Challenging and unprecedented times
Whilst we generally focus on information and events covering the Stagecoach (and EYMS/Go North East fleets) we send our thoughts to all bus and coach operators which find themselves in exceptional and uncharted times.
We have seen the Government announce this morning that will take control of rail franchises back, operating them under a management contract. There is no doubt that all rail franchise operators will see their operations move to management contracts within days in a scheme that is initially set to last for six months, unless subject to early termination.
This will effectively put the most of the UK’s rail system back under Government control - albeit temporary. We are not aware how, or if, Open Access operators will get any protection against reducing passenger numbers.
But as yet it would seem that bus and coach operators are still on their own and are having to face up with the reduction in passengers resulting in the introduction of special reduced frequency timetables. Harder hit are those operators whose workload is centred around schools/colleges services and tours and excursions. We hope that they can survive but we know some will not.
(Head over to our blog page for details of a trading statement from Stagecoach and the Government’s announcement on rail franchises).
Stagecoach UK Bus
Most operating companies have started to reduce timetables from today, with those that have not due to follow from next Monday.
For many timetables are being based on a basic Sunday service with additional early morning services.
Planning teams at Stagecoach (and at most bus companies) have been working around the clock to both maintain services whilst also drawing up the new timetables and drivers rosters. They deserve a vote of thanks for their hard work behind the scenes as do all bus and coach company staff.
At Stagecoach we understand that all recruitment was cancelled last week with just existing trainees continuing their training.
We also understand that given the upcoming reduction in Peak Vehicle Requirement, Stagecoach has asked all operating companies to identify vehicles that can be taken out of use, parked up and delicenced.
We suspect that work on vehicles under long term repairs will in many cases be halted.
Whilst we don’t have details of vehicles that will be parked up we understand that at Stagecoach Oxfordshire’s Banbury depot the required allocation will drop from 25 to 17 with both Dart SLFs 34467/72 and both Optare Solos 47735/36 amongst the buses that will be side lined, although 47736 has been away for engine replacement for some time now. There is also the possibility of Enviro 400 10067 returning to Oxford.
Repaints here into the new ‘Stagecoach Local’ livery are Enviro 200MMCs 37409/11.