19 August 2014

Where’s My (Western Greyhound) Bus?

Passengers in Cornwall have complained about increasingly late and cancelled services from Western Greyhound buses. The bus company said it was facing a "frustrating situation" caused by summer traffic and winter floods. Other complaints included breakdowns en route and passengers having to take taxis or phone friends when they find themselves stranded. One man has started a Facebook page to gather evidence to present to the company and Cornwall Council. Jason Higgs from Liskeard runs the social media page Western Greyhound Wheres my bus , which has more than 700 followers. He said: "The general theme is buses not turning up - we're not just talking about late buses, but buses that should turn up. "I think the main issue there's no communication from the bus company.
Mark Howarth, the managing director of the bus company, said: "We're going through some very serious problems at the moment. "A lot of effort is going on behind the scenes. We're definitely not happy with it. "Earlier this year there was a lot of floods and bad weather which went on for months which has caused mayhem for our buses." Mr Howarth said preventative maintenance was taking place more regularly to make sure "buses are safe and roadworthy". He said it was a "frustrating situation".
BBC Cornwall
Western Greyhound bus services across Cornwall have been condemned by a national passengers’ group, following thousands of complaints. And in a remarkable interview, the bus company’s chief executive blamed some of his own staff for trying to sabotage the company.
“I’ve got a very hardworking team. Unfortunately there are one or two individuals – a small number of our members of staff, who are working against us and trying to sabotage us. And these people know who they are and we’re working in order to deal with that because the bulk of the staff are really working hard. And I would say to the passengers please don’t treat everybody the same way if they have a problem.” CORNISH GUARDIAN
Sabotage  claim as Western Greyhound boss hits out at staff   Cornish Guardian

You might like...

  • NORWICH BUSES: Eastern Transport Collection Bus Rally 2014 Thanks to my good friend Syd Eade, I am able to provide some details about the upcoming annual Eastern Transport Collection Bus Rally.
  • HUMBER TRANSPORT: EYMS Full 360/361 Timetable Published EYMS have announced the full timetable for the 360/361 between Goole, Swinefleet, Crowle and Scunthorpe that they takeover from Monday 1st September, operating under contract to East Riding of Yorkshire Council
  • RANDOM STREETS: What is a "wide continental boulevard"? One oft-voiced criticism of articulated buses was that, while they were OK in mainland Europe where they operated on "wide continental boulevards", they were unsuited to London (or other UK cities) where city streets are narrower and more twisting. Or so it was alleged. I'm going to put this to the test. What does a "wide continental boulevard" look like?
  • PUBLIC TRANSPORT EXPERIENCE: Simple Simon Struggles to Stonehenge because it's not a bus service! It's a "tour". Unlike a typical bus service which runs, say, every half and hour, this "tour" only runs every half an hour. Unlike a bus service where you can turn up and pay the driver, on this tour you can always turn up and pay the driver. Unlike a bus service where you don't book a seat, on this tour you don't need to book a seat. But it's not a bus service, it's a tour; hence the difference.
  • IAN VISITS: Museum Meals – London Transport Museum This museum cafe is probably one of the most instagram’d cafe’s in London, for its cappuccino coffees are famous for the tube roundel they use as a stencil for the chocolate dressing.
  • FOCUS TRANSPORT: Brislington Running Day Bristol Vintage Bus Group, a registered charity, held their running day at Flowers Hill, Brislington, on Sunday 10th August. Free bus trips operated in and around Bristol using vintage buses from the BVBG collection
  • NORWICH BUSES: A cavalcade of red on the A14 Yesterday saw a cavalcade of First's heritage Routemaster 39623 (RML2623) NML623E and heritage liveried Alexander ALX400 bodied Volvo B7TL 32479 (VA479) AU53HJV along the busy A14 between Ipswich and Felixstowe on local route 77.


  1. All very good spin Mr Howarth, but you have just returned from holidaying in Russia and are about to go off near enough straight away to Malawi I believe? And you've been happily telling people your share in the business is up for sale haven't you?

  2. How utterly pathetic for Mark to blame his own staff for 'sabotage'. Only person at fault here, for WGLs problems is the man at the top who has failed to adapt the business to changing times.

    No money to fit proper destination equipment to vehicles but money to change the registration numbers of bought in buses for no reason at all shows where the priorities are for this business. Fancy number plates ahead of proper destination information on vehicles in service?

    Can't keep blaming Cornwall Council, the traffic, your own staff for simple systems failures or the reluctance to spend money.

    Is it the fault of the council that an LED screen is not fitted to a vehicle, that its properly programmed for service or that a flipdot screen is not fixed when it becomes defective, so it's still welcoming you aboard Go North East?

  3. Presumably the sabotage is in relation to the majority of the staff wanting their trade union to be recognised by the management...

    1. I may be wrong, but if 50% of employees in the relevant group, eg drivers, vote for recognition then the company has to legally recognise a TU.

  4. A couple of weeks ago a Western Greyhound bus came off the road on the hill from Gulworthy down to Gunnislake New Bridge and finished up dangling over the edge of a steep bank. The press reports stated that the bus was absolutely full as the previous journey had not run. Once the passengers had been rescued, the bus was taken away for examination - I hope, for WG's sake, that it was not found to be faulty as VOSA well know that the first economy bus companies make if they are struggling financially is on maintenance.

    If the complaints set out above are going to the Traffic Commissioner, the next step will be a Public Inquiry - and if WG lose their licence, Cornwall Council are going to be faced with a huge and potentially very expensive problem.

  5. I went down to Newquay to ride the coastal service 547 on Monday... But it didn't turn up... on enquiring at the office, the enquiry office bloke shrugged his shoulders and said... "naaah, it hasn't run for about 3 weeks now" !!!

    It's bad enough that the service doesn't run, but what is really disgusting is that there's no clue
    on the website or even at the bus station stop to say it's been cut, and that's next to their STAFFED office!!

    The ex-London tridents look poor... filthy, half still in FULL stagecoach livery, no blinds etc after months
    of being with western greyhound.... on further investigation it would appear that at least the 547 and 528
    are permanently not running, so don't plan any trips on those, and to be honest I wouldn't be too reliant on ANY
    of their services these days...........Between about 3 and 10 buses appear to be cut on a daily basis!

    It's such a shame but FIRST now appear to be the better operator in Cornwall... who on earth would have thought THAT would turn out to be the case!!!

  6. This is a terrible situation for any bus company to be in with passengers being hugely let down right across its whole operating area.While the problems may not be all of their own making,a business that has been going as long as WG should have been better able to react. Unfortunately there is plenty for VOSA go investigate & investigate they will.While any fine would really be counter productive as it would mean less money to fix things,some sort of reduction in the number of vehicles for the operating licence may be the best scenario.
    If other operators take on routes the drivers affected should be able to be Tuped across keeping them in work - assuming they aren't already leaving since have had enough.This would also free up a number of vehicles that should enough there are sufficient for the services remaining. Finally,the company would have a better chance of surviving.

  7. Cornwall County Council have terminated Western Greyhounds contract to run 574 service Tavistock to Callington... Could this be why First are launching their 1 a day service 79 on this corridor ?? Hope to gain the full service on tender perhaps? It would be ideal if this was included in Tavi bus ticket, one operator from Callington/Tavistock/Plymouth .

  8. One really does hope that WG can sort this mess out and be there in the longer-term but it's not going to be easy. I'm afraid that I've never bought into the sycophancy surrounding this operator, I've always found them okay but not as good as the awards, spin and all the enthusiast-fawning suggested. They played their hand well when First was on a mission to destroy themselves but probably anyone else would have done much the same but those golden, easy days are long gone. First has bounced back strongly and WG isn't able any longer to build a business by mopping up all the work that First discards and it is clear that First is keener to bid strongly for work such as Truro P&R. Lets hope that they both are able to make something on the tenders they win and not just bid to get work at all costs - that helps no-one in the long-term. Of course, First will find it easier now that WG has pulled out of West Cornwall and the more they win, the more they can spread their overheads. Conversely, the more that WG loses, the less they can spread their fixed costs. No-one wants WG to disappear (I certainly don't) but selling off your newest buses when you're not expanding the business is never a good sign. Let's hope that the eye that's been taken off the ball is brought back into focus very quickly.

  9. I think First’s one-a-day 79 bus will be to give a direct service to Callington Scool from Tavistock - I believe there are sufficient pupils in Tavi whose parents thing Callington School is better than Tavistock. The WG bus offers a tour of Harrowbarrow and Calstock and takes 55 minutes; First will go straight along the main road and should not take much more than half an hour. As to First taking on the whole contract - it was they who gave it the number 79 and, latterly, ran it with a double-decker - the 79A via Cotehele and St. Dominick was introduced by DAC.

  10. I think WG downfall has been brought on by theirselves to be honest. With the MD even blaming his own staff on sabotage there is only one outcome here and that is the end of WG, it is more a matter of when than if. Seems Alex Carter is doing good job at First...Somerset .. Webberbus were dominiant now it's First in pole position with Webber looking shaky, Cornwall, not long ago WG were in pole now it;s First firmly in charge and WG look on the way out. Whilst i don't expect such a turnaround in Plymouth, I don't think PCB can be too complacent in the city, i think First will turn the screw here too soon!

    1. On the WG website they are not even taking any private hires - in past years the routemasters were used for weddings & other private functions bringing in useful revenue.

    2. Think about it - if, as is claimed, they don't have the staff to cover all their registered bus services, then they're not going to have anyone available to drive private hires. The bus services must take priority.... before VOSA come knocking.

    3. As much as I am a fan for Plymouth Citybus, I have to agree First where being brutally punished by Webbers bus, PCB and Western Greyhound, and slowly they have all been kicked in the backside!!!

    4. The problem in Cornwall is that much of Western Greyhound's network is tendered services distant from First's St. Austell - Truro - Penzance core area. The strength of the WG network is clockface services, very many hourly, which connect with each other. If WG does collapse - and it is looking as if a Public Enquiry is quite possible now - I wonder how much of their network First will want to take on. Unlike WG, it is not a low-cost operator with relatively low fares, and they are going to take on only those services which will be profitable.

      Which is going to leave Cornwall Council with a king-size headache.

  11. And now Hopleys have registered a competing service with WGL out of St Austell...

  12. And Cornwall Busways too! Looks like WG may have left it too late and that the vultures are circling.

  13. They clearly have the cash to spare to re-register some of the ex-London Tridents. Seems a rather bizarre move in the current circumstances.

  14. Cornwall busways services while they operate over wg services are not direct competition they fill in gaps in the market left by wg.


Have something interesting to say? Please share it here!

(Moderation is currently switched on so please allow a short while before your comment appears on the site. This is only to cut down on spam - not to cut out people who disagree with me!)