This is a guest post by Dangermouse. Omnibuses welcomes contributions
As most of us know First UK Bus is going through a number of high profile changes that, hopefully, will improve the company’s profile. But certain subsidiaries within the group may need much more work than others. One of these is likely to be First Edinburgh, Scotland, which requires major surgery to get the operations back into a healthy and profitable state. And not just there, in Glasgow and Aberdeen, too.
First Edinburgh already has some great people within the company, including some new young managers, one of whom is now actually traveling on the buses.
Unfortunately, there is no magic wand that can fix the issues that have plagued the company over the past decade. Some of the problems are also linked to decisions taken by its head office. First Edinburgh will need to consider:
- Fleet investment
- Size of the company. It has been suggested that it could be spilt (i.e. Borders and Edinburgh area, with Livingston, Linlithgow, Larbert and Stirling being the other area)
- The biggest problem of them all: the fares, which really are at the top level of the scale; and it’s not just the singles either, the day and weekly tickets along with zonal fares all need a close examination if not a complete overhaul.
This list seems an insurmountable one. On the plus side, because of the enthusiasm inside the Larbert head office, they’ve already made a good start in considering a number of ideas and the recent absorption of the Nordi Travel in West Lothian has taken First into new operational areas.
Of all the First subsidiaries to consider, First Edinburgh will be the most important benchmark. It will be interesting to take a look periodically over the coming year to see whether First is able to Transform its Edinburgh operations.
As for fares, First in its recent drive to improve matters had promised to consider these carefully. In recessionary Britain, it’s now between a rock and a hard place: cutting fares may seem appealing to those who use the service but is it a gamble too far, at the moment?