13 September 2014

Callington 79

Cornwall Council has confirmed that from Monday 22 September, the bus service between Callington and Tavistock will transfer from Western Greyhound  Ltd to Plymouth Citybus  Ltd. The Council is grateful to Western Greyhound for cooperating and ensuring a smooth transition to the new service. The new service has been revised slightly to give better efficiency. Provision will be restored to housing estates on the north of Callington and journey time between the two mains towns of Callington and Tavistock has also been reduced. Journeys through Harrowbarrow and Metherall will return to the pre June 2014 frequency level of two-hourly. The Cothele area will be served by a dial-a-ride service provided by Darren’s Taxis of Callington.

Peter Oliver, Commercial Manager of Plymouth Citybus Ltd, said “Plymouth Citybus is delighted to be once again operating the service between Callington and Tavistock under the service number 79/A.

The new timetable maintains a number of important links within Callington and an hourly service between Callington and Tavistock with journeys now able to accommodate a number of the school movements between the two towns".

There will be two new tickets introduced specifically for the 79/79A route between Tavistock and Callington.

There will be a 7 day ticket that will be available from the driver and via the plymouthbus mobile app at £16 adult and £13 child (under 19), plus a 31 day ticket available from plymouthbus mobile only at £59 adult and £44.25 child.

In addition to this the Plymouth Citybus Tavi tickets will also be extended to include the 79/79A, meaning that passengers can extend their travel onto services 11 and 42, plus all zone 1 and 2 Citybus services for a small extra charge.

I am also happy to confirm that in spite of reports in the press at the time (as mentioned on Plymothian Transit) that THE ROUTE WAS NOT TAKEN OFF WESTERN GREYHOUND BY THE COUNCIL. It was WG themselves who told the council that they wished to come off the service. They also agreed to remain on the route until the council had managed to secure another operator to take over.

I end with a recommendation from Brian Bell:

If anyone has not done the section of bus route via Cothele (currently Western Greyhound 575), this is a really superb route with very narrow roads, and is well worth doing over the next week. Whereas Plymouth City Bus had to divert to avoid the narrowest roads on the 79A (Cothele to Harrowbarrow section), Western Greyhound have reverted to using the very narrow lane. Operates twice a day Mon to Sat. A very highly recommended ride !!

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  1. Brian's recommendation is worth heeding, as is a posting on another bus related group to photograph any Western Greyhound vehicles if you see them around.

    Is something very final about to happen? Interesting to note that a WGL MPD failed in Plymouth on Monday, and was recovered by the local to them recovery firm, rather than getting someone more local to the breakdown to assist.

  2. The Citybus 79 seems to be timed to connect in both directions with the 11 to and from Plymouth rather than the Blue Flash 42.

    Now for a bit of serious First-bashing - so those of a nervous disposition read no further.

    From Callington into Plymouth First have been losing passengers quite seriously to Western Greyhound - but only partly because some journeys are about 9 minutes longer as they go through St. Dominick. WG 576 leaves Callington every hour on the hour, whereas First’s 76 (a number this service has carried since 1930) did not have a clockface timetable, but generally ran a bit after the WG bus. First have now gone for a clockface timetable and are offering ‘faster journey-times between Callington and Plymouth’. Unfortunately, the faster journey times are being achieved by keeping to the main road, leaving St. Dominick with two journeys into Plymouth at 7.00 and 8.05 in the morning and one bus back in the early evening. Now, if the object of the exercise were to offer passengers a better service, they would have set their clockface times to leave Callington every hour on the half-hour. But - you’ve guessed it - they leave at five past every hour.

    So - St Dominick loses its day-time bus service so that First can play games with WG (There is still an evening service as WG are running it as a CC contract). So - sorry, villagers of St. D., the reason you can’t go shopping in Callington is to keep the big bosses in Aberdeen happy and the shareholders content.

    All it wants now is for Citybus to extend the 79 into Plymouth via Saltash .....

    1. Get real. It's business. western Greyhound start competing by cherry picking the route so First has to react by offering the most financially viable amended route, which is the fast route. Blame Western Greyhound if you think that's a problem.
      Still from what I hear First have now made a move to give WG a hiding in Central Cornwall following Hopleys and Travel Cornwall's incursions. Looks like the vultures are circling over WG.

    2. Or maybe it is just First trying to preserve their territory and grow the business in Devon/Cornwall.

      For years now people have had digs at First for not careing and allowing WG and PCB to walk all over them and push them off their routes. Now they are fighting back against the competition people moan at this too... What else could they do here, carry on as they were and loose more customers?? They are doing very well in most of Cornwall against WG and probably want this to be mirrored on the 76 corridor too.

  3. And why do people not realise that Citybus also have to keep the Board and Shareholders of Go Ahead happy? ... They are no more a 'local' company than First..... The reason they've jacked up their prices on Tavistock and other routes (which is why First buses are full) is because the shareholders want a return on their investment so let's realise that both companies are commercial businesses that have to make money or go under!!

    1. Exactly Anon 20:51 people need to realise that Citybus are not 'your local bus company' anymore. With the investment Go Ahead have put into Plymouth they will expect returns and if Plymouth Citybus do not contribute to the group then there will be action taken. Go Ahead are probably more roughless than First in taking action against underperforming business areas. First are really staring to wake up now, Somerset seems to have turned the corner, there seems to be a real expansion plan now for Cornwall. This leaves Plymouth, if they can turn this around even to break even point then Devon/Cornwall/Somerset must be looking good for the future. The older buses First use here in Plymouth area have paid for themselves which means First can hold their fares down and keep shareholders happy for longer than those at Go Ahead. With First lower fares it is easy to see the results, more and more customers from the moors are deserting Citybus and returning to First whilst First continue to build in areas of Plymouth that were Citybus territory, the 3a and 6 started less than a year ago for eg are doing very well often busier than Citybus rivals. They cracked first in Tavi I expect to see PCB fares rise in the city again soon including the £1 fares in Efford etc. Go ahead shareholders with demand this I am sure!

  4. According to people in Cornwall Council First have registered a whole load of new competing services against WG to the East of their current Cornwall operation.

  5. To be honest, First could have done this years ago. WG has to some extent had 'issues' but a good firm manages those issues and deals with them and prevents them recurring. It is very obvious from the state of the WGL fleet that no one is now prepared to spend money anymore. No LED screens in the ex London Tridents, but nice private number plates?!
    If First had been a solid reliable business some time back (using fleet that wasn't handed down, unwanted and unreliable which caused service delivery issues) they'd have caused serious damage to WG and they'd not have ceded that advantage they had in being the long established operator in the area, with a long, illustrious and proud history.
    Western National stood for some pretty solid values, and it was respected by the community it served. Why not tap into that sentiment and embrace the name and the identity?
    First have finally woken up and realised that their UK Bus operation is a sleeping giant just waiting for the attention it needs. Stagecoach have developed an awful lot from what they had, rather than acquisition. Once you take a long hard look at what you are doing, and implement it properly, then the income will increase. Buses aren't hard to get right if you do it properly, Western Greyhound stood out for just these reasons, they did it properly whilst their large competitor imploded. But WG does it properly no more.

  6. As a resident of callington, I often hear people moaning about the reliability of WG, however they still wait to get on it and the first bus runs empty, I caught the 76 to callington this morning, me and 2 old dears who both wanted St Dominic, 1 was walking from St mellion the other was getting a lift from callington, people saying first are just reacting to completion is rubbish, if they wanted to compete, they'd be in ernesettle/plymothin/southway by now, instead as per first standard they are just concentrating on routes that make a big profit.
    As for the blue flash 42 my wife uses this and the fares have not gone up at all they've done down! Only the day rider has gone up, single is £3 and return £4:50.

  7. I've been reliably informed citybus are opening there first outstation in callington, could be the start of a move into East cornwall?

    1. Certainly, looking at the timetable, the 79 needs two buses which both start and finish in Callington - so a Callington out-station would make a lot of sense. There is also the first journey from Liskeard to Plymouth and the last journey back, both of which are running dead via the Tamar Bridge at the moment - this could more sensibly be based in Callington. I don't know whether they are planning to run double-deckers on the 79 - there is no obvious reason why they shouldn't, except for rather tight turns on some of the estates in Callington.

      Citybus managed to get roadside timetables for the 79 out on Friday, although they missed a few frames and put a display in one (Longacre, Harrowbarrow) which they don't serve. Having done that, someone went round on Saturday and put the WG times (with the service numbers blacked out) in to some of the frames - including one which Citybus missed.

      I am real! I am aware that WG put a direct service on the 76 in competition with First - including, give them their due, a commercial Sunday service. Originally WG won passengers because they used North Road in Saltash and didn't divert through the industrial estate, but they have now lost part of that advantage by going through Fore Street, I suppose in the hope of picking up a few passengers there. I am aware that Citybus are just as profit-hungry as First - and also that WG seem to be on a slippery slope - but I still feel that making a regular half-hourly service between Callington and Plymouth could benefit both companies. I am sure it would also benefit First if they had a distinctive livery, Somerset-style, with a bit more impact than insipid gray and mauve. But - especially with an out-station in Callington - I imagine both First and WG are watching Citybus.


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