Is the giant starting to wake up?
When Stagecoach came in and took over the ailing First operation in Plymouth there were many people here to commented that it would quickly see off competition from Plymouth Citybus and put them back in their place. The reality was very different with SC seemingly happy to stick to their main key routes and leave the rest to Citybus. Citybus for their part scaled back their incursions into Devon and have put their efforts into the Cornish side of the Tamar.
The timetables changes just announced by Stagecoach for September hint at a change in policy though…
From 3 September we are making changes to our Plymouth bus services, the first significant revamp of our services since we took over a number of routes from First Devon & Cornwall in September 2015.
Key benefits of the changes are:
- Improved frequencies and links to Derriford Hospital
- More buses between Elburton, Plymstock and City Centre
- New service between Royal Parade and Mount Batten
- Buses to Tavistock every 15 minutes
- New service 36 for City College Plymouth
DOWNLOAD AND VIEW 1
DOWNLOAD AND VIEW 2/2A/2B
DOWNLOAD AND VIEW PARK & RIDE
All 1 service Buses will now run every 15 minutes on the same route from Tavistock through Marjons, Derriford Hospital and Mutley to the city centre. Anyone travelling from Tavistock to the railway station can change at the Hospital and board either the 100 or 101 which will go from the same stop. Alternatively, they can continue their journey on the 1 and walk the short distance from Mayflower Street.
In Plymstock, there will be buses up to every 5 minutes to the city centre. Mount Batten will have a new service – the 2B – which will run up to every 20 minutes between Royal Parade and Mount Batten. Both the 2 and 2A will run to Elburton which doubles the frequency to this part of the City and gives more cross-city connections to Plymouth Station, St Budeaux and Saltash.
In partnership with City College Plymouth, we are also taking over operation of route 36 between the College’s Kings Road Campus and the City Centre. The timetable will include more journeys into the evening for students taking part in activities, study and training after the core teaching hours and the general public are also welcome to use this service.
This will bring competition on the Derriford corridor back to pretty much what it was back in Firsts day with the 7s along with some of the Tavistock runs. Stagecoach have always been cheapest but the infrequent buses may have put people off committing to season tickets. It will be interesting to watch when all this kicks off. I am sure there is enough custom for both companies along this section - but I would not be surprised to see some additional marketing by Citybus prior to these changes in September!
Citybus were never that bothered by the competition from First at the time, but Stagecoach run a very different approach to their Plymouth fleet than First ever did…