Plaxton President bodied Dennis Trident 2 at St Ives bus station in May 2012
ParentAscendal Group
Founded1919
HeadquartersSwavesey
Service areaCambridgeshire
Service typeBus services and National Express
DestinationsCambridge
Huntingdon
St Neots
Fleet45 (November 2019)
Websitewww.go-whippet.co.uk

Whippet,[1] formerly Go Whippet, is a bus and coach operator based in Swavesey, Cambridgeshire, England.

History

Former Go Whippet logo
Former Go Whippet logo
Plaxton Centro bodied Volvo B7RLE on the Cambridgeshire Guided Busway on the opening day 7 August 2011
Plaxton Centro bodied Volvo B7RLE on the Cambridgeshire Guided Busway on the opening day 7 August 2011
Northern Counties Palatine bodied Volvo B10M in St Neots in March 2012

Whippet Coaches was founded in Huntingdonshire by bicycle salesman Henry Lee in 1919. The first Whippet coach was converted from an American ambulance.[2]

Originally based in the village of Hilton, they moved into a depot at Fenstanton in 1977. In 2009 the company sold these buildings to Stagecoach in The Fens and moved to a depot at Swavesey. In November 2014, the business was sold to Transit Systems, the parent company of London bus company Tower Transit.[3][4] In October 2018, Go Whippet was sold to the Ascendal Group, owned by Tower Transit's former CEO Adam Leishman.[5][6]

Whippet used to operate some summer only services to the coast. These have been running in various forms from 1957 up to 2013, and ultimately served Great Yarmouth, Lowestoft, Felixstowe, Clacton-on-Sea and Southend-on-Sea.

Current operations

As at November 2019, Whippet has a fleet of 45 vehicles[7] buses are run in parts of north Cambridgeshire, including town services in St Neots, and the company also operates a few school and college contracts.

Contracts

In 2014 Whippet started as a contractor for National Express, and in 2016 started operation of the University of Cambridge's Universal service.[8]

In the summer of 2018, Whippet unexpectedly withdrew several services in Cambridgeshire, leaving council contracts to other independent operators.((cn|date=July 2020} Whippet no longer do national express work,(due to nat ex reducing services due to COVID)... But currently working long distance services on behalf of flixbus. Victoria to Bradford via Meadowhall and Leeds.. Bristol.. Derby via Leicester.. Swansea via Cardiff


Cambridgeshire busway

From 7 August 2011 until 9 November 2018, Whippet operated service C on Cambridgeshire Guided Busway from Somersham to Cambridge city centre on the section between St Ives and the Cambridge Science Park. This was being run in conjunction with Stagecoach in the Fens (who ran routes A and B) who jointly with Go Whippet had exclusive use of the route for a period of five years in exchange for providing a minimum service frequency between 07:00 and 19:00 each weekday.[9] Whippet spent a total of £420,000 on three Plaxton Centro bodied Volvo B7RLE buses[10] that have been sold since and replaced by four Wright Eclipse bodied Volvo B7RLEs.

Whippet launched a new bus service route U (for Universal) in Cambridge in July 2016, running originally from Madingley Road Park & Ride (now: Eddington) via West Cambridge to Addenbrooke's Hospital. It is subsidised by the University of Cambridge and replaced the Uni4 service, formerly operated by Stagecoach in Cambridge.[8] The service was rerouted between Cambridge railway station and Cambridge Biomedical Campus via the southern part of the Busway, starting 3 December 2016, after delivery of seven Wright Eclipse bodied Volvo B8RLEs fitted for use on the guided busway.[11]

On 21 June 2017 at approximately 15:48, a Cambridgeshire Guided Busway service, operated by Whippet, derailed near the entrance to the busway at Cambridge railway station. It was travelling towards Addenbrooke's Hospital. The bus crashed into a wall, with damage sustained to the driver's position but there were no serious injuries.[12] Whippet initially blamed cyclists for the accident saying that they had caused the driver to swerve to avoid them.[13] They later deleted those tweets, apologised to the cyclists and dismissed the driver for causing the crash by travelling above the speed limit on the entry to the busway.[14]

Service C between Cambridge and St. Ives was withdrawn at the end of 9 November 2018, leaving all bus operations on the northern section of the guided busway to Stagecoach East and ending Whippet's services in the St. Ives area.[15][16] Service U continues running on the southern section from Cambridge Railway Station to Addenbrooke's Hospital. In addition to service U, in February 2019, Whippet launched a service P (for Pedigree), using the B7RLEs which previously operated on the C, between Cambridge City Centre and Addenbrooke's via the Guided Busway, thus duplicating Stagecoach's A and D services on this section. Service P lasted six months before being withdrawn in August 2019.[17]

References

  1. ^ Companies House extract company no 520428 Whippet Coaches Limited
  2. ^ "About Us". Retrieved 17 September 2014.
  3. ^ Lee family completes sale of Whippet buses to Aussie firm Hunts Post 18 November 2014
  4. ^ Tower Transit adds Go Whippet Coach & Bus Week 18 November 2014
  5. ^ "Whippet confirmed as part of Ascendal Group" (1364). Coach & Bus Week. 16 October 2018. p. 8.
  6. ^ "About Us". Whippet. Archived from the original on 15 September 2019. Retrieved 13 December 2018.
  7. ^ "Fleetlist". Retrieved 6 November 2019.
  8. ^ a b Universal bus service links West Cambridge to Cambridge railway station University of Cambridge 29 June 2016
  9. ^ Menzies, Bob (26 November 2008). "Guided Busway – Your Questions Answered". BBC Cambridgeshire. BBC Online.
  10. ^ Elliot, Chris (1 February 2010). "Operators hit out at costly hold-ups to guided busway". Cambridge News. Archived from the original on 21 September 2012. Retrieved 2 February 2010.
  11. ^ Changes to route U from 3 December 2016 Go Whippet
  12. ^ "Driver hurt in Cambridge guided busway crash". BBC News. 21 June 2017. Retrieved 23 June 2017.
  13. ^ Starnes, Anna (21 June 2017). "Guided busway driver crashed after 'swerving to avoid cyclist'". cambridgenews. Retrieved 23 June 2017.
  14. ^ "Speeding Cambridgeshire guided bus crash driver sacked". BBC News. 21 June 2017. Retrieved 3 October 2018.
  15. ^ "Whippet deregisters Cambridgeshire Guided Busway route". Coach & Bus Week. 9 October 2018. Archived from the original on 29 November 2018.
  16. ^ "Mum of son with learning disability 'shocked' after Whippet bus he relies on is cancelled". Cambridge Evening News. 10 October 2018. Retrieved 14 November 2018.
  17. ^ "Whippet News". Go Whippet. Retrieved 29 December 2019.