Monday, 3 August 2015

Collusion or Confusion in Plymouth [1]

What's Going On?
D Rumsfeld, noted Plymouth bus enthusiast

"There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don't know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don't know we don't know."

One known known is that First Bus ...
... have sold heir Plymouth business to Stagecoach.
Another known know is what Stagecoach have registered to operate from 6th September; and this is substantially less that the withdrawn First Bus network.

Things that we know that we didn't know is how Plymouth Citybus ...
... would react to this situation. But a recent article in the local rag dangles some tempting clues.
31 brand new buses for Plymouth
as some services are cut
and others increase

fbb quotes a few snippets here and will adumbrate later.

Plymouth is to get 31 brand new buses in a £5million investment by Citybus as a number of bus services are withdrawn and others are increased. The investment comes as the company revises its network to meet changing needs within the Plymouth bus market. The new buses (yellow under the brand of YellowFlash) are being introduced in September on route 50.
From September 20 bus passengers on the Redflash Service 21/21A will see the frequency on the route, which includes Plympton and St Budeaux increase to up to every 7 minutes, from the current 10.

From this date there will also be in increase in direct bus services between the city centre and Derriford Hospital, increasing from up to every 15 minutes to up to every 10 minutes, with a service up to every 30 minutes continuing to provide a service to Woolwell. All direct buses from the city centre to Derriford Hospital will operate under the BlueFlash brand.
So far, so good. But then comes the mystery.

To enable the above changes reflecting passenger need services 4/4A and 45 will be withdrawn from service, along with service 42 finishing at Derriford Hospital and not continuing onto Tavistock.

Services 4 and 4A run from City via Plymstock to Mount Batten.
Service 45 runs to Ivybridge and was set up as part of a competitive onslaught on and obviously ailing First Bus ...
... who then did a bit of towel on-throwing and withdrew their similar route 88.

Likwise, Citybus started a route to Tavistock, again to compete with First.
A lot of effort went into promoting the competitive service.

Back to the Citybus news as reported.
Richard Stevens, Managing Director at Plymouth Citybus, said: "I would like to thank our loyal passengers for their continued support and our staff that make the service run day in day out."

A quick look at what First ran (correction : runs until 6th September) and what Stagecoach has not decided to run suggests that Citybus competition has hurt First to such an extent that Uncle Brian's minions see no value in competing.

First routes across the ferry to Torpoint (81 etc) ...

First at HMS Raleigh, Torpoint
... were shadowed by Plymouth's 32.

Citybus at HMS Raleigh, Torpoint
When fbb rode, passengers were sparse in the extreme - so no Stagecoach to Torpoint.

First sort of retaliated with "Purple" ...
... to Efford and a mega circular 3 via St Budeaux, ...
... again without whopping incumbent Citybus. Thus the wise wizards of Stagecoach steer clear and these services do not feature in the newcomer's new network notification.

But it's what lies behind the latest Citybus developments that might be described as "things we don't know we don't know"

It certainly looks a bit fishy; but readers should judge for themselves as we look at the detail tomorrow.

 Next collusion (?) blog : Tuesday 4th August 

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