Friday 9 May 2014

First Re-Launch The 99 (Updated)

First in Norfolk and Suffolk have announced their forthcoming 99 service from Lowestoft to Kessingland on their website. The article claims the service is "in response to customer feedback" and will be the last piece in their Lowestoft jigsaw. However, the main incentive for catching the service seems to be aimed at tourists, with £2 off entry to Africa Alive on presentation of a valid bus ticket. You can read the full post on First's website by clicking here.

It still remains to be seen what vehicles First intend to use on the 99 in competition with the gas buses. Anglian seem to be concentrating their efforts on retaining regular passengers by reducing the price of their daily and weekly Lowestoft area tickets, including Beccles, which is also part of First's Lowestoft Town area. Do the good people of Beccles know they are part of Lowestoft town?

I think it will be very interesting to see who comes out on top in Kessingland. As yet First haven't released the timetable, but I'll keep my eye out and post the link as and when it is.

UPDATENorwich Bus Page  has been told by First that two of Yarmouth's vehicles are to transfer to Lowestoft to help them cope with the requirements for the 99 - Caetano Nimbus 42358 and a Gemini. I find this confusing as the 99 is going to need at least 3 buses and Lowestoft have had to borrow constantly from Yarmouth in recent days anyway - 34114 is still there and 33423 was there last week. I also heard from an extremely reliable and distinguished source that Yarmouth aren't exactly flush themselves with vehicles to spare. They have gained 4 ALX 400's, but lost 20514/5 to Norwich, 60807 to the driving school and have 34114 and Lowestoft. No wonder the Olympians are making a comeback. So can they really spare two vehicles to Lowestoft? I still think there may be a surprise in store in the next couple of weeks. If 42358 does transfer it won'tbe on the 99's. The 99 is a big bus route so 42358 would have to release something off the 101's I guess. Of course there's always the Routemasters................


  1. Steve, You make the point of Beccles being included in First's Lowestoft fare area; but do passengers also know they are also part of Norwich Zone 5. It came to a shock when I noticed I could travel as far North as Stalham all the way down to Beccles for £2.70.
    I also think the Caetano which is being transferred will displace a decker for the 99, however, will First really put such a big bus on the new route? Especially, will they put one on the 99A? First left Kessingland a few years back due to it being not financially viable, surely meaning low passenger numbers. These passengers would be choosing to use the old Anglianbus 601, and are now used to that service.
    However, I must put it to First for taking what in my opinion is a bit of a risk - just a shame we wont be seeing them beautiful olympians :(

  2. You know Kieran I was going to check to see if Beccles was part of a City as well as a Town this morning! That's great for the travelling people of Beccles to be honest.

    I travel through Kessingland into Lowestoft and beyond regularly, and when those blasted roadworks roadworks in Lowestoft have finished and I can trust to make connections again will go home that way too. I also shop in Pakefield and Kessinland Beach is a good photo location, as is Southwold. Let me assure you the buses are regularly full, and that is in the winter without the Pontins and other holiday site Summer passengers. A Nimbus would be utterly useless on that route and would be an early Christmas present for Anglian. Is anyone going to choose a noisy, cramped, vibrating Nimbus over a quiet, roomy, comfortable gas bus or even Scania Omnilink? I honestly thought First would spring a surprise and produce refurbished, leather seated WiFi'd, route branded vehicles to seriously take on the gas buses. Seems not!

  3. People will use First if Anglian don't change their pricing. £4.20 rtn From Kessingland to Morrisons is just a micky take to be honest. If the current management at First would have been in charge at the time, First would have never pulled out of Kessingland and put up more of a fight. At the time things were looking bleak for First in Lowestoft (they only had two town runs etc) but the change in approach seems to have worked. On the 101s for example lower fares and increased frequency has meant through Whitton Est Anglian barely get a look in. Kessingland would have been the same with a similar approach.

  4. I agree - that price is extortionate. I had no idea it was that high. It will be interesting to see how First price it.

  5. If only they kept 34155 and 34156, They would of been perfect for route 99. At least for time being.
    Also, Isn't First in Great Yarmouth already running short on buses? Especially as the 20514/5 have left, and S658RNA had gone North- although they have got the ex-Leicester ALX400s.
    They really needed to keep 42358- she was perfect for the town routes. Also when route 3 starts First will need at least 2 buses for that service, 2 of which they are probably struggling to find without having 42358 go Lowestoft?

  6. Can't argue with anything you say, Harry, and you just back up what I said. Good news for the Olympians I think. perhaps we'll see more of them than I first thought. Jim or Syd are there any saloons still stored at Spalls? Could they be brought out of retirement maybe?