Monday, 5 October 2015

First Bus Fun (?) with 241

fbb's second visit to Glasgow was in May 1972. His first had been ten years earlier whilst on an all-line rail rover trip with Alan the future Northampton (and elsewhere) correspondent of this blog! The 1972 visit was to stay with the parents of a wee Caledonian lassie who was soon to become the Mrs.

As the "relationship" developed, your curious (but not quite so chubby) author set about developing his knowledge and understanding of the bus network based on that fine city. Much of the detail of that early understanding has sunk below the recoverable level of the coal measures of fbb's brain.

But he does remember rich blue buses at the depot in Milngavie ...
... and a deep and distinguished red at Anderston bus station.
Most intriguing geographically were buses labelled "Central". These seemed to go everywhere! They appeared at Drumchapel housing scheme, ran all the way to Helensburgh in the west ...
... and set off south-east to places like Lanark, Carluke and even to Biggar and Peebles. (click on the map below to enlarge it.)
fbb then had no idea where any of these were, but they seemed a long way away.
A notable destination for Central for several reasons. It was the end-point of the longest two routes operated (242 / 243), it lay deep in Eastern Scottish territory (Eastern had a depot in the town) and it was the most easterly point in the Central network.

The Glasgow to Peebles journey time in 1960 was 2¾ hours.
The fare was 6s 4d (32p) single, 10s 7d (53p) return.

fbb is grateful to the Central SMT web site for re-awakening these distant and sporadic memories with a list of Central's longer distance routes from Glasgow. This is the "network" of 240s in 1975:-

240 Lanark - Glasgow
241 Carluke (Roadmeetings) - Glasgow
242 Peebles - Glasgow

243 Peebles - Glasgow
244 Biggar - Glasgow

Through buses from Glasgow to Peebles had disappeared by 1979; and by 1984 only Glasgow Lanark and Glasgow Carluke remained. Privatisation, aggressive competition from the former Glasgow Corporation and a self-destructive strike diluted Central's Lanarkshire network beyond belief. In the end the remnant of the once huge and one proud operation ended up as part of First Glasgow.

Something of the 240s clung on to life ...
... under various attempts to rebrand and rejuvenate the business ...
... and, today, First's longer distance Lanasrkshire network ...
... is the 240 from Glasgow running to Pather or Carluke.
.The 241 and 242 are relegated to local links; 242
.. from Over- to Holy- town and 241 from Motherwell to Cleland.
Both pass through the former mining town of Wishaw ...
First Glasgow has recently made much of an improved service on the 241:-


Bus passengers in Lanarkshire are set to benefit from a month-long promotion on one of First’s busiest services in the area. Frequency of Service 241, which takes in Cleland, Wishaw and Motherwell has been increased with buses now running every 10 minutes rather than every 15 Monday to Friday.

The 241 takes in key stops along its route, including Wishaw General Hospital and Motherwell Railway Station. A promotional fare has also been introduced, representing a discount of up to 60%.

Bus travel on the 241 will cost just £3 return, regardless of the length of journey travelled. Previously return fares had cost either £3.20, £3.60 or £5 depending on the distance of travel.

Margaret Mayer, Lanarkshire Business Director for First Glasgow ...
... said: “We’re working hard to improve our services and attract new customers, while rewarding those who already regularly travel on our buses.

The special £3 fare promotion will run from 31 August until 30 September.

And again, even more recently\:-

The special £3 return fare promotion will now run until 31 October 2015 and is also valid on service 266 between Wishaw and Motherwell.

The cynical amongst our readers will look at the fares quoted above and wonder just what percentage of 241 passengers will benefit from the big reduction from £5 to £3. fbb guesses that most will only save a paltry 20p with a few saving 60p. But it makes for good PR and any reduction is worth grabbing!

So a slightly muted three cheers for First. Two other less attractive thoughts from fbb. The press release was illustrated by a nice shiny new Enviro 300 ...
... branded, NOT for the 241, but for route ...
... 201 from East Kilbride to Airdire. Another slightly less favourable "gloss" on this offer is discovered when you look back about 5 years when the Great Britain Bus Timetable showed the 241 as running ...
... EVERY 10 MINUTES. Big improvement today, then?

And what happened to fbb's review of Stagecoach's new website, due (according to Stagecoach South West) on Sunday 4th? This happened!
We’re busy upgrading our website to an exciting new version, so please visit us again from Monday, 5 October 2015.
If you need to plan a journey right now, please visit Traveline
Thank you for your patience,

Try again to write a meaningful review tomorrow?

 Next bus blog : Tuesday 6th October 


  1. Stagecoach's new website (promised in Cumbria & North Lancs for "early October") appeared briefly on Sunday night, but a few test enquiries for fares and timetables showed that there were problems and by this morning the old one was back.

  2. I did wonder why I couldn't see any difference.... Can it really be so hard?