Saturday, 28 November 2015

Bellicosity in Bristol (1)

But First : Fame for fbb.
Stagecoach South West publish a staff bulletin every couple of weeks. The current edition has a report on the launch of Stagecoach Gold last Friday 20th November.
The opening paragraph attracted your noble blogger's attention.
And there, in all its journalistic glory, were word for word extracts from you know who's you know what. fbb knew nothing of this accolade and can now look forward to a substantial cheque from Stagecoach HQ.

Maybe not?

If you missed the full unexpurgted version, the two posts in question are (here) and (here).

But now to news from Brizzle.

The Orange One versus The Red One
Going back a bit, Wessex bus were kings of services to the University of the West of England (UWE), alma mater of fbb's oldest boy (although he did hos stuff at the Bower Ashton site). But a while ago, things became a bit tricky with poor perfomance and the like and First were "invited" (?) to help out. 

First has developed their services to the Filton site ...
... with the recent arrival of flash new vehicles with coloured flash.
Meanwhile along the road in Bath, the two operators run head to head to their University with Wessex intruding into First's comfort zone.
Newcomer Wessex was numbered U18, matching (sort of) First's 18. fbb hasn't tried to understand the Wessex timetable ...
... but it challenges First' near identical service.

First used to be orange ...
... linking the City's two universities. Of course you are nothing in the civic stakes unless you have TWO universities! For a time there was competition from Bristol's Buglers bus business.
First's latest fusillade in the battle is to relaunch its Bath uni route with some razzamatazz ...
... and purple passages in the publicity.
New Service U1 was launched on Saturday 19 September (replacing Service 18) and operates 24 hours a day seven days a week. During the main part of the day the U1 operates every seven minutes ...

... and, for the first time, at peak times double deck buses will operate between the City Centre and University of Bath providing a U1 every three – four minutes.

All the buses on the new U1 have been painted in a distinctive purple colour complete with a new Bath Uni Bus identity. The smart new look will help students easily distinguish which bus is theirs.

The word on the street is that First is whopping Wessex big time in Bath.

Hey ho - the benefits of competition. Lots of empty buses to university Campi?

Just as a passing aside, one of the launch buses is registered KFX 791. It is seen here before Bath uniBus branding was added.
This heritage registration as once carried by a coach ...
... operated by Comfy Lux of Cattistock, taken over by Cawlett, aka the privatised Southern National.

Tomorrow we will take a closer look at Wessex Bus' aggressive (?) response to First's apparent aggressive success at both UWE and Bath.

 Next Bristol bus blog : Sunday 29th November 


  1. So we are back to the latest when the 18 was every 6 minutes (albeit minibus mainly) throughout the day will the peak frequency doubled using deckers. Also i see First are still not using new buses for the launch....does seem rather half hearted compared with stagecoach...congrats on your fame their btw. I'm sure the whole launch got more credibility amongst staff based on your review rather than a corporate one....when do we get to find out the result of your Sheffield meeting exploits by the way.....

    1. The word "lstest" did read late 1990s before autocorrect attacked.

    2. Don't you think brand new vehicles to 'Gold' (or similar) specification might be a bit overkill for a short university service?

    3. I never said to Gold spec just new vehicles. Then again Park And Rides are often to gold spec (ie Exeter) and they are shorter than 21 minutes normally so why not.