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Stagecoach set to take on local rival’s bus services

STAGECOACH has agreed to acquire the south Devon operations of rival First Group, including its Plymouth bus depot and outstations at Dartmouth and Tavistock.
Following completion of the deal, expected on September 6, the operation and around 250 staff, will transfer to Stagecoach.
It includes the transfer of the Dartmouth Park and Ride contract operated by First Hamp­shire and Dorset. Vehicles are not included in the acquisition.
The sale is conditional on the implementation of a new network of bus routes that has been submitted to the Traffic Commissioner and will now go through the 56-day registration process.
Alex Carter, managing director of First South West, said: ‘Despite the focus on services and the hard work of everyone in South Devon, unfortunately the business has underperformed for a number of years.
‘I’m pleased we’ve negotiated an agreement to sell and therefore help protect jobs and key services. The sale does not, in any way, reflect the commitment of our employees in the area who have worked tirelessly to provide the best possible service to local communities.’
He added that First would continue to operate its services as normal until September 5.
First Devon and Cornwall has started a consultation process with the 255 staff currently employed across the business.
First Group, which has its South West regional headquarters in Plymouth, operates services linking Ply­mouth with Saltash, Dart­mouth, Torpoint, Tavistock, and Plymstock with a fleet of about 100 buses.
Stagecoach has said that following the consultation period, staff will transfer to Stagecoach South West under employee rights protection arrangements.
Bob Dennison, managing director of Stagecoach South West, said: ‘This acquisition will allow us to further expand our successful bus operations in the south west of England where we currently employ around 1,000 staff and operate around 310 vehicles over 136 routes across Devon and into Somerset and Cornwall.’
* An evening bus service between Brixham and Dartmouth is being brought back by Stagecoach – but only during the three days of the Port of Dartmouth Royal Regatta from Thursday, August 27, to Saturday, August 29, when thousands of visitors are expected.
Torbay Council confirmed that Stagecoach has registered bus route 18X with a double decker to operate on Thursday, Friday and Satur­day of regatta week only from Brixham Town Square to Kingswear Banjo via Churston and Kennels Road.
Outbound buses will leave Brixham Town Square stand A hourly from 8.30pm to 11.30pm, while inbound buses will leave Kingswear Banjo hourly from 9pm, with the last one at midnight.

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