01 May 2012

Key Growth

TWENTY per cent of Plymouth Citybus journeys are now made by passengers paying by smartcard.

The company introduced the Key season ticket smartcard eight months ago, and bosses are delighted passengers are using what they call a "more convenient method of paying for bus travel".

Citybus managing director Andrew Wickham said it was hoped that with discounted travel offered through the Key, 60 per cent of journeys would soon be prepaid on a smartcard. Already other companies within the Go-Ahead group are hitting that target. Mr Wickham, who leaves Plymouth this week to head Go South Coast in Dorset, Wiltshire, Hampshire and the Isle Of Wight, said: "Over the last eight months we have seen an 11 per cent growth in the number of journeys made on our enhanced network using the Key smartcard.

Just last week, Go-ahead, which paid £19million for Citybus in December 2009, said introduction of smartcard technology was being credited for "solid" trading during the first quarter of 2012. An interim statement said bringing in smartcards had, "as expected", reduced the average yield per customer. But the firm stressed the move had provided the opportunity for long-term growth. Nevertheless, it said it would have to look at pricing and cost efficiencies during the next quarter.

Citybus's new managing director, Richard Stevens, joins the firm this week. He was previously operations and commercial director for Stagecoach South West.

This is Plymouth

The Key

Elsewhere on the net

  • In the first post on Wilts & Dorset’s June 6th revisions, we consider changes to buses between Poole and Wimborne Minster Dorset Bus Blog
  • There’s a bit of an unholy alliance at the moment between London’s cyclists and its black cab drivers. This is odd, because the two do *not* normally sit comfortably together. At all. Omnibuses
  • if you were starting a new competitive bus route, upping the "ante", you would want to shout it from the rooftops; especially if you were hoping to pinch a few passengers back from First Public Transport Experience
  • the event did give me the opportunity to finally catch up with the New Bus For London - the Routemaster fit for a 21st century London, often referred to as the 'Borismaster' on account of it being sanctioned by the current Mayor of London. A Transport of Delight

      1. So what are the price and cost efficiencies then ??? Surely not another proce increase at Citybus and maybe cut back of services ?

      2. As I and many others have suggested numerous times in the past, if Citybus are looking to cut services, then they really should cut one of the 40 or 41s, the 44 or 44A, and the 23 and 24. The 23 and 24 in my opinion provide a way too excessive service for Mount Gould, I would have one of them every 20 minutes.

        This is what I would do:

        Daytime Mon-Sat
        • Service 20 to be withdrawn from Crossway (this has been rumoured) and operate via Courtland Crescent.
        • Service 24 to be withdrawn and replaced by Service 23 operating every 15 minutes
        • Service 28/A/B – Nothing wrong with these services at all, Citybus seem to have got the frequencies just right.
        • Service 29 – Withdrawn from Transit Way in the evenings, with the last departure to Derriford at 2033 and last departure to the City Centre being 2037.
        • Service 40 to be withdrawn and replaced by Service 41 every 15 minutes
        • Service 44 to be withdrawn and replaced by Service 44A every 15 minutes.
        • Service 50 to be withdrawn from the Parkway Retail park in the evenings, with the last City Centre departure being 2004.
        Add another departure from Derriford at around 1915-1920, as it seems strange that there’s one at 1858, but not another one until 1948?

        Evenings Mon-Sat
        • Service 9 withdrawn, replaced by every 30-minutes service 8.
        • Service 40 and 41 withdrawn, replaced by hourly 42.
        • Service 44 and 44A withdrawn, replaced by 16B.
        • One of the 40/41/44/44A to operate every 30 minutes to Crownhill.

        Sunday Evenings
        • Service 21 to operate via Lipson Vale from 8PM to create additional buses for Lipson/Laira rather than Prince Rock. Service 50 remains to serve Prince Rock in the evenings.
        • One of the 40/41/44/44A to operate hourly to Crownhill.

        If services are to be cut back, I can imagine late evening services on Sundays are all going to be at least considered for withdrawal.

      3. I would put money on services reductions across every route between 0900 & 1400.

      4. Citybus have got to look at cutting evening services as they must lose money, 1 an hour on 40 or 41 and one 16B to cover Whitleigh for example would suffice. or as Tom said get rid of eveoing 40/41 and replace with hourly 42 as with Sundays.. I think the 23 and 24 should both go as most fare paying passengers seem to use First UGO 5 here as they are so much cheaper!!

      5. Thing is though, if Citybus did withdraw evening services, then this would seriously affect their chances when the contracts for routes have to be renewed (I believe this happens), as people would be 'cut off' after a certain time and unable to get home.

        Also, from what I've seen, evening services carry either a really good load (for the time of day), or next to no-one. It's a bit like with the 22 on Sundays, it's every half-an hour now because of the income levels from the daytime runs. With things like Crownhill and St Budeaux-bound services, these evening runs probably survive from the income from daytime runs.
        The 21 carrys a fair load in the evenings too.

        Finally, after two and a bit years of Go-Ahead ownership, if evening services were losing money surely wouldnt've they done something about it by now?

      6. The comments about cost reductions etc were made by and were about Go-Ahead generally. In any case, they are not about service reductions and Citybus has none planned, apart from the school buses already announced.

        Better to look elsewhere for companies about to make cuts...

      7. its ok u saying cut this and cut that, but if that happens then people are out of work!

        the price and cost efficiencies are for go ahead as a company, not citybus.
        we are actually looking at possible expansion in our business forecast for nxt 3 yrs tom.

      8. I did think that, if a route/service is cut/withdrawn, surely the drivers must lose some work too.

        Plus, as I said, as these evening services have been running for two and a bit years under GA ownership, they must at least be breaking even, just what I would consider.

        I didn't know about possible expansion, if it happens it'll be interesting to see where they go!

      9. Getting back to the topic of The Key, surely they'd have even more usage if they brought back "Oyster" mode like with the old Freedom card. I live in Mutley, so getting a season pass is nowhere near cost-effective for me, neither is getting a book of Dayriders.

        With the old top-up system I didn't have to worry about change or breaking into a tenner. The only problem was that I couldn't top it up online. Online payment is now possible with The Key, but they took away the only useful feature for me by doing so!


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