Thursday, 16 June 2016

The Greyhound and the Fox Part 1

Greyhounds ran in Bristol ...
... at Eastville Stadium ...
... now a branch of IKEA; and at Knowle.
But we are looking for Greyhound buses.

 Dateline March 2013 

From a web-based forum enquiring about a company called Bristol Greyhound.

Bristol greyhound is no part of any other company. Are aim is to run a reliable bus company with affordable fares, bringing back the green buses in Bristol. please view are website.

The grammatical and spelling errors are original, not fbb's!

From the local Bristol Press
Two experienced bus drivers have set up their own service between Clevedon and Bristol. Shaun Craigie, 34, from Hanham and Gary Williams, 36, from Filton are convinced that there is a market for an express service between the North Somerset town and the city centre. They are joint directors of Bristol Greyhound Ltd, an independent company which runs two green-and-cream single-deckers on its X7 service.

This service operates between the Engineer's Arms opposite the entrance to Temple Meads station and the seafront in Clevedon.  The 40-minute journey takes passengers through the city centre, along Hotwell Road and through Failand and Tickenham to Clevedon.  Users in Clevedon can hail a bus like a taxi instead of having to wait at a designated stop.

They stressed that they have nothing to do with First, the biggest bus operator in the area.
Of course, First Bus was the successor to Western National, who used Bristol Greyhound as a bradfor their long distance bus routes and coach trips.

The X7 service started on March 25 2013 and the directors said they are delighted with the initial response. Mr Williams said: "Lots of passengers have said how warm the buses are which they are not used to." The Greyhound name was chosen in order to resurrect a tradition which dates back to 1925.
Although it is not very clear, the name and logo are very similar!

But Shaun and Gary ran into trouble because they called their vehicles greyhound buses – a tradename used by First for its luxury coaches which operate between Bristol Airport, Bristol UWE and South Wales.
They changed their trading name to Pier Buses UK as their services terminated at Clevedon Pier.
The buses were ex Brighton and Hove.

 Dateline October 2013 

In October 2013, the Bristol Post ran an article in which Mr Craigie claimed First had deliberately begun running a half-hour service and changed its number to X6 to compete against his X7 buses. Bristol Greyhound / Pier Buses did not like this a bit.

Surely it is naive of a newcomer to expect the incumbent to sit back and watch its business being snaffled by some upstart low cost outfit?

Whether First's new X6 was, indeed, prompted by Pier Buses or whether it was part of a general upgrading of its services in the area is a moot point. The X6 arrived ...
 ... with smart vehicles ...
... and a 30 minute frequency on Monday to Fridays.
 Whatever the reasons, Pier Buses ceased operating.

 Dateline April 2014 

Pier Buses, which was set up by Shaun Craigie, had run three cream and green single-deckers since last March has ceased operatring. Mr Craigie has alleged that bus operator First deliberately ran its own buses late so they would run in front of his vehicles and therefore take all the bus users on the route.

Mr Craigie said he would be lodging a complaint with the traffic commissioner and the Office of Fair Trading. He said he had photographic evidence which he claimed would show that First buses would regularly run late.

 Date mislaid : forum comment 

This comment appeared on a forum and, again apparently, it was from the Managing Director of CityFox buses of Bristol.

CityFox played a big part in the start up of Bristol Greyhound Ltd in March 2013. In September 2013, I purchased two buses from Rotala subsidiary Diamond Bus. (P401 MLA & R220 MSA)  : these were used on the Bristol Greyhound X7 service and bared (sic) the CityFox logos.

One of these vehicles (P40 MLA) is illustrated below ...
... complete, as forumed, with City Fox logos.
It is, indeed, ex Rotala (Diamond Bus) ex First and it is showing route 75 to Belmont on its blinds; which is a local service in Hereford. It is, one can deduce, part of the fleet sold to Rotala/Diamond when First shut up shop in Hereford.
A fleet list from CityFox shows the three ex Pier Transport ex Brighton Darts and the above as having been owned by CityFox and possibly disposed of.

So what routes does CityFox now operate, and where?

It is all a bit of a mystery. But fbb will investigate and report again in due course. But from yet another forum (for stuff in the West Midlands), dated July 2015:-
But he no longer holds the Greyhound operators' licence.
Curiouser and curiouser? And who is he?
Rhys Hand, youthful entrepreneur and Managing Directoor (with Grannie?) of the CityFox Group in Bristol.

Would those intending to write comments on the above blog please contact the chubby one at
until this mini series is finished. Thank you.
Red Sky at Night
A mobile phone camera does not really do justice to last evening's gorgeous sunset as viewed on the drive back from Thorncombe Railway Club. First a rich ruby red setting sun ...
... then rosé wine-red cloud colours as darkness began to fall.
  Next Greythound/Fox blog : Friday 17th June 

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