Sundays!!

    Personally I think the 43a will be withdrawn (saltash) in the next 12 months and there will be a drasitic reduction in Plymstock routes meaning they are not really competing with First here!! Also I cant see how most evening services are viable especially after 8.30ish ???

    On another note...I notice both First and western Greyhound have blamed grants for recent price increases,. Citybus never mentioned this last year in their prce increases do we expect another rise from Citybus when this happens around April ???

  12. Those potential cuts I posted were meant to be the 'maximum' if you know what I mean - I should've made it clearer.

    I think most likely they would (and should) cut a 40/41, a 44/44A and a 23/24. I agree with what the person above has posted; withdraw 40+41 evenings, replace with hourly 42, withdraw 44/a and 43B evenings and replace with 16B.

  13. Rumour has it - and I stress rumour that an announcement might be made shortly about the long standing scheme to reopen the railway line from Bere Alston to Tavistock thereby restoring the link to Plymouth. As an out of town contractor who works in Plymouth on a regular basis and who enjoys the comfortable and cheap off peak bed and breakfast accomodation available near Tavistock such a move could not come fast enough. The road from Tavy is a fiasco in the morning and if there is one thing my clients expect it is for me to turn up on time.Would any Plymouthians like to poke their local contacts to see if there is any substance in the rumour? - If there was it would make a great 2012.


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