… And What Has Changed?

The news of the take-over of GoCoach by Hulleys was something of a surprise, but, at least officially, both are going concerns with good management. 
The sale of its Central and East Scotland business by First was an even bigger shock as, outwardly at least, the business looked sound. There was good branding …

…and bright cheerful publicity.

It all looked better than some parts of First’s rapidly diminishing empire.

Then came the sale to McGills, followed very quickly by McGills total withdrawal of its services in the West Lothian area where competition from Edinburgh City buses was strong. The second tranche of withdrawals came this last weekend.

Or were they? McGills give a general explanation.

From Sunday 3rd December the following are WITHDRAWN – 21, 23, 25, 26.
SD Travel and Scottish Citylink will be taking over the sections of services 21 and 23 which were financially supported by West Lothian Council/SPT, and Lothian Country are introducing a number of new services to provide replacements in many other areas.
Then McGills give the services with “updated timetables” …

which do not exist! Poor!

Clearly the West Lothian bit of McGill’s purchase was a poor deal. Other notes explain that the remaining West Lothian routes will be branded Midland Bluebird, So the historic Eastern Scottish brand …

… disappears off to that distant hunting ground in the sky where well known bus companies remain as a pure enthusiasts nostalgia. McGills was over-optimistic in its self belief and, despite noble efforts, could not change First’s declining fortunes.

But the core of the business seems sound.

 F ollowing
 F irst’s
 F ailure in
 F alkirk
fbb will examine some of the Falkirk area routes in more detail later; but, for the time being, a comparison of both operators’ route maps may help us see what McGills have done with its newly acquired business.

The best fbb can offer is a very rough comparison between First’s 2018 route map (still on-line, of course) and the latest Falkirk map from McGills web site. Some of the changes may well have been made by First before their capitulation.

The broad-brush conclusion is that  McGills are running much the same network as First did.

In each case the First map is reproduced first, followed by McGills.

Langlees to Hallglen 5 –


Redding and Maddiston 1 –


The complicated northern suburbs 6/7/8 –


Falkirk Wheel (area) 6/7/8 – UNCHANGED (MOSTLY?)

Hmmm. It looks as if something has happened to the service to The Wheel. That was a change from McGills.

Overall it would appear that McGills have maintained the First Bus network and we do know that the new incumbent has been quick to give the area a new image.

Which begs the question.

Are McGills making money where First didn’t, even in Falkirk. And if McGills are making money on the same network as First, why did First sell up?

Ah? The deep and impenetrable mysteries of the commercial model of bus operation continues to baffle!
And whatever happened to the Loop?
Tomorrow we look at part of the wider Falkirk network in more detail!
From Genesis Chapter 12 to Chapter 50 the Bible narrative covers, in some detail, the lives of ancient tribal leaders (the tribes are ancient, the leaders become ancient and die!). Bible scholars call this “The Age of the Patriarchs” 
Patriarchs =

 F aithful
 F ather
 F igures

The story also begins to move into a recogniseable place in History. Of course, bigger tribal areas (slowly becoming nations) would show little interest is a gang of wanderers with a weird religion; but the context of the Patriarchs is sound.

In the Bible, Abraham’s family, part of a tribe known as the Habiru (Hebrew), left Ur at a time of “ethnic cleansing” by the city authorities in Ur. They left to live as nomads and wandered round the fertile crescent of Mesopotamia to present day Israel and then to Egypt and back to Israel. Archaeology maps similar migrations.

The nomadic life is much the same in 2023!

Abraham’s son, Isaac, was a less active character; but he became famous for his well-digging, to the thirst-quenching advantage of the nomadic peoples.

Isaac’s son Jacob features in neighbouring records as Jaqob-El (Jacob of the One God).

Joseph, one of Jacob’s 12 sons (and a daughter) found his way to Egypt (without a coat of f many colours – a mis-translation) where he became big cheese.  Here is his embroidered “favourite son” cloak!

This happened at a time in history when Egypt was welcoming immigrant labour with notable skills to grow their economy. (Sounds familiar!). Joseph then brought his family yo Egypt where they settled in an area called Goshen.

Relatively recent archaeology has unearthed the settlement at Goshen, hitherto believed lost (or even mythical!)

But there is a very simple common theme in these extensive narratives. 

It went like this …

Do it God’s way and you will be OK.
Ignore God and try 
other philosophies
and you will be in trouble.

… and still does!

 Next G ABC blog : Thursday 7th December 
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