Thursday 8 September 2022

How It Is Today

First Shrinks : McGills Expands!
Added to yesterday's blog as "Stop Press" at 0900

McGills take over First Scotland East

First Bus have added a bit more detail.

For those unfamiliar with the territory, the First Bus company should really have been renamed First Scotland Central as there is now nothing from First to the east of Edinburgh and south from there to the borders. Those areas went to Edinburgh Buses and Clyde Coast, respectively.

The areas that McGills will absorb are; Livingston ...
... Falkirk and Perth ...
... and the remote outstation at Balfron.
Only the Balfron routes and the two trunk routes to Falkirk and Stirling intrude on the First Glasgow operation.
The maps are taken from First's fare zone diagram - it makes it a bit easier to grasp the areas that McGills will inherit. It's a lot!!

Is McGills getting too big?

Bonus Item

Herewith a link to First Bus boss Janette Bell's explanation to her people:- It is "vimeo" and may not work on all browsers.

Correspondent Julian opines:-

She says 'now we have sold First Scotland East, the rest of us can get on with our wonderful plan much more quickly." This is translated as ’"We hadn't a clue what to do with this company so we have passed it on to another operator".

So why can McGills sort this and not First?

Because they have better management than First! 

fbb's School Commute 50 Years On
The good news is that it would now be easier to get from his erstwhile pad on Crimicar Lane ...
... to Hinde House School. The School at which fbb taught was a 12 to 18 comprehensive. It is now a 3 to 16 comprehensive with only the name remaining. The previous buildings have been razed to the ground and a shiny new school built on the same site, still situated happily next to the cemetery!
So, were a time travelling RE teacher to undertake a similar journey today as the old man made way back in 1971, he would find the bus from home to city with a changed route number, (from 60 via 40 to 120! Don't ask why!) but running at a similar frequency.

But things at the Wincobank end are very different. Contrast and compare!
The 150 has become at 75, the 4 has become a 95/95a and the 2/3 has become a 32/32a. Actually the 32/32a (ex Powells) as been withdrawn completely and the 95/95a now runs direct to Wincobank, and not the long way round like the 4.
For those with really good memory, the 95/95a leaves city by the same route as fbb's 150 and the 75 still runs via Burngreave Road as it did when it was a direct tram replacement service c1960! The 95/95a is at a slightly better frequency than fbb's historic alternatives.

Thus, instead of sprinting down dark and obscure city centre passageways to make his connection, it should be possible to do a better job in 2022. 

The 95/95a would deposit today's commuter here ...
... whence just a short toddle away you would find a slightly creepy footpath ...
... which leads direct to the school; but not quite as creepy as Aldine Court in the city centre!

So fbb's trip looks easier in 2022 than in 1971 and  it is - in some ways.

The Traveline journey planner actually gets it right - shock horror.
The journey, even including the walk from bus to school in before and after calculations, is about 15 minutes longer - but it is straightforward.
Because neither the 120, nor the 95/95a from Walkley ...
... can travel along High Street, having been ousted by Supertram,  Both routes have to take a circuitous bulge round the southern fringes  of the city centre.

But in 2022 fbb would be invited to interchange at Rockingham Street.
When the main Pinstone Street was closed to traffic recently, the populace of Sheffield was promised an urban micro-park and a "fully equipped" interchange on Rockingham Street. 
So far only three poles and flags have appeared on a fairly grotty back street.
But you cannot have everything.

Sadly, fbb's commute in 1971 did not last. Firstly, one of the many Assistant Heads (one of whom lived just along the road from fbb) gave his junior a lift; then fbb bought his first vehicle ...
... similar to the above. Thereafter his journey was a little over 20 minutes and ran well away from the city centre. But the expense increased dramatically. He was spending £2 a week on petrol alone!

Poor, really - but realistic, especially when hauling preparation and marking (what was that?) to and fro.

But happy, if hard working, times!

Anne-Marie Who?
Good news! (???) we have another (yet another!) Transport Minister.
Will she continue to Build Buses Back Better in the stunning and effective style of Grant Shapps?

Sadly, she will probably be much the same!

One day we might get a Transport Minister who knows about transport.

Fat chance.

 A Seaham P.S. blog : Friday 9th September 


  1. What is the future with the proposed Stonehenge Tunnel with the new Transport Secretary. Shapps was determined to get it done despite the damage it might incur.

  2. Clyde Coast? Perth?

  3. If FBB is on about the sale of parts of Scotland East, East and South of Edinburgh - east went to Lothain t/a East Coast Buses, south went to Craig's of Campbeltown t/a Borders Buses

  4. Lothian Buses acquired First Scotland East operations in East Lothian based on Musselburgh depot and Midlothian based at Dalkeith. Craig of Campbeltown t/à West Coast Motors acquired operations in the Borders.