Wednesday 22 May 2019

First Forges Forward in Edinburgh (3)

But First ...
fbb is enormously grateful to the Man of Mystery ...
... who popped a particularly pleasant prezzie through the letterbox at fbb mansions. It was a (GoAhead) Brighton and Hove bus timetable book. Some readers may remember when such useful means of communication were generally available.

The Brighton product has, for many years, been a beacon of excellence in an otherwise poor-publicity world.
It is FREE!

The cover illustrates yet another new service, running at weekends and bank between Brighton and Eastbourne via Drusillas Zoo (hence the camels)!
There is, of course, a timetable ...
... and, as is standard in the book, a simple but effective map.
There is one bludner with this service. It does not appear in the on-line version of the timetable book; that's one where you click through the pages on-screen. It goes straight from 9 on page 37 to 12 on page 38.


fbb will look more closely at the book in a future blog, but one thought pops into the old man's mind. Might there be some connection between the excellence of its publicity and the company's seemingly unstoppable expansion?

And Second ...
Thanks for a communication from Stagecoach.

Issues with the Stagecoach Bus App are fixed

Hi there,

We are aware there was an issue with the Stagecoach Bus App which affected Apple iOS users this morning.

This issue has now been fixed.

We're sorry for any problems you may have had. If you've already contacted us we'll respond to you as quickly as possible.

If you've had to purchase an additional ticket as a result of this issue, please send a picture of that ticket to and include the email address registered to your Stagecoach Bus account.

Whilst it is true that fbb did, once, download this app, he never used it as it offered no advantages over what is already on-line. Its journey planner only gave Stagecoach services which made it particularly useless unless you knew what you wanted before you started looking for it!

At least First's is a proper all operators JP.

But then, "Isn't technology wonderful?"

And so to Edinburgh ...
... Where First will start competing against the incumbent operator of the various city tours. 

First has put out a minimalist initial press release ...
... and a clever little tease.
For those unfamiliar with the Scottish capital, Arthur's Seat is a geological "lump" (extinct - presumably - volcano) that dominates views of the city from many directions.
It is sometimes said that its name is derived from legends pertaining to King Arthur, such as the reference in Y Gododdin. (It's a mediaeval Welsh poem) There is no traditional Scottish Gaelic name for Arthur's Seat in Edinburgh, but William Maitland proposed that the name was a corruption of Àrd-na-Said, implying the "Height of Arrows", which over the years became Arthur's Seat (perhaps via "Archer's Seat"). Alternatively, John Milne's proposed etymology of Àrd-thir Suidhe meaning "place on high ground" seem equally implausible!

Maybe wee Arthur McSporran rested there on a walking tour round the city and penned a note suggesting city tours by stagecoach (as opposed to Stagecoach)?

Meanwhile First's news has reached Trade magazine Passenger Transport.
fbb is not a subscriber (too expensive for a poverty-stricken old age pensioner) but a chum sent a photocopy of the relevant article.

It could hardly be described as "even handed journalism".

It begins with the facts so far known. Lothian has impinged significantly on First's business in West Lothian and First is hitting back at Lothian's most profitable set of services.
(add "topped buses").

The next paragraphs are very one-sided.
An amazingly astute conclusion, sir! The continuation is even more biased.
In theory, if it so decided, First is still strong enough to wipe the floor with Lothian, a council owned company and thus answerable to councillors and, ultimately, the people of Edinburgh. It is these councillors that have not-long recovered from getting their fingers (even their whole hands!) well singed from the Tram fiasco.

If I were Lothian's GM and board I would, to re-use the tag line from the 1986 remake of "The Fly" ...
 ... Be afraid, be very afraid!
Andrew Jarvis, First bus boss in Scotland
at a recent charity event

You do wonder who Passenger Transport's "source" might be. General Manager of Lothian Transport? Perhaps Lothian have shares in Passenger Transport?

And, furthermore, why is it that the incumbent operator is so often cast as the baddie for responding to an newcomer intent on pinching their business. What are First supposed to do?

"Dear Mr Lothian Buses, it is so good to see you competing with our services; we do hope you do well. Please let us know if there is anything we can do to help." Signed Giles Fearnley

Mystery Revealed!
Late yesterday afternoon fbb received an email from regular correspondent Richard.
So fbb can now say a proper thanks to Richard.

Mystery Picture
From Northampton correspondent Alan, photographed on the platform of a railway station not far from home.
Alan's suggestion is that it is part of an experiment in the use of electric torture by the Rail Delivery Group aiming to persuade passengers to stop requesting printed timetables and to stop using orange-stripe card tickets in favour of QR codes on a mobile phone.

Apparently the latter are unreliable as gates so equipped often refuse to open.

Mind you, Mrs fbb is the kiss of death to orange stripe tickets and "automatic" gates. In about 50% of usage thay fail and she has to extricate her self from gate and crush of others behind her to find the member of staff with the magic "access all gates" pass card.

fbb will return to his West Lothian route survey tomorrow.

 Next competitive clash blog : Thursday 23rd May 


  1. Giraffe != Camel

  2. Giraffa camelopardalis!

    Easy mistake(?)

  3. I'm tempted to also jump onto the camel-pulled bandwagon, but instead I'll point out that the bicycle-related picture shows an air-pump for tyres, and a set of tethered tools