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Greyhound retrenches with major cuts

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First's UK Greyhound express coach operation, launched in 2009, has been cut back with the ending of the services between Glasgow and London and between London and the south coast. The Glasgow service, which was a 2011 rebranding of the existing Nightflyer overnight route, ceased at the end of September. The service to Portsmouth and Southampton will stop in mid November. That leaves just one Greyhound-branded service, running between Cardiff and Bridgend. This was formerly the Shuttle 100, but was given the Greyhound name in 2010.

Marc Reddy, First's regional commercial director for the south-west and Wales, says: "We'll be ending our Greyhound UK services between London and the Solent on 17 November. Unfortunately, these services are not seeing sufficient passenger numbers and therefore we've reached the difficult decision to withdraw the buses from the routes.”

In Scotland, Ronnie Park, managing director of First Glasgow, notes: "The ongoing recession has had a detrimental effect on passenger numbers, while the high price of fuel and other increasing costs have put added pressure on the service and regrettably it is no longer sustainable." The Glasgow to London service was originally operated by Silver Choice of East Kilbride, and was taken over by First Glasgow in 2009.

When the first Greyhound service was launched in September 2009 First's then chief executive Moir Lockhead said: "By providing these services at an unbeatable price, and doing so with the carbon footprint around 23 per cent of journeys by private car, we think we will really make an impact on how people will travel in the future."

Although the UK Greyhound's tail is between its legs, First says that it “will look at any other new opportunities as they arise”. The services are operated by refurbished 2006 Scania Irizars.

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