Seems slightly strange that just as Plymouth loses a Trident to Weymouth, it gains Tridents from elsewhere! Very little logic in that it seems but there we go. The plans for the covering of the Park and Ride services in Plymouth are beginning to come to fruition, with several of the stand ins out in service today.
You'll note that all of the buses received so far are Barnstaple allocations, including one of the Enviro 400s bought new for the X9, Bude - Exeter, appearing in a de-branded state on the PR1 today.
With Stagecoach having such a strong presence in Barnstaple now, running pretty much parallel to First along various key corridors, it would seem unlikely that deckers would be required for FDC's services in the town anymore, purely a presumption though, I may be completely wrong! I could of course use the classic 'I've never seen them full!", which indeed, I haven't, but I'm not there monitoring the services 24/7, so it would be wrong to say so for definite. When they were new in 2005 the capacity most likely would have been needed, as this was before Stagecoach began operating from Barnstaple, with First having it pretty much all to themselves. But of course Stagecoach have competed with them fiercely over the last few years, knocking them down to the onward sale we will imminently see. Ex-London Dennis Darts, as well as a couple of Volvo B6s and Volvo Olympians from Cornwall have been transferred to Barnstaple to fill in for the Tridents, but it will be interesting to see whether these are the buses that get sold on to Stagecoach within the deal and First are moving the good stuff out, or whether it will be in the sale agreement that the Tridents and Enviros have to be sold on with the operations. Only time will be able to tell us that.
All photos come courtesy of Tom Pearce, with many thanks from me.