First SW expands commercially

First South West has revealed more plans to expand commercially in Devon, Cornwall and Somerset by developing its Truronian coach business, launching several new leisure services and developing a new partnership with Truro & Penwith College to operate its substantial student network commercially 

Its Back Better 21 campaign includes new routes across two national parks and recovers lost ground in Plymouth, Tavistock, Exeter, Lynmouth, Looe and Polperro.

Subject to government restrictions being eased, its new Dartmoor Explorer, rebranded Land’s End Coaster and enhanced Atlantic Coaster services (Buses March) will start on 16 May, when it also intends to introduce an hourly hop-on/hop-off Discover Exeter open-top tour with commentary using two 22-year-old Plaxton President-bodied Dennis Tridents cascaded from First’s Bright Bus Tours operation in Edinburgh and painted in a gold livery.

First opened a new Exeter base last September after winning college contracts; its former base closed in 2000. Independent operator Red Bus Services ran a similar tour in the mid-1990s before selling out to Stagecoach which ran it for one further season using a closed-top bus. The separate Big Red Bus Company later attempted a City Sightseeing-branded open-top tour in 2007 but it did not last long.

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