First Scotland East (Midland Bluebird and West Lothian operations)

PaulMc7

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the X25 and 26/A are from my experience the busiest routes. The best way to save would be shorten either the 26 or 26A to the Centre
I was thinking more for the fact you can take the Armadale to Livingston ones off and still have the Blackridge to Livingston X25s and with the 26A if you take that often and put the 26 into Loganlea Square all day that's covered too
 
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ScotRail158725

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I was thinking more for the fact you can take the Armadale to Livingston ones off and still have the Blackridge to Livingston X25s and with the 26A if you take that often and put the 26 into Loganlea Square all day that's covered too
I see what your thinking is but the Livingston-Loganlea and Livingston-Bathgate sections are the busiest parts of those routes and usually have buses with every double seat taken even at the quietest of times so making them half hourly would have quite an impact
 

PassengerAY3

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Speculation? They simply don’t have enough drivers, fact, I worked there for only a few weeks myself before issues with management.

The training school is getting drivers in the door but only in dribbles and even then there not retaining the ones they do train or ones they already have.

No one is willing to do the job, poorly buses, toxic management, a dilapidated depot…the list goes on.

Pay is no longer the significant issue as of course there are many other bus firms who pay less, if pay were the defining factor in this issue drivers would be coming in there droves to work for First.
Makes me now want to just drive long distance and/or touring coaches or eventually have a chat with Stagecoach West Scotland in Cumbernauld. First have had that depot in Larbert for ages and have done really nothing with it and whole there was news that First Bus was selling up, One does wonder how soon and who to? McGills? Stagecoach? PFI?
 

PaulMc7

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I see what your thinking is but the Livingston-Loganlea and Livingston-Bathgate sections are the busiest parts of those routes and usually have buses with every double seat taken even at the quietest of times so making them half hourly would have quite an impact
The 26 recently has had 3 buses in a row missing on quite a few occasions so I'd imagine that plays a part in that to be fair. The 26 and 600 seem to get hammered the most with cancellations
 
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Yes. I’m not aware of any companies that don’t have some sort of training bond written into the contracts of people who gain their license through that company. Usually the amount to be paid back decreases with length of service and usually ends after 12-18 months. Whether or not they do actually chase people up for the money is another matter.
The additional costs of doing so is why they never chase you for a training bond.

The 26 recently has had 3 buses in a row missing on quite a few occasions so I'd imagine that plays a part in that to be fair. The 26 and 600 seem to get hammered the most with cancellations
Particularly today, a lady boarded my 63 at Queensferry and said she needed to get to Broxburn, the issues being discussed is why I advised her to go to Newbridge for an x18 instead of the 600 from Kirkliston.

I’ve never boarded an x18 or driven it obviously I just simply don't have any trust in First now.
 
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When putting drivers through training are drivers not required to work for the company for a certain length of time or have to pay back cost of training? Quite common in other industries to have to work a year or have cost deducted from final pay.
When I had my interview for First about five years ago, I was told that if you leave for any reason (their emphasis, as in "even if you leaving is outwith your control") within the first two years of employment then they'll charge you £2,000 for the cost of training.
 

PaulMc7

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The additional costs of doing so is why they never chase you for a training bond.


Particularly today, a lady boarded my 63 at Queensferry and said she needed to get to Broxburn, the issues being discussed is why I advised her to go to Newbridge for an x18 instead of the 600 from Kirkliston.

I’ve never boarded an x18 or driven it obviously I just simply don't have any trust in First now.
The problems are the app and scheduling of services. If the cancellation feature was everywhere and actually used constantly it makes such a difference. The scheduling is so bad though. Even with how bad things are 2-3 buses in a row needs to be avoided. A flat reduction and focus on certain areas needs to be done to be honest and if I can see that not knowing the area that well uet management can't then I think there's a problem.

Controversial but maybe ditching Edinburgh is the play to save buses and consolidation of Livingston and the surrounding areas.
 

ScotRail158725

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Thats ex Glasgow 32608 painted and ready to head to Larbert, with 4 more to follow. Replacing the Omnidekkas
 

JumpinTrainz

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Thats ex Glasgow 32608 painted and ready to head to Larbert, with 4 more to follow. Replacing the Omnidekkas
I presume these will be poreimantly for school duties? I do like the B7TLs they’re good buses and have life left in them but they’re tired internally and that cooling fan drives me insane
 

Jordan Adam

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Good news but replacing 05 and 55 reg buses with 54 reg buses. It must be for fleet consistency and maintenance. Are the Omnidekkas being scrapped do you know?
The B7TLs are in much better condition overall, albeit they could do with a tidy up internally. The Omnidekkas should've been scrapped years ago.
 

ScotRail158725

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Good news but replacing 05 and 55 reg buses with 54 reg buses. It must be for fleet consistency and maintenance. Are the Omnidekkas being scrapped do you know?
The Omnidekkas are are running on fumes these days. I'm surprised they’ve lasted as long.
 

LiviCrazy

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I remember when they were new on the 27/X27/28/X28 and 43/X43/X4 and branded for them (most anyway) they seemed to be decent back then.
That route branding for the 27/28 was probably the nicest route branding I’ve seen with the images of Edinburgh and Livingston if I remember rightly. Always thought they could have kept that for a while even if they had taken off the 27/28 specific stuff.

They always seemed powerful buses when they were new. Had them on the old X15/15A to Glasgow a few times and they more than held their own on the motorway, the Gemini’s they had then seemed to struggle a bit more (slower and noisier).
 
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Jordan Adam

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That route branding for the 27/28 was probably the nicest route branding I’ve seen with the images of Edinburgh and Livingston if I remember rightly. Always thought they could have kept that for a while even if they had taken off the 27/28 specific stuff.

They always seemed powerful buses when they were new. Had them on the old X15/15A to Glasgow a few times and they more than held their own on the motorway, the Gemini’s they had then seemed to struggle a bit more (slower and noisier).
The issue with the Omnidekkas isn't really the running gear as they have a solid engine/gearbox, it's everything else.

They started suffering structural issues when around 5 years old as such a number of them spent a long time off the road and all of them have had significant work done over the years to try and lessen the affects of the build quality issues. Notably 36018 and 36022 spent around 2-3 years off the road. Pretty much all of them now have melt plates welded to the floor to stop it lifting up when cornering. The suspension and lower deck interior layout is also dreadful.
 

LiviCrazy

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The issue with the Omnidekkas isn't really the running gear as they have a solid engine/gearbox, it's everything else.

They started suffering structural issues when around 5 years old as such a number of them spent a long time off the road and all of them have had significant work done over the years to try and lessen the affects of the build quality issues. Notably 36018 and 36022 spent around 2-3 years off the road. Pretty much all of them now have melt plates welded to the floor to stop it lifting up when cornering. The suspension and lower deck interior layout is also dreadful.
Thanks. Will be sad to see them go personally. Shame they had such problems as I always liked them but can understand why they need to go. That engine though is still one of my favourite sounds.
 

ScotRail158725

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The issue with the Omnidekkas isn't really the running gear as they have a solid engine/gearbox, it's everything else.

They started suffering structural issues when around 5 years old as such a number of them spent a long time off the road and all of them have had significant work done over the years to try and lessen the affects of the build quality issues. Notably 36018 and 36022 spent around 2-3 years off the road. Pretty much all of them now have melt plates welded to the floor to stop it lifting up when cornering. The suspension and lower deck interior layout is also dreadful.
Downstairs at the back they’ve come away and the back row of seats often sway about round corners
 

stevenedin

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Downstairs at the back they’ve come away and the back row of seats often sway about round corners
It sadly sounds like they are headed for scrap. It’s a shame. These saw off the Leyland Lions from Livingston depot (also good buses despite smelling of a stale smell and having the seats with burn marks with the hard carpet on the back :D) in 2005.

I remember 36007-36023 being at Livingston then 36007-36011, 36013-36021 & 36023 being branded for the 27/28 and 36012 and 36022 both being in standard Barbie livery.

Linlithgow got 36024-36030 branded for the X4/43/X43. When the B9TLs 37266-37273 arrived these were debranded and moved to Livingston depot in 2008.

37140 was also branded for the 12/X12/16/X16 back in around 2008. I don’t know if this was just a trial or not but I’m guessing it maybe had something to do with the routes being renumbered around 2009 (I think) to 20/21/22 with the X variants as well.

10 and X10 became 20 and X20

12/X12 and 16/X16 became 21/X21 and 22/X22 but didn’t follow the same routes as the 12/X12/16/X16

I also remember at one point along Gorgie there was a lot more First buses the X25, X26, 27, X27, 28, X28, X32, X33 and I think at one point X31 and X35?

The X25 at the time was previously the 29 before they introduced X routes.

The memories :smile:
 

ScotRail158725

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It sadly sounds like they are headed for scrap. It’s a shame. These saw off the Leyland Lions from Livingston depot (also good buses despite smelling of a stale smell and having the seats with burn marks with the hard carpet on the back :D) in 2005.

I remember 36007-36023 being at Livingston then 36007-36011, 36013-36021 & 36023 being branded for the 27/28 and 36012 and 36022 both being in standard Barbie livery.

Linlithgow got 36024-36030 branded for the X4/43/X43. When the B9TLs 37266-37273 arrived these were debranded and moved to Livingston depot in 2008.

37140 was also branded for the 12/X12/16/X16 back in around 2008. I don’t know if this was just a trial or not but I’m guessing it maybe had something to do with the routes being renumbered around 2009 (I think) to 20/21/22 with the X variants as well.

10 and X10 became 20 and X20

12/X12 and 16/X16 became 21/X21 and 22/X22 but didn’t follow the same routes as the 12/X12/16/X16

I also remember at one point along Gorgie there was a lot more First buses the X25, X26, 27, X27, 28, X28, X32, X33 and I think at one point X31 and X35?

The X25 at the time was previously the 29 before they introduced X routes.

The memories :smile:
I remember seeing and doing the old 10/16/27/28 vaguely when i was younger and seeing the various first routes on bus stop flags in Edinburgh but unfortunately i was too young to remember all the routes well and what they became. Its a pity theres no old timetables or such online to look back at the old routes
 

duffers2324

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I remember seeing one doing the final X15 or it could have been a 15A from Glasgow to Livingston, pulling off stand i felt that this could be the end of an era as it marked the end of years of a bus from Glasgow to Livingston, from Leyland Lions and SMT X34 and then West Express Coaches as the X15 to then First it all halted that day, centre to centre, obviously Stagecoach came back with the X51 for about a year and half or so but once again the 2 places no longer have a bus operate between them.

I understand the train has played part in this but as i have always said i feel the train stations are so badly sited for the centre, requiring the need for a further bus once you get off of either station and with that extra expense.
 

PaulMc7

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I remember seeing one doing the final X15 or it could have been a 15A from Glasgow to Livingston, pulling off stand i felt that this could be the end of an era as it marked the end of years of a bus from Glasgow to Livingston, from Leyland Lions and SMT X34 and then West Express Coaches as the X15 to then First it all halted that day, centre to centre, obviously Stagecoach came back with the X51 for about a year and half or so but once again the 2 places no longer have a bus operate between them.

I understand the train has played part in this but as i have always said i feel the train stations are so badly sited for the centre, requiring the need for a further bus once you get off of either station and with that extra expense.
I fully agree with this regarding the train stations especially with how expensive the train is too. By bus the cheapest way is actually to go from Glasgow to Dunfermline with the X24/X27 that stagecoach operate and then get the X51 to Livingston Town centre
 

stevenedin

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I remember seeing and doing the old 10/16/27/28 vaguely when i was younger and seeing the various first routes on bus stop flags in Edinburgh but unfortunately i was too young to remember all the routes well and what they became. Its a pity theres no old timetables or such online to look back at the old routes
I remember West Lothian Council used to issue paper booklets with every bus timetable for all services in the 2000s but unless someone still has them and uploads them then I doubt that we will be able to see them again.
 

tbtc

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I remember seeing and doing the old 10/16/27/28 vaguely when i was younger and seeing the various first routes on bus stop flags in Edinburgh but unfortunately i was too young to remember all the routes well and what they became. Its a pity theres no old timetables or such online to look back at the old routes

What routes/ era are you most interested in?

I'm sure some on here could fill in the gaps for you

To get the ball rolling (and deal with a gap in my memories), I'm not sure what daytime (SMT/ Eastern Scottish) services from Livingston to Edinburgh there were along the A8 in the era before LRT introduced the 63

The 63 came along in the very early 1990s (Livingston - Broxburn - South Gyle - Princes Street - Brunstane) - a route partly competing with the Edinburgh Transport 333 from Brunstane to the Gyle - removed in the 1994 "truce" between the two operators, when they both coincidently withdrew from much of each other's territory at the same time (LRT coming out of South Queensferry etc, Eastern removing a few of their "City Sprinter" services)

There were certainly frequent Eastern Scottish services from Livingston to Edinburgh along the A71 (the 271/281 became the 27/28, later the D27/D28) and frequent Eastern Scottish services from Broxburn into Edinburgh (the 16/17/18 ran along the A8 from Bathgate into Edinburgh, each serving different villages west of Bathgate) - there was briefly a half hourly Bathgate - Broxburn - Princes Street - Leith - Lochend service that was something like the 16B, intended to hit back at the LRT 64 that ran along the A8

But the only SMT/ Eastern Scottish services that I remember running from Livingston to the Broxburn area either terminated there or at the Gyle (in the case of the 284) - I don't remember any SMT/ Eastern Scottish services going all the way into Edinburgh (from Pumpherston etc) until the rationalisation that saw the 16 diverted that way (as the ScotRail services made the bus struggle - only with the Lothian X18 have buses really fought back on this corridor)

There was then the 12/16 every fifteen minutes from Livingston to Edinburgh along the A8, plus the shorter lived X22/X24 and other subsequent services - the "via Broxburn" route seems to be as high profile as the "via Sighthill" route - maybe this is because of new housing on the north east side of Livingston which has made a bus service more justifiable, I don't know, but I've no memory of any daytime SMT/ Eastern Scottish services from Livingston along the A8 into Edinburgh before the "bus wars" (maybe there were a couple of journeys a day on the 284 corridor - various service numbers in the two hundred and seventy something region combined to a half hourly corridor from west of Lothian to Broxburn but I don't remember any of them running into central Edinburgh during the daytime)
 

ScotRail158725

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What routes/ era are you most interested in?

I'm sure some on here could fill in the gaps for you
The 2007/08/09 ish era, its the time period i can vaguely remember going on and seeing all the First West Lothian buses in Edinburgh but its so long ago now i cant really recall anything from it other than the 27/28
 

stevenedin

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Does anyone have a list of all of the StreetLites with First Scotland East that have Daimler engines?

The 2007/08/09 ish era, its the time period i can vaguely remember going on and seeing all the First West Lothian buses in Edinburgh but its so long ago now i cant really recall anything from it other than the 27/28
In that time period the 12/X12/16/X16/X23/X24 all went to Edinburgh City Centre via Broxburn and Corstorphine :)
 

Jordan Adam

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The 2007/08/09 ish era, its the time period i can vaguely remember going on and seeing all the First West Lothian buses in Edinburgh but its so long ago now i cant really recall anything from it other than the 27/28
I remember West Lothian Council used to issue paper booklets with every bus timetable for all services in the 2000s but unless someone still has them and uploads them then I doubt that we will be able to see them again.
I have a PDF copy of the Spring 2007 Timetable booklet, i've uploaded it on to OneDrive along with a network map from 2009 which can be viewed here.
 

LiviCrazy

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Does anyone have a list of all of the StreetLites with First Scotland East that have Daimler engines?


In that time period the 12/X12/16/X16/X23/X24 all went to Edinburgh City Centre via Broxburn and Corstorphine :)
Was there not also the 10 around that period. Same route as the current X18?
 

PaulMc7

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I admit I haven't known the network around West Lothian until the last 2-3 years but reading the responses its pretty tragic how much the network has declined to what it is now and in reality First need to make more cuts because of the cancellations but don't seem to be in any rush to actually do it. Not the only area that will apply to mind you
 

ScotRail158725

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Was there not also the 10 around that period. Same route as the current X18?
I do remember the 10, it was a fast route from Bathgate to Edinburgh as you say following the current X18 route and IIRC they went onto Whitburn so you’re probably right there.

In that time period the 12/X12/16/X16/X23/X24 all went to Edinburgh City Centre via Broxburn and Corstorphine :)
Where did they go onto in West Lothian? I remember X30-33 numbered routes aswell on the bus stop flags but those might have been via Sighthill
 

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