09 October 2013

The next stage?

Notices 8 October

PH0000135/94 - PLYMOUTH CITYBUS LTD, MILEHOUSE, MILEHOUSE ROAD, PLYMOUTH, PL3 4AA Variation Accepted: Operating between Saltash, Oaklands Green and Eldburton, Blackstone Close given service number 5/5A effective from 01-Dec-2013. To amend Route and Timetable.

PH0000135/77 - PLYMOUTH CITYBUS LTD, MILEHOUSE, MILEHOUSE ROAD, PLYMOUTH, PL3 4AA Cancellation Accepted: Operating between PLYMOUTH ROYAL PARADE and PLYMOUTH ROYAL PARADE given service number 43A effective from 01-Dec-2013.

We were wondering what the next batch of double deckers currently arriving for Plymouth Citybus were for. Its clear that they have more planned and yesterday we saw a hint of the next stage in the battle for Plymouth passengers. Of course we cant tell much from VOSA, this could be as simple as joining the current 43A Saltash – City with the current 5 5A City – Elburton to create another cross city service with service levels remaining pretty much the same. I dont know, but I suspect there will be more activity on the VOSA site over the coming days…

Plymouth Citybus 069 WA03BHY

Meanwhile we have this from Plymouth Citybus

Great News on Student Fares with Plymouth Citybus

From Monday the 7th October there are to be the following changes to Student fares. From this date the current age restriction for student tickets will be lifted, so providing you can show you are a full time student at a recognised education establishment then Student fares are available to you.

What does this mean for Students?

M Ticketing

You can download the App from our web site then simply; buy, show and go.

The key

If you have a student key then nothing changes. If you need a key then as a student you will need to go to our Travel Centre please bring with you your student enrolment card. Once you have your key, then you can buy from our Travel Centre or keep your chosen product topped up online. Should you wish to change products i.e. go from a 1 week product to a 4 week product, then you will need to go back to the Travel Centre and have the new product added to your card.

Buying fares on the bus **

Students can buy reduced bus fares from the driver, however if you look older than 18 then you will be asked to prove that you are either a student, or under 19. For proof of age we accept the Citizen card (click here), the photo card of a driving licence or a Passport. If you are a student then the following forms of ID is acceptable: City College Plymouth, Plymouth University, Peninsula Medical School, College of Mark and St John’s, NUS Card. If you go to an education centre that is not on our list and you would like them to be, please ask them to send us a sample ID card. (ID card will need to have the following information: Photo of the holder, Name of the education establishment, expiry date of the card.

** Fast boarding helps keeps our buses running to time.

When using any student product please carry your education centre ID Card. If you not a student and you think you could be challenged on your age, then please have with you your proof of age card.

[Archived copy pdf]

Meanwhile First Devon & Cornwall are running the usual Goose Fair Park & Ride:

Working with Tavistock Town Council we are pleased to be running Park & Ride schemes for Tavistock Goose Fair on 9 October.
There will be the usual 3 sites: Yelverton Aerodrome - £2.50 per adult/ 50p per child (under 16 years old)
Lumburn Rise on Callington Road - £5 per car Harford Bridge Holiday Park, Peter Tavy Road - £5 per car
The Tavistock Lions and the Plymouth-Tamar Lions will be manning and operating this Park and Ride Scheme. The Park and Ride locations will be identified on the main routes into Tavistock by temporary AA type yellow road signs. Attempts will be made to park vehicles with disabled badges in designated areas as close to bus boarding points as possible. There will be limited disabled facilities on buses available from the Yelverton site. To avoid crowding at bus stops in Tavistock, the Yelverton buses will drop off and pick up outside the DCC Highways yard on Pixon Lane. Frequent shuttle services to strategic points in the Town Centre, from the above sites will run between 9am and 10.30 pm depending upon demand.
As this is a privately operated facility and therefore Blue disabled badges and concessionary travel bus passes are not valid for these services (the fares stated above apply). Tavistock Town Council are advising all those wishing to travel into Tavistock for the Goose Fair events not to drive and to use the Park & Ride services. This is due to the sheer number of people they expect to attend. Please click on the link below to view the Tavistock Town Council Goose Fair page and also a map of Park and Ride drop off points around Tavistock

[Archived copy pdf]

Bus World PhotographyFor many years Berlin tried to forget the dark days of what is still in living memory fairly recent past

Andys Bus Blog: Today we conclude our Looking back... at Cambridge in 1990

Public Transport Experience: being lost, looking for Musbury and driving along a steeply-banked Devon lane following a panicking pig that could not escape. The more the pig squealed, the more mother sank into one of her nervous "turns


  1. I am personally not too keen on the idea of the 5 and 5A extending across the City to Saltash. When First did this in the late 1990's when they ran their 1 and 2 through to Elburton and Staddiscombe, at times there were horrendous delays to the services. This was often as a result of the distances they were travelling, which of course includes both the Tamar and Laira Bridges.

    1. Yes, you're quite right. In order for the service to remain reliable, it would need a 30 minutes lay over in town!

      I can see why they're doing it. Reduces buses and drivers.

      Citybus have done the two things that First proved to be a no-no, a service that serves both St Stephens and Latchbrook and a service that serves Saltash and Plymstock!


      Citybus made a good start with the new 43A, but would've won over Saltash if they introduced and evening service, the reduced fares and Enviro 200's all from day one.

      Their ignorance is their downfall.

    2. Cross city services are clearly the in-thing at the moment as both companies are doing it. I cant see how it saves drivers / buses though? Evening services are difficult though as I doubt they would sustain both companies working into the evening. We see the same with First and their new services in Citybus areas like the new 6 and the new 3A - no evening / Sunday services.

  2. yes that is correct graham, they are doing a thru service.

  3. I suspect PCB will link the 5/5a from Elburton through to Saltash, possibly every 2nd one going through over the bridge, giving 20 minute frequency. This I think will lead to the same problems First had with this years ago, delays on the bridge and coming in from Plymstock will make services unreliable. I think First already have a substantial edge in Saltash and probably a bit of an edge in Plymstock and the timing issues could persuade more customers back to First in both areas. Wit regards to Blue Flash it looks to be carrying fresh air to me, It passed me on the way out of town today, (Goosey fair day) at 4:45 with the First 83 right behind, Blue Flash had 2 customers whilst the First service was much busier, full load downstairs plus more upstairs. I see where people are coming from re season tickets and Derriford etc but feel that First will offer connections from I believe Roborough P&R site on the 15 to the hospital where as Citybus customers will need to walk from the main road. First also have better frequencies, plus hourly evening and sunday service.
    With regards to investment I too have been told First have sanctioned a huge investment in Plymouth believed to be in the millions..I think everyone will be pleasantly surprised over next few weeks, except PCB that is. I would look to extend to Southway as well if I was them. I can do the next VOSA entries if you like... PCB Cancellation accepted given number 12 Plymouth to Tavistock and cancellation accepted given service 32, Plymouth to Torpoint...both withdrawn due to no demand...lol If they do they better not expect First to withdraw their city routes as it sounds like they are really up for a fight with their new leader. The drivers i have spoken to sound very upbeat about the future now.

    1. People seem to have short memories reference the Tamar Bridge and what were Western National routes running from Saltash to Plymstock. First of all the Tamar Bridge didnt have the cantilever back then (only having 3 lanes) now it has the dedicated Saltash Lane into Plymouth which should aid reliability. At the opposite end of the city at Laira Bridge there are more bus lanes thanks to the west end transport works.

      I feel that this person seems to have a grudge against Plymouth Citybus. The company would not start competing on a route without doing research prior! As for First drivers seeming more upbeat, I cant see that First will survive in Plymouth should they lose this battle. First tried Southway and Honicknowle before and it didnt work, so I cant see why it will be any different this time, especially with the cr=p vehicles they turn out.

      I have no loyalty to either company but just recognise that Plymouth Citybus seem to provide better turned out buses, mostly pleasant drivers and a more comprehensive route network. First have for too long gotten away with providing a substandard service, with poorly maintained vehicles, demoralised drivers etc, if they can turn it around god on them, but history makes me suspect that they wont.

    2. I am lead to believe that First need to make redundancies for the new upcoming network. So a suggestion of millions let alone investment would not be correct. And lets not forget that it is also a shame that First only see fit to improve when challenged.

    3. It's good to know that after all these years First have suddenly found millions to fight the bus war in Plymouth. Maybe they wouldn't have made themselves so vulnerable had a bit more investment been forthcoming over the years. Maybe as well they could also spare a little cash to provide a half-decent fleet in Cornwall that doesn't break down every 5 minutes....

  4. I wonder if the increase in cross-city services is to reduce congestion in Royal Parade. delays on the Plymstock part of through service should be less now that the East End traffic scheme is finished; delays on the bridge, of course, are still unpredictable although they seem to affect traffic coming through the tunnel more than that from Saltash. Citybus may have the resources to put an extra bus in to fill long gaps.


    Does the withdrawal of the First service to Mount Gould leave the length of Lipson Road unserved? Also - is the roundabout near the end of Pike Road big enough to turn a bus round?

    1. The next roundabout on from Pike Road before Embankment Road is plenty big enough to turn a bus, I have done this myself once when I went the wrong way on an 8.. :)

  5. Cross city services DO NOT WORK. The 40/41/43 combination is a right royal cock up with buses running between 15-30 minutes late daily in every peak period (how many have you seen out of service over the last 2 days compared to when they were self contained services?). The 21/A also sees buses running together at peak periods. And the 23/24/8/9 is always cocked up on a Saturday due to Drake Circus.

    There are too many delay areas in Plymouth to run efficient through services. An example the 14.30 5A from RP daily runs between 10-20 minutes late because it picks up a full load from Plymstock School, which then gets stuck in the rush hour traffic; currently, the relieving driver, if lucky, is able to make up this time over the course of his remaining 4 trips. If no slack is given in the timetable, then that buses will only get later and later as it runs into various hold-ups in the west end of the city. And where would you put this slack? RP is too full already, which is probably one reason why through running is the 'in thing' (to keep the number of layovers on RP at a minimum).

    1. Yes indeed PG - the 40/41/43 really struggles in terms of reliability. The 21/21A in Plympton at least is either bang on time or stupidly late with buses running together. As for the 8/9/23/24 yes reliability especially on a Saturday isn't exactly brilliant.

      Pulling out of Oreston and Billacombe Road however will not be popular in Plymstock at all! It seems to be a huge improvement for Saltash, however quite a step back for Plymstock.

    2. According to Citybus the delays experienced on the 43 are down to the on going roadworks between Penneycomequick and North Cross roundabout. Yeah right funny how the delays started when they started running in conjunction with 40/41, apparently it saves 2 buses.

    3. The 45 today had the usual 144 together with 133 and almost unbelievably 37 did the 1840 from Royal Parade 45!
      21/21A single deckers today I saw were 40, 44, 69 and 90.

      On a more on topic note - their new timetables are an enormous failure:

      At 1525/1530 ish today, a 40 and TWO 41s all left within a minute.
      The 16/35s were late, as were the 44s and 20s
      And as for the 43A/61/62...

      I (and a huge queue of other passengers!) were waiting for the 1520 from Royal Parade 62. By 1530 there was no sign of it. Finally, the 1535 61 arrived at just before 1545, by which there should've been another 62 on stand for the 1550 departure, together with the 1520 one, which never showed. When we finally reached Transit Way there were 2 61s already on stand and the 61 I was on changed into a 62.
      Saw several out of service Eclipses today - clearly 40/41/43s running late; some taking shortcuts like operating inbound via Coburg Street and Western Approach to Royal Parade from Southway instead of the Viaduct. A City Centre 43 drove past me and a few others this afternoon at Milehouse too and didn't bother stopping - just waved at the 16 behind so he was clearly running late!
      To be fair to them, some of this is probably down to the Saltash Road roadworks. However, they can’t solely blame that for the persistent late-running of the 40/41/43 and the 43A/61/62. It’s not like they’re only a few minutes late either. The 16/35 and 33/43B too are subject to these delays on Saltash Road however they are operating and running reliably, so as much as Citybus will blame the delays on these roadworks, it’s been proved with the 16/35 and 33/43B that they only affect the services to a certain extent.

      I hope for Citybus’ sake they soon take action based on this, as they really have well and truly mucked things up (to put it politely!!) on some of their most popular routes. The 40/41/43 especially is becoming like the 34 used to be, you’d just expect it to be late. I hope they quickly have a serious think about their latest changes.

  6. As an employee for FDC, i have seen nothing to indicate any such investment. If there is so much money available why are so many routes being cancelled? There are some routes which i can understand being cancelled such as the 5, but the X80/81 makes no sense if there are millions of pounds about to be spent in Plymouth! Morale within Plymouth depot is as low as i have ever witnessed in10 years. We are being given no assurances about the future. I would suggest you question the source of your information as there are a great deal of people who like to think they know what is going on at FDC, but, the reality is that they have no information of value.

    1. Why keep running routes like X80 and 5 etc that continually loose money.. they are trying to turn the business around, the shorter city journeys are where the money is, I would say, and Citybus are neglecting parts of the city whilst running empty on 12 and 32 routes. Seems like a good ldea from First I'd say.they need to try something different or else they will close. I use First on a daily basis and can honestly say since fares reductions came in, I have never seen them so busy...3, 15 etc all much busier whilst 83/86 and 81 seem to have not been impacted at all by Blue Flash etc.

  7. First are doing a similar thing to their child tickets now too, their now available to anyone up to their 19th Birthday, whereas previously it was to their 16tb.


    I wonder if First will start to do student tickets though (18+), would be ideal in getting the students living in the laria/effort route. And P&R's too

  8. Tavylinx B6B's are losing their route branding, spotted one this evening on Royal Parade without branding

  9. First child fares now up to 19 in plymouth area!

  10. Passengers in Plymstock will NOT be liking the changes that are coming.


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