TrawsCambria / TrawsCymru

Discussion in 'Buses & Coaches' started by Rhydgaled, 12 Oct 2011.

  1. Teflon Lettuce

    Teflon Lettuce Member

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    so by your own admittance arriva will close aberystwyth depot no matter what the outcome of the "consultation" therefore by your own argument the re-timing of their service 20 to run just ahead of the 701 is a deliberate attempt to destabilise that service.

    as for examples... Luton... whereby they registered copy cat routes over Lutonians network forcing Lutonian to sell out to them... the MMC found that they had used predatory and unfair tactics to run Lutonian off the road and forced them to sell it on.... AND undertake not to compete with the new owner for 2 years.

    question is why are you trying to defend the indefensible??
     
  2. Robertj21a

    Robertj21a Established Member

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    Ha ha ha .........sorry, one of the most amusing comments I've read.

    Robert

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  3. TheGrandWazoo

    TheGrandWazoo Established Member

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    Yes, by own admittance. I don't work for Arriva but hey, I don't need to. It's patently obvious that the depot is closing. That is what is meant by consultation - getting the best available outcome for the staff affected. I might draw the conclusion that as you've not researched what "consultation" in an employment law context, I should treat what you say generally with caution?

    To draw some sort of parallel with Lutonian is laughable. Lutonian went into Luton and Dunstable and competed with Arriva. Were they supposed to sit on their hands? No, they responded, as per most other operators. In fact, compared to Stagecoach, Arriva have had very few transgressions with the MMC or OFT. In fact, in the North East, they've shown a lot of restraint in spite of Go Ahead registering competitive services or additional routes. In fact, the latest example is the Newcastle to Hexham service (685) where they still haven't reacted despite being provoked.

    If you're talking about areas where Arriva have pulled out, did they try a scorched earth policy in Crawley? No! How about when they pulled out of North Yorkshire after closing Richmond and Stokesley depots? No! Or Alnwick, or Crewe, or Macclesfield, or anywhere else where they've closed a depot and either reduced or removed their services locally.

    Why am I defending the indefensible? Because I've worked for firms before (albeit not Arriva) and what you're saying is a rather biased standpoint. Of course, it's fine for Mid Wales or Lloyds to compete with Arriva? Same as Padarn Bus in North Wales?
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    Might not agree with the above comments text, but I do agree that the idea of First moving into Aber is mighty unlikely. More chance of First leaving Haverfordwest than an extension into more thin territory
     
    Last edited: 4 Oct 2013
  4. anthony263

    anthony263 Established Member

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    I meant First looking at registering a service to Aberystwyth from Carmarthen although maybe not as frequent as the Arriva service
     
  5. Teflon Lettuce

    Teflon Lettuce Member

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    lets not confuse propaganda for facts...

    in the case of lutonian it started operations by providing a town centre shuttle in luton... over the years it developed by providing new links using different roads to the services already provided and also by taking up services which Luton & District (arriva's predecessor) had abandoned... it was arriva who were the aggressors by registering exact copies of timetables and routes under the challenger brand... hence the MMC's decision

    in the case of the situation in the north east... there was nothing predatory about Go North East's move into Hexham... it was an agreement between arriva and Go ahead... arriva sold it's hexham operations and garage to go ahead in return for go-ahead's ex- OK operations in bishop aukland. obviously arriva thought it had got the rough end of the deal and has now decided to operate in hexham again

    as for scorched earth policy in Crawley... what else can you call it if Arriva deregistered the whole operation as unprofitable leaving crawley without a bus service... strange how metrobus (another go ahead company) moved straight in and turned the operation around and is GROWING the network.

    and yes it is fine for companies to compete with each other.... that was the point of deregulation... however the large groups are the first to cry foul when smaller operators register exact copies of their services or run 10 mins ahead of them

    perhaps if arriva had addressed the issues as to why passengers prefer to use their competitors rather than trying to run them off the road they might have been more successful in aber
     
  6. TheGrandWazoo

    TheGrandWazoo Established Member

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    How can you get things so wrong? As you're struggling with the facts, let me help :lol:

    Arriva swapped its operations at Hexham for those in ASHINGTON. However, as part of the Hexham deal, Arriva retained the Newcastle-Hexham-Carlisle service and continued to operate it. It is this that Go Ahead began services against last month over the eastern part of the route. So when you say "obviously arriva thought it had got the rough end of the deal and has now decided to operate in hexham again" you are wrong. Arriva never left that service, hasn't registered against Go Ahead - in fact, it is GNE who have acted in the way that you are wrongly accusing Arriva of behaving. Obviously!

    Also, Arriva purchased outright (no swapping) of the Bishop Auckland operations in a separate deal FOUR YEARS EARLIER!

    I'd also point out that Arriva did pull out of Crawley but that was it. No "wrecking" as you would call it. They pulled out and another operator moved in who have made a good job of it. That is it; they didn't then make a load of selective registrations to hamstring anyone coming in or anything else.

    In the case of Lutonian, they did pick up services that LDT/Arriva had deregistered etc. No issue with that, but when they began to register over the main routes such as Marsh Farm, then obviously that was going to trigger a reaction!

    Apart from that, I doff my hat to your factual accuracy
     
  7. TotallyGravy

    TotallyGravy Member

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    Now, it seems that local operators like Mid Wales Travel and Coach Travel Wales are very keen to be seen as 'hard done by' and as underdogs and victims of the corporate monster that is Arriva - evident from regular local newspaper articles of the last few years, or the continual carping on one company's website about the unfairness of changes to free travel scheme rules, unfair competition from non-local firms, blah, blah, etc.

    But is the 701 really so significant that Arriva's planning is going to be based around making some spiteful last attack on it as they retreat from the area? Logically, what company would waste money and resource if they were withdrawing and had nothing to gain? They're a company with a bottom line to consider, not a fly-by-night that can throw money away on grudges.

    TeflonLettuce asserts that Arriva recently deregistered the 20 and then reregistered it as some kind of wrecking move. But unless I'm mistaken, nothing in any of the Notices and Proceedings published since June shows an outright deregistration. Arriva registered changes to the timings effective 29 September twice: once appearing in the 20 June N&P and then again in the 15 August N&P, when they also added the previously-mentioned 40c. I can't see that as particularly underhand, any more than I could the deregistration and re-registration of the 701 on consecutive days to transfer it to a different trading entity.

    So, it seems that the most recent changes to Arriva's route were planned in early August. We have no way of knowing whether Arriva were set on closing the depot that far back, seeing as the story has only broken now in October. Is it not more likely that they simply made a straightforward change to the timetable for their own commercial benefit (with the unavoidable 56 day lead time), but that these changes were overtaken by events as head office finally lost patience with the numbers not stacking up?

    Of course, the change in timing of the 20 and the reinstatement of a Swansea stop presumably was driven by a desire to compete against the 701 - but that's the open market in operation! It's not pretty, but it's legal and entirely logical if that is the time of day the public want to travel. Surely you'd expect Arriva to try and make it pay before throwing in the towel? Especially if there's a likelihood of redundancy consultations where staff would quite rightly question why closure was being considered without any attempt to grow trade?

    As for dirty tricks and destabilising moves, just think back to how easily Arriva rolled over to local competitors muscling in on 'their' Aberystwyth town and local routes (e.g. town circular, Penparcau, Borth, Penrhyncoch, Machynlleth). They have no track record in fighting competition effectively locally - there was a short-lived and very poorly-executed attempt to revamp local routes a couple of years back, but that's about it. No attempt to beat the competition in terms of fares, timings or frequency - in fact they quite quickly reduced frequency once Mid Wales Travel started running competing local services.

    I obviously don't know what Arriva's real motivations are - but I don't think they have either the nous for, or the interest in, a bus war in Aberystwyth!
     
    Last edited: 4 Oct 2013
  8. TheGrandWazoo

    TheGrandWazoo Established Member

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    You may well be right that the local operations/schedulers were doing their bit but then the decision was made by a higher authority to cut their losses.

    It is quite funny that Arriva and First are often referred to when talking about crushing smaller operators when, in general, they are the most impotent! Good example of this is in Chippenham in Wiltshire where Faresaver is a notable local bus firm. They compete extensively with First over many Wiltshire services. They don't against Stagecoach - they daren't <D
     
  9. Teflon Lettuce

    Teflon Lettuce Member

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    I'm not prepared to continue with a debate that is descending into a "your more stupid than I am" debate.

    HOWEVER it is evident from here and arriva's own facebook page that their decision has provoked much anger in Ceredigion.

    as to their not deregistering their service 20 they admitted as much on july 3rd when an enquiry was made on their facebook page as to whether they had withdrawn service 10... their reply was that they were also withdrawing service 20

    Arriva DO have a track record of spiteful pettyminded actions locally...

    when they lost the contract to penrhyncoch to mid wales motors they attempted to register an identical service 10 mins before the contracted service.. it is this action which prompted mid wales motors to launch town services in aber

    Arriva have also got a reputation of repeatedly changing services between aberystwyth and aberaeron so that richard's bros' service to cardigan no longer connects... usually just after richards bros have changed their service to restore the connections

    as to the question as to whether they really saw 701 as a serious threat...

    701 has, over the last 3 years moved from a 3 days a week operation... to a daily operation and now a twice daily operation... 701 frequently carries full loads into cardiff... compare this to arriva's service 20 which has been struggling over the same period.

    it does seem to me that arriva is alone among the big plc's in having no idea on how to grow their patronage, only managing decline.... even first has some bright spots among its operations...

    to go back to luton.... a nice new busway opens so what does arriva do? it reduces services within luton on the day it opens...

    look at milton keynes... it takes over a PROFITABLE company which has 95% of mileage within the city... within 5 years that figure is down to approx 60%

    I'm sure that if stagecoach or go ahead had taken over crosville wales then the people of aber would have a much better network than we have now
     
    Last edited: 4 Oct 2013
  10. TotallyGravy

    TotallyGravy Member

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    Well of course people are angry if they're losing their buses. That would be the case whoever the operator was.

    I still cannot find any official reference to Arriva's Cardiff service being withdrawn rather than retimed and re-routed. However, if that really is the case, why would it preclude them from changing their mind later?

    You have missed the point about whether the 701 was perceived by Arriva as a threat. I agree that it looks like Arriva were gearing up to compete and grab a bigger share of the market, by changing times and calling points to win back market share. What I was trying to get across was that if they were already preparing the shut the depot, as you suggest, they have effectively walked away from the contest already - why would they care about the 701 in that and what real benefit would they gain from its demise? I don't think either its continuation or collapse would keep anybody at Arriva HQ awake at night!

    It's a little dramatic to refer to the Penrhyncoch example as "spiteful". If Arriva knew from previous experience that the route was close to profitable, they're entitled to try and run it commercially. In fact, didn't their short-lived route 5 actually run on a different route and offer some extra benefits to passengers over and above the 526? From memory it was diverted to serve Parc-y-Llyn retail park and was also extended past the town bus station to Penglais Campus. That would also give a less paranoid explanation of why it ran earlier: it was timed to match up with lectures and work shifts at the university, so would have to run 10 minutes earlier to ensure it could get people to both the town centre and up the hill to the campus for e.g. a 9am start.

    I take the point about the connections at Aberaeron but if Richards Brothers sees no profit in carrying passengers north of Aberaeron for much of the day themselves, why is Arriva obliged to fill the gap in their network? In an ideal world, maybe they would be - but you can't blame them if they find the ability to retime the 40 service when they need to as more commercially valuable than picking up connecting passengers from another route.

    I do sound like an Arriva apologist, but that's not really the case. What I'm trying to point out is that competition is legal and customers would be the ultimate decision-makers in any battle between the 10/20/40 and 701. Sure, it's messy and inefficient when two operators fight over one route, as evidenced by years of near-continuous bus route changes around Aberystwyth. But what alternative do you suggest in an unregulated market? A no-competition agreement or a cartel of operators dividing the network up as they see fit, perhaps? That'd be illegal and passengers would lose out as there would be no incentive to innovate, improve service or hold down fares.
     
  11. Teflon Lettuce

    Teflon Lettuce Member

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    My point about the changing of the 20's times has, all along, been that those times were changed AFTER arriva had taken the decision to close aberystwyth... after all I'm sure that they didn't change the timetable on 29th sept, decide to close the depot on 30th sept and then tell the unions on 1st oct.... that's a decision that they would have come to a long time ago... certainly before deciding to change the times

    as to no official notice of withdrawing service 20 I refer again to their own facebook page... july 3rd (you will have to open the comments for that date as it is archived)... I can't see how much more official it can be made than the company telling a customer that it WILL be withdrawing the service.... and certainly both ceredigion council and bus users uk were under the impression that they were withdrawing from the route... where else would they have got their information from than arriva itself?

    certainly coach travel wales (now bryans coaches) have never fought over the route.... they spotted a timing that people wished to travel on that wasn't provided by arriva.... they kept the same timetable only ever increasing the number of days that it operated.

    in contrast, since 701 went daily on 1st april last year arriva has changed its timetable for 10/20/40 on at least 9 occasions... on the last change before service 10 was totally withdrawn they retimed that service so that instead of running 2 hour behind the 701 from swansea on sundays it ran 10 minutes ahead of the 701.... now doesn't that sound like a familiar tactic looking at the new timetable for service 20!

    as to the situation with richards bros, the idea of richards terminating in aberaeron and connecting with arriva's service seems to stem back to the earliest days of deregulation when crosville only registered the service aber- synod inn... richards won the connecting contract to cardigan....

    on a wider picture regarding the recent changes not only do they seem designed to try and ruin other operator's services but also to inconvenience their own customers as much as possible by skewing the whole timetable by 15 mins.

    eg buses from carmarthen have, for as long as I have lived in the area, left at between 15 and 20 past the hour... all of a sudden they now leave at 05

    so anyone who finishes work at 5pm has always had a leisurely stroll to the bus stop to get their bus home... now they are faced with performing an olympic standard sprint or waiting over an hour for their bus home...

    is that any way to run a bus service? I think not
     
    Last edited: 4 Oct 2013
  12. TotallyGravy

    TotallyGravy Member

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    But while you refer to the 29th September, that change was registered by the middle of August and therefore must have been planned some time before that - that means they set their new timetable at least six weeks before the closure plan was announced. And is the person revising the timetables really likely to be the same one who decides whether or not to close a whole portion of the business?

    It's quite feasible that the timetable change was a last ditch attempt to turn a profit and that Arriva HQ simply ran out of patience and pulled the plug in the interim. After all, think how suddenly Arriva / DB Regio shut down the Wrexham & Shropshire train company they owned back in 2011 - once they got fed up with it haemorrhaging money, it was shut down almost overnight with barely a few days' warning!

    I'm not ruling anything out, but the fact remains that Arriva have nothing to gain from attacking the 701 if they are selling the depot and leaving the area. Would you, as a profit-focused business, waste time, money and effort on re-scheduling your services one last time just to annoy a company who you won't even be competing with within three months?
     
  13. Teflon Lettuce

    Teflon Lettuce Member

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    I concede that it does seem that it would be an extremely weird thing to do... however when you take into account the track record in this area of how arriva has reacted to things not going it's way it does look more likely that this is exactly what they are doing... trying to make sure that the whole network is destabilised.

    as to the person designing the new timetable being the decision maker, I agree that he wouldn't be making the decisions... but by the same measure he does what he is told by the ones who DO make those decisions... and those decisions are made at a much more local level than arriva HQ. ALL arriva subsidiaries are self governing with a fully functioning board, so this decision was taken by staff at Arriva Cymru HQ not in sunderland

    whatever their reasoning for the changes there is no doubt that they do not wish to stay in the area, and have no regard for the customers they will be inconveniencing...

    my last word on the subject is that the customers should vote with their feet and use other company's services whenever possible...
     
    Last edited: 4 Oct 2013
  14. anthony263

    anthony263 Established Member

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    If Arriva do pull out of the area I can see the other local operators deciding to try an take over a few of the routes.

    In fact I wouldnt be totally surprised if Bryans coaches decided to add additional trips on service 701 although there would be issues having to park the coach overnight in Cardiff unless a joint service is done with another operator based in the Cardiff Area (I can think of a few who may be intersted:

    1.) First (Unikely)
    2.) Stagecoach (They did operate one return tip on the old 701)
    3.) New Adventure Travel (The way this lot have been expanding across south wales I wouldnt be too surprised if they did express an interest)
    4.) Edwards Coaches (They have depots around Cardiff and Swansea and do a lot of work for National Express and Megabus)

    Here is an old timetable for the 701 when it was run by Arriva and Stagecoach
     

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  15. TotallyGravy

    TotallyGravy Member

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    Fair enough. I can't claim to know Arriva's motives or workings better than yourself. On the plus side, if they really are trying to damage the remaining operators I don't think they'll manage it. :)

    I'm sure the 701 will go from strength-to-strength and Mid Wales Travel look to be developing a good network around the town too. Just hope there'll be a stable, useful replacement for the 40 in due course, too.
     
  16. Rhydgaled

    Rhydgaled Established Member

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    This at least is true. They have broken the connections at least twice to my knowlage. There are also supposed to be conections from the X50 into the bus towards Lampeter/Carmarthen (and vice-versa), I think these suffered more than the Cardigan connections if I remember correctly. They also messed arround with which Richards Bros tickets they would accept a bit, and now won't except any ticket issued by Richards except the West Wales Rover.

    Arriva run a half-hourly service Aberystwyth - Aberaeron, the X50 to Cardigan is only 2-hourly. If they extended the X50 it wouldn't really be very competitive would it? It would require subsidy (I think the current 6 buses per day to Aberystwth to/from Cardigan are subsidised anyway), which isn't allowed because Arriva's operation is commercial. Now Arriva is leaving, I hope the council will tender for the X50 to run to Aberystwyth all day.

    As for retiming the X40 being more commercially valuable than picking up connecting passengers, well yes it may be. That doesn't stop them disscussing their plans with Richards in advance, giving Richards the chance to amend their timetable to connect. As far as I know, there was no excuse for it, they just didn't care about the connection.

    These things don't appear to be easy, I am having a problem with just that kind of thing. I am trying to produce a draft timetable to send to the council suggesting improvements to the service which could be made with Arriva out of the way. The nice slot out of Aberystwyth for university/workers finishing on the hour seems to be xx:15, but that doesn't provide a connection out of train arrivals and more importantly you can't have the Carmarthen, New Quay and Cardigan buses going all at once. My starting point was TC1 departing for Carmarthen at xx:35 (time aimed at rail passengers, but it's not too bad if you finish work/uni on the hour, abysmal for anyone finishing work at xx:30 though). The trouble with this is, if you go for half-hourly clockface between Aberystwyth and Aberaeron, it puts the Cardigan / New Quay service departing at an inaccessible xx:05.

    Anyone have any tips on working out a timetable suggestion?
     
  17. TheGrandWazoo

    TheGrandWazoo Established Member

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    I guess that Arriva's main focus was to operate their services, not worrying about other people's services. As we've discussed before, whatever market there is may not be particularly large; if it was, Richards Bros could have extended the service commercially.

    As it is, you could easily see Richards Bros extending the service commercially to replace Arriva's 50. Whether they also want to take the 40 on as well, who knows? Certainly, Lampeter to Aber is probably commercial too.
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    Think you're spot on. The likely scenario is that Michael Morton has been reporting to UK Bus on a monthly basis, and that they've now pulled the plug.

    I know of one Arriva depot that had a number of service changes (and wholesale replacement of the fleet with smaller, inferior vehicles) in order to help it survive. However, the decision to close was announced only 10 weeks later so the local management can make changes yet be overridden by the UK management.

    I too struggle to see just why the 701 would be the target of Arriva's ire.
     
  18. Teflon Lettuce

    Teflon Lettuce Member

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    quite simply arriva originally ran the 701 on roughly the same timings as it runs now...

    for whatever reason they changed the service to the x40 (now 20) and changed the timings... passengers were not happy at losing a travel pattern that had been established for over 25 years.

    Coach Travel Wales (a subsidiary company of Bryans Coaches) put on a replacement 701 at the request of passengers on fridays and sundays...

    since then CTW's 701 has gone from strength to strength until it has become a daily service (now twice daily) regularly carrying full loads

    at the same time Arriva's service has withered and almost died, not helped by constant timetable changes...

    I can see EXACTLY why arriva would be angry and would want to attempt to wreck the 701 operation

    btw as I already stated the connections with richards bros services to cardigan have been established as the norm for 25 years now ever since Crosville wales decided that the service south of Synod Inn wasn't commercial and the contract was given to Richards... it is only the connecting point that has changed in those intervening years.... while arriva may not be obliged at law to honour the practise of keeping that connection surely it is in their commercial interests to not continually aggravate the customers who rely on that connection?
     
    Last edited: 5 Oct 2013
  19. TheGrandWazoo

    TheGrandWazoo Established Member

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    Appreciate the history about the 701. Remember it as a Crosville Wales/Rhondda operation. However, I think you're mistaken about the motives of Arriva. Was it a competitive move to retime? Undoubtedly, but was it a wrecking move as part of their retreat?

    Sorry but I just don't see it. I know people who've worked for Arriva, and the instance I gave earlier where the people on the ground were making changes to "save" a depot and then the closure was announced 10 weeks later. In truth, the local management were probably busy trying to shore up the situation and that means competition (i.e. retiming so as not to lose passengers to the 701). In the meantime, Michael Morton was probably at his monthly review where, once again, the subject of Aberystwyth losing money was on the agenda. After so long, he probably got told to cut it.

    Therefore, I think that the changes to the 20 against the 701 whilst the depot was being prepared for closure is less likely to be conspiracy and rather more cock up and coincidence. :o

    I can't think of any area where they've decided to pull out and then have a spiteful, laying waste of the area. When they closed their Stokesley depot, they actually closed it but then kept two vehicles outbased there for about 6 weeks whilst the council retendered one service.

    Sadly, there will be examples where any operator may enter into competition, react to protect their markets, or indeed withdraw services or whole depots. In my experience, Arriva have not been particularly spiteful. You mention that MK; surely the fact that they have reduced their market share from 95% to 60% actually indicates that they're prepared to tolerate other operators on marginal or tendered services?

    Would Aberystwyth have been better with another of the big operators? Stagecoach - most certainly. However, ask any person in Dorset (another marginal county) about either First or Go Ahead, and they might be less enthusiastic
     
    Last edited: 6 Oct 2013
  20. quarella

    quarella Member

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    I saw a First Cymru liveried Enviro on the T9 to Cardiff airport at Culverhouse Cross at 1900 yesterday, Sun 061013.
     

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