Tuesday 28 August 2012

First Fights on Four Fronts [Part 1]

A least!
Who would be a manager, eh?

 South Yorkshire  versus Stagecoach
Pre-emptive Strike : First starts a competitive service between Rotherham, Wath and Barnsley every 10 minutes.
Response (delayed by nearly a year) : Stagecoach starts Magicbus between Rotherhan and Wath every 20 minutes but limited stop.

Rethink : Stagecoach service ceases to be limited stop.
Re-Rethink : Revised from 1st September : every 10 minutes but still only as far as Wath
 fbb comment  : Despite the supposedly pally Sheffield Partnership from the end of October, there are signs that all is not as cosy as it might appear politically. There have also been some aggressive fare reductions by both parties on competitive routes in Sheffield, routes due to be chummy under the new partnership proposals.

 Ipswich  versus Ipswich Buses
Pre-emptive Strike : First introduces an improved network which increases competition with Ipswich Buses.

A few vehicles (one?) appear in the new livery. [Thinks : that "i" with big serifs looks absolutely awful!]
Response (quickly) : Ipswich Buses increase frequencies on all corridors where First has improved its services.
They also add some extra journeys on what is really a "works" service to BT Martlesham Heath aka Adastral Park.
These trips, numbered helpfully 192F, divert via the older of the two estates at Broke Hall. The route only runs off-peak and hourly.

Rethink (due in September) : Ipswich buses offer a significantly improved frequency via Felixstowe Road on former First route 62 (a route withdrawn as part of the service "imprpvements") ...
... with half hourly service 4 ...
... but competing with First's 55 and 56 on the estates (from 24th September). The 192F will then be withdrawn.

A further, as yet unannounced, new service is also due to be introduced.

 fbb comment   : A real David and Goliath battle developing here. Ipswich Buses are creeping out of their original operating area. Interestingly, however, Ipswich Buses say they are "re-introducing" service 4. Perhaps someone "out there" will let us know what went before! But there will be tears before bedtime here; or an unofficial and illegal mutual agreement to cease the silliness. Maybe First will buy Ipwich buses? Or maybe Ipswich buses will buy First's Suffolk operations?
We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in the City, we shall fight at the shops and on the estates, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength on the road, we shall defend our company, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight at Gainsbrorough, we shall fight on Foxhall Road, we shall fight in Bixley and in Broke Hall, we shall fight on Felixstowe Road; we shall ... never ... surrender!

Well said, Winston Malcolm!
Malcolm Robson MD Ipswich Buses

Part two and two further battles from our war correspondent tomorrow.
 Next Blog : Wednesday 29th August 


  1. Thanks for sharing your experience. Love your post.

  2. http://www.petergould.co.uk/local_transport_history/fleetlists/ipswich1.htm shows that route 4 was part of the trolleybus network and ran out to Felixstowe Road. Presumably this would have become a bus service and then ended up as First territory after the joint services of the 1990s (a result of Eastern Counties taking over Mainline Ipswich) ceased in 2000 (see http://www.ipswichtransportmuseum.co.uk/hipsbus.htm).

  3. ''A further, as yet unannounced, new service is also due to be introduced.''?
    Another new service coming from Ipswich Buses? Perhaps a service to compete with First in Suffolk & Norfolk's route 66. That could really put First under pressure. I doubt that First would ever buy Ipswich Buses, the council wouldn't allow it with all the complaints First have had in Ipswich. If Ipswich Buses ever get sold, it would probably be to Go-Ahead.

  4. Ipswich did get very close to selling to Go-Ahead back in 2009/10 (?) then it all fizzled out. Civic pride is important, I agree. But while First is "there" the threat of the ailing giant will always remain.

    Thanks anonymous 1 for more info on th background to route 4.

  5. Route 4 (Central Ipswich-Broke Hall via Felixstowe Road) was registered to Ipswich Buses until 12th November 2000. It then passed to First after joint working with IB on town services 1/2/3/9/10 ended. IB kept the 2, 9 and 10, and First took the 1 (Greenwich), withdrew the 3 (Bixley), and adjusted the 4 to serve both Bixley and Broke Hall.

    Routes 1 and 4 were then re-numbered 61 and 62 respectively in 2005.

  6. Ipswich Buses have registered a route 17. Operating from the Town centre to Ipswich Hospital. Perhaps via Woodbridge or Spring road? It's start date is 5th November 2012.