The two ‘Gold’ routes will operate up to every 30 minutes, 7 days a week between Torquay, Paignton and Totnes. The routes will then connect the English Riviera to either Dartmouth or Plymouth via Ivybridge, with each location benefiting from an hourly service .
The company is also investing £2 million in a new fleet of 9 high specification buses which will only operate on the Gold routes and will feature a distinctive gold and blue livery. The buses offer luxury as standard and feature extra legroom, high back leather seats and free Wi-Fi.
According to the Plymothian Transit blog, these changes will result in reduction of staff requirements and thus a saving of operating costs. So the changes look very much like a hearty response to City Bus and a capitulation to Stagecoach. IF the new tighter network works and is profitable it may well give First a stronger base to fight back; certainly a more robust response than giving up altogether.