Western Greyhound

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Western Greyhound logo.png
Newquay Western Greyhound 982 WK11APF.jpg
Optare Solo at Newquay in August 2011
Founded January 1998
Defunct 13 March 2015
Headquarters Summercourt
Service area Cornwall
Devon
Depots 2
Fleet 65 (December 2014)
Chief executive Mark Howarth (1998 - 2014)
Michael Bishop (2014 - 2015)
Website www.westerngreyhound.com

Western Greyhound[1] was a Cornish bus operator based in Summercourt, that operated services in Cornwall and Devon from January 1998 until March 2015.

History[edit]

Plaxton President bodied Dennis Trident 2s at Newquay bus station in August 2011
ECW bodied Bristol VRT at Penzance bus station in April 2014
Plaxton Beaver 2 bodied Mercedes-Benz O814s at Newquay bus station in May 2013

Western Greyhound was established in January 1998 to take over the three vehicles and the contracts of Cornishman Coaches, whose owner was retiring. The new company's managing director was Mark Howarth who had previously managed Western National, the local Badgerline (later FirstGroup) operation, and he was joined by Robin Orwell who had also worked for Badgerline. Within a few weeks R&M Coaches, another local operator, also sold out to Western Greyhound which brought one more vehicle and an office near Newquay bus station.[2] This left one other independent bus operator in the town, Pleasure Travel Minicoaches, but this went out of business and the contracts were also taken on by Western Greyhound.[3]

The company expanded beyond contract and private hire work with their first public timetabled services on 14 December 1998. These two routes (592 and 594) were contracts awarded by Cornwall Council and were operated by three new minibuses. Further contracts were awarded in 2001, and double deck buses were added to the fleet to operate school routes relinquished by First Devon & Cornwall. Since then many more routes have been added to the network including some from Plymouth Citybus and DAC Coaches in the south east, and Hookways in the north. There have also been new routes instigated, such as Newquay to Bodmin, linking the two largest towns in the county hitherto not connected by bus, and a coastal route from Newquay to St Ives.[3]

The expanding fleet needed to operate these additional services saw the company move to a larger depot at nearby Summercourt. Initially it used established facilities there, but in 2004 a new purpose-built depot and offices were constructed. In the same year the old Newquay bus station was closed and replaced by a new facility. This is owned by Cornwall Council but is managed on their behalf by Western Greyhound, and their town centre shop was moved into new premises on the site.[3] The company maintains its bus stops and uses satellite tracking to monitor its fleet.[2]

In December 2014, the Liskeard based operations were sold to Plymouth Citybus with nine buses,[4][5][6][7] while the remainder of the business was sold to Michael Bishop.[8][9][10]

Depot fires[edit]

On 13 May 2013, a serious fire broke out at the company's Summercourt depot. The alarm was raised at just after 01:00. Strong winds fanned the flames which reached more than 50 feet (15 m) height; the fire was put out by 05:00. The fire service prevented it spreading to the workshops or offices and no one was injured. Investigations suggested it was an arson attack.[11][12] Thirty-four buses (about one-third of the fleet) were destroyed with a value in excess of £1 million.[13] Certain services had to be withdrawn or reduced in frequency for a while but a number of buses were hired in from other companies as short-term replacements.[14][15]

Buses were hired from Anglian Bus, Carmel Coaches, Arriva Midlands, Blackpool Transport, Nottingham City Transport, Norfolk Green, Summercourt Travel, Stagecoach South West and Stagecoach West.[13] All had been returned to their owners by the end of the year.[16]

Another arson attack at the company's Liskeard outstation in January 2014 destroyed three further buses.[17]

Cessation[edit]

Western Greyhound ceased trading on 13 March 2015 citing insurance and financial issues.[18][19][20] Western Greyhound's services were taken over by First Devon & Cornwall, Plymouth Citybus and Stagecoach South West.[21]

Area of operation[edit]

Western Greyhound was based at Summercourt in Newquay. It operated throughout Cornwall and into Devon, serving Plymouth, Okehampton and Exeter.[22]

From 2008 until September 2013 Western Greyhound operated the Truro park & ride service under contract to Cornwall Council. This passed to First Devon & Cornwall.[23][24]

Fleet[edit]

Blue liveried Mercedes-Benz Citaro at Truro railway station in October 2009

As at December 2014, the fleet consisted of 65 buses.[8]

Liveries[edit]

Most service buses were painted in a bright green livery. A large fleet name and a greyhound logo was applied in white. One Mercedes-Benz/Plaxton Beaver midibus (599) and an Optare Solo carried a silver livery for a while but in 2012 (599) was repainted into a grey livery to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee of Elizabeth II.[25]

Bright green had not always been the fleet livery. When the services were first introduced the main colour was pink. This was used for several years but when FirstGroup introduced a blue and pink livery to their buses in the area a decision was taken to change the buses to a green livery which was paler than the colour which was used at the end of the company lifespan.[2] The Citaros which used to be used on the Truro Park & Ride service were painted blue.[25]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Companies House extract company no 3388055 Western Greyhound Limited
  2. ^ a b c Millar, Alan (April 2010). "Mr Cornwall". Buses. Ian Allan. 62 (661): 32–35. ISSN 0007-6392. 
  3. ^ a b c A brief history of Western Greyhound
  4. ^ Go Cornwall Bus is launched Plymouth Citybus 8 December 2014
  5. ^ Latest News Western Greyhound 10 December 2014
  6. ^ Go Cornwall in Liskeard Bus & Coach Buyer 11 December 2014
  7. ^ Go-Ahead takes Western Greyhound Liskeard routes Bus & Coach Professional 11 December 2014
  8. ^ a b Western Greyhound deal safeguards 133 jobs Bus & Coach Buyer 18 December 2014
  9. ^ Bishop buys Western Greyhound business Bus & Coach Professional 19 December 2014
  10. ^ Troubled Western Greyhound bus firm sells rest of business Cornish Guardian 19 December 2014
  11. ^ Summercourt fire destroys 35 Western Greyhound fleet buses BBC News 13 May 2013
  12. ^ Third man arrested over Western Greyhound Summercourt bus depot fire BBC News 24 July 2013
  13. ^ a b Lidstone, John G (July 2013). "Fleet News". Buses. Key Publishing. 65 (700): 80. ISSN 0007-6392. 
  14. ^ Wilkins, Warren (15 May 2013). "Devastated". Newquay Voice. pp. 1–2. 
  15. ^ "Fire destroys one third of Western Greyhound fleet". Buses. Key Publishing. 65 (700): 80. July 2013. ISSN 0007-6392. 
  16. ^ Lidstone, John G (December 2013). "Fleet News". Buses. Key Publishing. 65 (705): 76. ISSN 0007-6392. 
  17. ^ Three Western Greyhound buses destroyed in arson BBC News 24 January 2014
  18. ^ "Western Greyhound bus firm ceases trading after insurance issues". BBC News. 13 March 2015. Retrieved 13 March 2015. 
  19. ^ "Inquiry launched after Western Greyhound ceases trading". Western Morning News. 13 March 2015. Retrieved 13 March 2015. 
  20. ^ "Western Greyhound bus company ceases trading". ITV News. 13 March 2015. Retrieved 13 March 2015. 
  21. ^ Replacement Western Greyhound services running from Monday 16th March Cornwall Council 17 March 2015
  22. ^ "Route map". Western Greyhound. Retrieved 27 May 2013. 
  23. ^ First to run Truro park and ride service from September West Briton 1 August 2013
  24. ^ Exciting new future for Truro Park & Ride First Devon & Cornwall 30 August 2013
  25. ^ a b Fleetlist Western Greyhound

External links[edit]