FirstGroup gave Greyhound UK a high profile launch three years ago, but the cash-strapped company has decided to withdraw all but one service

FirstGroup has pulled the plug on its high profile Greyhound UK coach operation between London and the South Coast.

The move comes as the group considers radical steps that will enable it to pay down its £2bn debt mountain and restore investor confidence following the cancellation of the Intercity West Coast rail franchise competition.

It was in the summer of 2009 that FirstGroup invited the media to a specially-erected marquee by London’s Tower Bridge to announce that it would bring its iconic Greyhound brand across the Atlantic to the UK.

The first routes, linking London with Portsmouth and Southampton with 40 daily departures, began in September 2009, using coaches refurbished to a high specification. However, expansion was limited and new services linking London with Bournemouth, Winchester and Glasgow were later dropped.

From November 17, Greyhound’s original London-Southampton/Portsmouth services will also be withdrawn. Four vehicles are currently allocated to these services.

“Unfortunately, these services are not seeing sufficient passenger numbers and therefore we’ve reached the difficult decision to withdraw the buses from the routes,” explained Marc Reddy, regional commercial and business growth director for First Bus in the South West and Wales.

After November 17, the only remaining Greyhound UK service will be the “successful” Swansea-Cardiff route, which was rebranded as a Greyhound service in September 2010.


This article appears in the latest issue of Passenger Transport. Click here to subscribe.