Yesterday, Go Ahead announced that its new Plymouth City Bus managing director would be none other than the commercial director of Stagecoach South West, Richard Stevens. That’s not just an interesting appointment but a good one. Quite a catch, in fact. Stevens has worked well at Stagecoach, culminating with the pending take-over of First’s North Devon operations from nothing, back in 2006.
Furthermore, Stevens has worked as a manager and then director at First Devon & Cornwall, so not only will he know the Plymouth area, he will know how the opposition ticks. Not that the opponents are quite the same as they were during his stint, lasting till 2004. For one thing, First Devon & Cornwall actually posted modest profits back then. With the recent award of Cornish tenders, though, First nevertheless seems to be on a bit of a fight back.
The vacancy was created by the departure of Andrew Wickham back to Go South Coast as MD there. Till the end of the month, Wickham’s still holding down both jobs. He completes his short Plymouth tenure with the introduction this month of ten brand new Volvo/Wrightbus B7RLEs plus, beforehand, a rebranding, staffing changes and important service changes. And expect more Volvos in the future. The Wrightbus Eclipse 2s are a first for Plymouth and they look fine with their deep red fronts, a little stately, somewhat redolent of the Cheltenham District maroon of old, perhaps. Rather like at Wilts & Dorset, Citaros might have been the better option for City Bus had Mercedes only been able to customise the inside to Go Ahead’s satisfaction. And Citaros come with a fuel consumption penalty, of course.
Plymouth City Bus has adopted the W&D 2+1 seating arrangement for its 10 new Volvos and, like W&D’s similar new arrivals, the single seats are now over on the off-side. Though W&D continues to prefer fabric over leather, City Bus has gone for a rich red rawhide
At one stage, there was a plan to appoint a Plymouth general manager to report to Wickham at Towngate House, Poole. But, there’s more to do at Plymouth. And certainly plenty in the in-tray at Towngate House for Wickham to concentrate on, enough to keep him rather busy...