Future of the ‘Big Three’

34 Replies, 1665 Views

(06 Jan 2022, 8:48 am)54APhotograph Wrote: Arriva have been on the market for three years, DB want rid of all of it, Bus, Trains the whole shooting match. The big problem is valuation. While it may look like an attractive proposition to Transdev in enthusiast eyes, it isn't. The fleet is ageing and needs massive investment, very possibly more in £s than the actual worth of the shares. Running a company down to the bone is never a good way of selling, despite that being ever so often the case.

Is the valuation argument not an old pre pandemic old one. The pandemic will definitely have put things on hold , maybe things will start moving now. 

In relation to the ageing fleet comment,   I have read in the forums that Arriva has a tendency to run its buses into the ground before replacing them.   Again, due to the pandemic, surely it would make sense to pause any investment in new buses until it could be seen what the long term effects would be. Now that we are coming out of the other end (?) we are now talking about service & PVR reductions.  In which case you have to look at the fleet of the whole group.  Fleet reductions made from the end of life buses and buses redistributed around the country.  No new buses required at the moment. No need to mothball buses that haven’t reached end of life. Maybe the potential attractive financial incentives from the government to aid post covid recovery are worth waiting for.  Surely that is financially sensible. 

There is more to the companies valuation than just buses.  There is the infrastructure and trained workforce to consider. Also the value of any contracts held, and the routes already ran. The start up costs to create a network from scratch would be prohibitively high. 

Having said all that, I won’t argue that DB are bleeding Arriva dry
Stagecoach. While Newcastle and Sunderland maybe doing ( or the busways side of things ) the Hartlepool and Stockton side ( Transit side of things) seem to be getting nothing. Have heard from various people that the recent investment at Stockton in 2019 of the Enviro 200 MMC are been swapped with older Man’s from Newcastle while Hartlepool fleet is mostly falling to bits. So while on paper Stagecoach might be doing well with the merger with National Express they clearly don’t have any budget to buy new buses resulting in Stockton and Especially Hartlepool having fleets with the majority of buses been 16 - 18 years old. So clearly they is something not right.

Arriva. Owners don’t care and clearly don’t want to invest. They more bothered about trying to get rid completely and want as much as possible for it by selling the lot in one go instead of the more sensible approach of selling bits off separately.

Go North east. While they do invest they doing it to paper over the cracks it seems. Constantly changing services it seems constant repaints and pointless rebrands and completely giving up on the south of the region with only the X10 covering the south of the region now. Darlington and Hartlepool completely forgotten about and buses on certain services getting upgrades then downgraded within a year it does seem they don’t have much of a clue with what they doing. Despite the opportunity to expand in the south of region and link up with East Yorkshire they seemingly have decided against that.

So all 3 companies seem to not really know what they doing and at the moment it seems nothing will really change this year if anything things might get worse and not better. Hopefully I be proved wrong though.
Are there going to be any changes from the Stagecoach/National Express merger?

Arriva isn't really much use as they only have the 553 to Wallsend and no Metrocentre service. Be good to see investment and rebranding under new ownership.

Go North East isn't doing very well, repaints and rebrands, upgrades and downgrades, it's crazy.
(09 Jan 2022, 11:09 pm)OrangeArrow49 Wrote: Are there going to be any changes from the Stagecoach/National Express merger?

Arriva isn't really much use as they only have the 553 to Wallsend and no Metrocentre service. Be good to see investment and rebranding  under new ownership.

Go North East isn't doing very well, repaints and rebrands, upgrades and downgrades, it's crazy.
Is the success of operators in the region determined by serving Wallsend and the Metrocentre?
(09 Jan 2022, 11:27 pm)peter Wrote: Is the success of operators in the region determined by serving Wallsend and the Metrocentre?
Yes and you're nothing if you don't serve Kingston Park, so Arriva must be bad!
(09 Jan 2022, 11:27 pm)peter Wrote: Is the success of operators in the region determined by serving Wallsend and the Metrocentre?

I just meant they are no use on their own as they don't serve 2 key areas (despite having a Gateshead service and North Tyneside services) the 553 is a good start for a Wallsend service and they could run a service via Metrocentre.
(10 Jan 2022, 12:27 am)OrangeArrow49 Wrote: I just meant they are no use on their own as they don't serve 2 key areas (despite having a Gateshead service and North Tyneside services) the 553 is a good start for a Wallsend service and they could run a service via Metrocentre.

Eh? 

First off, I'd hardly define the MetroCentre as a key area in the current climate. 

Second, by that logic Stagecoach are screwed because they don't serve any of Northumberland or Durham, and GNE have no chance due to only having one service to the mighty Kingston Park.
(10 Jan 2022, 12:42 am)mb134 Wrote: Eh? 

First off, I'd hardly define the MetroCentre as a key area in the current climate. 

Second, by that logic Stagecoach are screwed because they don't serve any of Northumberland or Durham, and GNE have no chance due to only having one service to the mighty Kingston Park.

Hence why I travel GNE. 


My point was serving part (Gateshead and North Tyneside) and Metrocentre and Wallsend make sense within that network.

Arriva running a service to Wallsend more regularly and serving Metrocentre, I would probably use Arriva sometimes for Tynemouth, North Shields, Whitley Bay, Killingworth, Wallsend, Metrocentre, Gateshead, Gosforth and Fenham etc.
(06 Jan 2022, 4:59 am)streetdeckfan Wrote:
Quote:It obviously must be cheaper for them to outsource the running of the NatEx services or they would have already been running them by themselves. I can't imagine it being immensely profitable for GNE?



As far as i am aware the NX unit based out of CLS is the most profitable unit at the depot since the unit has been scaled back massively since lockdown, Not many vehicles and drivers anymore also with the core routes running now i.e 426/133/172 and very little in the ways of delays or cancellations due to vehicles not being available(quite common pre-lockdown), also with the unit receiving a few awards from NX since services came back in 2021 I personally can’t see GNE losing any contract with NX anytime soon.
(10 Jan 2022, 12:51 am)OrangeArrow49 Wrote: Hence why I travel GNE. 


My point was serving part (Gateshead and North Tyneside) and Metrocentre and Wallsend make sense within that network.

Arriva running a service to Wallsend more regularly and serving Metrocentre, I would probably use Arriva sometimes for Tynemouth, North Shields, Whitley Bay, Killingworth, Wallsend, Metrocentre, Gateshead, Gosforth and Fenham etc.
Actually, Arriva serve quite a big area of Wallsend. The 51/51A serves north Wallsend to Newcastle / Whitley Bay and the 306 /308 serve the Coast Road corridor and Battle Hill. GNE, Stagecoach and the Metro serve the town centre and Howdon pretty well I would say.
(10 Jan 2022, 12:51 am)OrangeArrow49 Wrote: Hence why I travel GNE. 


My point was serving part (Gateshead and North Tyneside) and Metrocentre and Wallsend make sense within that network.

Arriva running a service to Wallsend more regularly and serving Metrocentre, I would probably use Arriva sometimes for Tynemouth, North Shields, Whitley Bay, Killingworth, Wallsend, Metrocentre, Gateshead, Gosforth and Fenham etc.

Neither Metrocentre or Wallsend would make sense in that network. Wallsend to Newcastle is already served by Go North East, Stagecoach and the Tyne and Wear Metro. Where is the business case for yet another operator to do introduce a similar route?

Metrocentre hasn't had a direct Arriva service from Newcastle since around 2009/10. Admittedly, I would have pushed for an Arriva service from Newcastle to Metrocentre back then as I would have assumed some passengers might have used the 602 after alighting at the Haymarket. However 13 or 14 years have passed and Arriva haven't been in any hurry introduce a replacement suggesting that through travel was minimal at best. This left Arriva with only one service to the Metrocentre, the X24 from Durham, which was withdrawn around 6 years ago (perhaps sooner) due to low usage. To summarise, there doesn't seem to be much of a business case to serve Metrocentre either.

Fenham doesn't have much of an Arriva service either. If we are classing the West Road as Fenham, the Arriva frequency of the 685 is approximately once every two hours. Can't see many people sitting around waiting for that, can you?
(10 Jan 2022, 12:18 pm)MurdnunoC Wrote: Neither Metrocentre or Wallsend would make sense in that network. Wallsend to Newcastle is already served by Go North East, Stagecoach and the Tyne and Wear Metro. Where is the business case for yet another operator to do introduce a similar route?

Metrocentre hasn't had a direct Arriva service from Newcastle since around 2009/10. Admittedly, I would have pushed for an Arriva service from Newcastle to Metrocentre back then as I would have assumed some passengers might have used the 602 after alighting at the Haymarket. However 13 or 14 years have passed and Arriva haven't been in any hurry introduce a replacement suggesting that through travel was minimal at best. This left Arriva with only one service to the Metrocentre, the X24 from Durham, which was withdrawn around 6 years ago (perhaps sooner) due to low usage. To summarise, there doesn't seem to be much of a business case to serve Metrocentre either.

Fenham doesn't have much of an Arriva service either. If we are classing the West Road as Fenham, the Arriva frequency of the 685 is approximately once every two hours. Can't see many people sitting around waiting for that, can you?

All I'm saying is that I travel GNE because they serve everywhere I go, whether I need a North Tyne, Purple or All Go Zones ticket it's one ticket for at most £7 (currently £6 with summer discounts still in place) cheaper than nearly £8 for just Tyne and Wear on multiple operators (which I'd nearly always need if using SNE or Arriva).

Quite surprising I haven't travelled with Arriva in 16 years! 

Arriva does kind of cover Wallsend I suppose and I guess the Metrocentre isn't too important these days. But still if using 1 operator it has to be GNE, maybe on certain occasions just Arriva or GCT. The business case is one ticket with convenient travel options for customers. 

The West Road is partially Fenham and has the 685 and the 47 serves Fenham at the old Newcastle General Hospital site. Waiting around doesn't happen, it's called planning and working around the available services.
(10 Jan 2022, 12:18 pm)MurdnunoC Wrote: Neither Metrocentre or Wallsend would make sense in that network. Wallsend to Newcastle is already served by Go North East, Stagecoach and the Tyne and Wear Metro. Where is the business case for yet another operator to do introduce a similar route?

Metrocentre hasn't had a direct Arriva service from Newcastle since around 2009/10. Admittedly, I would have pushed for an Arriva service from Newcastle to Metrocentre back then as I would have assumed some passengers might have used the 602 after alighting at the Haymarket. However 13 or 14 years have passed and Arriva haven't been in any hurry introduce a replacement suggesting that through travel was minimal at best. This left Arriva with only one service to the Metrocentre, the X24 from Durham, which was withdrawn around 6 years ago (perhaps sooner) due to low usage. To summarise, there doesn't seem to be much of a business case to serve Metrocentre either.

Fenham doesn't have much of an Arriva service either. If we are classing the West Road as Fenham, the Arriva frequency of the 685 is approximately once every two hours. Can't see many people sitting around waiting for that, can you?

Makes no sense having a service with Arriva from up here to the Metro Centre. Anyone wanting to go there will drive otherwise it's a waste of time. The bus would run through Newcastle and there's no reason to choose the Metro Centre over Newcastle there's nothing there which you can't get in Newcastle so there's no reason to really go there. I'm sure there was a couple of special services from here direct at one point as a trial X50 rings a bell and it failed miserably but I could be making that up.

There's also a train from aswell which does the service which is much quicker if your near it at Morpeth or Cramlington.

The very few times I have done it, it's easier to get the 20 buses or whatever it is from Eldon Square and fork out the extra as it's a one off trip.

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Also no-one wants to go to Wallsend. Even people from Wallsend don't want to go to Wallsend it's not hard to change to the Metro if you really need to get there.
This is very quickly becoming service suggestions... could we leave that for the appropriate threads, and bring this discussion back to the topic: 'Future of the 'Big Three''
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(11 Jan 2022, 9:44 am)Adrian Wrote: This is very quickly becoming service suggestions... could we leave that for the appropriate threads, and bring this discussion back to the topic: 'Future of the  'Big Three''

No prizes for guessing how that happened eh?