05 September 2013

Pleasantly Puzzled by Purple

Its all to easy to jump to conclusions based on the very basic details provided by VOSA especially as sometimes it takes a day or two for all the notifications to appear. However first Devon & Cornwall have just posted these changes and bearing in mind the heightened competition in the air these changes will be watched very closely to see if First are going to come out fighting or not. On this first batch the opinion is going to be split right down the middle!

PH0004983/278 Variation Accepted: Operating between THE GEORGE PARK AND RIDE SITE and PLYMOUTH (Royal Parade) given service number PR1 effective from 27-Oct-2013. To amend Timetable.

PH0004983/294 Variation Accepted: Operating between Coypool Park & Ride Site and Royal Parade given service number PR2 effective from 27-Oct-2013. To amend Timetable.

Park & Ride timetable changes so probably nothing major.

PH0004983/31 Cancellation Accepted: Operating between Plymouth Bus Station and Paignton Bus Station given service number X80/X81 effective from 27-Oct-2013.

PH0004983/414 Cancellation Accepted: Operating between Paignton and Torquay given service number X80/X81 effective from 27-Oct-2013.

Well, unless there are some new registrations to come it does appear that First are throwing in the towel to Stagecoach?

PH0004983/32 Variation Accepted: Operating between Tavistock Bus Station and Plymouth Royal Parade given service number 83/83A/84/86/86A effective from 27-Oct-2013. To amend Timetable.

This is no surprise as its the other main area of new competition this time against Plymouth Citybus. A recent comment suggested First would not bother serving Derriford Hospital so they could concentrate on the main Plymouth – Tavistock route against Citybus. I hope thats wrong as I feel that serving Derriford Hospital will keep a lot of passengers loyal to First. Of course its always a balancing act as it does add a lot of time to the journey.

PH0004983/328 Variation Accepted: Operating between Plymouth Royal Parade and Keyham given service number 4 effective from 27-Oct-2013. To amend Timetable.

There has also been an increased presence from Citybus on at least part of this service in the St Levans Valley.

PH0004983/333 Cancellation Accepted: Operating between Plymouth Royal Parade and Mount Gould given service number 5 effective from 27-Oct-2013

I have always been amazed that this service has lasted as long as it has!

PH0004983/336 Variation Accepted: Operating between Plymouth Royal Parade and St Budeaux Square given service number 3 effective from 27-Oct-2013. To amend Route and Timetable.

This could be interesting as its up against the main 21 21A service. At first I wondered if the St Budeaux loop was being cut out and the bus was just turning at The Square but that could just be down to the terminus being after the loop. Possibly reading too much into that.

PH0004983/337 Variation Accepted: Operating between Plymouth Royal Parade and Mount Batten given service number 2 effective from 27-Oct-2013. To amend Route and Timetable.

Will have to wait and see if this is anything significant

PH0004983/389 -Variation Accepted: Operating between Plymouth, Royal Parade and Kingsbridge Quay given service number 93 effective from 27-Oct-2013. To amend Route and Timetable.

I would expect to see changes to the Kingsbridge – Dartmouth section too, which is why I think there is more to come over the next day or two?

PH0004983/396 Variation Accepted: Operating between Plymouth City Centre and Roborough given service number 15 effective from 27-Oct-2013. To amend Route and Timetable.

Now this is a change as currently the 15 does not serve Roborough. It could just be an extension of the current half of the runs which turn at Derriford. It just means extending up through past Marjons to The George Park & Ride site. I hope it is just that and not a re-routing away from Asda / Mainstone. Or it could be extended from Mainstone up to The George? I catch this service a lot so will be watching out for the new timetables!

PH0004983/330 Cancellation Accepted: Operating between Plymouth Royal Parade and Blackstone Close given service number 6 effective from 27-Oct-2013.

PH0004983/434 Cancellation Accepted: Operating between Plymouth, Royal Parade and Elburton Village given service number 7 effective from 27-Oct-2013

I can only assume that there is another new route planned to take on some of this work as I cant see them just pulling out of these routes in their operating heartland?

PH0004983/463 Registration Accepted Starting Point: Plymouth, Royal Parade Finish Point: Laira Via: Lipson Vale, Efford Service Number: 6/Purple Service Type: Normal Stopping Effective Date: 27-OCT-2013 Other Details: Monday to Saturday except public holidays

This appears to be a copy of the current Citybus 8/9 service which is busy but an odd choice to start competing with? I also note the route number is described as Purple which suggests we will be seeing a revival of route branding again.

Is this just the first of a batch of new routes? Certainly from the notices posted so far they will have a fair few drivers and buses available as there are more cancellations than additional duties. The new Purple route strongly suggests that there will be other colours available and that some effort will be put into marketing them. I for one hope that this is indeed the case. As long as these notices are indeed just the first batch of changes and there are some more new registrations to follow on VOSA over the next few days then the fun will soon begin!

As always your comments will be very welcome. What do you suspect is coming up?


  • One of the enduring mysteries of Bristol is the question "Where is The Centre?" Not, please note, "Where is the centre?"; the capital letters are important. Public Transport Experience 5 September
  • Meanwhile, here’s another retro image that accompanies a very up-to-date webnews report from a regional newspaper site. Either it was designed to accompany news of changes in the 1970s or people (car drivers?) still see buses in this way Omnibuses 4 September
  • Yesterday, we learnt (officially) that Yellow Buses will soon “swoop” in on the Bournemouth to Bournemouth (Hurn) airport service. It gave the headline writers an opportunity to “soar”. Dorset Bus Blog 4 September
  • Today I am able to bring you the first images of one of the new Enviro400s for use on First's X1 route between Peterborough and Lowestoft via Norwich and Great Yarmouth East Norfolk Bus Blog 4 September
  • Long established operator Delaine Buses kept up with their recent tradition of being one of the first operators in the UK to place a new registration bus in service - Andys Bus Blog 4 September


  1. From October 6th when those PCB changes that appeared on VOSA the other week, the 33 is to become an exact copy of the 4, operating to Milehouse, St Levan Road and then Ford & Keyham. The 61/62 are to be restored with no 61/61A. All of this info can be found here:


    Hopefully it won't be too long before Citybus release full details of those changes.

    Efford is another area Citybus have had to themselves for year after year, together with Eggbuckland,Tamerton and Whitleigh, and also smaller areas or places other routes pass by such as West Park & Holly Park. Will be interesting to see how First get on.

    As for the 3 having St Budeaux Square as the terminus - this is what the 26 said. I assume they'll still continue to operate into Barne Barton.

    I really hope they don't withdraw the 6,7 and X80 - I would be shocked if they did!

    1. I suspect as has been suggested First will either register replacements for the 6 & 7 or modify the existing 2 to incorporate running via Elburton - perhaps who knows yet.
      As for the X80/X81 let Stagecoach have it. It is far too vast route wise to get into a bus war, the number of drivers, vehicles, fuel cost etc of trying to out do Stagecoach simply doesn't stack up, First are better off ploughing efforts into protecting what they have left.

  2. Interesting. The 5 is sensible and long over due. But the 6 and the 7, are they throwing the towel into the heartland and attacking citybus's heartland in efford? The 6 has been part of plymstock for years, but prehaps citybus have won this battle. Can First win anything with old S reg darts against newer and more modern citybus vehicles?
    As for the 2 -
    PH0004983/337 Variation Accepted: Operating between Plymouth Royal Parade and Mount Batten given service number 2 effective from 27-Oct-2013. To amend Route and Timetable
    Many the amend route is to take it up Pomphlett road and dean cross road instead up behind to randwick park road - those speeding it up and replacing part of the 7.
    Will the route the 3 in the opposite direction to the 21/21a?
    I think PR1 and PR2 have run summer and winter timetables for a few years now

    1. I understand First's 6 and 7 will be covered by revised 2 and 93 schedules.

  3. serv 5,6,7 cancelled. x80/x81 cancelled. serv 3 will come out of barne barton, and go up Victoria road, west park and honicknowle. not sure if it continues into town via peverell or not. 15 coming out of mainstone and may either go roborough or woolwell possibly? efford route purple, is going like a 9 up efford lane, Torridge way, blandford road, to bootom of pike road, LEFT to laira roundabout & back to where it came. pcb are taking 14 & 53 from target in November.

  4. Does this mean they are taking the x80 off?:( could someone let me know asap as I don't really understand.

    1. At the moment it looks like they are, but there is a possibility they will register a replacement service but this is unlikely. The company will make an announcement before too long with full details of any changes. It shouldnt case anyone any real problems as there is a new Stagecoach service running over the same route

    2. Ah now I understand it better thankyou.

  5. If first bring in this efford route I am starting to wonder if they'll do the severn place loop which the number 10 did.

  6. Beginning of the end for First in Plymouth. Feel sorry for the people on Lipson road, citybus go around the park instead.

    I guess they are pulling out of routes that don't make money, I suppose you can't blame them. It will be interesting to see what frequency they try on the Efford route. The combined frequency of the 8,9 and 20 (for Laira) means Citybus will definitely still be the most convenient service. If they are going to be cheaper than Citybus I expect they will get a fair amount of custom, given the economic profile of the area. I wonder if this will change how Citybus allocate their vehicles. You could see more older models on the routes with no competition and some of the newer ones making their way onto the 8/9.

  7. Its good to see that First seem to be at least willing to give it a go rather than throw in the towel. Although, with such a strong and successful offering in Efford and Laira, it does seem like they are barking up the wrong tree with this one. Especially if the route mentioned above it correct.
    Concerning initially to read of the withdrawl of the X80/X81, one of their longest standing services I think! But lets be realistic, there is not enough footfall on this corridor to withstand two average services, and when you consider that Stagecoach Gold is and will be a far better than average service, First were never going to win this corridor. 9 63plate E400s, Vs a mix matched selection of ageing vehicles.
    I personally think that, if First were looking to steal passengers from Citybus, they should play the long game. Introduce the full City Circular services (46/a & 47/a). Linking the vast majority of the city, and stepping on varying different areas. Build a passenger base using these services, then begin to step into other PCB populated areas. They need to have more of an offering on services inside the city boundaries, otherwise the odd one or two routes means nothing as day tickets are really restricted.
    I do also think, though, that if First were to fold and Stagecoach were to take up the turf that is Plymouth, with their high standards and well turned out fleet, it wouldn't necessarily be such a bad thing for Plymouth.

    VOSA will be an interesting place over the next few days I am sure!

    1. I agree with your comments re the X80 X81. Also agree that Efford seems like an odd choice as Citybus do offer a good service here from what I can see.
      No so sure about the city circular 46 47s - these routes have not made anyone any money for a long time. They do come is useful for people as they provide decent links saving changing buses but not enough to sustain any decent level of service.
      I would personally try and do what Citybus are doing and introducing more cross city services again. Perhaps joining the Plymstock services with the St Budeaux ones something like the old 6 7s from years back. Look to try and create new links rather than just copy existing ones. Of course its easy for us to come up with all of these ideas when it isnt our money we are spending!

  8. It does all seem very strange that First appear to be throwing in the towel before anything's even started. The X80 is well established route and Stagecoach haven't even begun operating their competing service yet (and look what happened to their X45). There's no way they can be leaving Plymstock with just the 2 either, the 5/A has surely not hurt them that much when they divvied up the 5/6 into 6 and 7. Plymstock will not cope with just 2 routes, especially with all the extra houses PCC are allowing to be thrown up out that way.

    1. My understanding is that the no 2 and 93 will be modified to cover for the cancellation of the nos 6 & 7. How this will be achieved I do not know

  9. Given that the cancellations take effect from 27 October if First had plans for replacements they've run out of time due to the eight week notice period for registration. I assume the cancellations will be without replacement.

    Northampton Mk2.

    1. Yes- but dont forget that there is often a delay between VOSA receiving the notice and them actually publishing it on their web site. Looking back over routes it is often a week before they are available online. We will know all by Monday when First make their announcements

  10. I have heard that the 3 is is doing west park and honicknowle 7 is efford 6 is staying In plymstock 93 is also do a short run to elburton 15 is do woolwell no asda

  11. One problem with cross city services is the potential for horrendous delays occurring. I remember the late 1990's when the 1 and 1A linked Saltash and Elburton/Staddiscombe and at times the delays were dreadful. This was always exacerbated during the morning and evening peak periods. The services were finally separated again into the 1 and 1A and 5 and 6 by First, during the Tamar Bridge strengthening works.

    1. Sorry I got that all wrong. It was the 1 and 2 that served Saltash, Elburton and Staddiscombe. This was split when the 'Overground' network came in and was 1 and 2 Red Line that served Saltash and the 5 and 6 were reistated for Elburton/Staddiscombe as the Green Line. Seems a long time ago now!

  12. None of these applications make much sense, FIRST should be putting right what they have now before going off into the unknown. The rot set in when their managers decided to change the 5 and 6 in Plymstock. It wasn't broken but "computer said it was". Result PCB 5 and 5A run over those self-same routes and clean up. First had an opportunity to put it right but didn't; they had another chance now and have blown it again. The 2 continuing through Forresters road is another Plymstock no-brainer: 80+ buses a day in each direction for no reason. With Plymstock/Elburton to themselves now, PCB will inevitably jack the fares up again. I feel sorry for the First drivers who have done nothing wrong and the passengers who will be left with no alternative service.. Unless everyone else has missed something, it is almost the end for First in Plymouth

  13. We would find out more on monday, on firsts website (under service updates) it reads

    "We have registered a number of changes to our network in Plymouth and the surrounding areas from 27 October.

    We are currently compiling information on these changes and it will be published on our website, Facebook and Twitter pages from Monday 9 September."

  14. Just a note - when looking at changes (as opposed to new registrations) on the VOSA website you can't rely on the start & finish points to give you any indication of the change. Those listed will refer to the start & finish points when the services was first registered and they do not get changed if the route is changed at a subsequent point, VOSA do not change start or finish points if a service is changed (they quite often don't change the route number listed either, if the operator is very specific about a route number change in the change summary it may be updated but there is not guarantee). So presumeably the 3 used to terminate at St Budeaux Square & the 15 used to run to Roborough at previous points in time, even if they no longer do so. Just because it lists those points on the VOSA website does not mean that the services will serve them now or in the future. My employers have registrations active where both the start & finish points listed on the VOSA site are no longer served by the route in question, either due to cutbacks or diversions as well as routes which operate beyond the listed start/finish points following extensions.

    1. You are right to point out that you cannot take everything at face value on VOSA as there are often errors / and historical hangovers from previous route incarnations to confuse matters.
      However, in the case of the 15 this is a new terminal as the route has never served Roborough. Two drivers have told me that they think the 15 will no longer serve Mainstone and will go to Roborough instead from October. As for the 3, well St Budeaux Square is start / end of the Barne Barton Loop so could quite easily be classed as the terminus.

  15. Could the purple bit be a vosa leftover from the day's when first had the foreground network? Can anyone remember if the 6 was the purple route?

    1. That was a good question and it did get me thinking for a while. However, the purple line was the 7A (http://flic.kr/p/6kmBzt)
      Also, as this is a new registration then there shouldnt be any old leftovers from previous changes.

  16. According to the "Service Updates" section of the First website, they will be publishing details of the changes in Plymouth on Monday 9th September - so all should become clear then!

  17. New PCB Timetables are online:

  18. They now have this on their website


    So we wait till Monday with interest.

  19. Service 25 – first two trips Monday to Friday are to be School Holidays only.

    Service 29 – An extra 0752 run from Milehouse to Derriford school days only. All depart Derriford 2 minutes earlier.

    Service 30 – Withdrawn from Transit Way and operates via the Crownhill Loops instead. Arrives at Derriford two minutes earlier.

    Service 32 – Every 15 minutes from the City Centre to Torpoint Ferry, every 30 minutes over into Torpoint.

    Service 33 – New circular route copying the 4 to Ford & Keyham, every 30 minutes no evening/Sunday service.

    Service 35 – Current 1805 trip from Royal Parade now departs at 1810.

    Service 40/41 – Splits the timetable at Ranco like it used to – service 40 changes to a 41 at this point and vice versa. Continues as the Service 43.

    Service 42/A – An extra Sunday run to Derriford and back departing Royal Parade at 0705 and Derriford at 0735.

    Service 43 – Timetable adjusted to continue as the 40/41.

    Service 43A – 1437 trip to Wearde School that went onto the 117 withdrawn. 1820 trip from Royal Parade changed to depart five minutes later.

    Service 43B – Inbound services from Holly Park depart two minutes earlier Monday to Saturday.
    Service 44/A – 44A Withdrawn and 44 now every 15 minutes.

    Service 61/61A – 61/61A replaced with 61/62. Cut back to every 30 minutes making a combined every 15 minute service. Individual hourly Sunday services continue, combined to every 30 minutes. Evening services significantly reduced.

  20. 12 CITYBUS in Tavistock - their website shows service F1 as 12 (although there is a typo which shows it as torpoint-plymouth on the timetables page). With this route: ROUTE 12: From Royal Parade via St Andrews Cross Roundabout, Exeter Street Viaduct, Charles Cross Roundabout, Charles Street, Cobourg Street, North Cross Roundabout, Saltash Road, Pennycomequick, Alma Road, Outland Road, Manadon Hill, Tavistock Road (A386), Meavy Lane, Yelverton, Dousland Road, Tavistock Road (A386), Plymouth Road (A386), Horrabridge, Plymouth Road (A386)� and West Avenue to Tavistock Bus Station.
    32 CITYBUS in Torpoint - The website shows this route for the 32. Seems with the changes to the 33, the 32 will pick up the Molesworth Road-pennycombquick part of the route. ROUTE 32: From Plymouth (Royal Parade) via Derry�s Cross Roundabout, Union Street, The Crescent, Western Approach, North Cross Roundabout, Saltash Road, Pennycomequick, Stuart Road, Wilton Street, Molesworth Road, Devonport Road, Albert Road, Park Avenue, Ferry Road, Torpoint Ferry, Ferry Street, Harvey Street, Antony Road, Trevol Road, Goad Avenue, Trevithick Avenue, Goad Avenue and Trevol Road to Torpoint (HMS Raleigh).
    33 CITYBUS in Keyham. Looks like 33 will copy First's 4. ROUTE 33: From Royal Parade via St Andrews Cross Roundabout, Exeter Street (Viaduct), Charles Cross Roundabout, Charles Street, Cobourg Street, North Cross Roundabout, Saltash Road, Pennycomequick, Alma Road, Wolseley Road, St Levan Road, Saltash Road, Admiralty Street, Royal Navy Avenue and Moor View to Station Road
    61/62 CITYBUS in Transit Way etc. Looks like a return to the previous workings. ROUTE 61: From Royal Parade Stop A16 via St Andrews Cross Roundabout, Exeter Street Viaduct, Charles Cross Roundabout, Charles Street, Drake Circus, North Hill, Mutley Plain, Hyde Park Road, Weston Park Road, Ham Drive, Honicknowle Lane, St Pancras Avenue, Honicknowle Lane, Honicknowle Green, Little Dock Lane, Coombe Park Lane, Crownhill Road and Transit Way to Transit Way Shopping Centre.� ROUTE 62: From Royal Parade Stop A16 via St Andrews Cross Roundabout, Exeter Street Viaduct, Charles Cross Roundabout, Charles Street, Drake Circus, North Hill, Mutley Plain, Hyde Park Road, Weston Park Road, Ham Drive, Honicknowle Lane, Cobbett Road, Chaucer Way, Sheridan Road, St Peters Road, Crownhill Road and Transit Way to Transit Way Shopping Centre

  21. Efford provides a short circular urban route, which has always attracted strong passenger numbers. So it's easy work for First, and makes use of surplus drivers and vehicles from the axed routes. PCB has always done well in Lipson/Efford and First want a slice of the cake too.

    I doubt that making drivers redundant and shrinking the Devon fleet is an option that First want to consider at this stage. It would certainly upset the unions and if First are working towards selling-off Devon operations, a potential buyer wants to see examples of routes which are cheap to run and bring good revenue.

    It will be interesting to see what vehicles First allocate on this new route. Efford is up a hill, so that rules out most of the current fleet!

    1. 'Efford is up a hill, so that rules out most of the current fleet!' Made me laugh!!

    2. Agreed hence the withdrawal of x80 and x81 long fistance expensive to.run.. Stagecoach can have them. First can use these resources to beeg up plymouth.area routes to compete with citybus.. Lower costs for potentiallly bigger returns. I wouldnt be surprised if 93 dartmouth service ends up stagecoach too and fitst use this resource in plymouth too... Whitleigh i.would suggest. This could all wlrk out well for first in plymouth!

    3. Just because First puts on a new service, doesn't mean that people will use it*. Look at the new Ugobus network a couple of years ago.

      This is all surely very much a last throw of the dice for First - there is a limit to how many times you can try new routes that don't work. And if they don't work out, you're reducing your operations and thus having to spread your overheads over a smaller number of remaining routes (especially as the X80/X81 will have gone). Not a good cycle to get into.

      Forget the idea of selling Plymouth, they tried that and no-one wanted it. That speaks volumes, don't you think?

      * Yes, this goes for PCB's routes to Torpoint and Tavistock too.

  22. course plymstock will cope! u really think citybus aren't going to come up with new routes for plymstock?

  23. miss the 47 and 46 route its not he same any more when use to running to whiteliegh and i miss the 47a

  24. Tavistock citybus service timetables are out, http://www.plymouthbus.co.uk/site/uploads/publications/1125.htm

  25. Well looks like something is in store on Monday. Will be interesting to see what is proposed. Like many have already said its difficult to predict from the VOSA notifications what is exactly in store.

    It sounds like a repositioning of First resources, matching resources to need as they have said often in the past.

    The X80/X81 appears to be going, having visited the area last week and used the X80 for the first time in years (i probably put the mockers on it) it didn't seem that well used. Such a long route requiring quite a few vehicles to run it and with Stagecoach already dominant in Torbay and having services east of Dartington First have probably thought lets get out and use the buses where they have more chance if being used. Also with Citybus creaming off Ivybridge there isn't much for First to fight for here.

    Plymstock could be interesting. It always was the heartland but do First see it like that? In terms of Plymouth how significant is Plymstock it's not in the same league for profitability as some of the inner Plymouth suburbs or the west and north of the city. So I think they will have a go at Efford it's not 2 far from the city centre the population profile not so leaning towards concessionarys as Plymstock so probably some potential to make money. Is Purple the first of a rainbow of colours from First for Plymouth (probably worth omitting red though)

  26. If CityBus got a new route to Mount Batten, and if First do not replace 6 and 7, Citybus could wipe First out of Plymstock (excpet 48 and 93). Then with Plymstock, Plympton, Ivybridge and Barne Barton as CityBus strongholds (and if they win the battle for Tavistock too), would the future of First look very bleak?

    1. Profit and revenue/volume are two different things. A smaller business concentrating on fewer profitable routes could be the thinking. Forget the 'strongholds' of history. Is this First turning the status quo upside down - saying 'if PCB want to run everything then let them - we'll pick and choose what we want to run - if PCB aren't going to stick to their historic areas, why should First - but with First it isn't about trying to dominate everything, just to build a manageable profitable business. This could be the moment when First get to dump the baggage of the past network and start over again? PCB win the battle for Tavistock??? unlikely Lets see the First timetables for Tavistock and Torpoint (coming a week later?) first and see what they have in store on those routes. These are the best two routes they have by far. Unofficial news is that First are going to make these the real battle route wise, not the city routes and that they will rewrite the timetables and routes to fight First head to head where they have the advantages. BUT most of all, think what wont be announced via VOSA. Fare and Pass prices? Big discounts for groups of customers? best buses moving to the two best routes. Is the VOSA news is just part of what is coming. One thing is that unlike PCB First has not announced its plans until they have had to after VOSA. Are they keeping everything under wraps for as long as they can on fares and other things so they can spring things at short notice? How will PCB cope if First lower lots of fares and passes? Saw somewhere that PCB is Go Aheads lowest profit bus company at 5% last year. A battle with First including fare cuts AND lots of extra buses running on Torpoint and Tavistock is going to eat up that 5% and more.

    2. Anon 00:05 - I like the way that you assume that PCB can't fund a price war and that FDC can. FDC is hardly profitable as it is and I would imagine that the last thing they'd want is to lower lots of fares and offer big discounts - they can't afford it. Remember they wanted out but no-one would buy the business, so please don't imagine that their pockets are very deep. Besides, fares are only one side of the coin, concessions will have a big impact too and those passengers aren't especially loyal.

    3. or could this now be a reality? Back in May Tim O’Toole is reported to have said "In South Devon and Northampton we are almost in a close-down" I personally really hope First stay in Plymouth and regret that what seem to me to 'stupid' bus wars develop between the two main operators. Plymouth needs them both!

    4. First can fund anything they want from their overall business and so can Goahead. Whats different is that Goahead have tried to force Firsts hand this time to surrender and leave the city. That was what they wanted to do but on their own terms and in their own time. Perhaps with First it isn't about profit any more. Perhaps Goahead have just pushed it too far and First feel they have to stand their ground in some way instead of let their competitors think they will just walk away if you compete with them.

  27. From what I can make of the time table and route description for the 44, the service now operated via Budshead Road then right into Taunton Avenue (as 44A) to Whitleigh Green, waits time before heading back towards town via Taunton Avenue again.
    ...if it aint broke??

  28. I think this might be the beginning of the end of first in plymouth, but you never can tell. Here are a few throughts and predictions:
    PLYMSTOCK - If first have got new routes, this will help them. With the strong 2, they will might need to have looked at serving streets citybus dont. Thier mistake was to drop the old 5/6, as citybus now have this route (5/5a) which of course picks up alot of school traffic. Could be interesting times. If no new service is registered (which would be a mistake) would this mean they have conceded this ground to Citybus? Prediction - Win for Citybus
    TAVISTOCK/TORPOINT - This of course is new territory for citybus, but then so was Ivybridge and they won that one. The torpoint service will pick up the molesworth road/stuart road passengers (the main pick ups on the 33 at the moment), so it might do well here. Torpoint residents might welcome a new service and a change, they ceretainly asked for a service from citybus, lets see if they use it. Tavistock could be the more difficult one for citybus, but with brand new buses they will certainly be a novelty value so to start with there could be high use for citybus. and of course double deckers provide a better view than singles, but at the end of the day it will come down to fares and routes. Prediction - close battle, early high use for citybus but could end up a score draw.
    EFFORD - If firsts new service there does exist, holding on to it might be tricky, a well establsihed citybus service with buses that can climb hills may see first in efford short lived. Prediction: Citybus to hold on
    KEYHAM - This is a stronghold for first at the moment. Can keyham cope with to services on exactly the same route. Prediction - First to hold, but newer vehicles might turn the tide. Fares also an issue.
    BARNE BARTON / 3 - Barne Barton might be a high population area but did it warrant a service every 7-10 minutes from both operators? With double deckers (and now new ones) i guess citybus carry more people. If first reroute the 3, they conceed the battleground to citybus. Can they steal anything going to honicknowle or ernesettle (previous ernesettle 13 failed)? Prediction: Citybus to win barne barton, new route 3 could prove fruitful for first depending where it goes.
    FARES - Of course fares play a major part, first might be cheaper but the state of the fleet is worse, citybus are higher but maintain the fleet better. Do you pay for getting from a to b or do you pay for the quality of vehicle that gets you there?

    Make of that what you will, just some rambling saturday morning thoughts. I guess all we can do is watch this space!

    1. On Tavistock and Torpoint PCB will be running less often. If its right every 30 against every 20 on Tavistock and every 30 against 15 on Torpoint. Plus First are finally sorting out their routes on both to maximise their business.
      New leather seated Citybus E400s on Tavistock against 12 plate leather seated First E400s apparently - looks like the advantage is with First, especially if they do decide to take the plunge and cut the fares.
      Not such a one sided battle after all perhaps, especially if its more about First teaching PCB a lesson than making a profit???

  29. The 15 will no longer serve Estover/Mainstone but will go to Woolwell as per old 7!!! So does that mean Mainstone gets no bus at all then ??? They will be pleased!!

  30. Anonymous7 September 2013 08:51 I think the differnce this time is that a few years ago I don't think Firsts' heart was in for a fight at that time... they regisetered the 12,13,15 and 17 purely to try and put of a sale of Citybus to another operator. Once the sale went through and at that time Go Ahead showed no threat to them they quickly removed the new routes, except the 15! This time Citybus have really upset First by registering Tavi and Torpoint routes after going into Saltash and Ivybridge. This time i feel it is war as far as First is concerned and they are fighting to survive so expect a real campaign of fare cuts etc this time... in the case of the rumoured extension to number 3 through West Park Honicknowle Pennycross and peverell.. citybus have cut frequencies here to every 30 mins so First can not only beat them on frequency but will probably win on cost too...hence a real chance to pinch citybuses 61/62 customers leaving PCB with a loss making route, Citybus will also loose revenue in Efford as First are bound to gain some of their regulars, both these routes with less overhead than the axed X80/X81 they are replacing. Citybus will also loose money on Tavistock route.. they may gain customers in short term but most will swap back to First I Am sure!!!

    1. first drivers are leaving in their droves to parks and citybus and not being replaced by first, they cant really fight back shortstaffed now can they, driving instructors and other back office staff with pcv licences have recently been helping out!

  31. Whatever Firsts plans are and whatever their outcome for Plymouth, it does seem that they are not intending to sell the whole of the devon and cornwall operation just yet, having just aquired the Truro park and ride for 5 years
    "First South West will run the Truro Park and Ride service for the city from Monday 2 September having been awarded the contract for the next five years by Cornwall Council.
    Since it began in 2008, the Langarth to city centre service has been operated by Western Greyhound. With the initial five-year contract set to expire this year, following a tender process First was awarded the contract until 2018"

  32. Staff been told and Cornwall are not for sale! Lots of things happening especially in Somerset so far behind the scenes.

  33. tavi torpoint and service 4 areas are fed up with firsts poor service and even poorer vehicles, half the tavilinx buses can't get above 10mph on hills! unfortunately for first drivers and staff first have a reputation for cutting routes i should imagine passengers being wary of a new first service. i hope first do survive cos it'll be a awfull lot of drivers out of work!


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