25 November 2013

Bangers and cash

It took a little while for the press to pick up on First Devon & Cornwall swapping its buses around to compete with Plymouth Citybus Blue Flash but back on the 21st The Evening Herald reports:

Anger at  old bangers  on Plymouth park-and-ride route   Plymouth Herald PARK and ride operator First has been slammed for putting “old bangers” on a prestigious city commuter route. Council bosses say they pleaded in vain with First to bring back state of the art buses bought partly with taxpayers’ cash in 2006 on the George park and ride service. The original buses were transferred to First’s operations elsewhere in the country and eventually replaced with models used at the 2012 London Olympics. But, in the latest blow for park and ride customers, the company has now transferred these buses to its Tavistock route and replaced them with older models. Since October 27 buses on the George park and ride service have run every 12 minutes during the daytime compared to every 10 minutes.

Alex Carter, director for First Devon and Cornwall, said: “As a commercial operator, we carefully review the supply and demand for our services and try as best we can to allocate our vehicles where there is greatest demand. “The buses now operating on the PR1 George services, which we operate on a purely commercial basis with no public funding, are good quality double deck vehicles. “Indeed they are of a comparable age and similar quality to the original fleet to which Mr Biscoe refers.” The company spokeswoman said they were all 2006 or 2008 Alexander Dennis double deckers.

Cllr Coker said: “The council’s chief executive and I wrote to Tim O’Toole, chief executive of First Group, asking for the changes to be reversed but our request was rejected. In the meantime we are in discussions with First about re-introducing a clear branding on park and ride services.”

Read more: http://www.plymouthherald.co.uk/Anger-8216-old-bangers-8217-Plymouth-park-ride/story-20105382-detail/story.html#ixzz2lbb2PAgj

As usual the comments are entertaining. I did like one comment who questions the company spokesmans assertion (highlighted in blue above):

The article says "The company spokeswoman said they were all 2006 or 2008 Alexander Dennis double deckers" yet the one in the photo is an "02" registration.

It is true that First are using 08 registration double deckers – and very nice buses they are too. However there are certainly plenty of other older buses in use from time to time. As the company points out it is now a commercial operation to the council cant really complain, as they have saved a lot of money since First took it on commercially. The drawback for saving this money is that the council now have little or no say at all in the running of the Park & Ride service. Do they have to just sit back and watch what was once a source of real pride and the envy of many other cities slowly wither away?

Public Transport Experience: 50 years ago the Tardis first "lifted" off from a scrapyard somewhere in London

Public Transport Experience: Why draw a "spider map"? What's wrong with a proper map?

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Andys Bus Blog: Congratulations to our local bus operator Norfolk Green

Andys Bus Blog: a look back at the interesting and varied Peterborough bus scene in the 1970's

Public Transport Experience: the blunt truth that ANY diagram which seeks to simplify will create geographical "howlers"

Public Transport Experience: there were barely enough passengers for two buses an hour from Torpoint, let alone six!


  1. I visited Plymouth a few days ago and there were still several 12-plate Enviros on P&R, plus the 08-plate ones and yes, a few older Tridents like the one in the picture. Surely the Tavistock route doesn't need all eleven Olympic Enviros, does it? What's the PVR for Tavistock?

    1. There are nine not eleven 12 plate AD Enviro 400's at Plymouth, and these were on Park and Ride duties at Plymouth before their stint at the Olympics. After the Olympics the same nine returned, Fleet numbers are 33658/9/60/61/62/64/65/66 and 67.

  2. As you point out Graham, the 02's do appear on the route, and indeed they do regulary. The W7XX RHT batch appear quite often too, and W I think is 2000 i think!

  3. The Herald article mentions the 2006 state of the art buses on the Park and Ride, these were nine AD Enviro 400's 33411 - 33419. Nine brand new 2012 AD Enviros 33658-62/64-7 replaced these immediately (not eventually) and 33411-9 went off to Weston-super Mare to work.

    When the Olympics were on 33658-62/64-7 were temporarily transferred there, in their absence for the duration of the games vehicles similar to those working the Park and Ride services today were allocated.

    1. *only 33419 was owned 'outright' by Plymouth City Council, this was later purchased by First. These vehicles are not
      franchise assets.


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