Here are the changes as announced.
9: Wroughton & Wichelstowe to town centre
We’ll be running a brand new hourly Sunday service from Wroughton and Wichelstowe to make it even easier to get out and about at the weekend.
66: Oxford & Faringdon to Swindon
We’ll be adding extra journeys and running up to every 20 mins all day Monday to Saturday as well as every 30 mins on Sundays. We hope you’ll enjoy our luxury Stagecoach Gold experience and look forward to welcoming you on board soon!
But it is service 3 that makes all bus watchers and the team from GoAhead sit up and take notice.
3: Abbey Meads & Moredon to Park & Great Western Hospital
Our brand new service runs every 10 mins on Mondays to Saturdays and every 20 mins on Sundays connecting the Orbital Centre, Designer Outlet, town centre and Great Western Hospital. We look forward to welcoming on board our new customers from Haydon Wick, Moredon, Rodbourne, Park North and Park South!
If we look at what happens at the moment, we can see that the Haydon Wick area has a route 13/14 via Woodhall and Cheney Manor into the centre.
The new Stagecoach 3 (every 10 minutes) follows a similar route.
Thereafter, things go different ways. The 13 and 14 (every 10 minutes) go alternate ways round a huge loop at Eldene ...
... whereas Stagecoach wiggles via Park North and South ...
... before terminating at the Hospital.
It is worth pointing out that Thamesdown also have a service 12 running from Haydon Wick to the centre by a different route. The 12 (every 30 minutes) then runs direct via Queens Drive and Marlborough Road to the Hospital.
Just to complete the picture, Stagecoach ran the 13A/14A on Sunday daytimes. From this change, they wont!
This new service 3 is typical of a Stagecoach expansion. Generally, the company doesn't just copy every detail of their competitor's route, but offers something different. In this case, all the areas en route will gain a direct service to the hospital. Bonus!
It will be fascinating to follow this particular spat. As fbb opined when reviewing the Oxford situation, Stagecoach are not renowned for backing down! It all kicked off on Sunday last, 2nd April.
Thamesdown have just announced timetable changes from 14th May. These include the following:-
Route 5 Haydon Wick - Town Centre - Walcot East - Park North
This will serve Marlow Avenue and will provide more buses to/from Cavendish Square. It will run up to every 7 to 8 minutes weekday daytimes, every 30 minutes’ evenings and every 20 minutes on Sundays.
This replaces the Haydon Wick end of 13/14 and links it with the Park North 17 and 17A to follow the new stagecoach 3, but without running to the hospital, it appears.
Route R1 Town Centre - Royal Wootton Bassett
This new route will run between Swindon Bus Station and Royal Wootton Bassett running every 15 minutes weekday daytimes, every hourly during the evenings and every 30 minutes on Sundays.
This is real retaliation! Stagecoach 55 currently runs every 20 minutes Monday to Saturday.
The arrival of a competing service to Wootton Bassett will knock a hole in Stagecoach's revenue.
But didn't Swindon Council seek to sell their buses because the company was losing money? Usually this sort of competitive tit-for-tat results in losses all round until one or other (or both) of the contenders backs down or dies!
The War hots up!
In the Isle of Wight, if it's not too dear