03 March 2016

Looking back at looking forward

Its that time of the year when we look back over the last year and then forward into the new one. So lets start by having a look back at my predictions for 2015 and see how I did.

Plymouth Citybus

  • This year will finally see the swoops take over as the predominant livery in the fleet. This will be the result of both repaints and additions to the fleet.
    Kind of right in that there are more in swoops than anything else but a large proprtion of the fleet still carries older liveries. If you take the swoop and the flash schemes then they do account for morre than half the fleet now.
  • As part of the above we will see the extinction of the “Best Impressions” dark red front livery from the fleet.
    Not quite - but not far off! 2 Darts, 2 B7RLEs, 4 Enviro 200s carry the scheme into the new year along with the last few double deckers which are in the process of being withdrawn so probably wont see much use into 2016.
  • The 43/50 will be combined into one route as Gold Flash – or some other colour!
    Yep - in the end it was Yellow but that did happen
  • Some new single decker's will join the fleet, probably Enviro 200s.
    Only just got this right as the brand new single deckers started to arrive a few days before Christmas to enter service in 2016!
  • More second-hand buses will join the fleet, probably quite a bit newer than the London DD fleet brought in so far. There have been rumours of ex Brighton & Hove Scanias and Go Ahead London Enviro 200s, I am happy to wait and see! Yes, I think I can claim this one. Brighton did supply DDs but in the form of Dennis Tridents which are actually pretty decent buses. there were also a few Dennis Darts from London (no Enviros) which are 05 registrations, althought these have taken quite a while to arrive and even longer to see service.
  • Routes. I don't see much expansion beyond the City over the current network, but it wont contract either. Citybus will remain in Tavistock and Torpoint.I think I can claim this one, just, in that the spread of operations remain pretty much the same. There has been some contraction in service levels but Citybus are indeed still in Tavistock and Ivybridge but have cut back on the main routes serving these areas.
Plymouth Citybus 480 PK02RFF
Ex Brighton & Hove double deckers have proved quite popular
Now if I just leave it there then I am doing OK.

First Devon & Cornwall

  • Repaints into standard First livery will slowly continue, possibly some additional branding for some services. First Plymouth name will be used more than First Devon.
    Well yes they did so that was right
  • I don't expect any new buses so a continued trickle of Volvo single-deckers and one or two more Tridents will appear in Plymouth.
    I wasa right there as well
  • There will finally be a new livery for Cornwall.
    Yep, although it wasnt what we were expecting / hoping for, although the idea of something more interesting is still on the cards for the future
  • Minor tinkering with Plymouth bus routes. No major new routes introduced.
    Well I was right here too
  • Tavistock – I believe (hope) that some sort of deal will be arranged to allow at least some later buses for Tavistock after the planned cutbacks.
    Late services do indeed continue on Tavistock route
  • There will be increased competition in Cornwall with a slow move back into areas previously left to Greyhound.
    Well First have moved into areas that were Western Greyhound strongholds but not quite in the way I expected.
Stagecoach 19709 WA08MVG
OK so it looks like First PLYMOUTH, but is actually operated by Stagecoach in this picture.
Although I can claim a few predictions above have come to pass, there is one big elephant in the room in that First are no longer here in Plymouth - I didnt predict that!

Western Greyhound

  • Western Greyhound WILL still be around at year end, but will have contracted back and hopefully be more settled and able to run all its services. Couldnt have been more wrong sadly
  • Further second-hand buses will join the fleet and eventually there will be a new livery for the fleet although it will be a slow process.
    Well there were quite a few second hand buses joining before it all came to a sudden halt.


  • The Plymouth presence will remain as it is now. The Gold fleet will grow slightly with more routes including one or two out of Exeter.Well Gold has grown with new routes out of Exeter but you may have noticed a slight increased presence in and around Plymouth!
Stagecoach 15928 YN63BXD

Other Operators

  • Target will loose some routes but will regain some others, ending up with slightly less work in and around Plymouth.
    Yep, although I dont think it is much less than it was
  • Jacketts will also be slightly smaller in Plymouth but may pick up additional work elsewhere. Yep
  • At least one independent bus operator in Devon will give up. (No I am not predicting who!). It could well be the Devon cut backs which bring this on.
    I dont think this has hapenned, or am I missing anyone?

Other Predictions

  • Railways – lots of talk and no action on anything. Yep
  • Plymouth airport – Nope.
  • The new Coach Station will be started and the council will finally make clear arrangements for coach parking on the outskirts of the City Centre. Yes and No. Work has indeed started on the new coach station but little has been heard from the council as to where coaches are exected to park in the meantime when Brestonside finally closes. (This story has moved on slightly since I typed this…)
  • Not so much a prediction really, but major roadwork's will continue in the North of the City causing even more traffic congestion as major developments continue / start. With the Bircham Valley link road planned for next year and the on-going Marjon Link Road scheme and re-working of Derriford Roundabout all in the pipeline its going to be a fun few years!Well yes, Derriford development has continued with the new Marjon Link now up and running and more new plans in the piepline

Plymothian Transit

  • PT will continue to post at least 4-5 posts a week. I hope to continue the longer more details posts that have been a recent feature with more maps and service details. Yes I have just about kept this work rate up and most posts are now quite a bit longer than they used to be. There have indeed been a lot more maps and photos featured this year
  • The recent introduction of Cornwall Transit and Devon Transit has been popular and will continue. Yes - the weekly posts have continued and get good coverage with plenty of readers and comments being left with suggests its a popular move.
  • I always say this, but I will get out and about a bit more this year and take more photographs. I will certainly get down into Cornwall for a few visits and hopefully into parts of Devon.
    I always say it and as usual I have failed again.No trips into Cornwall and only one trip to Kingsbridge in the whole year. Must do better!
  • Plymothian Bus Services will continue to expand as a historical database of bus services in Devon & Cornwall.Yes. I have spent a lot of time working on this over the last year and now have much better coverage for more roiutes than ever before.
As you may have picked up above, I don't see this year as having any major surprises. With money for transport being increasingly tight I just don't think there is much appetite for increased competition among the big players. That's not to say that they wont take advantage of any opportunities to expand to fill in gaps left by others. 
I think the line “I dont see this year as having any major suprises” pretty much sums up where my predictions have failed - 2015 has seen some major changes with First selling their Devon operation to Stagecoach and Western Greyhound failing completely leaving much of Cornwall to a renewed First, who have alreasdy started to make massive improvements to their Cornish fleet.
The second half of my statement though has been born out as in Plymouth there is little appetite for serious competition. Stagecoach only took on a few Plymouth routes leaving other areas to Citybus, who in return have cut back in Tavistock and Mount Batten so they can concentrate on their services elsewhere.
OK so its a lot later than I planned but thats partly due to it being such a busy start to the year (and me forgetting that I had typed this post up a few weeks ago…)
Sometime in the next week or so I will be making my own predictions on what remains of this year… Feel free to add your own thoughts!


  1. Think you got your Citybus B7RLE and E200 in old best impressions livery wrong way around ?

    1. you are right - Its been corrected. Thanks for letting me know!

  2. 431 for sale!

  3. Didn't Beacon Bus give up early last year? I'll give you another point for that.

    1. Yes Beacon Bus did give up stage carriage work, but not as a result of DCC cuts. They pulled out back in April/May time long before any cuts were implemented.

  4. Beacon Bus ceased stage work during the year, although they still continue with schools and private hire.

  5. Did we see your predictions for this year, or have i missed them?

    1. Oh heck - you are right! Coming up soon - I did start them so must have it on file somewhere...


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