Lothian Country buses expand to West Lothian.

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

  1. TheGrandWazoo

    TheGrandWazoo Established Member

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    Yeah - Plymouth was the easy way!! Running it on for three more years in the hope that someone would buy it? Three more years to build up a greater redundancy liability? Three more years to potentially lose more money? And by god, they did. All First got was £1 for Plymouth!

    I have no expectations that they’re going to be running 25 or 150 vehicles or anything in between against Lothian. However, they are probably mindful about not standing their ground as where does it end? It would be open season!
     
  2. In Focus

    In Focus Member

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    "War " is a not how it should be viewed it isn't even come close to that ,more a irritant to get back some revenue lost in West Lothian thanks to a hostile attempt by LCB to oust First out if the area.
    And the school work out of Larbert / Bannockburn is not connected to the West Lothian issue.
     
  3. overthewater

    overthewater Established Member

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    Why can't people see what First is trying to do?
     
  4. In Focus

    In Focus Member

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    I'd say Lothian have more to worry about from the Competitive Market Authority enquiry financially than First !!
    Bus Wars is sensationalist stuff in the extreme but for sure Lothian are treading dangerous ground not just with their aggressive West Lothian venture, other operators within the City are also up in arms at their Aggressive business tactics.
     
  5. TheGrandWazoo

    TheGrandWazoo Established Member

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    What do you think they’re trying to do?
     
  6. winston270twm

    winston270twm Established Member

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    What waste even more money by escalating an even bigger war with Lothian, especially when it was First that gave Lothian an open invite to tread on their toes by giving up various East Lothian routes in the first place.

    Look how the Fingland's acquisition / competition with Stagecoach ended.
     
  7. Bluebirdscot66

    Bluebirdscot66 Member

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    Recruitment advert up today on Larbert depot outside wall for existing pcv holders £10.75 ph and £1,000 sign on bonus . .
     
  8. winston270twm

    winston270twm Established Member

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    If First can afford to dish out £1000 sign on bonuses, they can afford to pay their greedy shareholders a dividend, 6 years without one is more than long enough.

    What do you say @TheGrandWazoo !?!

    I think this back up everyone's perception of First Group pretty well:
    https://cbwmagazine.com/satisfaction-of-uk-bus-passengers-upwards-of-88/
     
    Last edited: 15 Mar 2019
  9. TheGrandWazoo

    TheGrandWazoo Established Member

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    Very interesting Winston.

    I’ll have a better look at it when I’m back home ;)
     
  10. overthewater

    overthewater Established Member

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    * Trying to call Lothians bluff and spook them.
    * If it need to enter Edinburgh it will be very taggart as been mentioned.
    * Trying to see if it can get a decent offer from Lothian to by Livingston, Ie to make Lothian think sod this lets just cut to the chase.

    I can't see a big bus war, I can't see WL being flooded with more buses etc


    This is completely different, First made a real effort and improved WL.
     
  11. winston270twm

    winston270twm Established Member

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    It's not different at all, First have stupidly left themselves wide open to attack from other operators seeking to take their remaining Lothian business rather than having to buy it First.
     
  12. overthewater

    overthewater Established Member

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    What an odd comment. Again how? West Lothian network is full comprehensive, Its weekly and monthly tickets are better value, Lothian went in with Copycat ideas which were crap in the first place, with tickets that a so uninspiring you have to wonder what kind of attack this is.

    Who are the other operators, you used an plural so who else is knocking on the door?
     
  13. LiviCrazy

    LiviCrazy Member

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    I think some of you need to get out of your Edinburgh bubble. Lothian are not seen in the same positive light in West Lothian as they are in Edinburgh.

    When First were in the process of cutting their services Lothian had a chance to cut in and capture some of the angry passengers.

    Instead, they waited till three weeks after the new services were already embedded and people were getting used to it. They then missed out the main areas that were getting cut off (Howden and Dedridge West) so failed to fill the holes First left. Then to add to that they offered higher fares (the one thing that most West Lothian passengers complained most frequently about was high fares), no decent weekly or monthly offers and didn’t offer contactless payment.

    As a result in the main they have not stolen many passengers off of First. From my experience the First services are as busy as they ever were. Lothian Country have captured some new travellers from what I can see making them just about sustainable.
     
  14. alchemy

    alchemy Member

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    It's Rebus who's the Edinburgh detective not Taggart
     
  15. winston270twm

    winston270twm Established Member

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    I think you should read some of your own comments, before making statements as above.

    Does the obvious really need pointing out..... First have retrenched that much in the Lothian's, that they are now a shadow of what they once were. Whilst they have been investing in the West Lothian network, that is now all that they have and has been the subject of speculation for years (by yourself & some others) that it was up for sale. First have allowed Lothian to expand well out of it's traditionally territory and it was only a matter of time before they came knocking on the door of West Lothian. As for copycat services, that's all any competing companies offer, I'm sure First will do exactly the same if their rumoured expansion in to Edinburgh materializes. It will naturally provoke a similar response from Lothian, and so on, and so on...…..
     
  16. Siemens Trains

    Siemens Trains Member

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    Just a thought, but does anyone think over the long term that the losers in this might turn out to be operators such as E&M Horsburgh?
    The scenario being that Lothian Country take routes to Edinburgh city centre, Edinburgh Park, St John's Hospital that First never wanted anyway, and between larger towns such as Livingston and Bathgate. Meanwhile First would turn their attention to the more local and rural business, looking more towards Lanarkshire, plus a good few council tenders, and maybe school contracts. In terms of quality (assuming it comes into the equation) West Lothian Council would probably favour First nowadays.
    Obviously it's still early days and not the way First or Lothian Country are setting out their stalls just now. But I wouldn't expect passengers to be shedding many tears if the yellow, white and rust-coloured vehicles disappeared from the area.
    Surely it's inconcievable that First could make any dent in the Edinburgh domestic market - First Edinburgh's old 44, 86 and 129 served little more purpose than providing an overflow for concession card holders wanting a quieter bus.
     
  17. overthewater

    overthewater Established Member

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    Still that was then not now. It's a completely different kettle of fish, WL isn't all it has, your forgetting Falkirk and Stirling. First traditionally territory in the other parts its lost mostly have competition lothian and from others. I accept for year I and others have speculation but times have changed.

    If Lothian wanting to come knocking it should have done it years ago, but it mess the bus...
     
  18. In Focus

    In Focus Member

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    How is duplicating First routes in West Lothian leaving anything "wide open " LCB know West Lothian cannot sustain 2 operators this size therefore it's aggressive targeting of another operators area,no use crying if First decide certain parts of Edinburgh may just be worth attempting to recoup some money, whether it works or not only time will tell but it's certainly worth a try.
     
  19. In Focus

    In Focus Member

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    Already losers are Broxburn people whose town service is now removed by the operator who ran it commercially but now can't. You can expect a few more of these public services that are run commercially to be removed as once again LCB use their unfair financial muscle to put smaller companies to the sword flooding areas with unviable services knowing it makes very.little difference if they run empty .
     
  20. In Focus

    In Focus Member

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    No one "allowed " anything Lothian have come to West Lothian to put First out the area make no mistake about that ,they are however realising this is not East Lothian and the people of WL have no affinity to them and are running around at 10% Capacity on majority of services charging unviable £1.70 fares on many corridors .And the routes they haven't copied from First are proving a disaster x18 287 being prime examples of transporting fresh air.
     
  21. Gingerbus1991

    Gingerbus1991 Member

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    FSE really have been placing better buses into Livi, Bathgate and Edinburgh from WL, but as a group they certainly dont have what Lothian have created for many years in edinburgh, Loyalty!

    First Groups previous poor efforts is something it struggles to shake off, personally I think First group in general have a cheek too accuse lothian of operating a monopoly when First group are as big as they are.

    Lothian have far less to loss if First try and go for Edinburgh again, they did it nearly 20 years ago and failed, in that 20 years lothians city centre operation have became far superior to those that First had ever operated in Edinburgh.

    Personally no, I do not think LB had to go after WL but as some others say, it was inevitable for LB, whether you call it a strategic move or sheer vanity, but these are the deregulated time we live in, you can't expect lothian not to try, First has done this sort of thing time and time again across the country before.
     
  22. overthewater

    overthewater Established Member

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    First made an effort before Lothian come to town. First are crap lothian should come in, that is fine, First is better - Lothian should still come in? doesn't make sense. I also doubt "lothians city centre operation have became far superior to those that First had ever operated in Edinburgh." I bet a few people like the wee minibuses back.

    Broxburn still has town service: https://bustimes.org/services/wlao002 E&M Daytime No7 was never sustainable.
     
  23. Gingerbus1991

    Gingerbus1991 Member

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    First came to the City - Fled the City - Now theres rumours of them returning? It shows real dedication that does.

    This loyalty thing that I’ve stated about before, those passengers at Lothian are an item that First wont be able to just “collect”, similarly to LC in WL in a way.

    Of course, what I mean by superiority at Lothian also stems from there more modern fleet as a whole, somehow, even though FSE do have new buses, the vehicles used at lothian have that “special” feel that FSE’s lack.

    Whether that makes any difference Im unsure to be fair, regarding LC I am sure that a bigger dent in FSE could still be achieved though with an added ridacard, or “County/Country or Westcard”!?
     
  24. winston270twm

    winston270twm Established Member

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    Who's crying... First gave Lothian the opportunity to expand, they are clearly in an expansive phase with their new coaching activities / ECB &B now West Lothian routes. First Group have been dithering about their financial position for years with the axe hanging over various poorly performing UK Bus subsidiaries for some time. Aggressive or not, it's business, get over it, FSE Ltd is barely profitable, Midland Bluebird is still loss making, it wouldn't take much to tip either deeply in to the red. Whilst First have invested and have a 'comprehensive network' it clearly still isn't that good judging by the numbers.

    First gave Lothian a taste for expanding outside of Edinburgh by ditching all their East Lothian routes, Lothian have obviously done okay from picking up all the routes dropped by First and want to expand further and have the means to do it.


    I do agree the Lothian timing does seem a little odd, they should have struck much earlier and clearly and missed an opportunity to give West Lothian passengers the lower fares they desired.
     
    Last edited: 16 Mar 2019
  25. Jordan Adam

    Jordan Adam Established Member

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    Tired Ex-London stock with some green paint is certain special. I thought we left those sorts of things to Buses Of Somerset and Stagecoach open toppers.... You'd be up for a right shock if you saw some of the stuff Stagecoach North Scotland deem road worthy!

    This could have been much more successful for Lothian if they played their cards right, unfortunately they haven't done that. There's no superiority between companies, the majority of passengers will stick to what they know. A good example of this is Aberdeen where every attempt by Stagecoach to launch a city service has failed because 95% of the public view Stagecoach vehicles as the "Country bus".
     
  26. Gingerbus1991

    Gingerbus1991 Member

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    Neither one of those grampian operators is seen by many to be the success story outside of The Bridges and Buchan Link.

    Stagecoach in Fife were just as bad, theres obviously something behind many of the “big groups” being charged and dealt with by the traffic commissioner quite recently, warnings and fines dont look good on any of them however you try and defend the big players.
     
  27. Jordan Adam

    Jordan Adam Established Member

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    Nice wee off topic reply there... Buchan Xpress as it's now known wasn't really a success story, out of anything it's been cut quite a bit in recent times with poorer reliability. The JET727 has been the biggest gain for them, they found a gap in the market and have made a great job of it.

    With First Aberdeen all 3 Platinum routes have been a success, the 12 could possibly be getting the new deckers, while the 13 and 19 have both seen increase in passenger numbers and reliability. The new 18 launched in 2017 has also been a massive success, often see standing loads on it now. There was a period (i'd say 2012 to 2016) where there were some real improvements in Aberdeen, sadly they've went a little downhill mainly due to the oil downturn. They need to fully revamp the network though, it was going to happen around about now, however the driver shortage last year put them off. In addition to this the 3, 11, 17 & 23 have all seen improvements in reliability. The January service changes saw great improvements for Dubford (New 1B & 8A), however there's still some way to go in that regard. Maintenance at First Aberdeen has pretty much been consistently good, however quite a number of vehicles in the fleet are in need of a refresh now. The biggest issue i have with First is that they can be very "half-ar**ed" about things, for example they've had all these improvements in recent years, but they never build on from them, they just leave them as is.

    With The Bridges the only real issue is fleet age, however the condition of the E500s and B7LAs generally is decent, the latter could do with a tidy up externally though. There's not really any buses on the market right now which would be suitable for the route.

    It's not an area i'm the most knowledgeable about, however from what i know Stagecoach East Scotland have done a fantastic job of the "Express" network while the more local routes are pretty lacklustre. I'm sure someone who knows that area better can correct me though if i'm wrong...

    The worst bit for Stagecoach within Scotland is easily the Highlands, in particular Orkney and Inverness. The maintenance is about as shoddy as it gets. Inverness's attempts at painting beachball are nothing short of laughable. The fact the North Scotland division had around 20 fires in a 2 year period speaks volumes...

    Anyway this is off topic... sooo lets get back on topic.

    If Lothian wanted to really get a grab of the market they should have targeted the 38 when the Edinburgh leg of the route was half hourly. Some Transdev-esque 2x1 coach seated deckers would have been fantastic for targeting First's passengers on this route.
     
  28. robertclark125

    robertclark125 Established Member

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    Someone earlier asked if the losers in this could be other operators, such as E&M Horsburgh. Just a thought here, but from a very different time.

    Back in the early 1990s, when SMT and Lothian had their bus war going, and when SMT was owned by the management, there was a third operator, Edinburgh Transport. I believe that they had, at some point, backing from Stevensons of Utoxeter, and subseqnetly British Bus, before the operation was sold to GRT bus group.

    ET tried to market itself as the operator coming up with all the new ideas, as opposed to duplicating the others routes. I'm wondering if E&M Horsburgh may well try that sort of thing, and look to create new links that the other two are not doing. Same could end up applying in Edinburgh itself, where Edinburgh Coach Lines, which works tendered route 13, may well want to try new routes that create new links, as opposed to get involved in a bus war.

    But, we're a long long way away from even that happening, if it happens.
     
  29. Jordan Adam

    Jordan Adam Established Member

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    E&M behind ahead of First/Lothian? There's a novelty... They must be one of the few operators where the timetable section on their nasty website redirects you to Traveline!
     
  30. overthewater

    overthewater Established Member

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    E&H have been awful for year, why would it change now?
     

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