Changes to Stagecoach bus routes across Exeter and East Devon are being planned in a bid to make services more reliable.
A public consultation over proposals – aimed at simplifying the network, offering earlier and later journeys to meet shift patterns and to improve reliability of connections – has been launched.
The firm will review timetables for routes linking Exeter with Cranbrook, Exmouth and Sidmouth.
Mike Watson, interim managing director of Stagecoach South West, told a meeting of the Exeter Highways and Traffic Orders Committee in January: “If you have increased congestion and slower traffic speeds, then it requires more resources to run the network.
“This is all about getting services to be more reliable and so they don’t have to cross the city.
“It should simplify the network and there is enhancements as well, with early morning journeys out towards Lidl and Amazon and the Route A will run every 10 minutes.”
Councillor Olwen Foggin said she was pleased that Stagecoach was trying to improve the reliability, adding: “People say what’s the point of catching a bus as they never turn up?”
THE PROPOSED CHANGES – with East Devon routes in bold
- School holiday timetable to possibly be introduced on A, B, D, E, F1/F2, H, I, J, K, T, L, R, S routes to improve journey times pre 10am due to lower traffic volumes in school holidays;
- Earlier journeys to cater for workers at Lidl distribution, Exeter Airport, rail stations and the upcoming Amazon distribution centre will be introduced;
- Route 1 Exeter • Tiverton – review of timetable to improve reliability;
- Route 2 Exeter • Newton Abbot – review of timetable to improve reliability. Potential of late journeys on a Saturday night. Potential improvement of Sunday frequency to half-hourly over summer months;
- Route 4 Exeter • Cranbrook – review of timetable to improve reliability;
- Route 5/5A/5B/5C Exeter • Crediton – review of timetable to improve reliability;
- Route 6 Exeter • Okehampton • Bude – potential to curtail some journeys at Okehampton. Working with Devon County Council on finalised proposals;
- Route 7/7A Exeter • Newton Abbot – review of the timetable to improve reliability;
- Route 9 Exeter • Sidmouth – review of the timetable to improve reliability;
- Route X38 Exeter • Plymouth – journeys to and from Exeter to potentially be curtailed at Ivybridge with connection on Gold to Plymouth;
- Route 39 Newton Abbot • Exeter – review of the timetable to improve reliability. Sunday service diverted to serve Haldon Forest from Easter and discussion about serving race course on race days;
- Route 55 Exeter • Tiverton – renumber 3, 3A, 3B, 3C. Review of the timetable to improve reliability;
- Route 56 Exeter • Airport • Exmouth – review of the timetable to improve reliability. Consideration of earlier journeys to airport;
- Route 57/N57 Exeter • Exmouth – review of the timetable to improve reliability.
- Route 58/58C/257 Review of the timetable to improve reliability.
- Service 222 Dawlish Warren • Teignmouth – reintroduced for the summer season from week commencing April 5 until September 19;
- Red P&R Honiton Road • Exeter – review of timetable to improve reliability.
- Green P&R Sowton P&R • Exeter city centre • Matford P&R – review of the timetable to improve reliability;
- Route A Alphington • Exeter • Thornpark Rise – review of the timetable to improve reliability. Re-establish a 10-minute frequency during the day on Monday to Fridays;
- Route B Stoke Hill • Exeter • Dawlish – Review of the timetable to improve reliability and terminate at Exeter Bus Station. Union Road to be covered by the F1. Route L to cover Pinhoe to Exeter section;
- Route D University • Digby – consultation to split route D. Main section to operate every 15 minutes between St Lukes and the university. Quarry park Road and Pynes Hill to be covered by potential new service H2 (see below);
- Route E/F1/F2 Exwick- Exeter- Savoy Hill – review of route in Exwick and Savoy Hill. Potential frequency reduction. Services E/F to become E1/E2, and splitting of route – operating as a circular between South Street and Exwick E1 via Redhills and E2 via Farm Hill every 20 minutes each way round. F1 will operate from Sidwell Street to Union Road, Prince Charles Road, Lancelot Road and savoy Hill. F2 will operate it’s normal route to Summerway from Sidwell Street both every 20 minutes;
- Route H St David’s • Hospital • Digby – the service will operate every 15 minutes from St David’s to RD&E, then every 30 minutes to Digby, hourly via Broadfields and hourly via Pynes Hill;
- Route I/J/K Monkerton • Digby • Exeter • Countess Wear • Topsham – review of the timetable to improve reliability. Service I/J increased to 15 minutes daytime. Service K will be revised to operate between Sidwell Street and Tithebarn Green/ Science Park every 20 minutes Route to operate along Pinhoe Road. Whipton Barton will be served by I/J;
- Route L Pinhoe • Exeter • Crossmead – review of the timetable to improve reliability. Option to be considered to operate between South Street and Pinhoe every 20 mins. Withdrawn from EDF Energy site (still served by Red P&R, 4 and 56) as is the extension to Crossmead (still served by P);
- Route R/S Exeter • Rifford Road – review of timetable to improve reliability.
The consultation runs until the end of February.
Mr Watson said that Stagecoach had already received around 50 responses, adding: “We are keen to gather as much feedback as possible from the public as they are at the core of everything we do.
“We see our bus network as something that is malleable and can be influenced by all we can work with.
“For us, it is about adapting to change in a positive way that we can.”
Asked whether fares would be increasing as well, Mr Watson said the company has to invest more money to run services on a slower and more congestion network, and this will cost more.
But he added: “If you put the fares up by too much, then you lose passengers, so I will have to treat this with a degree of care.”
Questions were also asked if there were any struggles with buses getting down narrow roads with cars parked on either side.
Mr Watson said: “We do struggle with cars parked on narrow lanes and there are countless examples and we have to put up with it, until someone is parked in the wrong place and the service gets held up.
“There has got to be a bit of society addressing it in some ways, but it is like whack-a-mole – you address it in one street and then it pops up in another.”
Consultation responses can be emailed to email@example.com or sent in the post to Stagecoach South West, Route Consultation Plan, Matford Park Depot, Matford Park Road, Exeter, EX2 8FD.