Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Another Greyhound Dies?

It Seemed a Good Idea at The Time
First Bus, which runs the iconic Greyhound coaches in the USA, brought the brand across to the UK. It was First's attempt to gain a foothold in the longer distance pre-book coach market dominated by National Express. Stagecoach had launched Megabus and First sought a piece of the action in 2009 with hourly services from Portsmouth ...
... and Southampton.
fbb even wrote a blog about a sample journey from Portsmouth. See "Escape from Alcatraz" (read again)

In 2010, frequencies were reduced for the Solent cities and a third service was added from Bournemouth.
Then, overnight to Glasgow:-

Greyhound under starter's orders in Scotland

Tuesday 14 December 2010
Iconic coach services set to provide overnight service between Glasgow and London. The world’s most famous bus brand, Greyhound, will begin operating in Scotland from January 10 it was revealed today.

Also in that year the First Cymru "Shuttle" between Swansea and Cardiff was added to the brand. The overnight service from Glasgow to London came in 2011 and went, together with everything except the South Wales operation in 2012.

Then amidst much razzamatazz the Welsh Greyhound started running to Bristol and Bristol Airport.
Our readers may be able to work out when this service started. This venture was not the instant success that was anticipated and coaches were later withdrawn from Bristol itself to speed up journey times to the Airport.

Then in mid-March 2015, the Airport extension was withdrawn, leaving the service back where it was originally, as Swansea to Cardiff only - just like the good old days.
The timetable gave an hourly service with some journeys extended at peaks.
And further changes happened from Sunday last, 5th April.

The timetable for Greyhound UK coach services between Swansea and Cardiff is set to change from Sunday 5 April as local operator First Cymru seeks to provide a number of new journey opportunities and in particular a new, regular service to Cardiff Bay.
The short journeys are service X70.

Tickets on the service are also being overhauled, with the Cymru Clipper suite of tickets made available to buy on board and use on the coach.

The change to ticketing means that for just £5.50 adults can enjoy unlimited travel for one day on the Greyhound Coach plus the network of other interurban Cymru Clipper services. For those under 18, the same day ticket will cost just £3.60.

But, significantly, from last Sunday, pre-booking will not longer be necessary.

From 5 April customers will no longer be able to book seats on Greyhound in advance, instead seats will be allocated on a first come, first served basis.

All that remains of the Greyhound concept is the vehicles in a non-standrard First livery and ...
... the logo. Even that has changed and now sports First Group corporate pink and blue.

Effectively, First's Greyhound is dead.


National Express has stepped in with a replacement numbered 216 in their "Airport" series. It runs roughly every two hours 24/7 and carries passengers to and from the airport only.
"NX1" means that passengers "should" pre-book. Does that mean "must"? If so why doesn't it say so? Is there a NatEx booking desk at Bristol Airport? "p" means "pick up only". In the other direction "set down only" is note "e".

Which begs the question. If First couldn't make it pay, how will National Express succeed? We know that contract rates for NatEx are very "tight" but a more frequent service for less passengers (i.e. no intermediate customers) does seem a dodgy business plan! Or does fbb smell an "off the record" deal? Time, as usual, will tell.
 Easter Week : Or Easter, Weak? [2] 
A good friend once said that God doesn't expect his followers to be religious doormats. We are human beings with the gift of freewill, imagination and creativity. Of course we may ask questions, of course we must use our intellect to consider options even if, in the end, Faith is the only way to resolve the answers.

That's why "Doubting" Thomas is such a helpful character.

The other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”. Thomas said to them, “Unless I see the scars of the nails in his hands and put my finger on those scars and my hand in his side, I will not believe.”

It was brave of Tom to challenge his friends. But he go his answer; and rather more dramatically than he had expected.

A week later the disciples were together again indoors, and Thomas was with them. The doors were locked, but Jesus came and stood among them. Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and look at my hands; then reach out your hand and put it in my side. Stop your doubting, and believe!”

Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!”

The tradition (unsubstantiated by documentary evidence, but utterly realistic) is that Thomas went on to found the Christian community in India. But in a very real way, his doubt and subsequent New Life is yet another part of the evidence that can help each one of us to believe and benefit.

We have the visual aid of the spring flowers, as at Shute Church, to reinforce the picture of rebirth from dead and lifelss ground.
 Next bus blog : Wednesday 8th April 

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