Thursday, 21 May 2015

Positive Firsts from First

 fbb's appalling performance in Tuesday's blog 
  has led to a delay in his continued review   
    of First Kernow's new network timetable.   
 A further blog is scheduled for tomorrow - IF 
  the chubby one can get it right this time!!  

So, today, we take a brief look at three (and a half) bits of news from the First Bus stable; which, thankfully, are happier than their timetablular travesties in the Far West.

Electrics Extended in Eboracum
Six additional all-electric buses have arrived in York to join those currently operating the Poppleton Park and Ride. They will run from the vast Monks Cross shopping centre ...

... on the northern fringe of the city via the adajcent Park and Ride site.
Technology is simple, just plug in to charge and off you go; far less hassle than the less tan reliable induction loop system of Milton Keynes' route 7.
The service runs every 10 minutes (or better) from approx 0700 to 2100.

Kind Kontribution to Keighley
Keighley's bus museum is rightly famous for its Christmas services which will run again this year. the date chosen for their FREE service is 25th December (? in case you weren't sure!?).
Aaaah. Sweet.

But we must not neglect the Museum which has a wide variety of historic vehicles from the town and surrounding operators.
First Leeds has announced that their fleet is now 100% low floor, and in so doing, has donated their last step entrance decker to the Museum.
the press release is a tad excessive on the self-adulatory sound-bit style, as is usual BUT ...

The news is all good.

With the last “step-entrance” Volvo Olympian bus donated to Keighley Bus Museum, First Leeds’ network of 400 buses now all provide low-floor, accessible service. The move has been welcomed by Bus Users UK who joined the celebration in Leeds today.

The improvement for customers has been possible through significant vehicle investment, the most recent buses introduced on route 49 in late 2014 with 18 double deck buses at a cost of £3.5m. The new buses feature luxury interiors designed to make the bus journey as relaxing as possible with features such as increased legroom and leather seats as well as low emission engines.

Bob Dorr, Business Manager for First in Leeds said, "We're delighted to announce that our customers can now enjoy low-floor, accessible services on every First Leeds bus across our network."

Claire Walters, Chief Executive of Bus Users UK said "We welcome First's achievement in making their buses more accessible, particularly to wheelchair and pushchair users. We look forward to seeing all buses being this accessible to all their passengers.”

Iain Simpson, Company Secretary of the Keighley Bus Museum Trust said, "I'm very grateful to First for donating the last step-entrance First Leeds bus to the Museum."

The only downside to the announcement is that the old bus in the pictures still looks "modern" to fbb. No some of those half-cabs in the museum banner above; they're old buses!

A Staff Free Pass ...
... for a Chicken? And not on April 1st!

A cockerel found waiting at a bus stop in an Aberdeen suburb had his dream come true today (Monday, 18 May) when local bus operator First Aberdeen presented him with his very own bus pass.
Named ‘Decker’ by Scottish SPCA centre staff, the bird was discovered at a bus shelter in Maryculter by a member of the public and taken to the rescue centre at Drumoak.

Hearing of the rooster’s fondness for catching the bus, local operator First Aberdeen has stepped in to sponsor his care. ‘Decker’ was given the opportunity to explore a First bus as it visited him at Drumoak, especially named ‘Decker’s Decker’ for the day. And he was presented with a special commemorative ‘Rooster-only’ bus pass as a memento.

There has been no comment yet from First about whether this kindness may encourage other chickens to try for a free pass.
It might be worth a try!

Livery Delivery Speculation
Buses magazine for June** flopped onto fbb's doormat yesterday with an article about First's expansion in Cornwall and cut backs in Somerset. It was illustrated by a picture of an open topper in Buses of Somerset green.
There is still no official annoucement about a new paint style for First Kernow but, if it is to be the same as for Somerset (boring, unoriginal) PLEASE don't stick a purple/pink logo on it. It looks AWFUL.

The bus began its live with GoAhead London ...
... appeared brieflt labelled Ensign ...
... and went to First in Bristol as cover for buses away for warranty work.
It was totally de-roofed by a particularly aggressive tree on Fishponds Road ...
... and, at some stage, was taken into First's proper fleet. It reappeared at Taunton as an open topper and was snapped at the recent Penzance "running day".

** Loads of juicy stuff about Southdown, soon celebrating its 100th Birthday. Magazine is well worth buying.

 Next bus blog : Friday 22nd May 


  1. The York news has a sting in the tail.

    The new electric buses will not serve the Monks Cross Shopping Centre, but will only run between York city centre and the Monks Cross Park & Ride site. Instead there will be a separate shuttle service (99) linking the shopping centre with the Park & Ride. See

    I feel pretty certain that this is due to the need to provide for charging the electric buses during the layover at the P&R site.

    The 9 timetable extract shown is the old timetable.

    I wouldn't like to be the driver on the 99 shuttle - six round trips every hour!

  2. Thanks for the extra info. I had not picked this up from the First press release! Surprising omission, NOT! A good day to bury bad news!

  3. Another poorly executed idea from First is their new zonal fares which allow changes but mean fare rises for most.It could have been do simple but no and the day tickets are gone for all but families. Adult returns do offer unlimited travel on your route but not on the rest of their network and the examples they give are clear as mud. So with a Lyme Regis to Poole return at the bargain(!) price of £9 you seemingly can't stop off to visit Portland like you could with a day ticket. All very odd.