Author Topic: A2B Bus and Coach Ltd  (Read 7352 times)

Offline Palatine One

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A2B Bus and Coach Ltd
« on: October 07, 2017, 05:44:52 PM »
This new operator of service 7A between Babraham P&R and Whittlesford appears mainly using an ex-Stephensons ALX200 Dart still in their livery complete with "eyelashes" around the headlamps and a rather scrappy set of vinyls across the destination glass. Not exactly high quality.

However today in use was Andrews Y853GCD, an ex-Brighton Dennis Trident.

Offline Stamford

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Re: A2B Bus and Coach Ltd
« Reply #1 on: August 04, 2018, 11:56:47 PM »
Two former Abellio London E200s, LJ56VSX/VSY, have arrived via Ensign. At least one, still in red livery, has been in use on services 31 and 75.

Offline skyLink

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Re: A2B Bus and Coach Ltd
« Reply #2 on: August 05, 2018, 08:57:53 AM »
They also have a ex first 52 plate solo.

For a tiny company there trying hard. Good luck to them.
Kind regards
MR S

Offline cesar

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Re: A2B Bus and Coach Ltd
« Reply #3 on: August 05, 2018, 03:48:20 PM »
I am sorry to say that running buses in various 'as acquired' liveries without proper destination displays is not 'trying hard'. It is the result of tendering at a low price and then trying to run at an even lower cost in order to try and make a few bob......

Offline alanv

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Re: A2B Bus and Coach Ltd
« Reply #4 on: August 05, 2018, 05:08:54 PM »
The time scale was such that I suspect that a vehicle from Ensign was the easiest option.
As the contract is I assume only until next April when the responsibility passes from the County Council to the Mayor, short term thinking rules.
Also with councils like Northamtonshire and East Sussex axing non mandatory sending the future prospects are not bright.
As an aside does Cambridgeshire have a joint venture with Northamptonshire regarding the My Bus Trip app which provides passengers with free direct access to real time bus information via their mobile phones.

Offline skyLink

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Re: A2B Bus and Coach Ltd
« Reply #5 on: August 06, 2018, 12:24:32 PM »
I am sorry to say that running buses in various 'as acquired' liveries without proper destination displays is not 'trying hard'. It is the result of tendering at a low price and then trying to run at an even lower cost in order to try and make a few bob......

No worse than the "new whippet " then really.

But fair play taking the huge financial risk to give people a life line of a bus service.  And they seem to be getting passengers numbers up.
Kind regards
MR S

Offline cesar

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Re: A2B Bus and Coach Ltd
« Reply #6 on: August 06, 2018, 08:35:46 PM »
No worse than the "new whippet " then really.

But fair play taking the huge financial risk to give people a life line of a bus service.  And they seem to be getting passengers numbers up.

It's not a 'huge financial risk' if they tender a reasonable price..... It's their bid - no one is forcing them to quote that price!!

Offline skyLink

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Re: A2B Bus and Coach Ltd
« Reply #7 on: August 06, 2018, 09:50:20 PM »
It's not a 'huge financial risk' if they tender a reasonable price..... It's their bid - no one is forcing them to quote that price!!

Okay bud chill your beans. 
 I depends how you work out your quote by not just the route price but takeings of passengers.  And so forth. And being able to invest in better buses ie there new e200s with said profit. Also keeping in financial standing with the traffic manager.  And so forth. I'm going to leave it there as I feel I could say the sky is blue and you say it's yellow.
Kind regards
MR S

Offline bristolsrus

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Re: A2B Bus and Coach Ltd
« Reply #8 on: August 07, 2018, 05:46:57 PM »
On a slightly different topic now, has anyone seen any of the ex Whippet  Caetano bodied Dennis Dart SLF's lately ?    I know they sold one on, but I think that leaves them with two still in the
fleet.

Cheers

Chris

Offline Cheltonian

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Re: A2B Bus and Coach Ltd
« Reply #9 on: August 11, 2018, 07:16:49 PM »
They also have a ex first 52 plate solo.

EO02NFJ as seen at Trumpington Park & Ride today

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Celebrating over 56 years interest in Buses and Coaches

Offline Palatine One

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Re: A2B Bus and Coach Ltd
« Reply #10 on: August 19, 2018, 08:31:12 AM »
Working destination equipment and something approaching a consistent livery would be nice to see. You could be forgiven for thinking that the 7A and 31 are joint run by First and Ensignbus at the moment with that Solo and E200 running around.


Offline HughT

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Re: A2B Bus and Coach Ltd
« Reply #11 on: August 19, 2018, 08:41:10 AM »
I take your point. But I have a friend who lives in Newton and who is totally dependent on the bus service (topped up with the occasional lift - otherwise a taxi). She couldn't care about the livery - she's just delighted that the County Council managed to find an operator prepared to take on the contract. And that she still has a bus to take her to hospital and/or the shops in Great Shelford. (And remember, when Whippet gave up the 18 there were no takers originally for the contract, until A2B eventually stepped in...) Yes, smarter, newer vehicles would be nice, but at least these services are still operating.

Offline cesar

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Re: A2B Bus and Coach Ltd
« Reply #12 on: August 19, 2018, 02:38:51 PM »
The lack of destination equipment is actually breaking the law under PSVAR too.....

Offline L951MSC

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Re: A2B Bus and Coach Ltd
« Reply #13 on: September 17, 2018, 05:32:30 PM »
https://www.flickr.com/photos/busnutolly/43833233035/in/datetaken-public/

now re-painted into temporary livery (ish) and PSVAR compliant. No pleasing some people!!!

Online John Wakefield

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Re: A2B Bus and Coach Ltd
« Reply #14 on: October 13, 2018, 01:43:45 PM »
Good luck to Brian Clifford and his fledgling A2B Bus & Coach. he has stepped into the breach left by Whippet after they left Cambs County Council in the lurch by cancelling tendered services at a very short 1 months notice. Luckily A2B were able to step in at 2 days notice (it took time for CCC to re tender) and take on the 31 and 75 services.
Whippet I might add did not help matters by removing timetables and bus stop flags from these routes leaving passenger in a dilemma as to whether the services were still running.
« Last Edit: October 14, 2018, 07:57:05 PM by John Wakefield »

Offline gc_bus

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Re: A2B Bus and Coach Ltd
« Reply #15 on: October 14, 2018, 07:54:46 PM »
Well done A2B for stepping in at such short notice :-)

Online John Wakefield

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Re: A2B Bus and Coach Ltd
« Reply #16 on: October 15, 2018, 12:31:46 PM »
A2B Fleet

A2B fleet appear to currently be as follows:
KX57FMF
EO02NFG
LK03NKM
LJ56VSY
SN03WMP
NA52AWF

MX54KYN and YX60DXA are on SORN so look withdrawn
LJ56VSX is untaxed so looks withdrawn
LX51FGG scrapped 10/17


Offline L951MSC

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Re: A2B Bus and Coach Ltd
« Reply #17 on: October 16, 2018, 05:28:12 PM »
NA52 AWF is one of the smartest vehicles currently serving Cambridge...it's very shiny indeed!

https://flic.kr/p/29cwrfA

Perhaps it's also fair to point out that since A2B were awarded the contract, the 75 service from Wrestlingworth - Orwell - Cambridge has seen a huge growth in patronage...so much so I believe SN03 WMP was actually bought to cope with the extra pax onboard, what with it being such a large vehicle. Whippet never seemed to manage to make this service work but the peak journey's both directions often see a full bus now...proof it can be done and long may it continue.

Offline barryb

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Re: A2B Bus and Coach Ltd
« Reply #18 on: October 16, 2018, 10:02:59 PM »
I'm sure we all wish them only luck; which anyone trying to set up a bus operator in today's environment needs plenty of!

Offline Spoddendale

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Re: A2B Bus and Coach Ltd
« Reply #19 on: October 24, 2018, 11:20:17 PM »
ADL Enviro200 KX57 FMF was working service 7A through Sawston on Wednesday 24 October 2018.

David
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Online John Wakefield

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Re: A2B Bus and Coach Ltd
« Reply #20 on: October 26, 2018, 11:27:19 PM »
Sadly this 7A service despite a change of route to Trumpington P&R from Babraham Road is not seeing an increase in passengers.
Whittlesford residents in particular pushed for these changes but dont seem to be patronising it. Likewise its not attracting passengers to Waitrose from Sawston, Stapleford & Shelford despite the City7 not going through Trumpington so involves a transfer (and wait) for the Stagecoach 25 (Trumpington, Great Knighton, Addenbrookes circular), or walk from Addenbrookes Road. To make matters worse it does not pick up or set down between Gt Shelford (Tunwells Lane) and the P&R due to 'bulling tactics' by Stagecoach who threatened the Cambs County Council with cuts to the Citi 7 if stops were served along Shelford Road and Trumpington Road including Scotsdales garden Centre.

Offline steve

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Re: A2B Bus and Coach Ltd
« Reply #21 on: October 27, 2018, 07:19:38 PM »
To make matters worse it does not pick up or set down between Gt Shelford (Tunwells Lane) and the P&R due to 'bulling tactics' by Stagecoach who threatened the Cambs County Council with cuts to the Citi 7 if stops were served along Shelford Road and Trumpington Road including Scotsdales garden Centre.

Really? That's appalling, on Stagecoach's part. So much for a competitive bus market. Did they really think they'd loose that much business?

Perhaps if they appeared to be making any effort to run punctual buses people may be more inclined to use them. Better to concentrate efforts on things like that than petty disagreements like this.

Cutting the citi 7 any more would be shooting themselves in the foot. Again.

Offline cesar

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Re: A2B Bus and Coach Ltd
« Reply #22 on: October 27, 2018, 08:12:14 PM »
Nothing to do with Stagecoach really. Local authorities are not allowed to fund supported services which compete with commercial operations - 1985 Transport Act and subsequent legislation. Not only would it potentially undermine commercial routes, but would be an improper use of public funds.

Offline steve

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Re: A2B Bus and Coach Ltd
« Reply #23 on: October 28, 2018, 09:57:30 AM »
Nothing to do with Stagecoach really. Local authorities are not allowed to fund supported services which compete with commercial operations - 1985 Transport Act and subsequent legislation. Not only would it potentially undermine commercial routes, but would be an improper use of public funds.
But surely common sense should prevail. Routes like the 7A only exist, and are funded by the LA, to serve communities that commercial operators don't. There are always going to be overlaps with commercial routes on a small number of bus stops.

Although the funding source is different, look at how the U overlaps with commercial routes between the station and Addenbrooke's - and actually competes because of it's frequency.

A prime example of how the current network doesn't serve the market well. Operators and local authorities should work together to enable more passengers to use the bus rather than engage in tilt-for-tat arguments that just confuse people.

Online John Wakefield

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Re: A2B Bus and Coach Ltd
« Reply #24 on: October 28, 2018, 10:11:41 AM »
But surely common sense should prevail. Routes like the 7A only exist, and are funded by the LA, to serve communities that commercial operators don't. There are always going to be overlaps with commercial routes on a small number of bus stops.

Although the funding source is different, look at how the U overlaps with commercial routes between the station and Addenbrooke's - and actually competes because of it's frequency.

A prime example of how the current network doesn't serve the market well. Operators and local authorities should work together to enable more passengers to use the bus rather than engage in tilt-for-tat arguments that just confuse people.

Exactly, that's why Bus Franchising must come into Cambridgeshire, routes set an controlled by LA with cross ticketing, profitable services will subsidise the non profitable. This also gives the small operator like A2B a 'bite at the cherry' without being hassled by the big boys like Stagecoach. If Stagecoach dont like the system then they should move on and leave space and opportunity for the smaller independents.

Offline cesar

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Re: A2B Bus and Coach Ltd
« Reply #25 on: October 28, 2018, 03:41:42 PM »
Exactly, that's why Bus Franchising must come into Cambridgeshire, routes set an controlled by LA with cross ticketing, profitable services will subsidise the non profitable. This also gives the small operator like A2B a 'bite at the cherry' without being hassled by the big boys like Stagecoach. If Stagecoach dont like the system then they should move on and leave space and opportunity for the smaller independents.

Ah. So if the 'profit' from the profitable routes goes to support the unprofitable, I take it the operators running the network on behalf of the authority will be doing so for nothing? Or will Council tax go up to pay for it? Not to mention paying for the bureaucracy of the tendering process, the (inevitable) new vehicles required, and the political hobby-horses (cheaper fares for various categories etc etc).  The magic money tree strikes again......!!

Online John Wakefield

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Re: A2B Bus and Coach Ltd
« Reply #26 on: October 28, 2018, 04:25:22 PM »
Ah. So if the 'profit' from the profitable routes goes to support the unprofitable, I take it the operators running the network on behalf of the authority will be doing so for nothing? Or will Council tax go up to pay for it? Not to mention paying for the bureaucracy of the tendering process, the (inevitable) new vehicles required, and the political hobby-horses (cheaper fares for various categories etc etc).  The magic money tree strikes again......!!

No. With franchising the council put out all the routes for tender and it is up to the bus company to put in a price that will enable them to run the service, buy and maintain vehicles, pay drivers and make a 'reasonable' profit. Stagecoach have been 'hiving off' the lucrative routes and making vast profits for their shareholders, The local authority (LA) 'shareholders' are us the council tax payers. As I understand it fares go to LA but terms may differ as with the current tendered services, and any profits would go into the council coffers.
« Last Edit: October 28, 2018, 04:35:02 PM by John Wakefield »

Offline cesar

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Re: A2B Bus and Coach Ltd
« Reply #27 on: October 28, 2018, 08:05:08 PM »
No. With franchising the council put out all the routes for tender and it is up to the bus company to put in a price that will enable them to run the service, buy and maintain vehicles, pay drivers and make a 'reasonable' profit. Stagecoach have been 'hiving off' the lucrative routes and making vast profits for their shareholders, The local authority (LA) 'shareholders' are us the council tax payers. As I understand it fares go to LA but terms may differ as with the current tendered services, and any profits would go into the council coffers.

I'm not here to support Stagecoach. However in the last set of accounts available at Companies House (year ending April 2017), Cambus Ltd made a profit before tax of circa £8.5m on a turnover of £56m - that's about 15%. (Cambus includes more than just Cambridge, but it's the lowest level breakdown publicly available). Forget for a moment that a chunk of that goes in tax to HMRC. Is that too high? How much would a contracted operator(s) want as a return to run the network? Remember that staff would TUPE across so pay rates etc would be unchanged. How much resource and how many staff would the authority need to design and tender and monitor the network?  London operators are typically on margins of 5-6% but research by TAS has shown that as buses are generally procured through operating lease, the costs go 'above the line' - so costs go up, though margins appear lower.

Online John Wakefield

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Re: A2B Bus and Coach Ltd
« Reply #28 on: October 28, 2018, 11:21:08 PM »
I'm not here to support Stagecoach. However in the last set of accounts available at Companies House (year ending April 2017), Cambus Ltd made a profit before tax of circa £8.5m on a turnover of £56m - that's about 15%. (Cambus includes more than just Cambridge, but it's the lowest level breakdown publicly available). Forget for a moment that a chunk of that goes in tax to HMRC. Is that too high? How much would a contracted operator(s) want as a return to run the network? Remember that staff would TUPE across so pay rates etc would be unchanged. How much resource and how many staff would the authority need to design and tender and monitor the network?  London operators are typically on margins of 5-6% but research by TAS has shown that as buses are generally procured through operating lease, the costs go 'above the line' - so costs go up, though margins appear lower.

Maybe, but something has to change and Mayor Palmer has stated that he is in favor of bus franchising. The fact is if nothing is done then bus services will degenerate to a few Stagecoach operated commercial routes with villages cut off.
Cross ticketing must be a major factor, as the public are put off by having to pay twice if their journey requires two or more  different operators. Smaller bus companies like A2B have lower overheads, and with a level playing field maybe some of the other operators Dews, Millers, Greys & Youngs etc may be tempted to tender for some routes along with Whippet. Dont forget these companies (Dews, Millers, Greys, Youngs) are mainly into school contract, rail replacement & private hire work so may be tempted into some stage carriage routes in between if the price is right. Dews are already doing a number of CCC tendered services.
I would think that there would be some money from central government to get the system up and running, and as the LA will (or should be) a not for profit organisation then £8 million would go some way towards subsidising the rural services.
« Last Edit: October 29, 2018, 08:35:46 AM by John Wakefield »

Offline dwarfer1979

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Re: A2B Bus and Coach Ltd
« Reply #29 on: October 29, 2018, 08:57:04 AM »
Maybe, but something has to change and Mayor Palmer has stated that he is in favor of bus franchising. The fact is if nothing is done then bus services will degenerate to a few Stagecoach operated commercial routes with villages cut off.
Cross ticketing must be a major factor, as the public are put off by having to pay twice if their journey requires two or more  different operators. Smaller bus companies like A2B have lower overheads, and with a level playing field maybe some of the other operators Dews, Millers, Greys & Youngs etc may be tempted to tender for some routes along with Whippet. Dont forget these companies (Dews, Millers, Greys, Youngs) are mainly into school contract, rail replacement & private hire work so may be tempted into some stage carriage routes in between if the price is right. Dews are already doing a number of CCC tendered services.
I would think that there would be some money from central government to get the system up and running.
Except that none of the authorities talking about franchising are suggesting tendering routes individually (very expensive to administer for the council) but tendering a few large packages of routes (cheaper to manage for the council but the packages will be too large for any of the smaller operators you suggest).  If they haven't been tempted to tender under the current regime where individual routes are available often not packaged together and with no wider requirements why would they be interested in tendering for larger packages of routes with all the attendant costs that are being suggested (technological, vehicular and the general data monitoring that comes with these sort of council managed solutions).
There has been no suggestion from any side that any money will be made available to set up a franchising system, London is showing that even in a major city with all the attendant volume that entails a franchised system cannot work without extensive subsidy (TfL is struggling for funds, cutting services all over the place and hamstrung by political promises that were unaffordable when they were made and more so in the changed circumstances of overrunning major projects elsewhere hitting revenue & reductions in outside subsidy to the system).  Plus franchising doesn't materially affect the amount of money the operators are looking for, there is a difference in the profit margin between London & the deregulated provinces but much of that can be put down to the different way the source vehicles (London operators lease against a contract so the money is deducted before the publicly announced profit, most of the big operators in the provinces buy buses outright so the money is deducted after the publicly announce profit that everyone sees) and most operators are making a pittance of a profit and not the massive margins that some make out (The Stagecoach Cambus figure is about as good as it gets and would be considered a worryingly poor figure in most other industries).  No-one pushing for franchising has been able to explain how they would fund it (other than via claimed excess profits that everyone knows don't exist) and when Tyne & Wear got as far as formally proposing a franchising regime they had to admit there was a high chance they would run out of money before the first contract term had completed and they had no plan B of what to do then (I assume they would hand it over to the operator but they would have driven out all the local knowledge & commercial acumen and be left with contracting specialists who are already showing themselves incapable of running commercial businesses without guidance making the situation so much worse).
As to the original point that kicked off this discussion, the non-competition of subsidised services covers full routes not a shared stretch of road, there are very few places where anyone else has taken that view on a local service (it sometimes sits on contracts coming in to an out of authority city from a long way away) but occasionally they are historic remnants if the old stopping limitations that some country services had that the council never felt the need to remove (we had one on a contract we gained and we simply didn't include it in the registration of the service and so that clause in the contract disappeared.  There are a number of reasons why a council may have put in stopping restrictions along sections of a contracted route and unless we have a firm reason it is best not to throw too many accusations around.