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(07 Aug 2021, 5:54 pm)L469 YVK Wrote: I agree with Martijn. GNE could easily sit around and not invest in marketing, vehicles and branding. They could also not cut routes to "keep the small minority of punters" happy. But at what cost? Would that be sustainable in the long term? 

To put it in a context (and I do have some sympathy to an extent), the only decent deckers Arriva Northumbria have are the 17 plate Sapphires at Ashington and probably the 14 plate Sapphires if they haven't been shot regularly standing in on the Alnwick / Berwick 'X' routes. The youngest decker at Blyth depot (where some of their alleged 'goldmine' routes run from) is soon to be 10 year old! 

Arriva might be making a profit but at somepoint, the old vehicles that "do just fine" and "at least turn up" will need replacing. Where will Arriva / DB get the capital from and how can they sustainably replace them?

If anything, Arriva could take a leaf out of GNE's book and actually run a sustainable operation that's customer friendly too and even deliver some benefits. Prime example being a restructure of the X7/X8/X9/X10/X11. If Arriva somehow replaced the southern part of the X8 and introduced a new 'X' for the Northern part eventually combining with the X10/X11 between Cramlington and Newcastle, that would be an instant win with faster journeys.

Arriva's business model is seemingly to buy a vast number of buses over a couple years, run them for their life span and then replace them, whereas the GNE model is one of a continually modernising fleet with x buses in the door replacing x buses out the door each year. If you think back ANE had Prestiges, Darts, Olympian's etc running around at the end of their service life and then from 2008 through 2012 they underwent a massive fleet replacement with Solo', Pulsars, Temsa's and Gemini's (supplemented by a couple Streetlite and E400 orders in 2014/15).

Undoubtedly GNE's method is the best for passengers meaning fewer people are having to use old buses, while ANE's might work out best from a business point of view, with a number of years on the trot making a profit by not having to invest in any new vehicles. It will be very interesting to see what happens later this decade when Arriva's fleet comes up for renewal once again!

As for the service changes, you do have to hand it to GNE for trying out different things, but at the same time a lot can be said for stability. While a brand new route with a sparkly new bus is all well and good, it's maybe less appetising if 12 months down the line it's going to change route and end up being shafted with older vehicles.
(07 Aug 2021, 7:33 pm)Storx Wrote: There's nothing wrong with the DB300's at Blyth and there's not much difference age wise between them and the 100 or so B5TL's/B9TL's which are between 11 - 63 plate at GoNorthEast which won't be going nowhere anytime soon.

Stagecoach is the one you should be targeting about old battered fleets. There's battered MAN's running around on flagship services every day which are much much much worse than the Arriva Northumbria fleet.

If your making a profit, it's probably not in your best interest to copy a bus company which isn't making a profit. Change the X8 and X9 by all means as they probably are going to struggle at some point but I'd leave the X7, X10 and X11 alone there's nothing wrong with them.
Big difference between the DB300s and B9TLs. B9TLs are a heavier vehicle thus will last as long as Leyland & Volvo Olympians did. Arriva were running 1997 P4** CCU Palatines until 2012/2013.

Stagecoach......completely different type of work to Arriva. To be fair to your comment, they could do with some "cleaner" buses on key routes. But in terms of vehicle quality and performance, the majority of their work is the likes of rata****g up and down Shields Rd & Blackett Street. Arriva's work is interurban / suburban and needs a higher quality vehicle. GNE have recently ordered StreetDecks but will no doubt have sensible plans after 5-7 years to cascade them to "easier" routes.

Fair enough, Arriva are making a profit but how long can they "sustainably" keep making a profit? Blyth's DB300s, Ashington's 64 & 15 plate E400s and the B7TLs dotted around will need replacing on a large scale and at significant cost. Arriva Northumbria (based on pre March 2020 service levels) need to cut their PVR by around 10-15 vehicles.
Live update from MG yesterday:

Head to the ZEBRA thread in the Bus Ops area of the forum to see the conversation so far on the EV bid.
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