29 July 2013

Stagecoach v First. The New Gold War

 

STAGECOACH GOLD IS COMING TO THE SOUTH WEST!

Stagecoach South West announced today that, starting 30th September 2013, they are introducing two brand new ‘Stagecoach Gold’ routes which will operate between Torquay, Paignton, Totnes and Plymouth or Dartmouth.  The introduction of the flagship ‘5 star’ brand to Devon is a coup for customers, reserved for only a select number of locations across the country.

The two ‘Gold’ routes will operate up to every 30 minutes, 7 days a week between Torquay, Paignton and Totnes. The routes will then connect the English Riviera to either Dartmouth or Plymouth via Ivybridge, with each location benefiting from an hourly service . 

The company is also investing £2 million in a new fleet of 9 high specification buses which will only operate on the Gold routes and will feature a distinctive gold and blue livery. The buses offer luxury as standard and feature extra legroom, high back leather seats and free Wi-Fi. The buses will also be fitted with Scania Euro 5 EEV (Enhanced Environmental Vehicle technology) engines that have even lower emissions than those required by the highest current Euro standard, making them amongst the most environmentally friendly vehicles on the road.

Stagecoach Gold is also characterised by its ‘Customer Promise’ which enshrines the service standards customers can expect from the company, vehicles and drivers.

Mike Watson, Managing Director at Stagecoach South West, said “We know that, particularly on longer distance journeys, comfort and reliability are essential so we are taking our services to the next level by introducing ‘Stagecoach Gold’. This is an incredibly exciting development for Devon and I can’t wait to see the new buses on the road”.

Further details about the new services will be released towards the end of August, in preparation for the launch 30th September. More information about Stagecoach Gold can be found at www.stagecoachgold.com.

15617 OU10BGV STAGECOACH Gold 060710
Stagecoach Gold in Oxfordshire as a taster of what to expect here! (©Eastleighbusman under Creative commons )

Wow!

We will all be watching to see what First do next as their X80 comes under direct attack from Stagecoach. They have tried before with their X45 which looked promising but First won that battle and the X45 was withdrawn. This looks a lot more serious! The Stagecoach Gold brand has been successfully launched in many areas and the buses in use are certainly well appointed and the livery is very eyecatching. If First are going to have any chance then they will need to up their game on the X80 which has never really been given the attention it deserves for such a main route. It may also provide a bit more competition for Plymouth Citybus with their 45 service.

It also adds to the fleet of high spec Enviro 400’s that operate in Plymouth joining Citybus’ new deckers and First’s Park & Ride fleet. We are being spoilt at the moment. Its nice to see both Stagecoach and Go Ahead keen to invest lots of money on high quality buses for Plymouth. It would be even nicer to see First join the party – do they have the appetite for it?

We will of course be watching developments very closely over the coming weeks, but what do you all think? Comments on this are very welcome!


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39 comments:

  1. Vehicles alone could well be enough to at least make First cut back the X80 frequency. It provides good, proper competition for the X80 and also as you say, to a lesser extent, the 45.

    This one will be interesting!

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  2. Not a surprise that someone is going for the X80, must admit though, I'd expected it to be Citybus.

    The press release doesn't say the vehicles are E400s, or even deckers. It just says they're Scanias.

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    1. You are right - it does not specifically state E400s DDs but it almost certainly will be. I really cant see the route running with singledeckers somehow.

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    2. The standard Stagecoach Gold double decks are E400 Scanias. Apart the Cambridge busway I'm not aware of Stagecoach using Scania single decks.

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    3. Stagecoach has been buying Scania based Enviro 300s (along with AD based ones) since 2010 in lieu of MANs. Not sure if any have been for Gold routes, though, and I agree that it would be silly not to double-deck this route.

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    4. @Steve - Recent Enviro 300 batches have been Scanias - the Cambridge ones are Volvos

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  3. i hear citybus are extending their 45 to Totnes.

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    1. Really? Seems an odd destination to me. Why not go a little further to Paignton where more people might want to go?

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  4. Could be interesting if long term it forces what is probably one of the long standing first routes out. Stagecoach for Plymouth I say. Give Go Ahead a good run for it's money. Passengers would benefit greatly!

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    Replies
    1. yes,or if first trun round

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  5. stagecoach should get the plymouth routes we would have better bus service for plymouth

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  6. Stagecoach have tried this one before with the X45 and lost to First. Hopefully with a new leader at First they will have a bit more fight in them. They have just won Park and Ride contract in Truro so may be things looking up? Or is this Stagecoach trying to force First to sell the Devon/Cornwall ops to them after taking over in North Devon is Plymouth, South Devon and Cornwall next ???

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  7. Outside of the main summer months can not see how the route can sustain two operators.If Stagecoach are prepared to invest 2m with the latest & comfortable vehicles into a competitors teritory, it probably doesn't matter if you are First or anyone else its a very difficlt to counter.First's best response may be the schedule their buses half hour in between thereby giving customers a more frequent service - although for that to really work would need cross ticketing to be accepted - could be a win win for all?

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  8. My mole says that Stagecoach AREN'T interested in Plymouth at all. First's tinpot operation or not.

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    Replies
    1. As a stagecoach driver in Exeter i can confirm the Stagecoach are testing the water with the Gold Services, this will probably be a starter point for the new super depot that is going to be built in the Exeter Area due to the bus station and existing depot being demolished.

      But i will be keeping this site posted on news from Stagecoach.

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  9. The real point of first givenbthe fact that their share price which is still below floatation suggests that the city has little confidence that first is in good shape. Devon and Cornwall has lost first money for years and park and ride truro WIN I see as first fattening up the cow to sell. The issue in Cornwall is the total incompetence of Cornell council to adjust their services to current travelling patterns and developments. And due to those developments they need to use some reserves temporarily to support services while housing etc is completed which will generate the income needed to continue for the future. In the last three years the council took decisions among which was short two year contracts which stopped all investment by both first and western greyhound and then cut by 40 percent pension ers pass rates and freezing them resulting in other bus users subsidizing the pass system illegally. Cornell council needs to get its act together and start hype staffing their transport until with professionals who are trusted by bus operators or they will loose operators prepared to operate council contracts

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  10. End of September is a funny old time to be introducing a competitive volley onto such a seasonal route. I appreciate that it's the new regime at Stagecoach Devon wishing to make his mark, but surely it would have made more commercial sense to have kept his powder dry and introduced it with a bang at the beginning of next Summer's season, rather than at the tail end of this Summer.

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    Replies
    1. The route's not *that* seasonal, plus why wait and risk Citybus getting in first? I actually think September makes perfect sense - get it bedded in ahead of Christmas and use the start of next year to consider any changes ahead of the summer season.

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  11. Knackered park bench seated W plate Tridents or brand new high spec Enviros. I certainly know which one I'll be catching!

    However, the X80 seems to be mainly patronised by the free pass brigade currently, and I'm not sure whether they'll care all that much about what rocks up at their stop..

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  12. On VOSA yesterday :

    PH0006741/60 - WESTERN GREYHOUND LTD, WESTERN HOUSE, ST. AUSTELL STREET, SUMMERCOURT, NEWQUAY, TR8 5DR
    Cancellation Accepted by SN: Operating between Langarth Farm Park & Ride and Truro City Centre given service number P R1 effective from 02-Sep-2013.

    Less than 5 weeks for the new operator to start - no offical confirmation anywhere yet of the provider.A very tight schedule to get the vehicles prepared.

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    Replies
    1. Believe First have one that contract.

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  13. Since First have just sold the old St.Austell depot in Eliot Road(previously on the market for 650k)to SNW Homes that should help them.If anyone is in the area & wants some picturs before it is finally knocked down the WG525 & FDC 27 (frequently a Volvo Olympian which is remarkably comfortable to ride on & has amazing power on the hills )pass right by with a stop just after.

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  14. mike hudson PCTPG30 July 2013 at 20:13

    I can confirm that Plymouth citybus ARE NOT extending the 45 to totnes. it was a rumour. there was a notice in work today about it.

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  15. Why is there still no bus service from Plymouth to Exeter Airport?

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  16. But I see Citybus *are* now going to be running to Tavistock.

    http://www.plymouthbus.co.uk/about-us/news/plymouth-citybus-do-moor-as-company-expands-to-tavistock

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  17. Anon 07/08/13 21:07

    As a stagecoach employee idf this route to Plymouth goes well, what would be next do you think...I guess you can only run 93 PLYMOUTH TO DARTMOUTH from Exeter...No plans for Plymouth routes at all ???

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    1. leave first bus alone in Plymouth ,there having a engouth trouble with city bus following them ever where

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  18. stage coach and city bus have laid the cards on the table, so lets see the first bus plans for city bus routes because alex carter was not brought in to close the place down and newer vehicles are being brought in which would go along with that.the management at citybus all ex first employees may have shot themselves in the foot, hope so lol

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    1. I go along with that, I would find it very funny if this all back fires on Citybus.. punching above their weight. Alex Carter is already turning Somerset and Cornwall around and some newer fleet is arriving in Plymouth. He has got a good reputation in the bus industry in competitive situ's and is not being paid by First as consultant to close the op down but to turn it around... the managmt at Citybus have lost in bus wars elsewhere before... Go South Coast is being attacked from all angles and is propped up by IOW fares where no competition!!!

      Here again...huge outlay by Citybus for not much return I'd say. Cstomers will in the main i believe stick with First in Tavi and Toropoint... With some good marketing First can grow on Plymouth City routes... where Citybus are alianting customers by chopping frequency, (Whitleigh) changing routes (Southway) etc. Also Eggbuckland and perhaps Tamerton are easy pickings!! Come on Alex give em a taste of their own medicine!!!

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    2. I haven't seen any newer first buses jet only old ones gone round for years and years more like older buses come hereand are newer buses moved out

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  19. It would take a lot of investment in buses and local management. First essentially are not a good bus operator anywhere. Concentrate on rail leave the embarrassment of first buses alone

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    1. You don't need brand new buses... Vast mahority of customersw just want reliability and affordability... BRING ON SOME NEW CITY ROUTES FIRST!!!!

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    2. I keep asking this but no-one's yet given an answer - First tried this three years ago and most of the routes quickly disappeared. Why would it be different if they tried it again?

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    3. couse there got cheaper fares known and Plymouth got a manger that cares known ,lets hope he truns first bus round ,I here city bus is buying 8 more new buses for route 21 ,and be charging the earth to use them we all now that will happen ,I happey with first buses are cheap

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  20. yes tried before and not enough profit, now a whole new ball game with no restrictions on fares and pulling out of loss making routes to concentrate on giving go ahead a run for their money. Nice new buses mean higher costs, new routes low fares sound good to me. Good for public and good for competition and good for plymouth

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    1. Agreed.. I feel Firsts best option here is by pulling out of long distance routes that lose money..i.e X80 and cutting routes such as the 5 in Mount Gould they can become the low cost company with lower fares than PCB who have higher overheads and fares. PCB may have scored an own goal here!!! If this is the case the choice of efford, Honicknowle and West Park as a starting in point seems a good one. If this takes off I would look at Whitleigh/Southway next and play PCB at their own game!¬

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    2. yep city bus are getting to big ,known ,even go torpoint seen there buses runiing empty ,ever one using first buses .first will be kick there has city bus ,we don't want just city bus ,or fares will go up and up

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  21. I have been using the X80 bus between Totnes and Torbay for years. It's such a shame that FIRST are losing out on their services in the area, as the "X80"/ "X81" are the only services operated by "FIRST" between Plymouth and Torbay in the Totnes area at the moment. Years ago, almost every service in Totnes was operated by "FIRST". It is a bad enough there is not as many services to Torbay from totnes during the evenings at the moment! It may make the matter worse if run by another company, as it may result in a loss of late service back to Totnes.

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  22. stage coach have just purchased first bus plymouth they take over on 6 of september

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