21 November 2012

A brave move?

If there is one route corridor that you would expect First to fight any competition off it would be the Plymouth – Tavistock route. I am pretty sure Citybus would have looked at the route as a possibility but for now First have the corridor to itself.

However, it seems that is about to change in the new year, with competition coming from an unlikely source:

We can finally announce that from 7th January 2013 we will be running a new service between Tavistock & Plymouth. Our new number 85 service will run 5 journeys a day, Monday to Saturday, between Tavistock, Horrabridge, Yelverton, Roborough, Crownhill, Mutley and Plymouth.

And exactly who is we?

Jacketts Coaches!

Convenient for commuters and shoppers alike with good value fares as well as weekly and monthly tickets.
The more this service gets used the more it will grow with extra buses and journeys, becoming even more convenient and a real alternative to the car.

usethebus.net Timetables 85 leaflet  DL .pdf

usethebus.net Timetables 85 leaflet  DL

I am sure a lot of passengers will welcome the competition but I cant help but wonder if Jacketts have bitten off more than they can chew? It might only be a small incursion on the corridor but I really cant see First sitting back and letting them help themselves to some of Firsts customers?

I would expect to see some special fares on offer from First at the very least, which will of course be more than welcome by the passengers as well.

Is this a brave move by Jacketts or a foolish one? What do people think?

You have to wish them well but I cant help but worry for them.

All eyes now on First to see what they do next.









  • The proposal from the Government to give local councils responsibility for BSOG and a new Better Bus Areas fund for bus partnerships could be a small silver lining. But unless controls are placed on how it can be spent, BSOG could just disappear into local council budgets as councillors try to make up shortfalls elsewhere. Campaign for Better Transport
  • We've got several snippets of fleet news from various operators in the area, so rather than doing seperate posts we have compiled this digest. Andys Bus Blog
  • Of course, the real trouble is computers. When we were given word processing, we all became typists. When we were given digital cameras, we all became budding David Baileys. When we were given desk top publishing, we all became designers. Omnibuses
  • David Bell visited Bedford last week, the town is easily reached from our area using the award winning Stagecoach X5 service from Cambridge. Andys Bus Blog
  • With a little bit of thought you could, Mr First, put your ugly great blobs on the top deck front windscreen without impeding forward viewing. Public Transport Experience
  • Driving away with the top award and named as Belmont International Bus Operator of the Year was Nottingham City Transport, narrowly beating Reading Buses to the prize. The Bus People
  • The 2012 UK Bus Awards took place at the London Hilton Hotel earlier this afternoon (Tuesday 20th November). Andys Bus Blog


  1. Seems a bit crazy to me,,,not sure First will need to worry too much. 5 buses a day against every 15 mins. It might actually work in Firsts favour and put Citybus off this route. Maybe Jacketts were the reported local company who pulled out of taking over First and this is their way of tryong to force Firsts hand to sell at lower price??? Aren't their owners ex First employees????

  2. It's a pity Jacketts couldn't focus on filling the gaps where Citybus have left following their November changes instead of a pointless and winless battle with First on this route.

    Rumours circling again of an imminent Stagecoach takeover of Plymouth as well!

  3. I am an ex First Employee yes, and this is a market test to see if people would actually use another operator. I only have the one bus spare at the moment so I am trying the route with what I have got rather then levelling more debt on myself to try and take over the world. And how would a company that has only been going 18 months, and has 6 buses be able to take over first.

    Also why would I want to focus on an area i do not currently serve, like in Plymouth city, I have never run routes properly in the city, we are based near Tavistock, and already serve it, we get alot of passengers asking for an alternative to First so we are offering it.

    I really think alot of you anonymous contributors live in a world of make believe sometimes and have no idea how much bus services actually cost to run.

    1. Thanks Trev for the reply! There is certainly room for your operation on this route and I know a lot of passengers are crying out for someone else to come in. I do wish you luck with this venture - I just hope First dont come in too hard on you!

  4. seems you need to work on your customer service a bit...lol. hit a nerve??

  5. Well they have answered questions on a public forum Mr Anonymous, so I'd say customer interaction is off to a good start.

    1. Thanks Phil. I have to say I cant quite see what Anon is really getting at - Trevs reply is open, honest and to the point. I cant see that a nerve has been hit!

  6. This is excellent news and is definitely a service I'll be using. I know it's only 5 services a day each way, but the difference is that they run at convenient times. The service provided by First is getting worse, so it is great to see an independent operator throwing some competition into the mix. I hope it does prove to be a viable service.

    Now if only we could persuade an operator to do a twice-daily service from Plymouth to Tavistock via Milton Combe and Buckland, that would be the icing on the cake!

  7. I don;t think First will do anything to be honest as it is only 5 buses a day...First can not really operate any more frequently..perhaps change timetable to operate a few mins in front of the Jacketts services when they run, maybe slighter lower fares for a while.. I am sure if it were Citybus or something coming in they might fight back harder though!

  8. Good Luck Trev. Nice post Graham.


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!)