Lothian Country buses expand to West Lothian.

Discussion in 'Buses & Coaches' started by overthewater, 6 Jul 2018.

  1. herb21

    herb21 Member

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    As mentioned by others above, infrastructure investments from any council will support the incumbent operator/operators (that is the nature of incumbency), and one would hope that the council and likely operators are in some degree of dialogue before around any major works, tax payers and council residents would have a serious reason for complaint if otherwise.

    When it comes to tenders or contracts (and I admit this is not my area of expertise), but I am pretty sure that the city council would have to in the large majority of circumstances put the contracts out to open tender or risk falling foul of competition and state aid laws. Where Lothian benefit in this is that they are large enough to post the bonds/guarantees that smaller operators may not manage, and have benefit of depots and fleet in the right places to service Edinburgh and the Lothians.

    Given the prices charged on most specials, I highly doubt they are done on a contract basis with the city council, however they may be contracted by 3rd parties. Obviously then it is simply Lothian benefiting from the incumbency factor and good corporate relationships.

    I had a quick look at Lothian Buses Group financials from 2013 onward (that gives a 5 year window and is largely post the Transport for Edinburgh restructuring).

    In that time there have been no capital contributions from any of Lothian Buses shareholders (Share Capital has remained at GBP 6.4m). Lothian Buses have however generated a net profit of GBP 42.6m and distributed dividends of GBP 27.7m in that period. Lothian have also sold goods or services to Edinburgh (including Transport for Edinburgh (TFE) and Edinburgh Trams), Midlothian and East Lothian Councils worth GBP 16.1m while purchasing GBP 7.3m. As such the councils have seen a net benefit of GBP 18.8m (there is a rounding difference) over the 5 years, arguably the opposite of funding. (I realise there is a slight complication in that Edinburgh councils share of dividends actually flow to TFE, but the point still holds)

    Interestingly in the same period TFE group (this includes Lothian Buses as above) had a GBP 5.8m Capital investment in 2013 (although I this was really just the restructuring) but has no change since then. They have generated net profit of GBP 43.8m and distributed GBP 18.9 m in dividends to Edinburgh council (I have not included the non-controlling interests distribution as this will just be the 3 Lothian councils share of Lothian Buses). TFE Sold goods and services worth GBP 10.2m and purchased goods and services worth 20.5m in the same 5 year period from Edinburgh Council. As such Edinburgh Council had a net benefit of GBP 29.2m (again a rounding difference). TFE is however made more complex as they include Edinburgh Trams, so it isn't just the buses.
     
  2. In Focus

    In Focus Member

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    And to add to the complication you now have LCB in the mix absolutely pouring money down a gigantic pit !!
    I am sure many operators within West Lothina shall be more than a little aggrieved if it turns out West Lothian council are giving LCB any kind of preferential treatment for example low rate or plots of land for nothing !
     
  3. herb21

    herb21 Member

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    I presume LCB is costing them a fortune, but we will only be able to get a proper idea how much when the 2019 accounts are published. The 2018 accounts will be next to useless for that purpose (4 months of operations other than the 43). Since they publish full subsidiary accounts it isn't actually that hard to pull out the impact if someone wants to.

    As I was trying to say above preferential treatment is very unlikely due to competition and state aid rules.
     
  4. oldman

    oldman Member

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    Apart from the dividends, the councils benefit from a good quality service taking some people out of their cars and a willingness to do things without subsidy which may not be profitable such as early morning, late evening, Sunday, night buses every night, public holidays including Christmas and New Year, which seem to be better in Edinburgh than in many other cities served by more commercially-oriented companies.

    Of course it would be nice if the councils did more about bus priority in return.
     
  5. In Focus

    In Focus Member

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    Which is completely the opposite of what deragulisation and the fact almost every big City had to sell off their public transport to private operators ,which will be why Edinburgh (who for some odd reason escaped such issues)Is better off than most cities.
     
  6. In Focus

    In Focus Member

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    Yes tbe public will have to wait for figures bit those running the operation will already be well aware they have made a huge mistake and the only way to sort it is a straight choice of making an offer for First Livingston depot or cutting their losses , unless of course they believe First will move out voluntarily which is looking less likely with each passing month as passengers remain pretty loyal in many areas and changes planned for the spring.
     
  7. overthewater

    overthewater Established Member

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    When will phrase 4 come about or better still when will Lothian overhaul its operations? something needs to be done as some of the route are just pointless.
     
  8. TheEastCoaster

    TheEastCoaster Member

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    Slightly unrelated but Lothian country tweeted this morning “Dont Forget we run buses to Queensferry too”, I know they barely tweet about the 43 anymore so I couldn’t help but snicker
     
  9. In Focus

    In Focus Member

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    I think staffing levels make phase a rather unlikely prospect at this stage , are they not already paying Lothian drivers at enhanced rate to cover some of the work?
    I would imagine a network review is more a likely option at this point .
    And how about this new "super depot " seems a long process considering the amount of vacant property that could accommodate them that is available in West Lothian?
     
  10. overthewater

    overthewater Established Member

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    What's happened with the Newbridge depot?
     
  11. In Focus

    In Focus Member

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    Not happening as far as I am lead to believe .
     
  12. TheEastCoaster

    TheEastCoaster Member

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    As far as I can find everything seems to be hush hush right now, especially with LCB new depot, the gaps between phases 1-3 were early August, late September and early December, so if a Phase 4 happens I can imagine it would be after the depot move and a network review, so probably mid spring at this rate.
     
  13. Observer

    Observer Member

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    Sure it's being used for Lothian Motorcoaches though.
     
  14. Darklord8899

    Darklord8899 Member

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    ..... and Mr. Hall's own bus? :lol::p
     
  15. TheEastCoaster

    TheEastCoaster Member

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    Should of shared it with the Airlink/Skylink Buses, surely once Lothian Country move out of Longstone there will be a good sense of free space :D
     
  16. TheEastCoaster

    TheEastCoaster Member

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    Saw this on another post, what are people’s thoughts?

    PM0000923/345 Registered (Short notice)
    FIRST SCOTLAND EAST LTD
    Route: Bathgate, South Bridge Street to Leith Street, Omni Centre Edinburgh via Livingston, Hermiston, Sighthill
    Service number: N23 ()
    Service type: Limited Stop
    Effective date: 25 Feb 2019

    PM0000923/339 Registered (Short notice)
    FIRST SCOTLAND EAST LTD
    Route: Deans, Broxburn to Edinburgh, Regent Road via Uphall, Craigshill, ;Livingston the Centre, Mid Calder, East Clader, Hermiston, Sighthill, Haymarket
    Service number: 23 (X23)
    Service type: Limited Stop
    Effective date: 25 Feb 2019

    PM0000923/338 Registered (Short notice)
    FIRST SCOTLAND EAST LTD
    Route: Deans North or Blackridge Main Street to Edinburgh, Regent Road via Bathgate, Livingston the Centre, Uphall, Haymarket
    Service number: 24 (25)
    Service type: Limited Stop
    Effective date: 25 Feb 2019

    PM0000923/337 Registered (Short notice)
    FIRST SCOTLAND EAST LTD
    Route: Livingston South Station to Inveralmond High School via Burnbank, Criagshill, Livingston the Centre, Dedridge, Livingston the Centre, Craigshill
    Service number: 27 ()
    Service type: Normal Stopping
    Effective date: 25 Feb 2019
     
  17. In Focus

    In Focus Member

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    It's an emergency time table to take into account the road closure on Deans Road over Railway Bridge (at lidl) from 25/2/19 until 29/3/19.
    The 23/24 services will have to divert down Carmondean to Eliburn North Roundabout along Houstongate to get to Appleton parkway to resume normal route and same on way back .
     
  18. TheEastCoaster

    TheEastCoaster Member

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    Oh gotcha, that makes more sense now!
     
  19. In Focus

    In Focus Member

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    Very hush hush, wondering if any letters are being handed out to staff to inform them of future plans ? Must be grim not knowing what future plans are .
     
  20. overthewater

    overthewater Established Member

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    SO 6 hours a day on a weekday.. .. but where could the travel advisor be? Enquire desk at the shopping centres?

    http://careers.lothianbuses.com/job/73568

     
  21. In Focus

    In Focus Member

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    Wonder if they can define " successful " as if say 90% buses running at less than 10% Capacity is the complete opposite . I will however congratulate them on positive spin and creating a job , more outlay .
     
  22. overthewater

    overthewater Established Member

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    Routes need culled and revised, for starters

    275: Gyle - Broxburn - Fastlink - livingston - Lidi - St Johns - Blackburn - Wester inch - Bathgate
    287 withdrawn.
     
  23. TheEastCoaster

    TheEastCoaster Member

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    Probably at the Livi centre or designer outlet most likely, it’s certainly not a travel shop which is quite a letdown so no monthly or weekly ridacards for that matter, however as my speculating mind boggles at the words “continuing our successful expansion” should mean we shall be expecting news on a phase 4 eventually or new service changes!

    Well if the 275 replaces the 287 partially between Blackburn and Bathgate then that could save a route, but then that’ll mean no link to Whitburn?

    Extend the X18 to Fauldhouse via Whitburn, and create a new route linking Harthill with Edinburgh via Whitburn and Livingston
     
  24. TheGrandWazoo

    TheGrandWazoo Established Member

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    I guess that they can claim that they have successfully started up a network from scratch, and they have obviously attracted some trade. Don't think that's unfair for them to claim that. Obviously, they are investing and maybe it will pay off in time?

    However, my gut feeling (and it's nothing more) is that First will dig in and retain most of the trade (power of the incumbent etc), and that Lothian will lose considerably more than they will
     
  25. SpeedbirdA350

    SpeedbirdA350 Member

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    I still think had Lothian had gone in (I guess they still could) and undercut First in terms of price, providing better value for money, offered a ridacard etc.. then it might have been different by this stage in terms of passenger numbers and revenue. It does look like both companies will dig in for the long haul but how much revenue has First lost since Lothian went in?

    If phase 4 will be in around Spring, do we think that is when more will come out about their Livi depot?

    Aside from Livi, I have always wondered why Lothian (or Lothian Country) have not ran buses to and from the Ferrytoll Park and Ride in Inverkeithing. While it is in Fife, I am sure this would not be the reason for them not doing this run as they did do a service to Dunfermline many moons ago. And yes, while it's usually the express coaches that go there for Edinburgh, there is nothing stopping Lothian running an express via the Gyle where some work.
     
  26. Jordan Adam

    Jordan Adam Member

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    Speaking to a few drivers i know at LCB recently. They've all been saying pretty much the same stuff.

    Other than the Daytime X27/X28 none of the services are doing that well, with the majority of journeys not even breaking even. If they axed some of the other routes (280/287) and focused on increasing and improving the X27/X28 they might actually get somewhere.

    First have realised their mistakes and are allegedly looking at a big service revision soon with lots of enhancements which will only worsen the case for Lothian.
     
  27. overthewater

    overthewater Established Member

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    If I was First I would steady as she goes and not waste resources on a big service revision, the network is decent as it is, and best it been in years. A few minor tweaks might be useful. First could get away with spending the cash. I caught 24 today and dozen people 4 got off a ratho, yet the X18 was empty behide.
     
  28. In Focus

    In Focus Member

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    It isn't
    It won't be a "big revision" it will be more about consolidating current routes and making a few timetable adjustments in certain areas where LCB strategically placed their vehicles when starting the network .
    I would guess LCB shall do likewise in time and on and on it shall go until someone blinks.
     
  29. overthewater

    overthewater Established Member

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    Is that why no new paper timetables have been made?
     
  30. Driver362

    Driver362 Member

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    Don't think it's a fair assessment to say it's only x27/28 that's doing anything.The 275 is getting there with numbers as are some 280's . 287's can be dire as can most x18's re: numbers and the common denominator here is western inch ,great idea massive flop .To re: "overhewater" point on one being empty one with passengers,I have seen that role reversed many a time . As we all keep saying, time will tell
     

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