18 October 2013

Taking (Plym)stock

With several changes over the coming months Plymstock services are under the spotlight today. The current Plymstock route for Plymouth Citybus is the 5 5A which provides a basic 10 minute daily service from town alternating directions around the Plymstock loop. Evenings and Sundays are provided with a bus every 30 mins.Plymstock - Plymouth Citybus Sep 2013

First Devon & Cornwall have several routes at the moment covering a larger area of Plymstock as shown below:

Plymstock - First Sep 2013
The main route is the 2 (yellow above) which operates a basic day time service every 12 minutes (10 mins at peak times). Evenings the service dips down to hourly. Sundays sees a half hourly service in the day time with an hourly Sunday evening service.

Next we have the 6 Dark blue above which shares a small section with the 2 but also serves Oreston and then into Elburton and Staddiscombe on a 20 minute frequency with the last bus back into town just after 9pm. A half hourly Sunday day time service is also provided. As can be seen there is a substantial overlap with the Plymouth Citybus 5 5A!

We then have the 7 (brown above – although most of it is hidden!) This comes up through Plymstock to Broadway, Dunstone View then down to Elburton and return in a one way loop. A basic half hour day time service with a Sunday bus every hour. No evenings.

Also shown above is the 48 in light blue with a few journeys pretty much covered by the 7 then splitting off  up through Wembury Road to Wembury. We also have the 93 with a bus every hour (black above) through Pomphlett Road and Stanborough Road on its way to Kingsbridge.

So what happens next?

27th October sees some drastic changes by First:

Service 2 (City Centre - Mount Batten): The frequency of buses on this route is being improved from the end of October. From this date buses will run every 10 minutes Monday - Saturday (compared to every 12 minutes at present) meaning customers will have more opportunities to travel. In addition to this the route that Service 2 buses take is being amended slightly. From the end of October buses between Plymstock Broadway and Pomphlett Roundabout will follow alternate routes every other journey, with one travelling via Pomphlett Gardens and the next travelling via Oreston. These changes mean that despite the loss of the old Service 6 (see details below), people travelling to and from Oreston will still have access to a bus every 20 minutes during the day Monday - Saturday. Similarly they will also regain an evening service from the end of October. Additionally, most journeys on Service 2 will continue from Royal Parade as Service 3, thus providing links from Plymstock to Devonport and St Budeaux

The 2 is shown below in yellow with the additional section through Oreston shown.

Plymstock - First Oct 2013

OLD Service 6 (City Centre - Staddiscombe): The existing Service 6 bus route is being withdrawn but a new Service 6 is being created at the same time (see details below). People who used the old service 6 will find that part of the previous route - that which runs between the city centre and Plymstock Broadway - will be covered by the revised Service 2 (see details above). People wishing to travel further into Staddiscombe will find that alternative services do exist.
Service 7 (City Centre - Elburton): We regret that this route - which has under performed for a number of years - is being withdrawn from the end of October. People wishing to travel to and from Elburton, Plymstock and the City Centre will however still be able to use our improved Service 93 (Plymouth - Dartmouth) to make local journeys.

Service 93 (Plymouth - Kingsbridge - Dartmouth): The timetable of this service is being amended to provide some additional short journeys running between Elburton (Elburton School) and the City Centre, to provide a bus every half hour This change is being made to compensate for the loss of Service 7 journeys. The longer journeys between Plymouth and Dartmouth are unaffected and remain as they are. From the end of October Service 93 buses will depart from Royal Parade (Stop A8), sharing the stop with Service 2 - which means that buses travelling the same direction will leave from the same place.

The 93 remains in black above with a bus every half hour.

It has to be said that this is quite a reduction in service for some areas of Plymstock although Citybus do have much of this covered. Speaking of which…

3rd November we see a new route:

Service 14 which is to operate hourly Monday to Saturday between Plympton, Plymstock, City Centre, Devonport, Ham, Derriford Hospital and Tamar Science Park. This new service is brought to you thanks to funding from Plymouth City Council.

Plymstock - Plymouth Citybus Nov 2013

The new hourly 14 shown above in orange adds few extra sections of route to the current coverage provided by the 5 5A (red).

But the changes are not over yet as we recently had a big announcement by Citybus regarding the 5 5A:

The new route, which will be named the 5 and 5A will run up to every 10 minutes between Plymstock Fire Station and Saltash Oaklands Drive, via the City Centre.

Saltash will not only benefit from increased Monday to Saturday daytime frequency but also an up to every 30 minutes service Monday to Saturday evenings and Sundays. At Oaklands Drive the 5 will operate clockwise around Latchbrook, with the 5A running anti clockwise around the same route, so every bus stop will be served.

In Plymstock both services will run a new route direct via Pomphlett Road to the fire station where the 5 will now operate via Dolphin Court and Stanborough continuing on its current route to Elburton and Staddiscombe. The the 5A will operate via Goosewell Road and continue to Holmwood and Staddiscombe on its current route.

So the map below shows the Citybus network from the 1st December when the 5 5A is rerouted as shown in red with the 14 shown in orange still..

We now see that the 14 route through Plymstock now duplicates much of the new 5 5A with several areas no longer served by Citybus including Billacombe Road which is now devoid of any service. Oreston sees a general reduction in  service from First and looses Citybus.

Plymstock - Plymouth Citybus Dec 2013

I can see that the new 5 5A makes sense to Citybus as there are a lot more passengers to be had going through Pomphlett Road but a fair few passengers will be upset. Perhaps the 14 could be re-routed to provide at least some cover?

Public Transport Experience: Its design is not very good. No, its design is utterly appalling, unnecessarily complicated and unpleasantly confusing to an innocent bus user.

Public Transport Experience: it is all indicative of information provided by people who don't know what they are talking, programing or postering about; people who don't use the bus station and therefore don't realise what daftness they have created.

Andys Bus Blog: One of our regular contributors Philip Slynn visited the West Of England Transport Collection (WETC) annual open day in Winkleigh, Devon on Sunday 6th October 2013

Public Transport Experience: one (mature) lady summarised the views of the "not 'appy 'ere" brigade. "We didn't want it; but now we've got it I suppose we'd better use it." Certainly the Luton Busway has been greeted with less enthusiasm in the local media than the earlier Cambridge effort.

Andys Bus Blog: in this two part report we will be taking a look at some of the buses that are included in this fascinating collection...


  1. Could you do the new services from First and Citybus on the same map? Would be good to see where the black holes with no coverage are

    1. I am planning on doing a few more maps - but Google have made things more difficult with their maps these days - a lot more restrictive to what you can do for free!

  2. I suspect at some point in the near future, when CityBus bring in some more additions to their fleet and more drivers, they will introduce a new service, which will operate from Mount Batton to Derriford via Mutley Plain. At that point, things may change again.

    1. I thought Go Ahead said they were not increasing mileage anywhere in their annual statement or whatever it is. This could explain mileage reductions to allow the new routes into Tavistock and Torpoint.

    2. Yes no doubt they will introduce new routes here probably at the expense of their existing routes again... perhaps they can cut 61 to 1 an hour now.. oh no sorry they can't as with First 3A now there, no doubt Citybus will suddenly be interested in these areas again. Funny that.

  3. I cant recall anywhere that Go Ahead stated they were not increasing mileage anywhere? Unless it was saying they were not looking to purchase any new operators this year? Certainly what ever way you look at it Citybus are very much increasing their mileage. There have been plenty of new buses into the fleet both new and second-hand with plenty more on the way, yet few buses have left the fleet.
    I am sure both operators have new routes planned for the new year - and I would be surprised if Citybus were not looking at Mount Batten. We will have to wait and see as with so with many changes happening at the moment both companies will be looking very hard at how things are going as all the new routes take effect. I doubt if anyone really knows how things are going to pan out!
    The new 3A is a really interesting route so it will be fun to watch that one over the coming months. I am sure Citybus will be watching it very closely indeed. Can First really make a success of it at the expense of Citybus?

    1. its in an article someone showed me from passenger transport magazine talking about go aheads results for the year. Its talking about not increasing mileage but filling seats instead. Ill try and find the photocopy. Are you sure Citybus is increasing mileage. Buying new buses isn't increasing mileage. Were the cuts in the city the same mileage as the Tavistock and Torpoint extra mileage?

  4. I can understand Citybus wanting to use Pomphlett Road as opposed to going through Oreston, the road is straighter and quicker, however, is there so little Oreston use to warrant the change on 5 and 5A?
    There other thing I don't understand is why both operators have neglected the bus stop at the end of Lands Park (opposite Plymstock Library). This bus stop is very well used all day, and users who were getting 5, 6, 7, regulary and 93 and 48 will be reduced to a half hourly 93 and bi-hourly 48. Prehaps it would make better sense for Citybus to route the 5 up Pomphlett Road, then down past the Broadway, to Lands Park, up to Dunstone Drive and continue was suggested and then return to Pomphlett Road via Goosewell and the Fire Station, and to send the 5A via Pomphlett Road, Dean Cross Road, Fire Station, Goosewell as suggested and return via Stanborough Road to the Broadway and collect from the busy bus stop by the Coop and return down Pomphlett Road. I would have thought there is more custom from Lands Park and the Broadway Coop (especially with First pulling out) than from Dunstone Drive.
    Billacombe Road, Stentaway Road and Church Road are left with no bus service, although Church Road is only busy at school in and out in term time, Stentaway and Billicombe would are easy custom with only one operator.
    Prehaps there is call to keep the 5 as is and send the 5A up Pomphlett and run the loop that way.
    The 14 is coming in, but again is shown to serve Dean Cross Road and the Fire Station and not Lands Park/Broadway Coop.
    We know firsts 5/6 plymstock saltash didnt work, credit to citybus they can make it work, but there are two busy bridges involved, a busy trunk road on A379 more traffic on the way with the proposed sherford development. However - if Sherford comes about (unsure of the timing) but a new service linking Sherford to town via Billacombe might make sense.
    Oreston and Mount Batten would be left with no bus service of First are pulled from the city in the long run, as things stand

    1. Sherford looks as if it is going to be a massive development - 5000 houses suggests a population of around £15,000. The potential Chelston Meadows development is not small either. The public transport needs of this size of development suggests that light rail might be a better solution than buses - and, if it were constructed to Manchester standards (i.e. high-platform), could make tram-train links feasible. There was, years ago, a plan for light rail in Plymouth which included through running to Gunnislake and a park and ride at Trerulefoot.


  5. Route 14... I travelled on this service today from Royal Parade to Elburton. The bus does not turn at Morrisons and go up Pomphlett road, it goes Via Billacombe and turns at Fairway to go up Stentaway Rd instead. This is at variance to the Network map shown in the current 3rd November issue timetables. The 14 timetable (temporary copy I got from citybus office) has a timing point of "Billacombe Fairway". Did this route get altered at the last minute....

  6. yes to compensate for the 5/5a being withdrawn from Billacombe in the new changes to 5/5a when it goes thru to saltash.

    1. Thanks for that...I believe that the 5/5a will also be routed away from Broadway Coop/ Lidl at the same time, this together with the recent withdrawal of First 7 (which was every 20 mins) means the loss of 6 buses an hour being compensated for by the once an hour First 93 short working. I have not included the normal 93 working from Kingsbridge into the equation as that has not changed. I think there will be lots of unhappy passengers, maybe Target Travel service 18 could be improved to every 20 minutes to help cover the losses at both Coop/Lidl and Billacombe......


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