More more in Bournemouth

Sunday 7th August 2022

Thursday 4th August 2022‘s stark announcement

Bournemouth’s buses dramatically changed colour yesterday following the sad news on Friday 29th July the town’s Yellow Buses had called in the Administrators. The company ceased trading less than a week later at 18:00 on Thursday 4th August leaving the town without its familiar bright yellow liveried buses all day on Friday for the first time for 120 years.

Fleet-of-foot morebus had a substantial replacement network up and running in record breaking time from first thing yesterday.

This blog tells the background story to how that happened.

We haven’t seen the likes of a sizeable bus operator fail in such dramatic fashion in 30 years. Not since National Welsh ceased trading in 1992. It’s a salutary lesson for those who think running a bus company is a sure fire way to make profits and I hope those calling for new municipally owned companies to be set up to stymie so called profiteering “bus barons” in the private sector are taking note.

The network that is no more

Indeed the demise of Yellow Buses brings to an end a long history of municipal ownership stretching back to 1902 That ceased in 2005 when a majority 90% stake in the business was sold by Bournemouth Council to Transdev. Six years later in 2011 that ownership passed to RATP as part of a wider deal between the two French companies and in 2016 RATP bought the remaining 10% shareholding from the Council to become outright owners.

There then followed in January 2017 what with hindsight might now be regarded as the beginning of the end with RATP French based staff, rather than the locally based Yellow Buses team, overseeing a major network review, later largely aborted, which changed many long established routes and familiar route numbers.

Significant numbers of passengers and revenue were reportedly lost only partially returning when some of the changes were reversed; but by then it was too late. Morebus gained passengers and revenue from a significant misstep by RATP’s Yellow Buses.

As morebus edged further into what could be regarded traditionally as “Yellow Buses territory” the company responded by upping its own frequencies to protect its market share. But it probably responded too far resulting in prime corridors being over bussed even by its own service provision, let alone morebus routes as well. For example, the Christchurch to Bournemouth corridor enjoyed 15 buses per hour from Yellow Buses as well as morebus running its routes.

More recently RATP saw no future for the business and sold the company to its senior management team for a nominal sum in July 2019 together with the freehold of the company’s bus garage albeit that was sold on to fund a significant pension deficit – such are the joys of former municipal ownership.

Now it seems the harsh economic realities of running buses with recent relentlessly increasing inflation not least impacting diesel costs, staff resource issues, Covid subsidy support ending and not-yet-fully-recovered passenger levels have done for that team; and the company is no more.

On the face of it, it seems a strange time for a bus company that enjoys a substantial seasonal uplift with visitors and tourists to have gone under. You’d think peak August trading would at least cover short term cash flow requirements so it gives some idea of the dire state the finances must have been in that the company has ceased at this busy trading time and at such short notice – a matter of days. One suspects it must have been on the cards for a while, not least as replacement services arranged by Go-Ahead owned morebus have obviously been well prepared and on the starting grid, with timetables, driver schedules, rotas and impressive marketing information including an updated network map available online.

The network that is more

All this arguably should have been the outcome in 2005 when Bournemouth Council sold the majority shareholding of its bus company to Transdev. That was a mistake. It should have sold to Go-Ahead as the Group’s far sighted CEO Martin Ballinger sought to persuade the Council at the time.

That Transdev decision was never in the long term interests of residents and stakeholders of Bournemouth nor staff at the company. The limited geographic reach of the business hemmed in by the then Go-Ahead owned Wilts & Dorset (pre its morebus makeover) was never going to truly prosper.

As we’d shown in a very similar situation in Brighton and Hove in 1997 when the management and employee owners of Brighton Buses sold their former municipally owned company to Go-Ahead and we merged the business with Brighton & Hove, having one bus company serving a conurbation of around 250,000-300,000 population is far preferable to the inefficiencies of two companies competing in a constrained geographic market. The result was an attractive simple to understand network welcomed by passengers and stakeholders leading to sustained growth and the creation of more jobs and security of employment.

There’s no issue of anti-competitive monopolistic behaviour when the threat of competition in an open contestable market is ever present. And so it proved.

In those days the equivalent of today’s Competition and Markets Authority thankfully had the foresight to waive the merger through accepting those assumptions as well as noting the unwavering and strongly committed stakeholder and local political support.

Seventeen years later here we are with that sensible and practical outcome at last in place in Bournemouth from yesterday and the bonus for Go-Ahead is they haven’t had to pay anything for their newly acquired network.

There’s no doubt in the medium term there’s an opportunity for some pragmatic rationalisation with its own long standing network where duplication exists across the conurbation. For example Yellow Buses route 3 duplicated frequent morebus route m1 between Westbourne and the Royal Bournemouth Hospital so it makes sense to significantly reduce this in the new network, as indeed has happened. Wasteful over provision can now end and resources deployed instead into improving those routes with potential to grow in the coming months and years.

It was interesting to read Yellow Buses had been in talks with “a national operator” about an acquisition. It looks to me as though Go South Coast, the overarching company running morebus, with its well advanced plans and resources ready in place would naturally make any external-to-the-area acquirer think twice before shelling out money to buy a network already suffering financially and which could potentially have been subject to competition from morebus leading to significant instability. Not a particularly attractive proposition for say, a plc like National Express who were reportedly the potential suitor.

Who else would buy such an operation in the current state of the industry? The presence of Go-Ahead completely surrounding Yellow Buses would put off the likes of First and Stagecoach – Groups which haven’t made acquisitions for years and both dealing with aggressive bids for their own futures. Arriva is itself up for sale with no-one interested in buying it and referring back to NatEx, it recently disposed of its only bus company outside the West Midlands, Xplore Dundee, and indeed following its acquisition of Lucketts and its decision to take back in house the significant and margin enhancing express coach contracts previously operated on its behalf by Yellow Buses will have done nothing to steady the company’s financial position and was probably another significant factor leading to its demise.

Transdev Blazefield has a track record of expansion but only in their Yorkshire/Lancashire heartland while, as we’ve seen, parent Transdev already owned it once which just leaves Rotala seemingly the only listed company that sees buying bus companies as a sensible strategy in these challenging economic times. Just this week news broke of its acquisition of Midland Classic so it probably had its corporate hands full with that. Interestingly making for a trio of companies metamorphosing this week, HCT Group announced it’s Yorkshire based subsidiary Powells ceased trading at 17:00 on Friday with its significant tendered bus network being reallocated to other companies. It’s been quite a week.

The phrase “strong and stable” has never been further away from describing the bus industry in current times. Let alone in coming weeks and months. Yellow Buses and Powells will not be isolated cases, that’s for sure.

I paid a visit to Bournemouth yesterday to see how Day One for the new morebus network was panning out.

Staff made redundant from Yellow Buses were being actively recruited throughout Friday by the Go South Coast team so they were ready to go as best they could yesterday with staff familiar with the network.

Photos courtesy Andrew Wickham

Managing Director Andrew Wickham reported on social media he was “delighted so many people, sadly redundant from Yellow Buses, are joining us” at the morebus temporary Recruitment Centre set up at the Village Hotel in Bournemouth. Those attending on Friday and starting immediately received a £3,000 welcome bonus reducing to £2,000 for those joining yesterday.

This incentive worked a treat as did the hugely professional and substantial arrangements the Go South Coast team put in place to recruit staff on Friday and yesterday. I met up with both Andrew and Operations Director David Lee-Kong at the hotel as well as the recruitment team drawn from across the company including Southern Vectis, Bluestar, Swindon Buses and Salisbury Reds as well as morebus who were all still hard at work yesterday processing the tail end of the hundred or so applications.

To completely fill a rota comprising 94 vacant lines within 24 hours with every applicant duly processed through a professionally structured interview, independent assessment, job offer with contracts of employment issued followed by a full induction with employee handbooks and procedural guidance handed out and explained was a quite amazing achievement and I heartily congratulate the whole team for such an incredible effort.

The atmosphere created by the team in a suite of rooms at the Village Hotel was hugely impressive and I’m sure all the former Yellow Buses staff who attended were reassured they were joining a professionally run company with a secure future after the trauma of the last few days.

The recruitment team take a well earned break after filling the rota.

One potential employee moving to Bournemouth shortly and currently working for another bus company many miles away had applied to Yellow Buses for a job and not having heard back saw the news of the company’s demise with alarm so after his early turn drove for four hours to reach the hotel arriving just before Friday’s session ended at 18:00 to secure a job. With such dedication he was naturally successful and will be moving to Bournemouth later this month. This was just one of many individual stories that characterised the recruitment arrangements on Friday.

With enough drivers in place for the run out first thing yesterday morning – and it was by no means certain enough would apply – Andrew reported there was a real buzz from staff attending their first shift at the morebus Bournemouth garage (which was only rebuilt as recently as 2019 and can accommodate the extra fleet now needed), the next task was to have enough buses and ticketing equipment. The initial commercial network with some extra tenders taken on at the last minute once driver availability was confirmed calls for around 37 extra buses.

By good fortune the company has recently taken delivery of 15 new ADL buses ahead of expectations ready for routes operated for the University of Bournemouth this autumn. These are now being deployed on the traditional morebus network enabling the cascaded buses together with other buses from a reserve fleet to run the new network.

Longer term it’s envisaged more new buses will be acquired but in the meantime older buses in the normal course of events which would have been disposed of are continuing in service together with loans from within the Go South Coast area including Salisbury Reds and Eastleigh based Bluestar.

Andrew was out and about sampling the new network yesterday morning and it was an absolute pleasure to accompany him and see and hear first hand the positive comments from the former Yellow Buses staff we encountered, some with considerable service under the belt, as well as appreciative passengers.

It was also impressive to see every timetable case throughout the network had been updated on Friday displaying the new morebus departure times and the old Yellow Buses information removed.

Five teams had worked throughout the day to achieve this showing it can be done where there’s the will and commitment to do so. Longer term smart new backing sheets will be installed where once Yellow Buses branding prevailed.

Obviously bus stop plates will take longer to update and the Council have responsibility for some of these but full credit to BCP Council who played its part and had updated real time departures so the system was working with actual real times for the new network.

Seasonal customer service staff normally based in tourist hotspots such as Marina from Swanage have been redeployed to help and reassure passengers in Bournemouth Square to great effect.

On board buses were copies of the new timetables available for passengers to pick up albeit in a rudimentary format but remember all this happened with a matter of hours (not even days) notice and for that everyone involved deserves huge praise. Online information was all updated on Friday with new network maps displayed as well as timetables.

The whole exercise is a text book example of dealing with the unusual circumstances faced by the Go South Coast team. Bournemouth’s residents and former Yellow Buses staff are very lucky to have had the Go South Coast team’s unwavering commitment to make the new arrangements work with little or no disruption.

The future for buses across the conurbation has never looked better as opportunities for promoting one network come to the fore. Seventeen years on from that misstep of the sale to Transdev, the future is now a very positive one for bus travel in Bournemouth. It’s certainly sad to see the end of Yellow Buses but nostalgia (and the country’s current economic challenges) aside, it’s good to see within 36 hours buses are pretty much back to normal in Bournemouth and many passengers unaffected.

I’ll conclude by observing all that’s been miraculously achieved in such a short time is a consequence of the devolved nature of Go-Ahead’s management structure enabling truly empowered managing directors and inspirational locally based autonomous teams to make decisions quickly and enact them rather than a centralised corporate monolith where decisions get passed up a chain of command for approval only to never return back down again.

Well done to Andrew and his team. A brilliant effort by all concerned. Bournemouth’s buses are in safe hands and I look forward to reporting on future developments.

Roger French

Blogging timetable: 06:00 TThSSu

53 thoughts on “More more in Bournemouth

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  1. Just to clarify Yellow Bus Coaches operation has been saved. It appears to have been split in two with the depot , vehicles and Engineering going to Nat Express. The Yellow Coaches brand though has been sold to Xela. I assume NatEx ‘s interest is the National Express Coach work and Xela presumably taking on the Coach tours and holidays etc. They will be setting up their own depot. Possibly they may have a temporary arrangement with More buses until they can get their deport and vehicles in place
    There are confused reports on the above though. I believe what I have put above is the position

    A lot has been going on this week. HCT Group have given up their Yorkshire Operations and
    Stagecoach have sold their Megabus operations

    Lamberts Coaches of Beccles have also closed, As far as I know it had no bus routes but did have a few SCC School contracts

    With the Covid funding running our at the beginning of October well unless there is last minute additional funding there could be a lot more happening in the next few weeks

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  2. Having read this, I checked and morebus will be taking over that route 18 to Canford Heath! Very impressive!

    Sent from my iPhone

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  3. Looks like they’ll need to do some renumbering pretty soon, since they now seem to have two routes 4, 5 and 6. I also wonder if the roads out to Christchurch are still overbused with 8 per hour on the 1/1a/1b and a similar number of M2s as far as Southbourne Crossroads.

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    1. Many of the routes are operating at reduced frequency and some sections of route are not covered

      If you go to the Yellow Bus Web site it gives details of how the routes taken on are operating

      There i n o information yet as to what will happen with the School routes Yellow buses were operating. The Schools are on holiday so it gives Dorset Council plenty of time to get new tenders out

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    2. I wonder if ensuring that sufficient capacity is provided for both existing morebus and former Yellow Buses passengers is part of the reason for the 1/a/b. I’m sure that there will be refinements in due course. Well done to GSC for getting the network up and running!

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      1. It is becoming increasing the clear that unless a town is very large it can only support one operator for town services. More than one and the economics does not work

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  4. To me the key was paying drivers that £3k welcome lump sum backed up by the newly increased £13 hourly rate.

    I’m sure having sufficient drivers from day one in these difficult times will help the network to prosper and that decision alone will be repayed multiple times going forward.

    I look forward to watching future developments with much interest.

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  5. Your penultimate paragraph, on the agility of the Go-Ahead management team moving so quickly and professionally, is well made. The newly enlarged company deserves to succeed.

    I hope that the senior management of certain other major bus groups are taking note !

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  6. I agree that the way Go South Coast stepped up is indeed impressive. I am however concerned that if they remain a monoply operator, the ticket prices will soar. I live just outside Southampton and also outside the area with competition, as such we have premium bus fares and an inadequate service. When a competitor tried to enter the market they were seen off dramatically.

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    1. Equally modest size town etc cannot support two operators. This is where the current free market system falls down

      Clearly in Bournemouth there was no interest in taking on Yellow buses

      Whether these so called Enhanced Partnership will deliver any benefit remains to be seen. I have my doubts. So far they seem to be a council transport department empire building exercise but early days still

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  7. All excellent news that services were covered immediately, thus (presumably) losing no passenger base. However, I think the point has been missed, A sale to Go-Ahead in 2005 would have been the most sensible outcome, but the “ivory-tower” CMA brigade, who have just let the equally sensible Stagecoach/National Express merger slip to German asset-strippers, would have stopped it.

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  8. With full respect to Midland Classic & Powells, it’s the demise of such a long established operation as Yellow Buses that really starkly reminds us of the dire straits the bus industry is currently facing! Bournemouth without Yellow Buses seems unthinkable!

    Nevertheless, I’m on holiday in Weymouth next month and am looking forward to visiting the town twice (once on the train with Missus Wife and once on First’s X54 to Poole for a bash) so am looking forward to see what MORE have done!

    True end of an era!

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    1. Given CT Plus Yorkshire & Powells have both ceased trading have any companies steeped in to provide replacement services ?

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  9. The last set of Yellow Bus accounts showed a trading profit. I would assume it was the other debts that sunk them. Mores have not had to pick these debts up. They can also use their existing garage so no increased costs there and no doubt there will be some route rationalization

    There was £1.7M of Government Covid Funding in the accounts which if not replaced would wipe out the operating profit

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  10. I’m guessing ‘Buster’s Beach Bus’ has been withdrawn? A great shame, it was a good ride. Maybe More could extend the open-top route 70 from East Cliff to at least Hengistbury Head to cover?

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  11. Admittedly the rescue operation go-ahead have achieved in just a few days is unbelievable and shows incredible dedication, but should they have taken over YB instead of transdev?

    Not sure. It’s a very different story looking over go-ahead operations in Norwich.

    Transdev enabled YB to order some uniquely bespoke, decked out, trailblazing buses which gave go-ahead a run for their money.

    In my opinion they were failed by their local management. Ridiculously poor maintenance, running their fancy new buses into the ground in short 10 year cycles.
    Contempt for passengers saw repeated vinyls blocking out windows.
    Route branding was overdone and confusing – what was silver for??
    The fleet appeared dingy (yellow’s a labour intensive colour, otherwise they resembled delboy’s van)
    Heavily vinyled buses but no yellow tape over ‘rapt group’ on their bus stop flags
    Refusal to confide how badly off they were towards the end – issuing long-term tickets etc
    And there’s probably more

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    1. Forgot the whole trying to build a luxurious coach subsidiary whilst their public bus side was (literally) falling apart

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      1. From reports elsewhere the coach subsidiary was the only profitable part of the business, so without it the bus side would have collapsed much earlier.

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  12. Quite the achievement from More . No one should underestimate what a substantial amount of work will have been undertaken to merge the two networks. I’m sure further refinements will need to take place but it’s nothing short of miraculous to do it so quickly. Speaks volumes of the motivation and competence of all the staff who pulled it off.

    Go Ahead are looking like the only motivated large national operator these days. On a recent visit to Swindon I saw a big difference between the Go Ahead network and Stagecoach, who looked like someone had cared once but not for a few years.

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      1. Go Ahead East have always struggled financially. Their last accounts showed a trading loss and that was with £4,7M Covid funding

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      2. Transdev have some very impressive operations. Wasn’t sure if they could be counted as national though given that their commercial operations are restricted to part of Northern England.

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  13. Very sad to see the demise of Yellow Buses. I have many happy childhood memories of family holidays to Boscombe in the 1970s, riding on Alexander bodied Atlanteans and Fleetlines, and the open top services 11 and 12. Coming from Bristol Omnibus territory I always liked municipals.

    Can’t imagine Bournemouth without its yellow buses, it would be like London without red buses!

    Maybe More Bus will rebrand into a yellow livery and drop its silly name. We’ll done to the company for its swift reaction to take on the abandoned network. Lucky that a Go Ahead subsidiary was in the town and not the other groups.

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  14. Another thought, two companies can co-exist if they stick to what they each do best. I’m thinking specifically of Nottingham City Transport and TrentBarton. The former provides a high frequency urban network while the latter concentrates on inter-urban corridors. Back in the 1970s this was the situation with Bournemouth Transport “urban” and Hants & Dorset “country”.

    Oxford still has two operators that at one time were both over bussing, until the council “encouraged” them to jointly work services under the “Smart Zone” initiative.

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    1. Indeed. I suspect that had the then-Wilts & Dorset not entered head-on competition with Yellow Buses, both companies networks and financial position would have been more stable than they have been.

      It interests me that Go Ahead found it necessary to merge its south coast businesses [W&D, SV and recently Thamesdown] into one company, Go South Coast, something which to me suggests that Go-Ahead Group didn’t perhaps consider the operations as viable stand-alone companies.

      However, expecting Roger to offer a balanced review of the occasionally predatory behaviour of the Group for which he was a senior manager for so many years is perhaps unrealistic; a detailed look at Go Ahead’s response is interesting to read and about the best we can hope for.

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  15. In the postwar period there was a revenue-sharing agreement between the then Hants & Dorset and BCT about the former’s carriage of passengers on journeys within Bournemouth (possibly also Christchurch). These were permitted on most H&D routes and passengers were issued with colour coded Bell Punch tickets bearing serial numbers which enabled conductors to account for sales (as opposed to the usual Setright tickets issued on routes run from the Parkstone and Poole depots, and Insert Setright tickets on routes from other H&D depots). Certain routes however (notably 11, 15 and 218) were excluded from the arrangement and buses on these showed a red blind “Not On Service for Bournemouth Corporation Passengers”; on the standard Bristol K lowbridge buses this prevented the route number from being displayed. This arrangement, which benefited passengers within Bournemouth, lasted for many years but I don’t know what replaced it or when.

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  16. Arguably should it have been sold to anyone? What’s wrong with local councils running buses.Mrs Thatcher had this idea that councils should do as little as possible, except when it came to providing for the motorist,which is the 40 year old root of the problem…. the dogma that the private sector runs things better.Of course now councils can’t really run buses as a public service as they are forced into a combative situation due to other operators.As for this Morebus company I wonder if it is the rump of a company called Wilts and Dorset? Although not from that part of the world I think that Wilts and Dorset itself is a rump of a former NBC subsidiary called Hants and Dorset?

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    1. Councils, who aren’t knowledgeable and can’t specialise would just run the most rudimentary systems ever! Not to mention that it would fully make bus services political pawns to be meddled with at the whim of every politician.

      Ideally, support should be readily available to enthusiastic, passionate locals wanting/able to run independent local area bus services – better than the large national commercial networks in my opinion. BUT I believe these organisations must make an effort to engage with and be answerable to the public (more than can be said for most councils)

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    2. Kevan – Morebus was formed from the southern half of Wilts and Dorset that was formed in 1983 from the larger Hants and Dorset.

      However, you have to remember that whilst this was a public sector business, it lost an absolute fortune. In 1981 alone, it lost £2m (about £8.5m in today’s money) so it’s equally dogmatic to say that public ownership must be better.

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  17. Impressive work by Go-Ahead to replace the Yellow Buses network in such a short period of time, including printed timetables which are now rare throughout the country. Sorry to see the yellow buses disappear, rather like red buses in London many of us will always associate Bournemouth with yellow buses, perhaps a new local identity within Go South Coast for Bournemouth at some point in the future?

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  18. A lovely article. I have had almost ten years at Yellow Buses, and my grandfather had over 40 years. Well written, and I totally agree its got to be the best outcome for passengers in these expensive times. My PCV licence is on hold at present, but should there be a change to my current job, then I would be delighted to be part of the team. Well done Morebus!

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  19. Although it is a sad time, well done to More for picking up routes at short notice.
    Out of interest who picks up any legacy pensions liabilities?

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    1. Yellow buses went into liquidation. If the Yellow Bus pension scheme is in deficit it will probably go into the pension protection scheme

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  20. We had a similar event down in Cornwall when Western Greyhound collapsed almost overnight in 2015, other operators stepped in to provide some of the routes within a couple of days

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  21. It amazes me how Go Ahead are seen as a “Knight In Shining Armour” in this piece. Since they started competing with Yellows, they have thrown everything they have at the two main morebus routes to the detriment of the rest of their network in the area. Try to get a bus out of Poole that’s not going to Bournemouth and you’ll see what I mean.

    No doubt the £3k payment has several strings attached, but I am glad I’m not an existing morebus driver watching former competitor’s drivers come into my depot with a nice pile of cash in their back pocket …

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  22. I’m going down there next month. Very sad about Yellow Buses going bankrupt but sadly I fear they’ll be the first of a good number of operators to fall like this as the news of Powells in Yorkshire has proven.

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  23. How a Double Deck Electric Bus is Made

    If anyone has not spotted it on BBC2 at 8pm tonight there is a program showing how a double deck electric bus is made. Filmed at ADL’s Scarborough plant

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  24. A great article. You even (inadvertently) managed to snap my 10-year-old just after he had photographed something approaching the Square!

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  25. So, Go Ahead are the heroes here?

    Originally Yellow Buses operated all the local buses in Greater Bournemouth’s urban area for decades.Then Go Ahead decide to snatch their passengers by setting up a parallel operation. When I visited about four years ago Yellow Buses seemed to operate a perfectly adequate service but it was frustrating having to decide which ticket or smartcard to buy as sometimes Go Ahead’s more routes were the ones needed, especially if travelling to the rural area.

    After a few years of this predatory behaviour the weaker operation goes belly up. But our heroes, Go Ahead, are ready waiting in the wings, all ready to take over in an instant, s planned. Now the sole monopolistic operator. Job done! Bonuses all round. Pity about the owners of Yellow Buses, the pile of unwanted Yellow Buses and the staff not needed by the new operation.

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    1. Absolutely.

      Imagine if a Tesco Express had moved next door to your local shop and a few years down the line the shop closes. Would everyone on here that’s patting Go Ahead on the back also be cheering Tesco for seeing off the locally owned business?

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    2. It seems to me to be the eternal suburban dilemma. Should we concentrate on an urban network, with the ready market opportunity on our doorstep, as it were (and the competition by foot, cycle, and car); or does viability depend on hedging our bets with the interurban links? Out of town we have to use motorised transport, in town, we don’t. We have never been able to make up our minds what passengers we want.

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  26. Even back in 2005 when the UK had a different Government,Bournemouth Council would never have been allowed to sell Yellow Buses to Go Ahead under competition rules.

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  27. I’ve lived in Scotland most of my life but as a teenager recall a long, magical holiday in Bournemouth in the 1960s when the trolleybuses still played a major role in the network. What a majestic municipal fleet the town posessed back then and the current situation would make anyone who remembers those glory days weep. Sadly, buses have been the playthings of politicians for decades – the Tories with their privatisation ethos which may have suited other industries but not buses; and Labour with their monolithic regional transport boards which destroyed local networks and the civic pride they once engendered.

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