Stagecoach Minibuses now launched in Ashford

Discussion in 'Buses & Coaches' started by HY_4273, 23 Jan 2017.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. HY_4273

    HY_4273 Member

    Messages:
    11
    Joined:
    6 Jan 2010
    This story on the Coach & Bus Week magazine might be of interest to some of you – the latest on Stagecoach's new Mercedes-Benz minibuses: https://cbwmagazine.com/stagecoach-to-launch-little-often-minibuses/
    Gaz
     
    Last edited by a moderator: 15 Feb 2017
  2. bungle965

    bungle965 Established Member

    Messages:
    1,625
    Joined:
    2 Jul 2014
    Location:
    Blackley and Broughton/ Walsall South
    Ah interesting, I did wonder where that order would end up, there was talk of Scotland (I think!) with various others being speculated. It was the part of the order that did seem peculiar when it was announced.
    Sam

    Sent from my ONEPLUS A3003 using Tapatalk
     
  3. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

    Messages:
    19,809
    Joined:
    20 Oct 2014
    Location:
    Up and down the south WCML (mostly)
    What's the phrase..."round and round and round we go...."? :)
     
  4. overthewater

    overthewater Established Member

    Messages:
    3,258
    Joined:
    16 Apr 2012
    Back to the 1980s :D I would not rule out Scotland gettig some for certain routes.
     
  5. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

    Messages:
    19,809
    Joined:
    20 Oct 2014
    Location:
    Up and down the south WCML (mostly)
    The advantage of these particular ones is that they are 17 seaters, meaning D1 to drive them rather than D, making the drivers somewhat cheaper, no doubt, than regular bus drivers as they are easier to train, a minibus not being light years different to drive than many large MPVs, 4x4s and the likes. (I've driven a full size 3500kg Sprinter minibus downseated permanently to 9 seats to avoid the need for D1, and it drove not dissimilarly to my present LWB Land Rover Defender).

    That said, could the low capacity cause issues? I wonder if some kind of app involving reserved places and app-based payment could be used to mitigate this?
     
  6. bungle965

    bungle965 Established Member

    Messages:
    1,625
    Joined:
    2 Jul 2014
    Location:
    Blackley and Broughton/ Walsall South
    I would have hoped that Stagecoach would have looked into the average passenger loading on journey and come to the conclusion that the services that the Sprinters will run won't under normal circumstances exceed the maximum load of the minibus.

    Stagecoach using a minibus on routes means that they will hopefully not be culled as a result of not being able to adequately fill the next smallest buses.
    Sam
     
  7. Rothy

    Rothy Member

    Messages:
    29
    Joined:
    29 Aug 2014
    So do we know which routes these might be used on yet?
     
  8. bungle965

    bungle965 Established Member

    Messages:
    1,625
    Joined:
    2 Jul 2014
    Location:
    Blackley and Broughton/ Walsall South
    From their website
    https://www.stagecoachbus.com/servi...rticle?SituationId=ID-23/01/2017-11:31:55:432
    Sam
     
  9. telstarbox

    telstarbox Established Member

    Messages:
    3,860
    Joined:
    23 Jul 2010
    Location:
    Wennington Crossovers
    These are in Ashford, Kent.
     
  10. radamfi

    radamfi Established Member

    Messages:
    6,340
    Joined:
    29 Oct 2009
    In the heyday of high frequency minibus operation in the 80s/early 90s, it wasn't unusual to have to wait for the next bus due to a full bus, but that was considered to be a price worth paying for having a frequent service.

    This is obviously an interesting development. But this type of operation was abandoned in the mid 90s, so why is it now suddenly a good idea again?

    I was an avid follower of the minibus revolution in south Manchester with Bee Line opening up route after route during 1987, followed by retaliation from GM Buses with their "Little Gem" minibuses. Bee Line started running every 5 minutes and every 15 evening and Sunday, like what Stagecoach are about to do. It seemed too good to be true and after a while, headways widened to every 7 then every 10 before the sale to Ribble, which was basically the end.
     
  11. Busaholic

    Busaholic Established Member

    Messages:
    5,814
    Joined:
    7 Jun 2014
    Just a thought - is there anyone still working at management level in Stagecoach who worked with Harry Bundred in Exeter?
     
  12. radamfi

    radamfi Established Member

    Messages:
    6,340
    Joined:
    29 Oct 2009
    Even Transit Holdings were starting to get rid of minibuses before the sale to Stagecoach. In Oxford they had already replaced a lot of their dual-door door minibuses with dual-door Darts before the sale to Stagecoach.
     
  13. bungle965

    bungle965 Established Member

    Messages:
    1,625
    Joined:
    2 Jul 2014
    Location:
    Blackley and Broughton/ Walsall South
    Forgive me I seem to have become a little confused, I thought that these were running on rural services not town ones. Nevertheless it is certainly an interesting move by Stagecoach.
    Sam
     
  14. radamfi

    radamfi Established Member

    Messages:
    6,340
    Joined:
    29 Oct 2009
    What rural services would be viable at a 5/6 minute frequency?! Actually in the 80s/early 90s it was quite normal for town services to be run by minibuses and out of town routes run to be run by full size buses.
     
  15. bungle965

    bungle965 Established Member

    Messages:
    1,625
    Joined:
    2 Jul 2014
    Location:
    Blackley and Broughton/ Walsall South
    No, I meant at a much lower frequency but as I have now realized the amount of minibuses ordered does not stack up for that.
    Apologies.
    As a side note how many of those routes operated by GM Buses and Bee Line still survive today?
    The branding of `Little Gem` has recently started up again by Go Goodwins as a way to signify divison between their coach and bus fleet.
    Sam
     
    Last edited: 23 Jan 2017
  16. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

    Messages:
    19,809
    Joined:
    20 Oct 2014
    Location:
    Up and down the south WCML (mostly)
    Exactly my thought. Obviously only requiring D1 rather than D will save money on drivers, but that won't be *that* significant, and they'll need rather more drivers for that sort of frequency.

    Could the real saving be 30ish MPG rather than mid single figures, perhaps? Fuel is certainly much pricier than it was.
     
  17. TheGrandWazoo

    TheGrandWazoo Established Member

    Messages:
    7,610
    Joined:
    18 Feb 2013
    Location:
    Somerset with international travel (e.g. across th
    There are a number of reasons why.

    • Purchase price
    • Availability of spares - less downtime
    • Cost of spares
    • Driver costs
    • Fuel costs - that said, the comparison isn't as pronounced as the headline 30 mpg is unladen and on average work not urban grind

    Now the gamble is that the increased frequency will attract more passengers (who may well be fare payers) and that this will grow the market and offset the additional cost in driver costs.

    Think it's a really interesting move by Stagecoach. Think they should be applauded for it - at least they're trying to grow the market.

    Of course, if history is to repeat itself, cue a load of miserable enthusiasts complaining about the loss of Dennis Darts (rather than Bristol VRs or Leyland Nationals) in favour of "bread vans" ;)
     
  18. Busaholic

    Busaholic Established Member

    Messages:
    5,814
    Joined:
    7 Jun 2014
    It all goes to show there is nothing new under the sun.

    I would have thought purchase price would have been the main factor. As 'big buses' require ever more sophisticated features, and anything other than a diesel engine is going to be a lot more expensive, this could be a move back to basics. Staff costs will be more, but the possible extra revenue could allay these, and if the experiment doesn't work out, those extra staff can soon be disposed of!

    I'd like to think the experiment will work. Stagecoach seem to be working hard in that part of the world to not just keep services running but try new initiatives, where traffic congestion allows.
     
  19. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

    Messages:
    19,809
    Joined:
    20 Oct 2014
    Location:
    Up and down the south WCML (mostly)
    It appears from the few photos of the buses out there that they have gone for the idea of quality as well - high backed leather seating - and they are also low floor and wheelchair accessible (which isn't legally required for an all-seater 17 seater minibus).

    http://www.kentonline.co.uk/ashford/news/minibuses-set-to-launch-in-119372/ has more and a couple of photos.
     
  20. Hophead

    Hophead Member

    Messages:
    652
    Joined:
    5 Apr 2013
    These smaller vehicles may be able to gain easier access to Ashford's many new housing estates. They should certainly be able to cope with parked cars and tight turns better than an E20D. Full-size buses are unpopular with a vocal minority, so this scheme takes away that argument.

    No idea whether any of the above applies here, just some thoughts.
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page