I shall air my views on the new livery at PCB in due course when I get a photo, but for now we have some much more interesting news to deal with!
Plymouth Citybus has just announced the service changes for April, seeing several major changes along with a few minor parts, in general tidying up of some routes.
The biggest change comes with the loss of both services 46 and 47. These are both of course long and well established circular routes operating a lengthy service serving many different back roads on their way through St Budeaux, Ernesettle, Southway, Derriford, Estover, Leigham, and Mutley Plain. This has been described as a lifeline countless times by regular users and it is a shame that PCB have regrettably had to withdraw the service due to lack of funding from Plymouth City Council, which did look inevitable anyway. I must admit the times I've used the services while chasing step entrance Darts around the City, both routes have carried a fair load for the journey. Obviously though the numbers don't add up, and a reduced service now seems off the cards. Its not all bad on this front though. As a partial replacement; the new 27 is being introduced to cover the route between Deer Park and the City Centre, going cross town by then going down to Devonport and Stoke, terminating at the Torpoint Ferry. Cross City routes never seemed to have worked particularly well in the past, which is of course why FDC took the decision to simplify the complex structure and simply start and end all routes on Royal Parade, which as we have seen, has worked wonders for passenger growth on many of the routes. I'm sure PCB will have done their homework on this though, but they certainly go through 2 areas of potentially heavy congestion, so hopefully timetables will have been written accordingly.
The rest of the changes are generally a bit of 'housekeeping', apart from the 45 which will see its remaining section from Royal Parade to Cattedown cut. Of course last year we saw the Devonport section cut, but now the route will be totally removed, leaving the Solos available likely to see off the olde faithful 709s completely. 20 will be removed from Merrafield and will instead terminate in Mudge Way. The 42 will be brought into line with the Sunday only service missing out Leatfield Drive, because of traffic issues, hopefully improving the reliability of the service overall. 40D and 41D will also be withdrawn and replaced with standard 40 and 41s.
So overall the potential impacts have been minimised by some careful planning, and cuts have of course been inevitable since the take over of Go Ahead, but I must admit, through all this moaning from passengers I will say I have been very pleased with how few reductions we have seen so far. Really they have done what they set out to do which is streamline the services to make them more efficient, introduce more low floor buses (more low floor deckers due soon!!), and generally modernise the company. Under another company we could have seen much worse, and Go Ahead certainly seem to have proven themselves as the bus company of choice for Plymouth!