Thursday, April 20, 2017

Routes 1, 2, 3, 4, Swindon declares a bus war

Clippies get your small change holstered, the 'alight' bell has been sounded in the first round of the Swindon bus war.

The bloodless sale of Thamesdown Transport to the Go-Ahead group has shaken things up in very short order.

Best of all for passengers are more routes as the two main companies in Swindon are now backed by two of the UK's biggest bus companies, Scottish-owned Stagecoach and Newcastle-owned Go-Ahead.

The first shot has come from Stagecoach in Swindon, with it's new route number 3, which now directly competes with Thamesdown's numbers 13/14 from Asda Walmart, to the town centre and as far as Walcot. 

The route then serves Walcot East, Park North, then provides a link to Park South (always the poor-relation in bus provision of the two areas of Parks), then terminates at the Great Western Hospital.

Good on Stagecoach for giving Thamesdown a little heat. In the grand scheme of things, it makes commercial sense, the 13/14 are easily the most heavily loaded cross-town routes (along with the 17) and at times on weekdays can be overloaded. For passengers it will provide more services, ease congestion, especially between the town centre and New College, and possibly improve timekeeping to the 13/14.

Plus the revenue abstraction from Thamesdown will probably only be marginal, though in a clever trick, the 3 shares the same bus stop at Fleming Way as Thamesdown's 13/14, making easy passenger poaching. Swindon Centric suspects the biggest improvement appreciated by passengers will be the new direct routes available, especially between Park North and Park South, the hospital, and the Orbital. 

So, 1-0 to Stagecoach, but Thamesdown have a host of new routes planned for May, more on those, and a possible levelling of the score, in a few stops time.

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