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Thursday, 3 January 2019

Bits and Pieces

Hi, everyone, and a Happy New Year. I hope you have all recovered from the silly season, and ready for what could be quite a year. A few things to report, and some blog news.

First of all the long anticipated takeover of Galloway by Stephensons of Essex was completed on Jan 2nd. I am told this should not have any impact on Galloway's Suffolk bus services, but as usual time will tell.

Staying in Essex both Hedingham and Chambers have de-registered all their bus routes. These were immediately re-registered under Konect. I have not heard any reports of the Hedingham or Chambers names disappearing, so this maybe for insurance reasons. However legal lettering on the buses will have to change.

A couple of weeks ago Stagecoach announced they were pulling the plug on their USA operations. I wondered what Mick Capon, a long time sufferer sorry reader of the blog in North Carolina would make of it. I'm delighted that Mick has replied, and I reproduce his email here.

Hi Steve,

A belated Merry Christmas to you and a Happy New Year.

I tried, in vain, to add a comment on the topic of Stagecoach here in the US, but whatever profile I used it would not accept it. Strange that.

I'm not totally surprised by the withdrawal. The only Stagecoach presence I see here in Durham, NC, is the twice-daily Charlotte-Durham-Richmond-DC Megabus Van Hools passing through. They always seem well loaded, but the fares are ridiculously cheap. It's not difficult to get a $10 ticket from Durham to DC as opposed to the cheapest Amtrak fare of $59. Added to that the journey time is far quicker (5 hrs 30 by Megabus, 7 hrs plus by Amtrak), so unless the new owners continue this service it will be missed I'm sure.

Given some press reports I've seen, I cannot imagine First staying here either. They have, I think, a much large presence, especially in the school bus market. In fact, our local transit operator, Go Durham use First to operate their services, although the authority owns the buses and employ the drivers (operators). This is common practice here with neighboring city system Go Raleigh operated by Transdev.

Fares in Durham are still $1, the same as when we moved here in 2006! Seniors pay nothing and are never "Twearly!"  Timetables are constant also, usually starting at 5:00 a.m. and finishing at midnight or later, with only slightly reduced schedules on Sundays. Schedules are typically updated twice a year as new routes are added and existing routes routes are adjusted, usually following public consultation.

Nothing like "Go East Anglian" then!

I love the blog, Steve. You're a good egg for putting up with so much negativity from the trolls. One commentator, in particular, has so much to say that I'm surprised he doesn't start his own blog. Come to think of it, no, I'm not!

Illegitimi non carborundum.

Many thanks, Mick, and thanks for your kind words, which I included as it brings me nicely to the blog news.

Last night in the space of 40 minutes there were 18 troll comments posted on the blog. It is unfair on me to have to keep constantly checking comments in case some numpty wants me to do myself in, and it's unfair on you decent folks to have to read them before I get there myself. Therefore, I've decided that all comments will be moderated from now on. It won't affect anyone's ability to comment, but it will delay the comment's publication. Tim will be helping me with the moderation, so thanks to him for that. It was either that or stop comments altogether, which I didn't want to do, as the majority of comments make this blog. A shame a few idiots have to wreck it for everyone else, but that's the way of the world these days. So carry on with them, maybe don't take everything quite so seriously - it's a hobby after all, and we'll see what this year brings.

Sorry, having probs with formatting, never had this prob before, just read between the colours!

31 comments:

  1. It was good to see Mick Capon commenting on the blog. I used to send him info for "Terminus" magazine when he was editor around thirty years ago.

    I think that the reason licences are being transferred to Konect Bus from Hedingham and Chambers is that all good will has now been written off and all assets can be transferred without tax implications. This will leave just one operating company which saves on administration costs. It also has the effect of competitors being unable to tell which part of the business make money (none of them at the moment!).

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    Replies
    1. First Essex & First Eastern Counties have published their latest accounts both continue to make losses. First Essex makes an operating loss and an overall loss with First Eastern Counties making an operating profit but an overall loss. Most of the operating profit gain appears to have come from taking over the Ipswich park and ride service

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    2. Can you send the link to this please. Cheers.

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    3. First Essex Accounts

      https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/company/01961457/filing-history/MzIyMjk1MTgxN2FkaXF6a2N4/document?format=pdf&download=0

      First Eastern Counties Accounts

      https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/company/00257815/filing-history/MzIyMjk1MTgwOWFkaXF6a2N4/document?format=pdf&download=0

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  2. So Go-Ahead are at it again, merging their East Anglian operators. For some reason I doubt it will remain with just legal lettering for very long at all - let's remember what happened when they merged Anglian Bus with Konect Bus... Within a year, half of the Anglian Bus routes had gone and it was an easy way to wipe out the services. Are they planning to do the same with Hedingham and Chambers?

    Good news on the Stevenson/ Galloway front though, can see some good potential there and hopefully a long needed fleet update for the Galloway service fleet.

    And still no news on those new X1s? First really need to get their act together, is it two years now since demonstrators were on the route? I would personally hope for some QUALITY built ADL bodied Scanias, as I can't see them opting for BCI.

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    Replies
    1. FEC are just waiting for Aberdeen to sanction the order, then when I'm given the nod I'll be able to announce what is coming. Hopefully that will be in the next week or so.

      As for Go East who knows! I was chatting to a Konect driver yesterday, no, anon, not Kieran, who said he gives them till March latest. I think it will be longer than that, but you're not the only one viewing this amalgamation with interest if not scepticism. Will be interesting to follow developments.

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    2. The Go Ahead companies in the East are not run that well. They would be a nice fit with Stephenson's who might make a better go of them

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    3. That is good news Steve about First. Hoping for something a bit different! That Go Ahead news is worrying though. It will end up leaving a legacy like the collapse of GHA. Go Ahead won't be viewed in a good light at all!

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    4. As soon as I can spill the beans, Charlie, I will. Just waiting for the green light!

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    5. You seem excited Steve, it must be a good order! ;)

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    6. Not sure that's the word, Charlie. Intrigued, maybe.....

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  3. Go South Coast has been consolidated on to one operating licence for some time now, and Go East Anglia seems to be following the same process.

    Certainly the Traffic Commissioners do not seem to like the same management team holding multiple operating licences - even National Express has largely moved all of its ops on to the West Midlands Travel licence.

    FEC accounts on Companies House show a post-tax *profit* of £1.253m, and not what SW Blog stated above. Rather lengthy link here:
    https://document-api-images-prod.s3.eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/docs/cLkV-2URxxZE3FTmBeTgQ21vQ4E_mDKwm191Y2en3-E/application-pdf?X-Amz-Algorithm=AWS4-HMAC-SHA256&X-Amz-Content-Sha256=UNSIGNED-PAYLOAD&X-Amz-Credential=ASIAWRGBDBV3MYQSOF76%2F20190105%2Feu-west-1%2Fs3%2Faws4_request&X-Amz-Date=20190105T231431Z&X-Amz-Expires=60&X-Amz-Security-Token=FQoGZXIvYXdzENz%2F%2F%2F%2F%2F%2F%2F%2F%2F%2FwEaDPduCvWgMM8XhZ3s8CK3A2p5Dn45D22khjSbmhrJtkFqfFTUMXnYbDr0fFfvssrJr9sSqPRoO%2BVQ8q4AS7J3tlBujdDD4EdyHZDHJgzWtULYWL5SzAPoq%2FLL6EiCbPnBrmneb8WiON9KZnsuoVQrlp9vxshwUsqRl6mWA3sabw3owMAAlTQYds2TjRHdEs762qTWvz3013nLt%2FBgrHAA9Udpyt4z8oDHeEs5%2B%2B1S1ZMnE4u%2BGfw6DpgQddCvzWBWoC65j6hphWcA8vn%2F5FM8XFpGjckC6hXoR2F4hv%2FD2RlUytah3MacJKjeo2Bgx8VhdJp5Ij0lUnO8KL%2BgxM5AWfplngDvr6RhNcEx3b%2BSIv71lrVzWQzuDOOCvYLyphtwj7u%2FGMR07pU1iAFJbDATlc5WV3HU8kfze%2F%2BGHOKPbDmjcue4P5xmkR8KeS13ePfEzJxm9iBOCgXfbXRkvsUQGsFp7S8F0P%2F4mFtOktZ%2FZqW2nXfETtHyhXszGDVbdKm1ZIeIU6%2Bnq67nbg%2BFstT0jS2xFG4mLos7U51Nb4O%2B6FQq5Dp6MQboZ1CiKm4WZcBpt3tMkruqpugrljwbHitbcQV88SMsOC0oovPD4QU%3D&X-Amz-SignedHeaders=host&X-Amz-Signature=d80eca67361648f832f42a3db7d401bb7b6a356c1535e9143a5f8977cf2a8477

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  4. ECC Holding yet another consultation on supported bus services. Not a lot of detail but it is clear they are looking to cut costs by using smaller buses or moving to demand responsive services or by merging routes and possibly axing a few services

    https://surveys.essexinsight.org.uk/Eveningandsundaybusservices#

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    Replies
    1. There is a huge amount of detail on this consultation. Neither of the options described are being offered.
      It is a wholesale withdrawal of services after 10pm, unless there are a regular minimum number of passengers. Every single route and journey affected is listed.

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    2. That's strange then. Are you reading the same documents because that's what they are suggesting as options fort these routes.

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    3. My apologies, Traveller, I accidentally pressed the wrong button and deleted your reply instead of publishing it! Please repost and I'll put it up.

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  5. Arriva Click

    It is now operating in Ashford and Liverpool. From their Website it seems to indicate it is going well but no real financial info available it appear at least currently being operated directly by Arriva plc rather than a local company

    What might help as well in my view is if a small fare could be charged for Concessionary pass holders

    I suspect that if it really takes off they may need to move to slightly larger buses such as a small midibus

    https://www.arrivabus.co.uk/arrivaclick/news/arrivaclick-in-liverpool/

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    Replies
    1. Think you'll find it's Sittingbourne not Ashford. No Arriva presence in Ashford afaik

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    2. And for the record, Sittingbourne is operated by Arriva Kent & Surrey Ltd, and Liverpool by Arriva Merseyside Ltd. Arriva plc does not have an O licence.

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    3. The Web site say the legal contract is with Arriva plc

      2. Information about us and how to contact us

      2.1. Who we are. We are Arriva PLC and our company registration number is 347103. Our registered office is at 1 Admiral Way Doxford, International Business Park, Sunderland, Tyne & Wear, SR3 3XP. We provide the App to you and also operate the vehicles which you may book from time using the App.

      2.2. How to contact us.You can contact us by email at arrivaclickenquiries@arriva.co.uk or writing to us at 3rd Floor, The Crescent Centre, Temple Back, Bristol, BS1 6EZ.

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  6. NIBS Buses

    It seems that NIBS buses is now owned by Stephensons of Essex

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    Replies
    1. NIBS has been owned by Stephenson's for some months now; although likely to remain stand-alone for some while.

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    2. It was announced back in October.

      http://www.route-one.net/articles/Business_deals/Stephensons_of_Essex_purchases_NIBS_Buses

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    3. It Would seem to fit very well with Stephensons Essex operations so I would have thought it would make sense to bring it under that. There would be a lot of potential savings from doing that

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    4. What sort of savings?

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  7. Hi Steve how are you let's start with galloway update deliver this week to Mendlesham is eight scania lavanty 3s in national express livery. All vehicles should get new fleet numbers to mix in with the Stevensons fleet with the new nationals coaches being in the 100s I believe in the next few months galloway buses may get Stevensons fleet names

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, David, hope you are well yourself, and all Galloway jobs are safe.

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  8. Our Bus has axed a number of minor routes, The 74, X74 , 292, 293, 294. This is from 20th January

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    Replies
    1. Not minor to those who use them. Can anyone confirm if this is due to loss of subsidy or change of operator?

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  9. Possibly to allow time for the vehicles to be painted into Our Bus livery?

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  10. GO RIDE CIC are axing a number of mi8nor services in the Clacton/Colchester areaa

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