Tuesday, 30 July 2013

South Devon Bus Wars- round two!

From September , Stagecoach South West will be introducing the premium 'Stagecoach GOLD' on an all new route between Torquay and Plymouth/Dartmouth. Nine Scania N230UD / Alexander Dennis Enviro 400's will be delivered in the metallic Gold and Blue livery with Wi-Fi and high backed leather coach seating. The route, which at present has no number, will run from Torquay to Paignton and then onto Totnes every 30 minutes and will then alternate between travelling from Totnes to either Plymouth via Ivybridge or Dartmouth so each is served hourly. Have to say, this came to mind when I heard about Stagecoach Gold:  "Gold! Gold! Always believe in your Soaaaal, you've got the power to know, Stagecoach is going Gooold, always beliivvee inn. Stagecoach Gold!!!!"

As you can imagine, this creates direct competition with First's X80/X81 service which they have run for over 20 years. As many of you will know, there has been a bus war before back in 2007/8 when Stagecoach ran the short lived X45 which was a Paignton - Totnes - South Brent - Ivybridge - Plymouth express. There was a lot of trouble between First and Stagecoach so Stagecoach withdrew the X45 and gave in to the fact Firstbus rule that route.

Bus Wars on the Paignton - Plymouth route, thanks to Les Eddy for the photo
Five years later and Stagecoach make a return with the Gold brand in an attempt to take over this route completely.  This Gold service differs from the others across the U.K as it is a completely new service as opposed to the others which are already key routes that just get upgraded, so Stagecoach are gambling here!

Though most of you will think I've gone completely mad, I am a First fanatic so I do hope First put up a fight against Stagecoach.  First have always used great buses on the X80 (ie the K-ORL Volvo Olympians and the ex-Airbus ones). They now mainly use East Lancs or Plaxton President bodied Dennis Tridents which are not too bad at all. Have to say I'd rather pay a little extra for the 1.5 hour trip on a First Trident than endure a Scania Enviro 400 which quite frankly is an awful choice of vehicle for the route!

Stagecoach Gold in Swindon

Stagecoach Gold in Swindon

Monday, 15 July 2013

Settling In!

Thanks to Phil Wallis I can bring you a photo of ex Stagecoach South West Trident 17010 S810BWC in service with Wigan already!  All the Tridents planned to go have all gone, although 17004 went to Chesterfield instead of 17053 as originally planned.
17010 thanks to Phil Wallis