Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Continuing Consideration of Cornwall [6]

The Tale Continues i.e. Part Two

Camborne bus station opened in 1963 ...
... a part of the bus depot. fbb's visit, delayed and rescheduled, was designed to allow the inevitable PNB, plus a cup of tea and a bun with opportunity to take a look at information provision. The best that can be said is that the PNB was the successful bit; toilets were open and clean.

But the overall ambiance was grim. Indeed the interested bus enthusiast parachuted in from Mars would conclude that First Bus was on the verge of closing down and entering into receivership.

The travel shop was ...
... closed; and had been for three-and-a-half years,
Once there was a kiosk, perhaps even selling that elusive cuppa, but it, too, was ...
... closed down and the two puce benches in front of the shutters formed the only seating.

What about publicity? Timetables - no! Route map - no! But there was more than the usual departure lists, stand by stand. There was this incredible piece of computer output.
It is a list of every departure from the bus station in time order for Monday to Saturday with the yellow headed section offering the minimalist Sunday service. If your eyesight is good, you can spot fbb's missed 1315 47 to Troon and his intended 1345 to Truro.
But what is this that fbb espies?
That's an 1845 service 42 to Redruth.

Yer-what? 42? Not in the new timetable or on the new map.
Not in the on-line list of PDF timetable files.
And not even in Cornwall County's list.
But there IS a 42 on Cornwall County's Camborne and Redruth map.
And, deep and frabjous joy, there is a timetable in First's "corporate" web site.
It runs from Redruth to Camborne and does a loop via Weeth Road to serve the Rosewarne district; assuming it still exists (the bus service, not the district!).

Of course, nowhere at Camborne bus station could you discover in any detail where the 42 went; all the list tells you is that it will get you to Redruth - BIG DEAL! Indeed the useless megalist gives no information about intermediate points for any departure.

Customer Service : Ticket sales for fares not available from drivers, Paypoint : information via your handy laptop and Facebook, Twits or First's web site or, for those computer-illiterate souls who refuse to go on-line at every available opportunity because they would like to speak to a real person ...

... well you can get on a bus and ride to the travel offices at Penzance or Truro. But then First has a memorable policy.
But we won't tell you where it goes; not in Camborne at least.

Dear Mr Fearnley, in the land of piskies and pasties the new-look First is hard to find. In fact it isn't there. A great deal needs to be done.

 Thus concludes bus station number two.

Two more to go; and one more disaster.
It's a Gas : or it was!

Whilst enjoying the memorable facilities of Camborne bus station, fbb took a few piccies. Here is T471 JCV in a "Lifeboat" livery ...
... and here in plain barbie. 
And here she is (it is?) enhanced with superficial branding for the X14 and X18 St Ives and Penzance to Truro route ...
... before they lost the X factor!

And this little jobbie, R719 RAD ...
... was originally powered by LPG (liquid petroleum gas) in Bristol ...
... rendered back to normality whilst still in its home city.
 Next bus blog : Thursday 10th July 


  1. Your comment "Indeed the interested bus enthusiast parachuted in from Mars would conclude that First Bus was on the verge of closing down and entering into receivership." is unfortunately rather too close to the truth.
    The reality is that First Devon & Cornwall Limited has been insolvent for many years and only stays in business because First Group continues to bail it out by lending it money at practically zero interest.
    It's losses for the last five years total around £19 million and it's net liabilities are £28 million.
    First Group's problem is that they either close FDC down and write off £26 million or they try to turn it around which will take ten or fifteen years.
    To bring it back to profitability would need roughly a 25% turnover with no additional costs. Can that be done just by improving publicity? Who knows?

  2. Mr Fearnley may have a different opinion. Presumably commercial confidentiality applies? What does fbb really know?

  3. Oops! I should have typed that 25% increase in turnover is required to bring it in to profit. I am only summarising the publicly available accounts. Presumably First are having one last go at getting things back on track hence the appointment of FBB..

  4. If the losses on that network are so high how have other 'smaller' operators frequently been able to come in, survive and grow where First withdraw?

    Or is some it about corporate 'overheads'?