Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Stagecoach : Head to Head with GoAhead (2)

Provocative via Pennywell (Sort Of)
Go North East operates two routes between Sunderland and Newcastle. The Fab 56, recently upgraded with new vehicles ...
... but reduced in frequency from every 10 ...
... to every 12 bus with big buses.
Here is a typical timetable extract.
fbb guesses that it would not attract vast numbers of passengers travelling all the way as the journey takes one hour and 17 minutes! The fare is more expensive than the Metro as well.

The 54 (ORANGE, Fab as it is) runs via Washington Road and across to Concord (Washington new town) before turning north to Gateshead and Newcastle ...
... but not the most direct between the two cities.

The X36 seems to have an uncertain identity. The timetable gives it the "brand" of Fast Cats ...
... but the list on-line shows it as a generic Go North East route without branding.
Older on-line pictures show the black vehicle with brand ...
... but later shots show vehicles in generic red.
The service only runs every hour ...
... but is significantly faster at 56 minutes.

On January 30th 2017, enter Stagecoach with a brand new X24 ...
... with posh branded buses with the usual bells and whistles.
But don't tell the Geordies; they are hand-me-downs from Stagecoach Fife!
The on-line map is rudimentary ...
... as it follows the main Chester Road (as in Chester-le-Street, not Chester in Cheshire) ...
... then zaps not-stop to Gateshead and Newcastle. That makes it much faster than even the X36,
Running every half and hour it zips along in just 43 minutes; a little over ten minutes slower than the metro.

When you compare fares, the benefits of the X24 become very obvious,
Stagecoach would appear to win the battle hands down! The £3.95 is their standard Tyne and Wear day ticket ...
... so, even if they push up the single price a tad, the return will always be competitive.

How will GoAhead respond?

And how will GoAhead respond in Swindon?
The Hard Interchange, Portsmouth - a P.S.
Capacity Problem Solved?
See Yesterday's blog (here). The rumour is that Stagecoach have declined to pay the £1 a departure charge for the new "facility" and will use on-street stops instead. Interchange? What Interchange?
Stagecoach operates routes to nearby Havant and the prestigious (?) 700 which once ran all the way to Brighton. Now you have to change ...
... twice!
 Next Stagecoach blog : Wednesday 5th April 


  1. The X24 is the latest in a long line of failed express services between Newcastle and Sunderland

    X2,X4,X3,X23,x85,X95,X96 all gone

    Mainly thanks to the Metro.

    One thing Stagecoach has that GNE doesn't have though is a large customer base in both cities, GNE does not have this, so i think the X24 will be around for a while and i can't see GNE doing anything in return, certainly not between Newcastle and Sunderland as nobody uses the 56 to go all the way from Sunderland to Newcastle anyway.

  2. Re Swindon - the Registrations and counter-Registrations are already landing on desks in Leeds....

  3. Part of me thinks I shouldn't complain at FBB going for topic that is unfamiliar; at least it's not the tiresome hobby horses of Sheffield bus partnership (lack of printed times, TSY, plugging his app), First Bus fixation, etc.

    As anon 07:10 points out, the Stagecoach X24 is aimed squarely at competing vs the Metro; the X36 and 56 may run from Sunderland to Gateshead but only for a raft of overlapping journey options not end to end. Perhaps shows a lack of a local correspondent???

    As for Swindon, the response is already announced. They're off to Wootton Bassett against Stagecoach http://www.thamesdown-transport.co.uk/article.shtml?articleid=6766 Also, they're altering their routes to counteract the new Stagecoach 3. Could be interesting....

  4. BTW - don't think you got away with your picture of Binns store! That is, of course, the Darlington store NOT Newcastle or Sunderland that have been closed for some years - yours, an exiled Northerner

  5. Fan's lack of local knowledge really does show here. As first Anon above suggests, there have been many bus services between Sunderland and Newcastle, but they haven't managed to beat the Metro. The X24 is faster than most but lacks the en route trade (eg the X95 stopped off in Concorde, the X2 in Springwell/Wrekenton) Stagecoach are obviously hoping to pick up traffic along the Chester Road which is mostly well away from Metro stations. I'm not convinced there's enough without the additional pick up points. The one thing they do have in their favour is that Metro require OAP bus pass holders to buy a separate gold card. The X24 takes the pass - I know two pensioners making a lot of use of it as a result(!) If Stagecoach do succeed, Go Ahead have only themselves to blame by assuming people will change in Washington from Silver Arrows (now the latest recipient of the Simplicity brand) to Red Arrows at Washington.

  6. Its a pity Stagecoach wouldn't have a go at the too dominant Go Ahead in Plymouth