12 March 2012

First sell North Devon to Stagecoach

Rumours of First selling the Devon & Cornwall operation to Stagecoach have appeared many times over the last few years, but this time its more than a rumour with the North Devon operation changing hands later this year:

First has signed an agreement with Stagecoach Group plc to sell its North Devon bus operations to them, pending approval from the Office of Fair Trading (OFT).
If the sale is approved by the OFT then the transfer of our operations would take place during the summer. Included in the sale would be current bus routes, the depot site in Barnstaple and a number of vehicles. All affected staff would be transferred with the services.
First staff employed in North Devon will transfer in their existing roles to their new employer under normal Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 - TUPE. These are legal arrangements that will protect specified existing employment rights for staff.
The decision to pursue a transfer of our North Devon operations to Stagecoach reflects our plan to keep the shape and size of our operations under review. Although these are difficult decisions to make, the actions we are taking now will help us to better position the UK Bus business for the future.
Our decision is therefore a business driven one and does not reflect on the effort, commitment or individual performance of the staff in North Devon. We will be fully supporting them as they transfer to their new employer.


Stagecoach Group has signed an agreement with First Devon and Cornwall to acquire its bus operations in North Devon and Torridge for a gross consideration of £2.8m. The transaction which is being undertaken by its subsidiary, Stagecoach Devon, is subject to regulatory approval. This is being sought from the Office of Fair Trading. The North Devon business, which is part of FirstGroup, has around 100 employees and a fleet of more than 30 buses and includes a small depot at Barnstaple.
It operates commercial and tendered bus services in Barnstaple, Ilfracombe, Braunton, Combe Martin, South Molton, Bideford and Great Torrington. The annual turnover of the business for the year ended 31 March 2011 was around £3m.
Stagecoach has run services from a depot in Barnstaple since 2006, currently operating 48 vehicles and employing 120 staff.
It anticipates that the combined business will deliver a more sustainable combined bus network, allowing future investment in improved vehicles, more frequent services and good value fares.
The North Devon operations will become part of Stagecoach South West, which employs around 900 people and operates more than 320 buses on around 120 routes across Devon and Somerset. In the past three years, Stagecoach South West has invested more than £13m million in new buses for the region.


  1. Can we expect them to sell off their Plymouth area operations to Stagecoach next ???

  2. I can't see them selling Plymouth without Cornwall as their Cornwall operation is a complete basket case.

  3. they would be better off selling fdc on ebay!!!

  4. It should help the people in north devon

  5. Not sure how it will get past OFT though, they are selling First North Devon to the only competition in the area..which can only be a bad thing surely ???

  6. The OFT will probably let it through as there are 3 other small operators in Barnstaple, Beacon and Filers run all week up there and Jacketts run on a saturday.

  7. I've heard via a couple of sources that rumours are Plymouth may go too - since Go-Ahead bought Citybus, they have apparently taken First to the cleaners and that the operation there is now loosing money hand over fist.

  8. But who would they sell Plymouth to ??? Go Ahead couldn't buy it, OFT would not allow. If I had to guess I would say Plymouth to Stagecoach again and perhaps Cornwall to Western Greyhound ???

  9. What a load of codswallop!!

  10. some people talk a load of rubbish on here!! same old posting by disgruntled first passengers and ex drivers!

  11. I am not a gisgruntled ex employee or passenger of First in fact I use First frequently in preference to the rival Citybus services, I just can't see that they can keep going having sold North Devon with only really the Cornwall routes and the rather depleting Plymouth network ?? It's a shame they didn't give their UGO Routes 11,12,17 etc a better chance, I am sure they could do well especially after Citybus proice increrases!!


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