Tuesday 21 February 2017

Redundancies At Anglian & Roundtree Way Development

Spring is on the way so it must be time for Anglian Bus to announce more cuts. Not officially announced yet but after a not so top secret meeting between management and staff last night I can reveal the following will be happening over the next few weeks.

  • 11 staff redundancies at Beccles - 8 drivers, 1 engineer, 1 cleaner and 1 supervisor
  • Routes 71 (Belton - Great Yarmouth) and 81 (Bungay - Great Yarmouth) to be axed
  • Route 61 to be heavily reduced in frequency
  • Fleet to be cut from 27 to 18.
There have been cuts before but this is the first time there have been redundancies. It is now surely only a matter of tie before everything moves to Konect and the Anglian name becomes history. Less than 4 years ago Anglian had a fleet of 105 buses. When the latest cuts take effect Anglian will be smaller than Borderbus. Who would have believed that. More information as and when I get it. Many thanks to my sources for getting the news to me so quickly.

I can also reveal the not so interesting news that this year is going to be rather quiet as far as First are concerned. This is because all effort has been focused on the expansion of Roundtree Way depot in Norwich. Soon all but the Blue Line will be based there, transferring from the Vulcan Rd site. Today I caught up with First's Director of Operations, Chris Speed, who has headed up the project, for a guided tour.

£2.2m has been spent on the expansion, which includes strengthening and upgrading the engineering department so deckers can be lifted up, a new £56,000 bus wash that can wash not only the sides of buses but front, back and roof too, two new fuel pumps, a whole new training suite upstairs in accommodation that was previously just lying derelict, new crew accommodation including toilets, showers, rest room, drivers paying in room, supervisors office and tonnes and tonnes of new cement for the parking of up to 95 buses.

Inside the workshop at Roundtree Way depot
It is a quite enormous place now, although it would seem quite how all the buses are going to be parked still has to be worked out. There are bound to be teething troubles but Plumstead garage in South East London might be a good model to follow - whenever I have passed there the parking has been almost a work of art.

Any excuse t get a Red Line Gemini in!
For those of you interested in the Ipswich P&R which First take over in July there is still nothing to report on what vehicles would be used. Chris's preferred option is for 2 or 3yo Volvos, but it all depends what is available at the time within the group. Once again more as and when I know it.

The new bus wash at Roundtree Way
My thanks to Chris for the tour, good to see Zak slaving away there too. I hope there is a smooth transtition and I look forward to the official launch event when it happens. It certainly shows First Group's commitment to Norwich despite persistent rumours First want to pull out of East Anglia. On that subject with the incessant rumours about Kings Lynn depot closing persisting Chris informed me that a further 2 year lease has been signed for the depot, so it ain't going anywhere yet!

The expanse of concrete outside the workshops at the expanded depot

1 comment:

  1. Good that First have started on sorting out the multiple Norwich depots, which I thought/hoped might be the case after sorting out Braintree/Colchester (4 into 1 does go!) Now for the reliability! Too much I know to hope that some of this efficiency might feed through into lower fares for the paying, especially regular travellers/commuters that are the ones I feel really sorry for. First seem to be on a mild route-adding spree; not sure how that squares with the squeeze on fleets. Older and more decrepid fleets, I fear; unless something gives (cuts, but may be the East escapes - will be very interesting to see how the local financials fare this year when reported, in the late spring?) So far it looks to me as though nothing has made much difference to the bottom line.

    Anglian, a sorry case. But I think that, outside the conurbations, direct competition has had its heyday. It's a (temporary) solution, not a panacea. All the operators I can see are generally concentrating their firepower where they are the sole operator and have the strongest operations, but provided they address the flip side of the coin which is quality and reliability, I don't see that as any problem, even a benefit for the passengers. Just maybe, if Go-Ahead locally have a strategy, that's it. Though I do sometimes wonder how much the impetus to keep a foothold in this area is to do with the prospect of Sizewell B? If and when it ever happens, given the national policy muddle in just about everything at the moment!