They didn't sell Bude. They wanted to sell it with the North Devon ops but then the CMA sought to investigate so they just walked away.An interesting development returning to Bude. Didn't they sell Bude to stagecoach not long ago?
Certainly opens up further opportunity with a ride Cornwall for day outings.
THarris123, are you referring to the Wadebridge/Exeter route Western Greyhound used to run? I travelled that route many times. The most difficult part was getting to Wadebridge in the first place. I would have preferred it if it had started in Bodmin.Well if First change the timetable ever so slightly, i'll be able to get to Cornwall by bus - missing out Plymouth
Sort of. Trying to figure out a route which doesn't go into Plymouth.THarris123, are you referring to the Wadebridge/Exeter route Western Greyhound used to run? I travelled that route many times. The most difficult part was getting to Wadebridge in the first place. I would have preferred it if it had started in Bodmin.
33665 should be on the U1/U2 (Redruth/Truro to Falmouth) services whilst Scania's 65759/61/2 should be on services 14/18 (St Ives to Truro via Camborne & Penzance to Truro via Camborne). Sometimes a Scania can be found on the 27 (Truro to Bodmin via St Austell).11 weeks today i arrive from Manchester into NewQuay and buses i am on the lookout to go on are 33665, 42871/73/75, 42942/46. 43905, 65759/61/62 plus open topper 38001
thanks went on scainas 65760/63/64 last year i love the Kernow fleet33665 should be on the U1/U2 (Redruth/Truro to Falmouth) services whilst Scania's 65759/61/2 should be on services 14/18 (St Ives to Truro via Camborne & Penzance to Truro via Camborne). Sometimes a Scania can be found on the 27 (Truro to Bodmin via St Austell).
The Dart's could be anywhere on the network although 43905 is usually on the 14/17/18.
Day 2 of 3
My better half and me got our usual 53826 (does it ever work anything but the 6) and headed into Penzance. We'd decided to splash the cash and go to Truro by train and then get a bus to Newquay. Having got off our XC train, we went outside to catch a fully laden 47 for the short trip into the city centre; full standing load on a long Solo 53154!
A short wait before getting the 93 to Newquay. Another bit of a misjudgement from me... it doesn't seem like long but the extra journey time on that service as it wends its way through St Columb Major is an eternity. We had ex Bath and Plymouth 32714. To be honest, it is a long time past its best (corrosion apparent on front bulkhead) and I'd expect it to disappear in the next few months. However, it made its way past the sea of Western Greyhound bus stops which suddenly had been replaced with new FK ones. Also, we seemed to pick up decent numbers of passengers especially from SCMaj into Newquay.
We had time to eat, wander to Towan Beach, have a proper wander etc and then had plans to return. One bus failed to show, as did another. There were drivers, there were Olympians (which look very, very battered - like they've done time in the South Atlantic) but not for us. We ended up getting the direct 90 instead, returning via Quintrell Downs. We had recently repatriated 32762 from Stagecoach at Plymouth which is a really nice machine and made decent time on the 90. Question: on the A39 near Trispen (on left towards Truro) are a load of buses parked up. Whose vehicles are they?
We headed into Truro and had the issue of another no show before finally getting a bus to the station and returning to Penzance for 53826 to again take us home. All in all, whilst a bit frustrating, a nice day out.
Enjoyable account of happenings in Kernow. Presumably 34172/3/81 have been withdrawn only recently?Just thought Id post a quick summary of a few days out travelling on First Kernow. I was visiting with the other half and she suggested that rather than driving everywhere, we got an extended bus ticket (as per one wed previously used on Southern Vectis). I was quite happy to go with this as a) I do too much driving anyway, b) you get better views over Cornish hedges and c) I was intrigued to see how things have changed in the last 15 months. Of course, one major change is that Western Greyhound has since disappeared but, being based in Newlyn for the week, then the services we enjoyed tended to be more longer standing FK ones anyway. We did have a few reliability and time keeping issues (sorry FK but its true) but we managed to get around ok.
Tuesday Day 1 of 3
We started off with a trip into Penzance from Newlyn on Solo 53826 a bus we would see a lot of! One area that FK are good at is publicity so despite having a timetable booklet, most stops seem to have up to date times as well (though the summer map seems to be uniformly displayed). We headed into Penzance and a trip to Helston. Olympians are now very sparse in West Cornwall so the expected ex London Trident duly appeared with 32880. To be fair, we could see quite a few parked up in Long Rock depot awaiting their next owner (34172/3/81) or summer (34138) but it was a Trident for us as we trundled our way. Yes, it rattled a bit, and looked pretty scruffy in and out but it was fine. The times reflect the summer months . we seemed to wait time a lot with a good 5 mins in Goldsithney and loadings were fairly thin but reflecting the lack of pensioners for the most part. It was into Helston, and time for breakfast before heading back out for the next part of our journey to Falmouth. Whilst waiting for our next machine, we saw some venerable fleet with a former Manchester B7TL heading for Truro whilst Marshall Dart 41490 appeared a memory from Bristol just a year earlier.
FalRiver liveried 33111 arrived and we lurched on a circuitous route of everywhere in Falmouth before being desposited. We then had a couple of hours of walking around Falmouth and a short pasty stop. We then wandered back out to catch the 1330 U2 to Redruth, as my other half had an inexplicable wish to see that town! E400 33664 duly took us the ride quality highlighting its relative youth compared to the earlier Trident. We then elected to get a bus back to Camborne my bright idea was to get the 46 with 53801 rather than the direct route. What a plank I am! I thought we might see some scenery and roads less well known. Well, that was true but it was mainly endless streets of pebble dashed semis and the occasional Tesco store (you go past 3 major ones). Also, quite a few Truronian bus stops and Trevithick Link still in evidence though. However, it took ages on a baking Solo but seemed to provide some very important links judging by the constant flow of passengers embarking and leaving.
We arrived into Camborne bus station and my other half said the ladies toilets were some of the worst shed experienced. Less hovering at Culdrose, she informed me!! We awaited our next run back to Penzance. However, rather than the usual B7RLE or ex Reading Scania, we were treated to another decker in the shape of 33173. It was in better shape than the earlier Trident too and we sped through Hayle, enjoying the scenery and then went wow at the rather stylish Asda (when was that built how long is it since I didnt bypass Hayle?). Then we arrived into Penzance and ready to go home on 53826 (again).
Well, pertinent that you mention that.....Sorry to say it but, as you'll know, you've rather highlighted a key issue with your comments about 'No-shows'.
I can't think of anything more likely to deter future passengers than a no-show at any time (other than a one-off rare occasion). It's a good reason for supporting those operators that now use their Real Time systems to let passengers know what time their bus should arrive at the stop. My own eternal frustration at simply not knowing if the bus was going to turn up late, or not at all, has now been reduced significantly as the company has 'managed my expectations'. As always, it's the 'not knowing' that causes the problems.
34181 was parked up round the back of Long Rock with 42430 and a load of open toppers. Suspect it's been withdrawn for slightly longer than 34172/3 which were at the front and more accessible, but that's just supposition.Enjoyable account of happenings in Kernow. Presumably 34172/3/81 have been withdrawn only recently?
I was about to ask the same question. First seems a bit slower than others in adopting Real Time Info and I'm not totally sure why that should be. I assume that what tracking they do already have (in other parts of the country) is triggered by a chip in the ticket machine module, as per Arriva etc, so I wouldn't have thought it was a big cost issue. [Mind you, I'm assuming that First now has much the same ticket machine modules across the country - perhaps they still don't ?]The Grand Wazoo, I understand Cornwall council installed the real time displays but very few of the vehicles have the tracker thing fitted to work with it due to it being a council money waste rather than the operator.
That's not really true. Cornwall Council have just upgraded the back end with a new system that we fully support. The principal problem at present is the transient nature of the fleet, primarily caused by the collapse of Western Greyhound fleet which carried a fair few units, and the huge churn in fleet to achieve single deck DDA.The Grand Wazoo, I understand Cornwall council installed the real time displays but very few of the vehicles have the tracker thing fitted to work with it due to it being a council money waste rather than the operator.
You've confirmed impressions I've had in recent (last few months) times about the 14/18. I have to bring my wife for appointments at Hayle's hospital and usually have 45-60 minutes to spare, during which time I park in Asda's car park and take my dog for a walk on the quayside area, from which you can see the buses on the 14 or 18 on the main road: later, my wife likes to pop in to Marks and Spencer at Hayle Retail Park and, again, I walk our dog around the outside and see the buses bound for both Truro and St Ives/Penzance. Quite often the buses for St Ives and Pz arrive almost simultaneously, contrary to the timetable, or even two 18s for Pz, supposedly 30 minutes apart. I don't remember this happening, other than the odd occasion when there has been a reported accident/incident, much previously, but I admit I'm able to observe a little more these days.Well, pertinent that you mention that.....
We left our rented cottage and as per usual, 53826 was our bus into town. We'd had a lie in and so were into Penzance a bit later than usual but we'd decided on a shortish day. My other half fancied going to St Ives but I suggested that rather than go on the direct route, we'd try the 16. I was chided by Mrs Wazoo after the 46 route debacle but we were fine and got some good alternative views from Gulval across Mounts Bay as well as the desolation on the hills.
Again, not many fare payers as we had 53701 (still proclaiming it's membership of First London East in its CCTV notice) but a hard core of twirly holders. We arrived at the UK's most scenic bus station at St Ives and then had a wander around the streets. Royal Buses appear to be last remaining commercial operator in Cornwall and saw their antiquated fleet about. Just a pity the Tate was closed for refurbishment and that the weather changed and not for the better.
After a good few hours and my other half enjoying the best steak pie this side of Wigan, we walked back up the hill and past the bus depot that never was in St Ives (for those who know the story). Then to the bus station and onto 69220 on the 14 to Hayle. These really are superb vehicles and hard to believe these are now 10 years old.
Into Hayle and the rain was lashing down. A coffee and cake later, we headed around to look at the regeneration of the town, a cross between artisan shops in the old chapel and outright consumerism with the spanking Asda. Then back to the bus stop at Foundry Square and waiting....
Now, there are LED displays but to my observation, they're not real time. So basically, it's an expensive timetable display but if there's one thing FK are good at, it's roadside timetabling and publicity. So I know what is SUPPOSED to happen. However, we had two 14's running back to St Ives almost in tandem but no 18 to Penzance until it arrived almost 30 mins late (and no it wasn't the next one - that almost followed us in to Penzance). I really cannot see the point of non RTPI displays like this unless they are RTPI but they're actually spouting rubbish.
As I said, we did eventually get our bus with another Stagecoach Plymouth refugee in a very nice 33420. We then seamlessly walked off that in Penzance and onto our waiting bus to Newlyn... 53504. We passed 53826 working the other board as we went back.
So, a very uneducated and unscientific view of First Kernow.
Firstly, the good things. The emphasis on publicity is excellent. Most stops have up to date timetables in cases. They're making a start at sorting out bus stop flags (though still a lot of Truronian and WGL flags abound with incorrect info). They have enquiry offices which are now very rare. Also, the timetable booklet is superb.
Also, the fleet is much improved over the last few years. Whereas the 2 last year was ageing Olympians, many journeys were now done by 54 plate Tridents (just not the ones we did). The slim Caetano Darts were commonplace and look ideal for the area and have helped oust the non DDA Solos and Darts. The presentation of the fleet was also better with Urban now becoming common.
However, it does then put into comparison those vehicles that haven't been painted. I appreciate that there were/are valid reasons why repaints didn't occur for some time and that is being rectified but some of the fleet looked desperate, emphasised by parking one Trident (can't recall number but roof was more red than white) next to recently painted and immaculate 32802. That said, I also realise that many of these may well be gone by the end of the year.
That leads me onto the fleet proper and whilst progress has clearly been made, I do hope that the rumours of new vehicles for FK do come to fruition. That the main 14/18 is operated by 10/11 year old B7RLEs and Scanias (excellent as they are) highlights the lack of investment into the FK business over many years. Nonetheless, it was good to see the improvements in that business and the progress that an experienced management team are making with it.
One last point - I did see 33660 with the Kernow Bus livery. To be honest, I was a bit disappointed. Perhaps it just needed a clean, but I thought it a bit dull.
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34181 was parked up round the back of Long Rock with 42430 and a load of open toppers. Suspect it's been withdrawn for slightly longer than 34172/3 which were at the front and more accessible, but that's just supposition.