First South West and Wales discussion

83G/84D

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Strange considering that Devon & Cornwall have had a large batch of brand new vehicles recently.

As for those deckers down in Plymouth you can bet they will be on their way to Bristol/Bath although I suspect some in the south wales operation will be fighting to get 1 or 2 for the busy routes in Swansea such as those to Oystermouth etc.
What new vehicles have D&C had because I haven't seen them?! The P&R Enviro's at Plymouth are several years old but about the newest vehicles and they seem to be heading elsewhere. Rest of D&C fleet is mostly really ancient Olympians,Dart's and Trident's.
Only other relatively new vehicles are the Manchester cast-off Volvo's and a handful of Optare's.
 
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Greenback

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I found an email update in work today stating that no First Cymru buses will run on Sundays after 1900. Thankfully I can catch the train for my occasional Sunday evening beer in Swansea, but sadly I will be by myself because the firends I meet are reliant on the bus!
 

anthony263

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I found an email update in work today stating that no First Cymru buses will run on Sundays after 1900. Thankfully I can catch the train for my occasional Sunday evening beer in Swansea, but sadly I will be by myself because the firends I meet are reliant on the bus!
It appears some of the routes are operated under contract to Swansea council after 19:00 on Sundays and they have withdrawn the subsidy in order to safegaurd other daytime routes such as the gower explorer network.

If afres were not so high perhaps some routes could be operated commercially until at least 22:00 on sunday evenings especially some routes to like Blaen-Y-Maes
 

Greenback

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It appears some of the routes are operated under contract to Swansea council after 19:00 on Sundays and they have withdrawn the subsidy in order to safegaurd other daytime routes such as the gower explorer network.

If afres were not so high perhaps some routes could be operated commercially until at least 22:00 on sunday evenings especially some routes to like Blaen-Y-Maes
Yes, that's what I heard - local authority cutbacks again!

I agree about the fares. I would have thought that the Blaenymaes route and the Morriston and Mumbles corridors might support a Sunday evening service. Taxi's should see a rise in business though!
 

anthony263

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Greenback you should see how first are struggling in Neath, a lot of services have been cut back. Of Course South Wales Transport are benefiting from the extra passengers the same with Select Coaches.
 

Greenback

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Greenback you should see how first are struggling in Neath, a lot of services have been cut back. Of Course South Wales Transport are benefiting from the extra passengers the same with Select Coaches.
There was a South Wales Transport bus down at the bus museum last Sunday. It seemed to be brand new (my knowledge of modern buses is extremely limited!) and had a timetable display at the doors. We didn;t have time to go and have a close look, but it seems that SWT are on the rise!
 

Schnellzug

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I thought SWT* were taken over by First years ago. I suppose this is some new concern, is it? So don't First have the rights to the name?

*South Wales Transport, not South West Trains

** Although thinking of it, I have seen one or two Darts around from an outfit called Crosville Motor Services.
 

anthony263

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I thought SWT* were taken over by First years ago. I suppose this is some new concern, is it? So don't First have the rights to the name?

*South Wales Transport, not South West Trains

** Although thinking of it, I have seen one or two Darts around from an outfit called Crosville Motor Services.
SWT and Brewers were taken over by the Badgerline group who the merged with some other group to form First Bus.

The new company is called SWT(Neath) legally although their buses do have South Wales transport on them.

See their website:

http://www.southwalestransport.com/

I did read the manager who runs SWT wasn't too sure if First owed the rights to the original SWT livery which didn't look to be the case although I don't think they wanted to risk a legal challenge from First so they just used the currrent livery.

SWT have risen to the challenge against First around the Neath area and against the odd's are winning especially on the Neath - Cimla route which First are cutting to every 30 minutes using just 1 bus while SWT still have a bus every 15 minutes using 2 buses.

Another operator called Select coaches have also recently started up and are launching more routes in Neath & Swansea. First are taking a battering from Stagecoach & Edwards coaches in their Bridgend - Talbot Green - Pontypridd & Cardiff - Beddau routes. In fact First have withdrawn their Cardiff - Beddau route only 3-4 months after launching it.
 

DaveHarries

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Apparently we can expect new 12-reg buses in April! (My source doesn't know what exactly though.)

I expect they will be new Eclipses for the X39, as part of the Travel+ scheme.
Assuming you are correct for this (I don't know either way) then what is coming will most likely be:

- B7RLE / Wright Eclipse 2 for the X39 (Bristol - Bath)
- B9TL / Wright Gemini 2 for the X1 (Bristol - Weston-s-Mare)

It was recently reported in a newspaper here in Bristol (the "Metro" paper, 3rd week of February IIRC) that the X1 was to see an increase in frequency to every 20 minutes. In addition the 352 will see a change of route in Milton and will also no longer serve Yatton Village. Journeys from Yatton to Weston will be available on Service 125 (see below).

Other changes are also due in the area of Weston-s-Mare are due following the retendering exercise by North Somerset CC: details can be found at http://www.n-somerset.gov.uk/NR/rdo...6/0/SupportedBusServicesSummaryWeb_201202.pdf so see what you make of that lot. Some interesting stuff there IMO.

One interesting side, not given on the NSC website, is that Service X25 is to be withdrawn between Weston-s-Mare and Portishead. Over this section a new Service 125 will operate which will also serve Congresbury and Yatton. The section between Portishead and Cribbs Causeway will continue to be known as the X25. Yatton will regain a bus link to Cribbs Causeway for the first time since the closure of Bridge Valley Road, Bristol forced the withdrawl of Service 600 by NSC.

Dave
 
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Sun!

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First really seem to be struggling in South Wales at the moment.

I have heared rumours from a friend last night that Stagecoach were considering reintroducing a service from Merthyr/ Aberdare to Swansea through Glyneath and Neath in order to compete with First as they smell blood. They are also considering stepping up operations in Pontypridd to compete with First as well as the few independents that operate there.

Conversely with the cut in BSOG some Stagecoach services in their valleys heartlands will be cut or reduced.
 

Ivo

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Assuming you are correct for this (I don't know either way) then what is coming will most likely be:

- B7RLE / Wright Eclipse 2 for the X39 (Bristol - Bath)
- B9TL / Wright Gemini 2 for the X1 (Bristol - Weston-s-Mare)

It was recently reported in a newspaper here in Bristol (the "Metro" paper, 3rd week of February IIRC) that the X1 was to see an increase in frequency to every 20 minutes. In addition the 352 will see a change of route in Milton and will also no longer serve Yatton Village. Journeys from Yatton to Weston will be available on Service 125 (see below).
I seem to remember reading that in the Metro too. In all honesty I have always been surprised that the X1 only runs twice an hour; it always seems sufficiently well-patronised to justify a third bus every hour.

Of course, I may be wrong about the X39; the new buses here may be completely unrelated. But it does seem likely...

Other changes are also due in the area of Weston-s-Mare are due following the retendering exercise by North Somerset CC: details can be found at http://www.n-somerset.gov.uk/NR/rdo...6/0/SupportedBusServicesSummaryWeb_201202.pdf so see what you make of that lot. Some interesting stuff there IMO.
Some interesting stuff indeed. I can only wonder how long it will be before BANES start the same process - they have taken over routes formerly funded by Somerset CC already. Can they really afford three sets of routes?

One interesting side, not given on the NSC website, is that Service X25 is to be withdrawn between Weston-s-Mare and Portishead. Over this section a new Service 125 will operate which will also serve Congresbury and Yatton. The section between Portishead and Cribbs Causeway will continue to be known as the X25. Yatton will regain a bus link to Cribbs Causeway for the first time since the closure of Bridge Valley Road, Bristol forced the withdrawl of Service 600 by NSC.
Will this operate as a through service, along the lines of the 14/X14, or are the two independent of each other? The X25 never was the busiest route in the Avon area though; I almost wonder what the point in maintaining it is - but if we have a bus to Cribbs Causeway, I guess WsM should too.
 

Schnellzug

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Other changes are also due in the area of Weston-s-Mare are due following the retendering exercise by North Somerset CC: details can be found at http://www.n-somerset.gov.uk/NR/rdo...6/0/SupportedBusServicesSummaryWeb_201202.pdf so see what you make of that lot.
Some interesting stuff indeed. I can only wonder how long it will be before BANES start the same process - they have taken over routes formerly funded by Somerset CC already. Can they really afford three sets of routes? .
Is it any wonder Local Government needs so much money, since there's so much of it? It's like round here, we have a County Council (who are incompetent), a District Council and a Borough Council (who are completely useless).
 

DaveHarries

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Will this operate as a through service, along the lines of the 14/X14, or are the two independent of each other? The X25 never was the busiest route in the Avon area though; I almost wonder what the point in maintaining it is - but if we have a bus to Cribbs Causeway, I guess WsM should too.
My understanding of things is that the buses will operate as Service 125 from Weston-s-Mare to Portishead and then change to Service X25 for the Portishead - Cribbs Causeway leg and that no change of bus will be required.

Dave
 

anthony263

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First really seem to be struggling in South Wales at the moment.

I have heared rumours from a friend last night that Stagecoach were considering reintroducing a service from Merthyr/ Aberdare to Swansea through Glyneath and Neath in order to compete with First as they smell blood. They are also considering stepping up operations in Pontypridd to compete with First as well as the few independents that operate there.

Conversely with the cut in BSOG some Stagecoach services in their valleys heartlands will be cut or reduced.
Stagecoach used to operate an X55 Aberdare - Swansea & X75 Merthyr Tydfil - Swansea services until 2002 then Shamrock travel introduced a reaplacement X55 Pontypridd - Aberdare - Swansea express after stagecoach withdrew the routes using their scannia double deckers which proved popular especially because of the good views you got.

I am not surprised Stagecoach smell blood SWT and Select coaches have really hit first hard in Neath and Select have started some new routes from the end or this month.

I wish Stagecoach would operate more routes in the Bridgend, Porthcawl & Port Talbot area's by opening a small outstation especially consider Stagecoach fares are far better value than first's
 

Ivo

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Apparently we can expect new 12-reg buses in April! (My source doesn't know what exactly though.)

I expect they will be new Eclipses for the X39, as part of the Travel+ scheme.
Latest indications are that our new buses will be Enviros of some kind, but what exactly I don't know. So unless we're getting 300s - and then probably 300s of above-average spec (if not Goldline-esque) - my X39 suggestion looks like it'll be wrong...
 

anthony263

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Latest indications are that our new buses will be Enviros of some kind, but what exactly I don't know. So unless we're getting 300s - and then probably 300s of above-average spec (if not Goldline-esque) - my X39 suggestion looks like it'll be wrong...
At least you can be glad they are not MAN's the ones stagecoach operate in south wales are bloody terrible although they are great if/when they work

I can wait til we get our scannia's in the next 2 weeks or so and I have my eye on one of stagecoach south wales Alexander PS bodied Volvo B10m's
 

83G/84D

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Barnstaple based driver trainer Dennis Dart 42252 has made the long journey from North Devon to West Cornwall and was noted at Camborne depot this morning.

It was of course once based here when in normal service,meanwhile older Dart 46235 (N235 KAE) which was out of service here seems to have gone.
 

Ivo

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In the thread that inspired this thread, First devon and Cornwall tender gains, Anthony suggested this:

We were supposed to be having some solo's from Bristol & Bath (Although a lot of people want some double deckers)
My second source told me today that the Enviros we are supposedly getting are set to replace the Optares in Bath. Given all of our Optare vehicles are Solos Anthony may well be right - it looks like we might be getting something new and the "old junk" (hardly!) is carted off to Swansea. It looks like we are losing some of our Solo routes entirely though - the 2 is supposedly doomed and the 4 may well be joining it; the peak time only 8 (which is sometimes run by Solos) is also finished...

On a side note, for those that know Bath's routes, two of the more important city routes were using the rattlebox ALX Varios today! I didn't get a picture of one on the 14 (the hospital route - ouch!), but here is a picture of one on the 13, whose driver applauded me for taking the picture! :lol: In case you don't know, the 13 serves the Elmurst and Foxhill estates (among others) - both of which are accessed via steep hills! The drivers hate them - who can blame them?

One more update - our smartcard readers have finally been activated today. They still can't read the smartcards tough - only ENCTS passes...
 

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Schnellzug

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On a side note, for those that know Bath's routes, two of the more important city routes were using the rattlebox ALX Varios today! I didn't get a picture of one on the 14 (the hospital route - ouch!), but here is a picture of one on the 13, whose driver applauded me for taking the picture! :lol: In case you don't know, the 13 serves the Elmurst and Foxhill estates (among others) - both of which are accessed via steep hills! The drivers hate them - who can blame them?

One more update - our smartcard readers have finally been activated today. They still can't read the smartcards tough - only ENCTS passes...
If there's one thing Varios are quite good at, it's hills. That's an Alexander Sprint 709D; which actually I think I'd prefer over a Variable, even if it isn't exactly low floor.
 

Ivo

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If there's one thing Varios are quite good at, it's hills. That's an Alexander Sprint 709D; which actually I think I'd prefer over a Variable, even if it isn't exactly low floor.
They're manual, which in theory should be helpful - but trying to shift into second gear on Bath's hills is nigh-on impossible. They typically slow to about 2mph; I wouldn't be surprised if one got stuck or even started to roll backwards!

Most of the drivers refuse to drive them, even those with Manual licences (others obviously aren't allowed to). One injured his hand on the gearstick!

The other Varios we've got, in addition to those used by other companies, are fine with the hills around here. It's just those two pieces of junk.
 

anthony263

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We have had our 2 mercedes-benz 709d's which were being used a staff buses put back into public service much to the enjoyment of the bus enthusiasts like myself. Once I get my camera back from Fujifilm I am off bus bashing

Seems like First cymru may be replacing the darts on swansea city service 25/26 each route running every 20-30 minutes with optare solo's running every 15-20 minutes
 

Ivo

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Once I get my camera back from Fujifilm I am off bus bashing
That's not a term I've heard before :lol: Certainly done it though, most recently Thursday last week. I'm hoping to go out on Sunday when the Bath Half Marathon is on and sample some of the diversions (the 339 is non-stop from the bottom of our driveway into the temporary terminus in Oldfield Park, for instance), but after the first journey on the SPA1 the service is suspended until 1530 so a walk may be necessary :(
 

anthony263

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I have seen the following form Bath based bus in Swansea yesterday:

53804 WX05 RRZ Optare Solo M850SL Optare B26F

So Ivo it does seem we did nick at least 1 of the solo's from Bath not to worry seems one of our BOB enviro 200 darts is off to Bristol/Bath soon.
 

Ivo

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I have seen the following form Bath based bus in Swansea yesterday:

53804 WX05 RRZ Optare Solo M850SL Optare B26F

So Ivo it does seem we did nick at least 1 of the solo's from Bath not to worry seems one of our BOB enviro 200 darts is off to Bristol/Bath soon.
If that's anything to go by I can't help but doubt the meaning of the word "new". How am I to know that "new" doesn't mean "new to Bath" as opposed to "brand new" - i.e. transferred from elsewhere [Swansea?] - and that the 12-reg thing is a load of baloney? :?

If a BOB Enviro is bound for Bath it seems feasible that it might even retain its colouring...
 

Blindtraveler

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Nowhere near enough to a Pacer :(
was talking to a Scotland East driver at the weekend who was saying the current plans are for us to get only 29 vehicles out of the huge order this year, we assume deckers to see off the more nackered olimpians and cascade the better ones ambiguously elsewhere. We also recently aquired some X London bendys which were repainted ready for our longer distance X Runs to Dunbar and Hadington but hearing that at least 2 of these have been borrowed by bristol and woant be shedding teers if they dont return as the current X fleat is made up of coaches which we got from the Southwest and Wales area, some of which I believe were X Nat X.
 

DavidBrown

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North Devon Journal

Transport firm FirstGroup has announced plans to sell its North Devon bus operations for an estimated £2.8 million.

Services across North Devon will be operated by Stagecoach Group plc. if the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) approves the proposed sale.



First Devon and Cornwall has signed an agreement with Stagecoach to sell ten bus routes, a fleet of around 30 vehicles and the main depot facility in Barnstaple.

If the sale is approved by the Office of Fair Trading, the transfer of operations would take place during the summer.

First, which employs around 100 people in North Devon, said current employees would keep their jobs and would “transfer in their existing roles to their new employer under normal Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006.”

A spokesperson for First Devon and Cornwall said: “The decision to pursue a transfer of our North Devon operations to Stagecoach reflects our plan to keep the shape and size of our operations under review.

“Although these are difficult decisions to make, the actions we are taking now will help us to better position the UK Bus business for the future.

“Our decision is therefore a business driven one and does not reflect on the effort, commitment or individual performance of the staff in North Devon.
Very interesting news. First has been dominant in north Devon for a very long time, with Stagecoach only being in the area for a couple of years, so I wonder what's causing First to get rid of most of what they've got. Stagecoach have been providing direct competition in areas - the Barnstaple to Ilfracombe buses usually involve a First service 3 and Stagecoach service 21A following each other the whole way, and you're spoilt for choice between Barnstaple and Bideford. It's always struck me as a bit of a waste of resources, but with First having newer buses, more frequent services and a wider variety of routes, I'm amazed it seems to be Stagecoach who have the upper hand.

Hopefully Stagecoach, with their new aquired stock and chance to change literally everything in the area, will be able to provide much better services and connections, with Ilfracombe having better connections to the rail station, and more services from Barnstaple to Tiverton which sees pretty much nothing at the moment.
 

Ivo

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Interesting indeed. Coupled with the recent overhaul at Taunton (partly caused by Somerset CC) you have to wonder if here is a wider issue. Are First not supposed to be in debt at present? Could this be a factor?

I wouldn't be surprised if - with the possible exception of Plymouth - Bridgwater and Weymouth become the south-western limits for FirstGroup before too long. There really is no reason why this should happen though.

Another question would be the sale price - £2.8M? Including depot, vehicles and staff? Something does sound wrong...

When are we looking at? Is this an imminent change?
 

DavidBrown

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The article there and on First D&C websites indicate that it'll happen during the summer (that won't cause chaos with any tourists whatsoever...:roll:). Ten routes will be transferred according to the First Press Release, which are;
1, Barnstaple - Bideford - Westward Ho!
2, Barnstaple - Bideford - Appledore
3, Barnstaple - Ilfracombe via Braunton
5/5C, Barnstaple - Swimbridge/Petroc - South Molton
8 (operates summer only), Barnstaple - Croyde
30/30C, Combe Martin - Ilfracombe/Petroc
31, Ilfracombe - Woolacombe
32, Ilfracombe Bus Station - Ilfracombe Tesco via Whittingham Road
X7, Barnstaple - South Molton via A361
X9, Bude - Exeter

Some will see routes merged, potentially with a more frequent service to compensate, so I'd guess that Stagecoach 21 and 21A will disappear, with route 2 possibly being extended and running alongside or instead of route 3 to Ilfracombe to maintain the Ilfracombe - Appledore service. I'd like to think they'll improve and combine the various Barnstaple to South Molton services - it's surely easier to have a route 7 via Landkey and Swimbridge, and X7 via the Link Road - simple. I think that routes 30, 31 and 32 won't see much change, nor will X9 which I believe is heavily funded by Devon County Council. The summer only route 8 will probably disappear an be incorporated into a more frequant 308 service.

The other thought that popped into my head is whether or not First has yet sold Ilfracombe Bus Station. I know they were desperatly trying to get rid, and various plans for flats on the site have come and gone, so that could be one to look out for.
 

anthony263

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I must admit I wasnt expecting this news however I wonder what this will mean foR First's south wales operations.

I have heard talk of the other groups sniffing around and Stagecoach are supposed to be looking westwards.
 

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