First Midland bluebird improvements

Discussion in 'Buses & Coaches' started by overthewater, 24 May 2016.

  1. THarris123

    THarris123 Established Member

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    See now I always thought that was the point of a bus service - it joins up small villages and places where the train doesn't serve with larger towns and cities.

    Its not a very good argument really you have there.
     
  2. DunsBus

    DunsBus Member

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    First's contract for the 18 is up in July, at the end of the five-year period. It's returning to Lothian after then.
     
  3. THarris123

    THarris123 Established Member

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    Just looking at the fleetlist for Musselburgh and there doesn't seem to be too much cr*p there. Newest stuff is 57 plate and there is 1 Y reg decker, as well as a few 51/02 reg deckers. Doesn't look too bad compared to some First depots. I expect most of the vehicles will go to Larbert?
     
  4. overthewater

    overthewater Established Member

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    There had just been sent to Muss over the past 12 months, it will depend on the school contracts won or lost if the fleet moves to the central belt.
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    #####

    https://www.facebook.com/iaingrayeastlothian/posts/1036869103044864

    Iain Gray the MSP has made a response. Very fair comments and it seems he blaming First group nationally.
     
  5. robertclark125

    robertclark125 Established Member

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    I can tell you that last year, a friend of mine, who is, like me, a volunteer with the Lothian Bus Consortium, at the Scottish Vintage Bus Museum, said, once they had enough drivers, the firm he drives for, Lothian Buses, were going to aim for North Berwick. So I imagine Lothian will now make that move. And a depot in North Berwick is an option, just buy the existing one from First.

    Someone mentioned on here about Northampton, I'll repeat these views I said before. If you look at the areas of First that have struggled in recent years, been sold, or closed, in the main, the areas affected have been ex GRT bits. Northampton was ex GRT. Parts of eastern counties have struggled, ex GRT. Now we see total exit from East Lothian. Ex GRT. The borders has been decimated. Ex GRT.

    I accept other bits that weren't ex GRT have struggled. But, when you look at what happened, the damage was done by the GRT influence.
     
  6. Busaholic

    Busaholic Established Member

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    Don't recollect North Devon ever being influenced by GRT though. There, as in Northampton, once Stagecoach come in to compete, as opposed to agreeing a carve-up viz Manchester, it doesn't seem to take too long for First to capitulate.
     
  7. oldman

    oldman Member

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    I don't think you can blame GRT for the reopening of the railway which has inevitably hit the x95. Several of the other proposed cuts are subsidised services (not sure about the Hawick locals) and the Borders is not unique in losing local bus services.
     
  8. Blindtraveler

    Blindtraveler Established Member

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    Nowhere near enough to a Pacer :(
    Due to limmitations on the ECML the 1tph to North Berwick needs bus to augment it as well as serve smaller places. I doubt stagecoach will be interested due to both Lothian and Perryman not to mention plenty people around to take up any tendered work.

    The borders is sad, but not unpredicted I fear
     
  9. robertclark125

    robertclark125 Established Member

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    I'm not blaming GRT for the reopening of the railway. What I am blaming GRT for, mainly after it "took over" Badgerline, is how it took its eye off the ball in the borders, and tried to compete with Lothian buses, but did so by cutting services in the Borders. Sure, some of those depots were small, Hawick had 14 vehicles, Kelso 12. But they were serving communities, and provided a decent service.

    Last year, when I was in Hawick and Kelso one day, I saw a couple of First vehicles in service. The external appearance left a lot to be desired. What happens to the rest of the services in the Borders, we can only wonder.
     
  10. d1672

    d1672 Member

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    Really? You not seen the NEW Falkirk ticket?

    [​IMG]

    https://www.firstgroup.com/south-east-and-central-scotland/more/save-falkirk[/QUOTE]

    Hi,

    The Falkirk Zonal ticket included Alloa, however First no longer operate routes from Falkirk to Alloa, therefore by default, when they remove Kincardine and Alloa from the zone you are left with just the Falkirk ticket, therefore not really a new zone.

    Thomas
     
  11. overthewater

    overthewater Established Member

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    OK, we all thought it was bad, but its now panic stations. I never once believe it would be THIS BAD :cry: There now cuts to Stirling routes aswell, this is such a shame.

    FULL LIST HERE: https://www.firstgroup.com/uploads/news-attach/Proposed service changes - August 16.pdf


    https://www.firstgroup.com/south-ea...ce-updates/news/service-changes-east-scotland

    ######################################################################

    Your clearly not looking at what has changed: Firstly, the old ticket is called zone A,(which you can still buy) the one that still covers Falkirk Town ONLY and Alloa. A service still covers that route H1/H2.

    Current zones
    https://www.firstgroup.com/uploads/maps/Scotland_Fare_Zones_Map.pdf

    NEW addtional Falkirk ticket https://www.firstgroup.com/uploads/node_images/Falkirk_Area_Network_Map.pdf

    NOTE
    * Maddistion, its in Zone C
    * Avonbridge its in zone C
    * Denny its in zone C
    * Slamannan its in zone C
    * Banknock its in ZONE D

    Your also seem to ignored the price:

    NEW Falkirk ticket costs: £15 a week, while the original zones cost: £22.30 - 1 zone and £28.60 - 2 zones That big saving. Ie people within Falkirk are saving £7.30, while people in Denny etc are saving £13.60 a week. If the new tickets are successful further changes will happen, including Stirling, clackmanmanshire etc
     
    Last edited: 25 May 2016
  12. TheGrandWazoo

    TheGrandWazoo Established Member

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    Really? Surely the lifting of the covenants/undertakings was to allow them to these sorts of changes? It's the sort of rebasing and rationalising we've seen elsewhere. If anything, it could've been a lot worse and there may be some instances where local authority funding may come into play so this may be worst case.
     
  13. overthewater

    overthewater Established Member

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    No one expected this level of cuts coming down the line, we all thought East lothian and that's it. But now its Border, Stirlingshire, and even two routes in Falkirk all getting chopped (Stirling was cut back a couple of years ago!). IF first loses the school contracts in Falkirk that well over 125 buses being lost. Would Somerset like some newer stock ;)

    I know it was bad (I never expect this level of cuts), yet alot of people just seem to think I was talking actually rubbish. The Big question has to be, how long could First have actually managed to keep on operating if It had retained Scotrail? I can't see how anyone would have been able to justify wasting money on those kinds of loses.

    This must prove once and for all the company was in dire need, and it clearly was breaking under huge pressures. You can't turn a blind eye to that, it will NEVER end will.

    Thankful Scottish councils aren't as stupid as the one further south, and have managed to keep hold most of the services.
     
  14. THarris123

    THarris123 Established Member

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    Can you enlighten us as to who these stupid councils in the south are?
     
  15. TheGrandWazoo

    TheGrandWazoo Established Member

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    Sadly, take a pick.

    North Yorkshire - no supported services evening or Sunday and most daytime ones either chopped back or now operated by volunteer or inhouse minibuses

    Shropshire - severely cut with Shrewsbury (a town of 50k people) not having a Sunday service

    Cumbria, Somerset, Lancashire.... not an exhaustive list

    Unfortunately, it's not a case of stupidity but a case of priorities. Because of funding formulas, cost of services etc, rural counties seem to have a harder time of things in sustaining services in these times of austerity. That said, there are councils such as Darlington and Hartlepool that no longer support any bus services and remember, bus services are not a statutory service that by law a local authority must provide.
     
  16. DunsBus

    DunsBus Member

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    Indeed. Edinburgh Council have just axed funding for two supported services, Lothian's 60 and Horsburgh's 64, as the passenger levels for them were nowhere near the numbers required to justify continuing financial support. Both of these services finish at the start of June. And Scottish Borders are about to take the axe to their supported bus services budget, with a programme of £400k of cuts over a period of two years.

    Councils are not stupid, they have to prioritise their spending in these times of austerity and if it's a case of providing meals on wheels for OAPs versus supporting a bus that has more seats than there are passengers, the meals on wheels will win each time.
     
    Last edited: 25 May 2016
  17. d1672

    d1672 Member

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    Your clearly not looking at what has changed: Firstly, the old ticket is called zone A,(which you can still buy) the one that still covers Falkirk Town ONLY and Alloa. A service still covers that route H1/H2.

    Current zones
    https://www.firstgroup.com/uploads/maps/Scotland_Fare_Zones_Map.pdf

    NEW addtional Falkirk ticket https://www.firstgroup.com/uploads/node_images/Falkirk_Area_Network_Map.pdf

    NOTE
    * Maddistion, its in Zone C
    * Avonbridge its in zone C
    * Denny its in zone C
    * Slamannan its in zone C
    * Banknock its in ZONE D

    Your also seem to ignored the price:

    NEW Falkirk ticket costs: £15 a week, while the original zones cost: £22.30 - 1 zone and £28.60 - 2 zones That big saving. Ie people within Falkirk are saving £7.30, while people in Denny etc are saving £13.60 a week. If the new tickets are successful further changes will happen, including Stirling, clackmanmanshire etc[/QUOTE]

    Hi Overthewater,

    I am sorry, I have got totally confused by all of this. You are correct in what you say, and I am wrong.

    Thomas
     
  18. overthewater

    overthewater Established Member

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    At least you acknowledge this :D If enthusiast are getting confused about this, I dread to think of the passengers. :|
     
  19. smtglasgow

    smtglasgow Member

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    The list of service cuts looks bad, but there are a lot of 1 bus tenders in amongst the more surprising withdrawals. Something drastic was always going to happen given the losses, but a slimmed down network and more realistic fares might just turn things around. Fiona Kerr, the Glasgow MD, is now in charge of Scotland as a whole. She has a financial rather than operational background and seems willing to take hard decisions (FiG has pulled out of Linwood/withdrawn the X5 under her watch).

    Has anyone worked out the overall PVR reduction? Are FSE in danger of having too many depots for the reduced fleet? Bannockburn will see a fairly big drop in PVR (and it looks like an old depot on a cramped site), so could the remaining Stirling area services be worked from Larbert, or would the extra mileage outweigh any savings? Overthewater is always talking about the school tenders – if the various service tenders being axed are no longer worth running, will FSE be wanting to commit to poorly paying school contracts with age restrictions on the vehicles?

    The railways have hit FSE hard. Not just the new Borders line, but Airdrie-Bathgate and the Alloa line. The Glasgow-Edinburgh via Shotts line will be electrified with new trains in a year or two – this will hit some of the West Lothian services, so FSE isn’t out of the woods yet. As for the Borders, it’s hard to see a long term future when there is only one really profitable route (X62). Would West Coast Motors be interested in buying, or would they seek to undermine the business through a competitive assault?
     
  20. tbtc

    tbtc Veteran Member

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    Shows how badly First have managed some decent bus territory in Midlothian and East Lothian (one of the better bits of the SBG). They should have been able to carve out a profitable niche on the trunk routes from Penicuik/ Dalkeith/ Mussleburgh into Edinburgh (given parking problems in the capital, relative lack of suburban railway stations until recently etc).

    They seemed to have struck a reasonable balance with LRT/ Lothian in terms of “green buses” running to Lochend/ Leith/ Wester Hailes/ Clermiston etc and “red buses” running to Wallyford/ Gorebridge etc. Peace had broken out before (with Lothian pulling back from South Queensferry/ Livingston etc), so there was no need for First to risk everything with their predatory “Overground”, flooding the streets with Darts and pound fares. That worked well…

    As I’ve said before, contrast the way that Stagecoach have successfully increased commuter services from Fife/ Ayrshire into Edinburgh/ Glasgow (despite the growth of rail services on those corridors) with the way that First have failed with services from the old Eastern Scottish area into Edinburgh.

    Now we see much of the old Lowland Scottish operation under threat, given the fact that the long delayed railway has finally opened. Not looking good.

    What’s the realistic level of operation from the services that First are leaving behind though? Is it enough to warrant Stagecoach/ McGills etc setting up an East Lothian operation? I’m not so sure.

    Lothian could probably just run an extra Haddington service per hour (on the 104) and extend the 15/X15 to North Berwick… and then what’s left? Is Dunbar a big enough market off-peak to warrant another operator risking a toehold in the East Lothian market?

    Maybe West Coast Motors will carve out a niche (both in East Lothian and the Borders, we’ll see a glut of Perryman branded Solos, we’ll see a balkanisation of services (where once SMT dominated). But I don’t think it’s juicy enough for someone like Stagecoach/ McGills to get involved.

    Maybe First could have sold the operation when Dalkeith was still in operation (though I don’t know if the ScotRail agreement forbade them?), but East Lothian looks too small/ unprofitable/ operationally separate for anyone else to get involved.
     

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