10 July 2014

First Torpoint

If you read the last post about Plymouth Citybus putting arrangements in place for Thursdays strike and the expected cancellation of Torpoint Ferry services you might have wondered what First were planning as they also still operate into Torpoint. Well it took a while but they too have now offered us their arrangements:


Due to the Local Authority Day of Action affecting Torpoint Ferry crossings on Thursday 10 July we have had to create a temporary alternative timetable for service 81 buses between Torpoint and Plymouth. Please see below for how this may/will affect your journey:

- Travelling within Torpoint

All service 81 trips between HMS Raleigh and the Torpoint Ferry will run as normal with no change.

- Travelling from Torpoint to Plymouth

For those needing to get from Torpoint to Plymouth we will run buses between the Torpoint Ferry Shop, Landrake, the Tamar Bridge and Plymouth City Centre at 0623 and 0713 and then approximately every two hours during the day. Some trips will require passengers to change on to service 1/1A in Saltash (this is stated on the timetable available via the link at the bottom of this page).

- Travelling from Plymouth to Torpoint

For those needing to get back to Torpoint from Plymouth there will be service 81 buses running every two hours between Saltash Fore Street, Landrake and the Torpoint Ferry Shop during the day (you'll need to catch our service 1 or 1A from stand 3 (by the Guildhall) on Royal Parade in Plymouth and change in Saltash). However at the peak early morning (0742 and 0842 from Royal Parade) and afternoon/evening times (1530, 1630, 1730 and 1830 from Royal Parade) the 81 will run between Plymouth, the Tamar Bridge, Landrake and Torpoint without the need to catch the 1 or 1A and change in Saltash. Anyone wishing to travel from Devonport to Plymouth City Centre should catch our service 3 which runs a 10 minute day time frequency. The nearest service 3 stop for the Devonport side of the Torpoint Ferry is at the top of Ferry Road on Park Avenue. To view the temporary service 81 timetable running on Thursday 10 July please click here

You can also pick up a copy from your service 81 driver or the Torpoint bus depot (on Trevol Road next to the shops) from this evening. For regular updates on the service 81 on the day of the strike please see our Twitter or Facebook feeds (@firstbus_devon on Twitter) (CJ)

As a few passengers have pointed out this is quite a bit less than Plymouth Citybus are offering but First have offered an explanation of why this is:
"from our experiences of previous industrial action a lot of people will just not bother to do social/shopping travel on the day due to uncertainties on travel arrangements and the increased time to do the journey. We have focussed on providing a core service to people traveling to work. We will do this inside our existing resources for the Torpoint operation. I'm sure there will be people who will think we should do more, but our own business will suffer from this industrial action equally and the additional resources to run hourly in manpower and fuel would not be covered by what could be expected to be carried on the day. The other operator maybe expecting things to be different.

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  1. I have got to say one thing I like about First is the frank and honest answers they give on their Facebook pages etc. They are also right on this, I lived in Torpoint for ages and on strike day hardly anyone could be bothered travelling the long distance to go to Plymouth shopping etc. Those working will still travel but will probably have season ticket..note as well First offer an hourly service in the rush. I feel the level of service here provided by both companies for amount travelling on the day shows Firsts 26 years of experience on the route compared to Citybus' few months. Citybus will use more resources for no return on the 32 today and also not being funny will once again probably struggle to cover their core city operations as a result.

    1. I agree that First are frank and honest on Facebook and do argue their corner. They clearly put a lot more time and effort into Facebook but then they have a dedicated team (based in Bristol?) who cover much of the South & West so its easier for them. Citybus also have more buses available to them than First do esp as First state they are only using the resources available to the Torpoint team. It will be interesting to see what sort of loads Citybus get on their conecting 31 service

    2. The original Ferrybus service started in October 1979 - 35 years this year. There have been very few times that the ferries stop due to weather or strike.

  2. Maybe people have took the day off because the public transport provision was poor? I've seen 2 31's leave Torpoint today all with at least a dozen people on

  3. Not forgetting Citybus have to run their tendered routes within Cornwall, so rather than send the buses down dead (along with ferrying the drivers over each time), it makes sense for at least some of them to be in use as a shuttle service.

  4. I assume First's decision was made locally and not in Aberdeen.

    They are refreshingly frank and honest in stating that running a largely two-hourly service with a change in Saltash is a commercial one, showing the importance of the bottom line as opposed to the convenience of passengers. People do not like changing - particularly as, going back to Torpoint, any delay to the 1/1A bus which led to a missed connection would mean a two-hour wait in Saltash.

    I feel, though, that 'the other operator' decided that the extra cost in providing an hourly service right through to Plymouth was a worthwhile investment in customer relations which would be of long-term benefit in the present competition.

    Has anyone any information on passenger loadings on the 81 west of Saltash or on the Citybus 31?

    I noticed - from Mutton Cave - that Citybus were running single-deckers to Cremyll.


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