25 July 2012

Dark clouds over First

As a bit of background reading to explain some of the difficulties that First Group seem to be having at the moment you might like to read this article that recently appeared on Herald Scotland:

THERE is a saying in management circles that a wise leader gets off at the second-last stop.

Whether or not Sir Moir Lockhead has ever heard this, it certainly looks as though he put it into practice when he began a very well- heeled retirement from FirstGroup in November 2010.

If you ask people in the industry, it was only a matter of time before the chickens came home to roost for First's buses in the UK. It runs the biggest bus business in the country, with more than 8000 vehicles serving London, Manchester, Glasgow, Leeds and numerous smaller areas.

Observers are happy to fill in the blanks. Lockhead's management philosophy is said to have been markedly different from the likes of Stagecoach and Arriva. While they invested more heavily in their buses and kept down prices to win passengers, First prioritised costs above all else. Vehicles were expected to last longer and were not cleaned as rigorously. Drivers appear to have been under less pressure to look smart. Timetables are said to have been less reliable because buses would sometimes be held off routes.

Early in O'Toole's reign he brought in Giles Fearnley, a well-respected bus and rail veteran, to run the division. This preceded various other management changes, not least the unexpected departure of Scottish bus boss Mark Savelli last autumn. Since then the company has carried out a full-scale review of the business that has led to a £160m investment programme in 1000 new buses, £4m in vehicle refurbishments and £27m plans to introduce swipe card/mobile phone payment technology on buses.

Read the Full Article Herald scotland for much more.

First 32717 W717RHT


  • Unlike previous open golf events at Lytham Stagecoach managed the Park and Ride operation - previously Blackpool Transport (or earlier Fylde Borough) were responsible. Fylde Bus Blog
  • Corporation Street in Birmingham has always been an important public transport corridor. Public Transport Experience
  • Over the weekend, I travelled over to Ryde on the Isle of Wight. Here are a few photos from the day, documenting a standard Saturday bus scene Southern England Bus Scene


  1. The x80 is habitually late, the service that is due at Ivybridge approximately 0903 is ways late, sometimes doesn't turn up and there are a few drivers who care not.
    My son told a driver he would be late for work one afternoon when the x80 was 45 mins late, the reply ........ 'not my problem'. I appreciate this isn't representative of all drivers but the service is abysmal. Maybe CityBus need to run this one, all people want is a clean bus on time. In fact it can be a little dirty, just on time will suffice.

  2. You thonk Citybus are better than First you will be sadly disappointed!!!

  3. ''Anonymous said...
    You thonk Citybus are better than First you will be sadly disappointed!!!''

    When it comes to public image, a few minutes observation on Royal Parade would give an obvious answer.

  4. CityBus leaves first standing with their vehicle quality. I'm just a passenger but first are disgraceful from my experience. Sorry!

  5. Citybus over First any day.

    Not taken a First bus in 3 years despite a more frequent service.


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