Xplore Dundee

Xplore Dundee[1] (formerly branded as National Express Dundee) is a bus operator based in Dundee, Scotland operating services mainly within Dundee City. It is a subsidiary of National Express.

Xplore Dundee
An Enviro400 in the current green livery
ParentNational Express
Founded1997
HeadquartersDundee
Service typeBus services
Fleet117
Chief executiveChristine McGlasson
Websitewww.nxbus.co.uk/dundee

History

The company has its origins in the Dundee and District Tramways Company, which commenced horse tram operations on 30 August 1877. Steam traction was adopted in 1885. On 1 June 1899, the company was compulsorily acquired by the local municipality to become Dundee City Tramways, which was electrified between 1900 and 1902.

From 1922, motor buses began to be operated in addition to the trams. The tram system continued to be extended until 1933. But by 1956, the trams had been fully replaced by buses and the company renamed Dundee Corporation Transport.[2]

Local government reorganisation meant that the bus operation passed to Tayside Regional Council in May 1975. In spite of the change of name, the council's bus operations were confined to the Dundee area.[3] The livery was changed from green to dark blue, light blue and white.

In preparation for bus deregulation in October 1986 it was restructured into a separate legal entity[4] and in 1991 sold in a management buy out. In February 1997 it was sold to National Express and rebranded Travel Dundee.[5][6] The livery changed again, this time to blue, red and white.

Travel Greyhound was the coaching subsidiary which offered a range of coaches and buses for hire. Greyhound Luxury Coaches used to be a trading name for TD Alexander and Sons,[7] who commenced operations in 1960. The business was acquired by Tayside Public Transport on 13 August 1990, and re-branded Tayside Greyhound. The Greyhound brand is no longer in use.[8]

Travel Dundee had been a contractor to Scottish Citylink form many years. However, shortly after the formation of a joint venture between Citylink and Stagecoach in November 2005, Travel Dundee's services ceased. They were reinstated at short notice from 9 January 2006 when extra journeys were added to route M91 from Perth direct to Edinburgh. In May 2006, Travel Dundee commenced operating journeys on route M90 Perth - Kinross - Dunfermline - Edinburgh. Citylink ceased for the third time in September 2008, as part of a review of coaching activities. [9]

In November 2007 National Express announced plans to re-brand all of their operations under a new unified National Express identity[10] with Travel Dundee rebranded as National Express Dundee in October 2008.

In June 2015, it was announced that the business would be rebranded as Xplore Dundee with a green livery resembling that of Dundee Corporation Transport introduced.[11][12][13][14] The rebrand occurred on 11 September 2015.

Fare structure

The single fares were previously calculated according to the number of fare stages that you pass through with fares split into three categories 1 stage, 2-3 stages or 4+ stages. Now short hop fares (valid for one fare stage) and max singles (two or more fare stages) are used for single journeys. There are discounts for children and young people.[15]

A range of multi-use fares are available including daysavers and their own travelcards which are available for 1-week, 4-week and 52-week periods of validity. Group and evening tickets are also available. Contactless payments were introduced in 2019, and discounts are in place for customers purchasing m-tickets on the Xplore Dundee app.

Routes

The company operates a number of urban routes, their numbering system has similarities to other National Express UK Bus subsidiaries with school routes indicated with the suffix - S, the use of suffix letters - A, B, C and D, as well as the use of the prefix.[16]

Vehicle types

Xplore Dundee have a fleet of 115 single and double decker buses, most being from Volvo. Some vehicles have come from other National Express operators in the West Midlands and from the now sold operation in London.

From 1997 to 1999, shortly after National Express took over, Travel Dundee received 30 Wright Liberator bodied Volvo B10Ls and 25 Wright Renown bodied Volvo B10BLEs. In 2004, the fleet was upgraded with 18 new Wright Eclipse Gemini double-deckers.

Xplore Dundee, then National Express Dundee, bought 29 new Wright Eclipse Urban 2-bodied Volvo B7RLE in 2011 and 2012 which were used to replace older vehicles.

In 2013, the company received its first nine Alexander Dennis Enviro 400 hybrid buses, partly funded by the Scottish Government Green Bus Fund.[17]

In 2018, 14 brand new Alexander Dennis Enviro400 MMC buses arrived to operate on route 22. These buses are branded Emerald and have USB ports and free Wi-Fi onboard.[18] These were introduced on 2 December 2018, with a follow-up order of 9 announced in November 2019.[19]

Subsidiary companies

Travel Wishart

Travel Wishart provides rural bus and coach services in the county of Angus, from its base in Friockheim. The operation previously traded as G&N Wishart and was the last remaining division of National Express in the Travel series of brands. In 2013, the Travel Wishart operating licence was sold to new owners. It operated a fleet mainly used for coach day-trips.[20]

Xplore More

Xplore More (previously branded as NXDiscovrit) operates coach trips and excursions[21], as well as the X90 Dundee to Edinburgh Airport Express service, which was launched in Summer 2019.[22]

References

  1. "National Express Xplore Dundee". nxbus.co.uk.
  2. "'Dundee's trams era was magical'". Evening Telegraph. 14 October 2016. Retrieved 10 September 2017.
  3. David G Wilson, Buses of Eastern Scotland 2nd edition Manchester 1981
  4. Companies House extract company no SC098156 Travel Dundee Limited formerly Tayside Bus Company Limited
  5. Stewart J Brown, Buses in Britain, London, 1993
  6. Peter White, Bus and coach deregulation and privatization in Great Britain, with particular reference to Scotland, Journal of Transport Geography, Vol. 6, No. 2, pp. 135-141, 1998
  7. Companies House extract company no SC037778 TD Alexander and Sons (Scotland) Limited
  8. D J Slater, Major PSV Operators 4: Scotland and Ireland Birmingham 1991
  9. Dundee Area Bus Directory, Second Edition - Spring 2009, by Susanna Scott. ISSN 2041-0735
  10. New Identity for National Express Group National Express corporate news 15 November 2007
  11. It's a fresh new look for Dundee's green bus company Archived 5 September 2015 at the Wayback Machine National Express Dundee 27 June 2015
  12. "Xplore Dundee" Coach & Bus Week issue 1198 15 July 2015 page 7
  13. "National Express Dundee" Buses issue 725 August 2015 page 85
  14. "National Express takes Dundee back to the early 1970s" Buses issue 726 September 2015 page 7
  15. "Xplore Dundee Tickets and Prices". nxbus.co.uk. Retrieved 10 November 2019.
  16. "Dundee Bus Routes | Information | National Express Xplore Dundee". nxbus.co.uk. Retrieved 10 November 2019.
  17. "Bosses buzzing after Dundee takes delivery of electric buses - The Courier". 16 April 2013.
  18. "Emerald: Your New 22 | News | National Express Xplore Dundee". nxbus.co.uk. Retrieved 10 November 2019.
  19. "New fleet of low-emission Xplore buses to arrive in Dundee next year". Evening Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 10 November 2019.
  20. "Travel Wishart". Archived from the original on 25 May 2013. Retrieved 28 April 2013.
  21. "Xplore More Coach Hire". www.xploremore.co.uk. Retrieved 10 November 2019.
  22. "Xplore Dundee launches direct bus service between Dundee and Edinburgh Airport". Evening Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 10 November 2019.
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