29 October 2013

Purple for a pound

Yesterday was the first full day of the new First network and saw the introduction of the new branding for the new purple 6: IMG_6573
©Richard Smith

40583 meanwhile was still unmarked:

IMG_6390

©Richard Smith

I think it looks better unlettered…


Public Transport Experience: How many of today's bus company bosses would be happy to (a) live at the entrance to their depot and (b) have passengers waiting in one of their living rooms?

Andy Bus Blog: This time its from Mildenhall Air Show which attracted huge crowds in the eighties. People came from all over the country in all sorts of odd vehicles.

Public Transport Experience: A lunchtime thunderstorm made everyone not riding on buses at the time dive for the cover of the Museum building. This of course was a clever and successful ruse by the Museum Management to raise sales of refreshments and memorabilia.

Public Transport Experience: When a bus company says that a bus route "has not perfomed up to expectations" the management-speak can have a number of interpretations.

Public Transport Experience: City Bus presents the 5 and 5A on-line timetable as one huge interlocking double lollipop; which is, frankly difficult to follow and potentially befuddling.

58 comments:

  1. That looks terrible.

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  2. Christ on a bike, that looks awful. It it wasn't for the First logo's you'd think the service was being operated by a newly started cowboy outfit..

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  3. Awful - if that's the best they can come up with they don't deserve to succeed. A fortune being spent on leaflets and timetables, virtually nothing on the vehicles. With their normal poor attention to vehicle allocation how long before these buses appear on other routes.

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  4. 40583 was wearing the full 'Purple 6' branding today. However I saw it at Marsh Mills roundabout at lunchtime working the PR2!

    I've seen some passengers on the new 6 each time it's gone past. But it's certainly not carrying the same number of passengers that the PCB services are. The 6 appears to be timetabled to run a few minutes behind quite a few PCB services. Based on the demographic region the 6 serves, I think most passengers would be inclined to flag-down whatever service comes along first, flash their free bus passes and not care for who's running the service or how much it would have ordinarily cost. Hence PCB seem to be unfazed by the new 6 service and it does not appear to have dented their passenger numbers yet.

    I don't honestly see the 6 being that much of a success for First. The service does not really serve any particular purpose. Based on the quality of the branding the the poor choice of vehicles First have dug-up to stick on the route, it appears First are also approaching the 6 with a very experimental strategy.

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    1. I don't think Efford has a very high proportion of free bus passes. Lots of families in large council houses.

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  5. Oh dear that purple livery looks great with no lettering but the £1 cheap and nasty looking lettering reminds me of the late 1980's it looks cheap and very nasty and screams desperate expect better.

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  6. The livery looks good - but we have been here before a number of times. How long is it going to be before route-branded buses for the 6 start taking trips to Callington while a Tavistock-branded bus covers the 6? Or a step-entrance double-decker if there are still any of those left. There has in the past not been the strength of management combined with a sufficient pool of vehicles to keep a route-branded scheme going for very long. Also - is this the end of Ugo-bus?

    Keith

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    1. I have seen reports that one of the purple buses was on PR2 today - but to be fair Citybus had a Red Flash on the Blue Flash so its not just First. I do agree that the purple looks a lot better unlettered though.Ugo bus had been dead and burried for a few years now, its just a shame that they never bothered to removed the green blobs.

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    2. Graham, you are correct a red flash is on the 12 service due to a blue flash bus waiting for replacement parts to be delivered. As 21/21A is not fully converted to the new buses yet we have chosen to maintain the standard of vehicle on the 12 service. Not ideal but this is always a problem when you route brand vehicles.

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    3. Can't agree with you more Keith, i have been banging on for years about First using route branded buses on the wrong routes. First answer is its better to put a route branded bus on incorect route to keep to the service schedule but if they havent got enough vehicles to mantain a service with normal unbranded buses they should stop branding buses for certain routes.

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  7. The B6's have had their day, how are they going to cope with Efford Lane when they struggle to get up the hill from Derriford hospital to the roundabout. First wont win against citybus with poor quality vehicles like this! Ok they may be a quid but they look like a down at the heal option to me compared with a better quality operator in Citybus with a larger network coverage that First wont replicate!

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    1. On recent visit to Plymouth,have to say the B6's are way past their best.
      48226 while looking very worn inside had seats that were remarkably comfortable,however the noise from the transmission sounded terrible.

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    2. Can someone explian why the B6's have such a lack of power when compared to a B7RLE or even against a much older Volvo Olmpian ?

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  8. I don't really care what the buses look like, for £1 I'll use it! Bargain.

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    1. here here, all of a sudden plymouth passengers care what age the bus is before they travel, very childish and silly ive never seen this in other cities, towns or villages accross the country. whats it matter if you need to get from a to b , cheaper the better unless you have a snobbish image thing going on.

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  9. If city bus are the only operating company i feel sorry for Plymouth people the fares will go through the roof

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    1. Why would they? That didn't happen in Brighton. Can you provide your evidence please?

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    2. why would'nt they? fares going up already. can you provide evidence please?

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    3. I have. As I said, have a look a the history of services in Brighton where GoAhead has continually improved the frequencies, services and vehicles since buying the corporation fleet. They haven't done that by just racking up fares, there's a lot, lot more to it.
      But to be honest, I can't be bothered commenting here any more. There's no sensible debate, it's all wild speculation, guesswork and sensational exaggeration from a few people who seem to have chips on their shoulders and come across as childish and very bitter.

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  10. where do people get this idea that fares will go through the roof? don't know what they talking about!

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    1. no competition means higher fares in anyones lingo

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  11. yes that all city bus are trying to do is to be the only company in Plymouth and look up then

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  12. i think a quid is good lets be honest, if first take £300 quid a day thats £600 citybus aint taking, and its a case of watch this space , and i wonder how long before citybus drop their fares in efford, thats what competition is all about, no competition higher fares more competition lower fares. The new universal day ticket seems a good idea for plymouth one ticket all three companies honour.

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  13. Those buses have had there day, they won't beat citybus. the efford lane hill is to much for them! Ugly buses too.

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  14. Just like first Would if they had the chance first are the main operator in plenty of cities

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  15. Went on the 6 today good service the 8 was behind two people on it the 6 full standing load the drivers are more friendly as well I hope first do more routes good on you first

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    1. totally agree.. southway whitleigh and plympton to start

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    2. I agree about First drivers. I am in a wheelchair and use buses most times I come into Plymouth - I have always found First drivers both friendly and helpful, especially on the P&R. Some Citybus drivers are also very good - but some are not. I always think of First as a company with a great staff but poor management - possibly because the local managers have their hands tied behind their backs by Aberdeen, particularly when it comes to demands for unrealistic profit levels.

      Keith

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  16. hear hear anon 11.20! if the boot was on the other foot, and first tried to run citybus out of town and got the monopoly, they would do the same. also this purple snail route. are the drivers getting reduced wages on that route? No. Are fdc getting discount on fuel? No. So it may be a low cost service, but the overheads are the same! so they will just make even less money now!!

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    1. and.citybus loose even more now.

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  17. there may be people on the 6 but its mainly oap's with free passes not a money making route

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  18. Shut up you are all talking rubbish get a life its to short

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  19. Ha! Citybus were denied of £320 in and around the Efford/Laira area across a short stint this morning....

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    1. Got to say I am pleasantly surprised by the take up for Firsts 6 in efford/laira.. well done and hopefully this service will go from strength to strength. The 3a around Peverell/Pennycross/West Park seems to be getting better used in last few days at all.. even people using it instead of 61 in peak times.

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  20. just a pity fdc aren't covering their overheads! it will end up the same as the 88, dead on its ass, same as 3a.

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    1. More than 3000 passengers on the 6 last week. That's 3000 pax that Go-Ahead didn't carry. £1 a ride means more bums on seats and that's what its all about. It will all depend on how long Alex Carter is allowed to keep the fares down.

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  21. City bus are rude and getting expensive but I guess they have to pay for the red flash and blue flash ha ha

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  22. Another good promotion from first child fares look great first are great

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  23. Well said Anon 21:22. Citybus passengers are paying through the nose for these buses, First are so much cheaper, who cares about flash bus you only on it 10 mins or so in Plymouth anyway. First are cheaper on most single and return fares, Day/week/Month tickets much cheaper, OAP £1 fares before 09:30 and now massively cheaper for kids..Yet large chunks of Plymouth people will still let them go by and pay £'s more to citybus. Must be thick that's all i can say or more money than sense of course. A bus does not need to be RED you know plymouth residents.

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    1. So you'd advocate no bus operator ever buying new buses? Brilliant, just brilliant.

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    2. The main competition for buses is the private car. Running wrecks around does not attract people out of their cars - all it does is condemn local bus services to a slow death. "Flash" buses stand half a chance of surviving, as has been proven all over the country. Funny how First claimed North Devon didn't make them any money, yet Stagecoach have just allocated 21 brand new deckers there.

      Anyway, given the complete hash that First have made of implementing the service changes in Cornwall this week, the company doesn't deserve to survive.

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  24. Well said I agree I hope they come to Plympton soon

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  25. maybe if first aka western national weren't so greedy years ago, and ran their company properly, they wouldn't be in the shit their in now!

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  26. What people need to realise is that it is only because another bus company is threatening routes that the company which stands to loose the most need to reduce fares. First have and are more expensive in many areas that they have the majority of routes.

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    1. That's the same everywhere, not just in Plymouth. Competition always drives down prices. Go-Ahead will still charge as much as they can get away with where they are not being challenged by anyone else.
      Fact: First are now less expensive in Plymouth than any other Bus Company on routes that they operate..

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    2. Competition does usually drive down prices - but at some point they will rise again. Its easy to have lower prices than the competition. The difficult bit is having lower prices AND having a sustainable profitable business plan. We have been here before!

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  27. You are wrong see the new fares this Sunday o was waiting for the 27 today and the other 8 passengers and yhe bus went straight passed

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  28. City bus was a better company when it was owned by the council now they don't care about the passengers

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    1. Not convinced by that. In the latter years the company was starved of investment in new buses, something which had to change. They were clearly running routes which were not working as well, but didn't seem able to cut the rubbish.

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  29. The way I see it, PCB or Go Ahead have done everything they can against First now, there isn't any other routes that First have that PCB don't offer a rival service on.. yet First are still going and don't look that threatened either by PCB services. Take Tavistock, Torpoint, Saltash, Plymstock for example, First are still the main operator in these areas despite PCB best efforts and as PCB will not do any kind of half decent Fares promo it is likely to stay that way. First there on the other hand have made loss for years and are in a better position to experiment.,.. even after the routes launched last week, that seem to be picking up well now, they still have areas such as Southway, Whitleigh and Plympton at their disposal and even Tamerton and Eggbuckland perhaps, so still plenty of damage can be done here by First

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    1. First are still going, you are right there, something which many people didnt expect (partly due to what the top brass at First were saying about their own business). They are still dominant in some areas but look back and it was not that long ago that Plymstock was totally First / WN and yet now Citybus has a major presence there and First have withdrawn a large chunk of their services. Barne Barton is now just Citybus. Tavistock and Torpoint were always going to be long term projects and will take time.
      The battle between Citybus and First goes back many years, the current position follows on from Firsts aggression against Citybus when it was put up for sale by the council. First started running in what was traditionally Citybus areas so in return Citybus started operating in Plymstock and Saltash and Barne Barton. The big difference between the two has been that Citybus have generally stayed the course. Of all First new services - the 15 to Mainstone was the last one left. Citybus meanwhile are still in Plymstock, Barne Barton etc.
      As for PCB not joining in with the fares promotions, I am sure if they feel the need to then they will. As you point out yourself - First have made a loss for years - First nationally are still making losses. Go Ahead seem to be doing quite well and making money. First may be in a position to experiment - they need to if they are going to return a profit - which at the end of the day is the whole point of the business.
      First can cause plenty of damage to Citybus if they wanted to, but if they cant make a profit then what is the point?

      I do think, and hope, that First can up their game and not only survive but do well in Plymouth. I am sure there is room for both companies to do well.

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    2. Well said, Graham.

      First might be offering low fares for now but how long can that last? Like you say, if they're not turning a profit, what is the point and shareholders will rightly start to get restless and start demanding answers and action both in Plymouth and nationally.

      If, as has been mooted, First has granted a period of time to turn FD&C around, then they're not going to prove long-term viability by keeping artificially low fares. At some point they will have to rise. My hunch is that PCB will wait for First's fares promotions to run their course and then we might see some fares initiatives of their own. After all, PCB can play the long game, they have time on their side.

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  30. First ,What about painting all the buses green and rebrand then as Western National down this way it was a good company

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  31. From what I have heard Plympton is one of the areas on Firsts' radar for 2014.

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    1. Haven't First been there before and failed? I seem to remember when they went to Plympton in the first round of Uggbus' going forth and multiplying Citybus just ignored them and left the service to die quietly - which, in the end, it did.

      Keith

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  32. you cant tie a ribbon on a turd.....

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  33. You can mate i have

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