Post by snoggle on Dec 26, 2017 11:29:05 GMT
It is quite alarming seeing just how much of the Berks & Thames Valley division has been cut in recent years, first you had their Bracknell Depot close, the Slough network overall last year, the recent Slough service reductions, the 702 withdrawal, next month's upcoming Slough withdrawals... Wouldn't be surprised if the RailAir service was next to get the chop!
In the meantime, it's good to see Reading Buses stepping in and providing a service where First has pulled out, with a host of potential operators within the remit of Slough that could take on anything else, if wanted that First gives up on.
Without knowing too much on the subject, I hope that Slough doesn't end up being another First Northampton story!
I'm sorry to say that this is an all too familiar story with First Group. I suspect part of the problem is that whoever is in charge lacks imagination and drive. It is not as if the operation has not had some investment in new vehicles but I think that was under a previous manager. They've done the usual rubbish thing of changing routes over and over and renumbering them and breaking links and then they wonder why they lose patronage. Obviously there are some issues on routes that run into Greater London or Heathrow which require more expensive, environmentally compliant vehicles but they can't argue that Slough does not have potential for good services and decent profits. With the advent of Crossrail there is massive potential to provide good bus services that link with the better rail service. It is also likely that more people would come to Slough once it is on the "Tube Map" in 2019. In that respect Reading Buses may well be being very clever in getting a foot in the door. I certainly would not be shocked to see Reading Buses do something very clever about being able to accept Oyster / contactless Cards in Reading and agreeing a special "London + Crossrail + Reading" daily cap pricing with TfL. Doing the same in Slough and / or Windsor would be clever too. Obviously we shall see what transpires but, to me, it would be typical First Bus to be walking away at a time when the potential for growth is greatest.