02 December 2014

First Confidence

The sad and slow demise of Western Greyhound  in its present form continues with the next phase of First Kernows renewed expansion just announced:

FIRST KERNOW ANNOUNCES GOOD NEWS FOR BUS CUSTOMERS Local bus operator reveals plans for further expansion in Cornwall In a move expected to be widely welcomed by Cornwall’s bus users and following numerous requests, local bus operator First Kernow, today announces plans to further expand its bus network
From February 2015, First will begin operating new services which will link St Columb Major and St Agnes with both Truro and Newquay. This latest announcement from First Kernow, Cornwall’s leading bus operator, follows previous news of new routes in the St Austell area adding to the company’s extensive network. From the 5 January, Wadebridge, Fowey, Par, St Blazey. Mevagissey, Bodmin, Roche and Bugle will join the fast-growing First Kernow bus network.
“This is great news for bus customers in St Columb Major, St Agnes, Truro and Newquay,” said Managing Director of First Kernow, Alex Carter. “From February we will begin operating high quality bus services which will provide much needed links between these important communities.
“We will reveal exact details of our new services in the New Year – we’re both excited by the prospect of further extending our network and determined to provide the best service possible and attract more people to bus travel.”
First Kernow has announced a number of expansions to its bus network in recent months. In September 2013, it was awarded the contract by Cornwall Council to operate Truro’s Park and Ride service; on November 3 First began operating new routes between St Austell and Newquay and between Truro and Newquay; and on January 5 it will begin a range of new services in the St Austell area.
Alex Carter continued: “The number of people travelling with First is growing, which is enabling us to expand our business. Over the last year or so, we’ve worked incredibly hard to improve our services, especially punctuality and reliability, and encourage more people to use the bus. Our efforts are being rewarded – indeed in a number of cases we are seeing increases in passenger numbers in excess of 10 per cent.
“I’m confident that passenger growth will continue enabling us to expand our services further. These are exciting times for the company and our loyal, hard-working staff who have supported us for so many years.”

First have also now announced their Christmas services:
Christmas & New Year buses in Plymouth, South Devon & East Cornwall 2014:
  • Monday 22 December School holiday timetable
  • Tuesday 23 December School holiday timetable
  • Christmas Eve School holiday timetable. Most last journeys will be at around 8pm. (please see details below).
  • Christmas Day No service
  • Boxing Day No service
  • Saturday 27 December Normal service
  • Sunday 28 December Normal service
  • Monday 29 December Saturday service except 81 which runs Mon-Fri and a slight amendment to service 90*. Service 79 will not run.
  • Tuesday 30 December Saturday service except 81 which runs Mon-Fri and a slight amendment to service 90*. Service 79 will not run.
  • New Years Eve Saturday service except 81 which runs Mon-Fri and a slight amendment to service 90*.Service 79 will not run. Most last journeys will be at around 8pm (please see details below).
  • New Years Day No service
  • Friday 2 January Saturday service except 81 which runs Mon-Fri and a slight amendment to service 90*. Service 79 will not run.

Normal operation from Saturday 3 January.
*Service 90 journeys at 10:30, 12:30 & 14:30 will be replaced by the 90B and serve the route this normally takes. Service 79 will run its normal Monday to Friday timetable until Christmas Eve (Wednesday 24 December) and then will not run again until Monday 5 January 2015.
Last journeys running on Christmas Eve and New Years Eve:
  • 1 20:00 from Royal Parade, 19:26 from St Stephens Road 
  • 1A 19:30 from Royal Parade, 19:57 from Yellowtor Road 
  • 2 20:00 from Royal Parade, 19:56 from Mount Batten 
  • 3 20:05 from Royal Parade, 20:00 from St Budeaux Square 
  • 3A Will run as timetabled in both directions 
  • 6 Will run as timetabled in both directions 
  • 15 Will run as timetabled in both directions 
  • 48 Will run as timetabled in both directions 
  • 76 Will run as timetabled in both directions 
  • 79 Will run as timetabled in both directions (however does not run at all on New Year's Eve) 
  • 81 Will run as timetabled in both directions 
  • 83 Will run as timetabled in both directions 
  • 86 19:45 from Royal Parade, 20:41 from Cox Tor Road & Tavistock 
  • 89 Will run as timetabled in both directions

In The News

  • Birmingham Mail: New 'platinum' West Midlands buses promise suit-wearing drivers National Express is spending millions on a “platinum” bus service in Birmingham and West Midlands next year – with drivers kitted out in SUITS. The company also says the new 58 top-of-the-range buses will boast a “sophisticated slick two-tone grey exterior”, marking them out from the usual red and white fleet..

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  1. I'm not a Plymouth resident but it strikes me as odd, in this day and age, that that neither First nor PCB are running any services on Boxing Day, one of the biggest and most important shopping days of year. Plymouth must surely be the biggest city in the country without Boxing Day buses. Am I missing something?

    1. This may answer your question, a quote from an older post.

      ''Brian George 13 December 2012 09:21
      We were asked to consider a Boxing Day service this year possibly supported by the City Council or the City Centre Company, (so supported by the traders in effect). Current agreements require volunteers for such work and whilst we did had some staff come forward there were not enough to operate even a main roads only service. (Remember you need engineering support and supervision, not just drivers in order to operate). Is there a call for buses on Boxing Day in Plymouth? There probably is. Unfortunately with the continuing commercialisation of the Christmas holiday period how long will it be before shops open on Christmas Day and buses are demanded? Shop workers get almost no holiday as it is. The argument that we should operate buses in Plymouth because sister Companies operate services on Boxing Day is strange. I suspect that the cost of operating buses on Boxing Day outweighs the revenue generated several times over. Unless there is considerable financial support I think it unlikely at the moment that we will see commercially operated Boxing Day buses in Plymouth.''


    2. Are you working on Boxing Day Anonymous?

    3. No I'm not; I have provided details of Citybus' operations manager's response to the question on operating buses in Plymouth on Boxing Day. I actually went to some effort to find that for you as I was sure I'd seen it somewhere before so searched through the archives of December 2013 and December 2012 in order to find it for you as I believed it would provide an answer to your question from a senior manager at Citybus.

    4. Thnaks for digging out the comment from PCB from 2012, the main point of which is that they don't see it as financially viable, so they don't operate on Boxing Day... presumably First are of the same thinking. Meanwhile, Stagecoach South West are running a number of services around Exeter and Torbay on Boxing Day, as reported in the Exeter Express & Echo, so Stagecoach obviously are of the opposite opinion to Go Ahead And First and see this as financially viable in a city with a smaller population. Why this is, I've no idea! Perhaps Stagecoach have lower running costs? Perhaps Stagecoach SW local management have the freedom to try to provide a decent bus service whereas PCB and First in Plymouth are too much under the thumb from the corporate big knobs in Newcastle and Aberdeen that that daren't take a chane on something in case they loose a few quid off theior bottom line?


    5. Hmmmm. Your supposition about First doesn't add up though as they are running a full Sunday service on both Boxing Day and New Year's Day at Buses of Somerset.

    6. My experience of running a Sunday service on Boxing Day on the Isle of Wight for a few years is that it is an extremely busy day. It is a busier day than any other Sunday operation during the winter period, beating even the ones leading up to Christmas and that is in a rural area. Try running buses on Christmas Day and you might be surprised by the demand as well.

    7. Demand for buses on Boxing Day is very high up here in the North East as well - operators run an extensive commercial service on Boxing Day in Tyne and Wear and on cross boundary services from County Durham. No problem with getting enough staff to volunteer at enhanced rates.

  2. When you succeed the confidence boost makes anything possible. First Bristol posting 17.6% paid journey growth in one year must encourage the neighbours (that is over 68000 extra paid journeys every week - a lot, but needs more buses).

    The rumours on the Western Greyhound take over (commented yesterday) at least match my armchair model of what might be happening. If it happens Plymouth Citybus can reinstate the 77/x77/78 along the A38 to Liskeard and Bodmin like 10 years ago along with the DAC Coaches network and so cleanly break out of the city boundary. (Scratch the itch).

    I notice the anti-WG 5 Jan timetables are on the forward journey planner with Traveline SW inc Stagecoach X10 (+midday x9) on Launceston/Okehampton to Exeter covering WG short workings on the 510; another nail.

    Christmas - disappointing that Plymouth has no Boxing day or New Year day services, when Exeter, Weymouth, Southampton, Portsmouth, Bristol, etc do. More surprising to me is that First gives Somerset a full Sunday service on those days; Hourly Taunton to Weston super mare, Somerton, Wellington, Minehead and Priorswood.

    Interesting times with the financial changes creating innovation for those that can see a vision and take on the challenge.

    1. Fair comments but a confidence boost and a vision doesn't automatically mean you're going to be successful. Anyone can over-stretch, under-invest and take their eye off the ball...... which is what's led us to where we are now!

  3. It will be interesting to observe whether those now at FDC will learn from their past mistakes or whether they will repeat them.
    I think on the current evidence they are repeating their mistakes. Is the Go Ahead takeover of WG about to take place?
    Both of the FDC head honchos used to work for Go Ahead and were the architects of their own downfalls.

    1. You could say the same of Go ahead though...who seem to continue making mistake after mistake.

  4. go ahead is NOT taking over western greyhound. nor is stagecoach.

    1. Not what I've been told. Apparently GA and WG is a done deal ;)

    2. I don't think I've seen anything to suggest Stagecoach is remotely interested. Like First, they've already registered the bits that add to their existing network and should anything else come up by way of tenders, that would be a bonus.

      Of course, Stagecoach may well have been interested say six years ago and had they got hold of the company back then, they could well have had the whole of Cornwall to themselves by now given the mess that First was in.

  5. I understood that Citybus were looking to purchase the depot site in Liskeard and not to purchase the company - why would they need to?
    Also heard that there were 17 new Enviro 200s on order as well as several second-hand (7 year old) examples on their way down to Plymouth from London.

    1. Is that 17 new MMC type or old-style?

  6. Why would go ahead want to buy a company who's routes they could pick up for free ala first and stagecoach, I heard a company who owns a purple bus company could be in the running

    1. Yes, I've heard that too. Not wonderful news if true, but better than WG closing down, I suppose.

    2. What purple bus company ? Glad for people of Cornwall it's not Go Ahead though, seriously they been here in Plymouth for 6 years now and have changed timetables etc dozens upon dozens of times still can't get services on time, I am sure people of Cornwall had enough of this recently from WG ? GA are also extremely expensive, more so than First here in Plymouth by miles.

  7. i can state here and now that go ahead ARE NOT buying western greyhound.there are not 17 new e200s on order and we r not getting second hand stuff from london.

    1. So they are interested in buying the Liskeard depot then?

    2. PCB not buying any of Western Greyhound...mmm your info is a bit wrong there Mike..lol. Seriously feel sorry for people on these routes as they too will be plagued with unreliable and expensive services. Check out the fares reductions from First on the 576 corridor though... This makes sense now. Do we expect to see more registrations from First in SE Cornwall soon ?

  8. why cant first make new routes in Plymouth a lot people are asking for it ,

  9. Totally agree. Let hope Plymouth next

  10. there again the number 6 is now gone marshmills from efford and run sundays and bank holidays ,and torpoint bus go coach station again, so bit more

  11. So why do you expect other people to work on Boxing Day Anonymous? Surely people can make do without a bus for 2 days of the year so the drivers, engineers, cleaners and other staff can spend a couple days with their families?

  12. Purple bus company as in velvet?


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