First Group to be split and sold off.

Vehicle and Fleet discussions for First Midland Red Buses Limited or its predecessor, Midland Red West Limited.
bmmoboy
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Re: First Group to be split and sold off.

Post by bmmoboy » 14:21 Thursday 4th July 2019

Tim

Interestingly enough, the Go Ahead website fails to mention The old Swindon Corporation (Thamesdown) operation, which they acquired about two years ago.

DD12
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Joined: 19:49 Monday 4th July 2016

Re: First Group to be split and sold off.

Post by DD12 » 16:31 Thursday 4th July 2019

bmmoboy wrote:
14:17 Thursday 4th July 2019
DD12- I like the rhyme - that's why I put it on the fleetname.

Who knows what is going to happen, if I could predict the future I would win the lottery every week!!!! But I do hope we get a buyer who is interested in running a bus service, and not just making money for shareholders.
It was Andrew who spotted the rhyme -- -- my brain is no longer capable of such things !!

I will send the new Prime Minister a message to highlight the fact that the privatisation ( BY ITSELF) of bus services is a proven failure -- -- If the new PM is Jeremy Corbyn ( - "sooner than expected"), he MIGHT reintroduce the National Bus Company, whereas, if it's Boris Johnson, he mght cascade all the existing "Borismasters" to polluted towns and cities (and buy new ones for London). :twisted:

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AdamH
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Re: First Group to be split and sold off.

Post by AdamH » 15:15 Tuesday 9th July 2019

Well this has all gone quiet so maybe it’s time for me to add my theory on the future of Worcester bus services. Yes, I have asked questions and the reason I’ve been quiet is not because I’ve been told to keep my mouth shut, it’s because nobody is saying anything. Therefore I am now playing mystic meg and basing the predictions on no information whatsoever (almost).

We know from a statement on this forum by the First MD that the Padmore Street depot is earmarked for redevelopment, so I believe First will take their money and run. Worcester depot will close and all the work will be picked over by other operators...

I can see the 144 going to National Express, the Ledbury and Upton work to Stagecoach West, Evesham and Pershore to Stagecoach Midlands, or maybe West, and I also think West may go for the 44. The city work will be a 3-way battle between Diamond, Aston’s and LMS. I recon LMS could do well.

...or the whole lot will be sold to Diamond.

Matt560Breese
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Re: First Group to be split and sold off.

Post by Matt560Breese » 22:17 Tuesday 9th July 2019

or if i win lots of money it could be owned by myself as a company called wyvern bus and bring back the red and Cream :lol:

willr7
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Re: First Group to be split and sold off.

Post by willr7 » 09:15 Wednesday 10th July 2019

AdamH wrote:
15:15 Tuesday 9th July 2019
We know from a statement on this forum by the First MD that the Padmore Street depot is earmarked for redevelopment, so I believe First will take their money and run. Worcester depot will close and all the work will be picked over by other operators...

I can see the 144 going to National Express, the Ledbury and Upton work to Stagecoach West, Evesham and Pershore to Stagecoach Midlands, or maybe West, and I also think West may go for the 44. The city work will be a 3-way battle between Diamond, Aston’s and LMS. I recon LMS could do well.

...or the whole lot will be sold to Diamond.
This is one theory I had not thought about - Thanks for sharing Adam!
It would certainly make sense. Saves the hassle of first or the potential new operator finding other premises. Unless Diamond does buy up Worcester!

I think your right about LMS too as Aston’s are a bit further out of town - maybe they could operate the 32 and possibly go for Upton routes again and probably the ‘S’ school routes? That said the site of the current Aston’s depot is also set for housing development and they were/are also searching for a new site.

The downside of the routes being picked by various operators is the fact that the smaller companies such as LMS and even Aston’s would not be able to get the council in gear regarding buses and if nothing is done then the routes will be cut back even further until I fear there will be little left!

DD12
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Joined: 19:49 Monday 4th July 2016

Re: First Group to be split and sold off.

Post by DD12 » 10:11 Wednesday 10th July 2019

AdamH wrote:
15:15 Tuesday 9th July 2019

We know from a statement on this forum by the First MD that the Padmore Street depot is earmarked for redevelopment, so I believe First will take their money and run. Worcester depot will close and all the work will be picked over by other operators...
Up until now, I have not thought that this might be a possibility, but I guess that IF First Group try to sell FMR, they might consider themselves to be obliged to ask a price that includes the existing depot at it's "pumped-up" value, - which might b*gger things up ! (?)

I have had a recurring dream, over many years, that I am at Padmore Street, and the garage is empty, and "the patch" is being redeveloped, and that the buses have gone and NOT been replaced / relocated elsewhere !!

(Last night I dreamt I was at Newport Street bus station, and the buses had "Plymouth Citybus" as part of the legal name + address !! :D )

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AdamH
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Re: First Group to be split and sold off.

Post by AdamH » 10:27 Wednesday 10th July 2019

willr7 wrote:
09:15 Wednesday 10th July 2019
I think your right about LMS too as Aston’s are a bit further out of town - maybe they could operate the 32 and possibly go for Upton routes again and probably the ‘S’ school routes? That said the site of the current Aston’s depot is also set for housing development and they were/are also searching for a new site.
The LMS site is also for redevelopment. Seems quite a trend in Worcester at the moment.. I believe they have accepted an off from the Council for a new site by the M5. Still has good access to the city if they don’t run double-decks.

Aston’s are rumoured to be getting ready to move to a new site in the Upton / Defford area. Possibly the old Countrywide site. That’s not quite so good for running city routes.

TimBrown
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Re: First Group to be split and sold off.

Post by TimBrown » 11:06 Wednesday 10th July 2019

I hope the whole garage and route network is sold as a going concern (preferrably Stagecoach). A split with different operators taking little bits of the network would cause fare paying passengers a nightmare trying to access destinations such as the Hospital from other parts of the City and county, unless day tickets valid for travel on all operators' buses are introduced.

Adam's point about the profitable routes being creamed off might happen, the 144 is probably quite attractive as the buses are well looked after and already converted to Euro 6 standard in readiness for the Birmingham Clean Air Zone legislation of 2020.

But, would the profitable 'jewel in the crown' 35 City route be of interest with the existing Citaros? Uh, the jury is out on that one!

The Malvern 44s equipped with Wright Bus Street Decks and Streetlite Max buses would seem to be a fair takeover prospect (notwithstanding our general consensus that the buses are not very nice), but these Euro 6 emission vehicles are probably destined for Leicester come 2020 to meet that City's CAZ requirements if First haven't sold out by then.

The Ledbury area services are, I believe, heavily subsidised by Herefordshire County Council and contracted for quite some considerable time, so would be appealing to a number of local operators without too much outlay other than purchase or lease of a small number of suitable buses.

I reckon that Astons and LMS would need some some heavy support on the financial side by a commercial bank or venture capitalist before taking on any more stage carriage commitments. But could they make a good concrete business case for the remaining city and rural routes?

As to the future of Padmore Street, it has been subject to rumours of closure for more years than seems possible now (I was a young man when they first came to light and am a white haired 74 year old geezer now!), perhaps these can still be taken with a pinch of salt - hopefully. That said, with a change of use and some serious ground decontamination work it would be an ideal site for extensive canal side residential apartments and a few more business properties along Pheasant Street. All in the melting pot indeed!

willr7
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Re: First Group to be split and sold off.

Post by willr7 » 12:45 Wednesday 10th July 2019

AdamH wrote:
10:27 Wednesday 10th July 2019
The LMS site is also for redevelopment. Seems quite a trend in Worcester at the moment.. I believe they have accepted an off from the Council for a new site by the M5. Still has good access to the city if they don’t run double-decks.

Aston’s are rumoured to be getting ready to move to a new site in the Upton / Defford area. Possibly the old Countrywide site. That’s not quite so good for running city routes.
Thanks Adam, I did not realise the LMS site was also up for redevelopment!

Regarding the old Countrywide site, is that the one which is joined to a petrol station on Hanley Road in Upton?

Astons have a large amount of school work in the Hanley Castle / Upton area (12 routes in total) so this location would definitely suit them for that work. Also, this location is ideally placed to service their other school contracts and bus services (540, 564/565) in the Evesham/Pershore & Malvern areas. Not so good for the city routes like you say. Maybe if they do move to Upton LMS may gain Astons current city work - 26/27 & 308/310 when they come up for re-tender! (Not sure how far away that is?) And of course, both Astons and LMS have been operating in Droitwich since Diamond pulled out.

asb
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Joined: 16:33 Thursday 21st July 2016

Re: First Group to be split and sold off.

Post by asb » 13:47 Wednesday 10th July 2019

My guess, also with no information to point me in the right direction, is to build on Adam's theory about the depot being sold by First and combine that with the cost of pensions, which I would think is probably a big off putting factor to any purchase of the business as a going concern. Better (for the new company/companies) to start with a clean slate than inherit a pension pot.

If the city does get fragmented provision of services, then I think it will end up like Harlow and Stevenage, with poor, unstable provision; coupled with the Council's current "meh" attitude to buses there will be little incentive for any one company to consolidate in the near future.

Hopefully, of course, I'm totally wrong! I think the City needs a single operator of good repute and the stomach for a lot of political lobbying to improve the operating environment. A disinterested and/or "ropey" operator will continue to be on a slippery slope of attractiveness and reliability.

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