Since news of RATP Dev’s takeover of the Bath Bus Company emerged on Wednesday afternoon, it would appear that this modest operator is RATP Dev’s first UK operation. Or so it’d be nice to think.
Spot the difference. Aside from the logos, check the Photoshop job on the shirt pocket and epauletFor it wasn’t till the following day that RATP Dev announced the long-awaited transfer-in of Transdev Yellow Buses and its sibling Transdev London United. The Bournemouth/London changes were previously expected on 22 February 2011 as part of RATP’s divestment from Transdev.
TYB had been gearing up for the change from 16 February by removing Transdev logos from its buses. A few have the new ones. And, unlike the Yellow Bus Veras, the latest Tempos have no T logo on seat headrests. It also swapped its Facebook site from Transdev Yellow Buses to plain Yellow Buses. In the process, it lost about two-thirds of its original 1,273 fan base (itself peaking at 1,308).
Both Yellow Buses (as it’s now known) and London United were quick in adopting RATP Dev fonts with the new logo on their websites. The result is far cleaner than the blocky Transdev. Yellow Buses has yet to eliminate all traces of Transdev by yesterday and its “history” page made no mention of the new owners.
Of the move, said RATP Dev, it provides a “promising foothold in the United Kingdom… one of the world’s most attractive markets where the group plans to expand gradually.” Attractive markets? Interesting that RATP should say so. Gradual expansion? That's a little pedestrian.
Yellow Buses, London United and BBC gives RATP Dev a 1,035-vehicle presence in England, including the City Sightseeing franchise in Cardiff, Wales.
Meanwhile, also on Thursday, Veolia-Transdev announced itself to the world. Note the name that comes first, something that might send a slight shudder through the UK operating industry.