The home of anything and everything to do with transport in and around Plymouth for SIXTEEN years
Life has pretty much on hold for everyone at for what seems likes ages but it now looks like things will soon slowly start to open up again.
First South West are planning to come back with a whole host of new leisure services across Cornwall and also back into parts of Devon with the new Dartmoor Explorer especially being very keenly awaited.
Hopefully things will start to get a bit more active here on PT too as I complete my 16th full year of Plymothian Transit!

©did by graham

Plymouth Citybus Open Toppers

17 October 2021

Local news

There is nothing to report for the usual weekly Devon & Cornwall Transit edition this weekend so  there just a few bits of news to catch up from the local operators over the last week

Plymouth Citybus

Monday 25th-Friday 29th October is half term for our city’s schools, which means fewer people will be travelling by bus.

Our normal school day only services won’t be running over this week. We will also be reducing the frequency on some of our more frequent routes, as we know there will be a reduced demand.

Services that will be adjusted over the half term week from Monday to Friday are:

8 & 9

Running every 15 minutes instead of every 10

21

Running every 15 minutes instead of every 10

43

Running every 30 minutes instead of every 20

50 & 51

Running every 30 minutes instead of every 20

Services 50 and 51 will change slightly, starting and ending at Royal Parade instead of Derriford Hospital, so if you want to continue through the city centre, you will need to change buses.

All services will return to their standard timetable after half term, and the half term timetables will be available on the website soon.

More worrying…

For the safety of our passengers and drivers we will not be serving Park Avenue, Devonport after 7pm in the evening.

Buses have been on the receiving end of attacks over the last couple of evenings. Shattering a number of windows.

These incidents are now in the hands of the Police.

Buses will divert in both directions using Albert Road - Devonport Road - Fore Street.

Passengers for all services that would use the Granby Way Bus Stop, will need to use Fore Street.

Passengers for all services except the 34 that would use the UTC Bus Stop, will need to use Albert Road.

Service 34 will still serve the UTC and Torpoint Ferry in both directions.

This is likely to be for a number of nights. We will give an update on Monday 18th October.

We are sorry for any inconvenience this causes, but the safety is our number one priority here.

Stagecoach

We are pleased to confirm there will be no industrial strike action in Exeter, Torbay and North Devon on Monday 18th October.
Following constructive discussions with RMT, the decision to implement industrial action has been suspended and services in Exeter, Torbay and North Devon will run as per our current timetables.
Due to a driver shortage there may still be some service cancellations on the day but please keep up to date by checking our latest service updates here:
We apologise for any inconvenience caused by this uncertainty and we assure you we have been working tirelessly in an effort to avoid such disruption

Plym Valley Railway

October 30-31st Join us for our two day Halloween Weekend packed fill of scary surprises!!

Saturday & Sunday daytime will see the following:

~ Hourly Steam Service

~ Games and Activities for Children

~ Spooky Decorated Train

~ Dress up and travel with us!

Fares:

£8.00- Adult Return

£5.00- Child Return

Trains Depart Marsh Mills at: 11:00, 12:00, 13:00, 14:00, 15:00, 16:00

Saturday Evening- Story of the Lost Driver

A narrated frightful story story told on board the train. Learn one of the railway's well known tales as the sun sets at the railway. There is no such thing as ghosts?? mwahaha

Fares:

£30- Table of 4

Trains Depart Marsh Mills at: 18:00, 19:00, 20:00

10 October 2021

Devon & Cornwall Transit 2021: Week 40

It is time for the usual weekly look back on what has been published on the Registered Local Bus Services site over the last week. As always click through for more details including timetables and maps. Its a lot quieter again…

Exe Valley Market Bus have cancelled two of their services

Taw & Torridge – the 300 is cancelled at the end of the season

First Wessex made timetable changes last week

Totnes & Rural Community Transport (BOBs Bus have registered a service that runs for a week in October and December – No mention of what this is on their web site yet. (KEVICC – King Edward VI Community College)


 Licence Route Start Point End Point Effective NotesOPERATORTimetable
CB001622/B0259 2 Oakford South Molton Market 30-Sep-2021 Cancellation Accepted EXE VALLEY MARKET BUS
CB001622/B260 3 Oakford Barnstaple Bus Station 30-Sep-2021 Cancellation Accepted EXE VALLEY MARKET BUS
PH0004727.023 300 Ilfracombe, St James Place Gardens Lynmouth, Lyndale Car Park 31-Oct-2021 Cancellation Accepted TAW AND TORRIDGE COACHES LTD
CB001929 KEVICC KEVICC Ashburton KEVICC Ashburton 22-Oct-2021 New service: Operates 22 to 30 October 2021 and 18 to 24 December 2021  TOTNES & RURAL COMMUNITY TRANSPORT
PH0006159.414 X51 A1 Bridport Coach Station Axminster Rail Station 03-Oct-2021 Temporary timetable variation due to Coronavirus FIRST HAMPSHIRE & DORSET LIMITED T001516

No other changes due this week that I am aware of… I did say it was quiet!

07 October 2021

Devon Bus Back better Bid

Ambitious proposals to upgrade bus services and cut fares across Devon and Cornwall have been unveiled.

Devon County Council’s ruling cabinet when they meet on Wednesday is recommended to approve a £34 million bid to the Government under its post-Covid improvement programme, Bus Back Better.

The proposals will form part of a major public consultation exercise to be launched in Devon in November, which aim to make buses cheaper to use, greener, more frequent and more reliable.

A report on the bus service improvement plans is also set to go before Plymouth City Council’s cabinet on Tuesday, but no agenda papers for the item have yet been published.

The plans are being developed in partnership with Devon's bus companies, to would expand the "Devon Bus" brand to develop a common identity for the bus network in the county, including inter-available ticketing.

And recognising that travel patterns do not match local authority areas, Devon County Council is working with neighbouring local authority transport teams.

Working with Cornwall Council, Plymouth City Council and Torbay Council, they have already highlighted improvements to cross border connections and possible collaborations for fare initiatives, while they are holding similar discussions with Dorset Council and Somerset County Council for the eastern side of Devon.

An additional £7.5 million could also be spent on bus priority measures to speed up journey times in the main urban areas like Exeter, Exmouth, Barnstaple and Newton Abbot and improving bus stops and other infrastructure in the rest of the county.
Devon County Council's cabinet member for climate change, environment and transport, Cllr Andrea Davis, said: "The County Council has always been a strong supporter of public transport and we managed to maintain financial support for our buses when other councils were cutting funding.
"This is an exciting and ambitious opportunity to put local bus services at the heart of the future transport network in Devon and offer a real alternative to private transport which will enhance the County Council's commitment to be net carbon neutral by 2030.

"Buses are the main form of public transport in Devon. They provide services to a large range of people, many of whom don't own cars or have any other means of transport.

"The opportunity to bid for this extra Government funding will provide a quantum leap in how the bus service operates in the future."

She said improving local services would go hand in hand with cutting fares and that would create a virtuous circle.

"If we can make bus travel better value it becomes a more attractive option which can only lead to an increase in passenger numbers," she said.

Dave Black, head of planning, transportation and environment, in his report to the cabinet, added: "The County Council has remained a strong supporter of public transport and maintained financial support over a number of years.

"It welcomes the opportunities the National Bus Strategy brings to build on our commitment and looks forward to being able to improve the network in the future.

"The recommendations and suggested improvements set out in this document are an exciting and ambitious opportunity to put local bus services at the heart of the future transport network in the County and offer a real alternative to private transport."

BUS SERVICE IMPROVEMENTS

Improvement to rural services

· Provision of at least four return journeys Monday to Saturday for all communities with a population of over 500.

· Exploration of alternative models of delivery including Demand Responsive Transport (DRT), expansion of Fare Cars or fixed routes

Evening and Sunday services

· On improved inter urban and city corridors; a service of at least three journeys per evening and on Sunday.

· Expansion of hourly night-time services for routes carrying over 2 million passengers per annum

Inter-urban services

· Improvements to services identified in the Exeter Transport Strategy up to a maximum frequency of 15 minutes.

· Other services into Exeter to gain an additional journey per hour, plus those to strategic towns such as Barnstaple, Newton Abbot or Plymouth currently carrying over 100,000 passengers per annum.

City and town services

· Towns with a population of 20,000 to gain an additional journey per hour if carrying over 100,000 passengers per annum.

· Towns with a population of between 5,000 and 15,000 to gain a minimum provision of an hourly off-peak service.

Devon “Lynx” services

· Strategic links improved between centres of population.

· Better connections with the strategic rail and coach network.

Proposed Devon Lynx services

· Exeter City early morning/late evening services to East of Exeter growth point

· New service from Tiverton and Cullompton to the East of Exeter growth point

· New service from Exmouth to the East of Exeter growth point

· More direct Bideford to Exeter journeys

· More direct Seaton to Exeter journeys

· A strategic link between Barnstaple, Holsworthy and Tavistock (for connections to Plymouth)

· A through service between Bude, Bideford and Barnstaple (working with Cornwall Council)

· A new strategic link between Barnstaple, South Molton, Bampton and Taunton

· A new strategic link between Bideford, Barnstaple, South Molton and Tiverton Parkway

· An improved hourly 155 service between Barnstaple, Tiverton and Exeter

· Improved hourly X38 between Exeter and Plymouth (forming part of Ivybridge to Plymouth 15-minute frequency)

· New Newton Abbot to Plymouth service (also forming part of the Ivybridge to Plymouth improvements)

· Increase to the 7 service between Newton Abbot and Exeter to every 30 minutes (and to serve the new developments along the route)

· New strategic link between Ilfracombe and Taunton via Lynton

· Improve the frequency of the 20 service between Honiton and Taunton and extend the journey to Taunton railway station

· A new strategic link between Cullompton and Honiton railway station

· A new strategic link between Bigbury, Modbury and Ivybridge railway station

· A new Ivybridge, Plympton to Derriford Hospital service

· A new summer leisure service between Newton Abbot, Dartmeet and Tavistock

· Summer leisure service between Ilfracombe and Lynmouth

· Summer Saturday service between Exeter, Tiverton and Minehead

Rail enhancement and links to railway services, as with improvements on the rail network such as the opening of the new rail station at Marsh Barton and the full time reopening of the Okehampton line, the council wishes to give increased opportunities for a seamless integrated journey

Okehampton

· Service 118 will operate to Okehampton Station from its opening, providing a link to Lydford, Brentor and Tavistock. When the train service increases to hourly it is recommended that all journeys serve the Station

· We will also explore links to from Tavistock to Bere Alston to link with the Tamar Valley line

· We will work with Cornwall Council to explore improved frequencies from Launceston, Bude and Holsworthy

· A new link from Hatherleigh will be examined and costed

· When the West Devon Transport Hub (Okehampton East Parkway railway station) opens this will open up more opportunities

Axminster

· Earlier and later journeys and Sunday service from Seaton via Colyford and Colyton

· Subject to discussion with Dorset Council, examine earlier and later journeys to Lyme Regis

Barnstaple

· A new 2245 Barnstaple - Ilfracombe journey to connect with the 2233 train arrival and reduce waiting time for travel to Pottington, Braunton and Ilfracombe

· Examine and cost extension of certain journeys on rural service to Combe Martin, Lynton and Woolacombe to the station

· Examine and cost extending service town service from Whiddon Valley to the Station

Bere Alston

· Explore options for better links to Tavistock and on to Okehampton station

Crediton

· Local journeys to operate via the station for onward rail connections to Exeter, Barnstaple and Okehampton

Dawlish

· Improved frequency on local service will improve connections

Honiton

· Earlier and later journey from Sidmouth to Honiton station

· Later journey connecting to Ottery St Mary

· New strategic service from Cullompton

Ivybridge

· New Strategic links from Bigbury and Modbury to the south and Derriford Hospital and Plympton to the west

Newton Abbot

· Through journeys examined and costed from within the town and Bovey Tracey, Buckfastleigh, Ashburton, Chudleigh, Ipplepen and Kingsteignton

· Including earlier and later journeys and a Sunday service which does not currently exist

Pinhoe

· With existing funding from South West Railways a link from the station to Skypark and Exeter Airport will be trialled in 2022

Taunton

· Service from Honiton, Dunkeswell, Hemyock and Culmstock extended to station

· New strategic links from Ilfracombe and Lynton and Barnstaple, South Molton and Tiverton providing links to station

Teignmouth

· Town services to operate via station forecourt with earlier and later journeys for work and education travel

Tiverton Parkway

· Extend Exeter service from Tiverton to Tiverton Parkway giving half hourly combined frequency with existing service. This will provide direct links for settlements along the Exe Valley to Tiverton Parkway

· New strategic link – Bideford, Barnstaple, South Molton and Tiverton Parkway

· Increase frequency between Cullompton and Tiverton Parkway

· Potential new links from Westleigh and Burlescombe

Totnes

· Improved link to Kingsbridge and Salcombe already in place

· Increased frequency from Dartmouth to improve connections

Umberleigh

· New strategic link between South Molton and Torrington providing a new link for the Tarka Line


FARES

Through the BSIP the County Council is seeking funding to reduce fares to make travel by bus better value, and therefore a more attractive option, which will lead to an increase in passenger numbers.

They are proposing a range of multi-operator tickets including:

· The expansion of the current Devon Day Ticket across Devon and Cornwall working with Cornwall Council, Plymouth City Council and Torbay Council and all bus companies across the Peninsula.

· A range of zonal tickets taking into account journey to work areas including: Exeter and surrounding tickets, Northern Devon, Plymouth and surrounding catchment, Torbay and the South of the County.

· They will explore the offer for young people and how this could be improved, in particular for those over 16.

· They wish to expand ticketing options to include local rail services offering an integrated offer across all public transport and linked to rail operators.

FUTURE VEHICLES

Part of the strategy sets out targets for moving towards zero emission vehicles. The County Council has been involved in two previous unsuccessful bids for reduced emission or electric vehicles.

The challenge in a county like Devon is the range of the vehicles versus the length of the routes operated.

Devon will be working with local bus companies and manufacturers to look at future options. They are currently working with a national bus manufacturer to look at examples of the longer distance routes and what method of propulsion is possible now and in the future. This could include electric or hydrogen options.

SINGLE NETWORK

For any passenger it is important that the bus network is presented as a single entity, irrespective of local bus operator and whether provided commercially by an individual company or through County Council financial support.

The council will expand their “Devon Bus” brand to develop a common identity for the bus network in Devon, including inter-available ticketing. All buses in DCC area will carry the specified livery and Devon Bus or Devon Lynx branding. Development of websites and continuation of marketing campaigns

INFRASTRUCTURE

The BSIP will consider the whole journey, including the so called first and last mile, with it being important to establish a positive passenger experience.

Devon will be proposing improvements to the level of information provided at bus stops and key interchanges based on the number of passengers, frequency of services and profile of the stop. This will help make buses easier to use and attract new people, and will be developed and improved further, including further development of Real Time information.


COSTS

Bus is the main form of public transport in Devon, providing services to a large range of people, many of whom have no alternative means of transport, and the opportunity provided by the government to bid for extra funding will provide a quantum leap in how the bus service operates in the future.

The bid is the first step in a process to engage in a conversation with government on how best to improve the current service and how it should be funded, with the council estimating that the improvements planned would have a revenue cost around £34m a year, with a further £7.5m of capital works for priority schemes to reduce journey times and to improve bus stop infrastructure and information points to provide clear information to assist passengers.

They are:

Improvement to rural services - £8.37m

Demand Responsive Transport – £2.16m

Evening and Sunday Services - £2.79m

Inter-urban services - £7.365m

Devon “Lynx” – strategic enhancements including links to rail services - £4.575m

City and town services - £4.145m

Devon Fares strategy to lower, simplify and attract more passengers - £3.34m

Devon Bus - branding and marketing - £1.25m

Bus priority measures to reduce journey times - £5m

Bus stop infrastructure – £2.5m

Councillors will hear next Wednesday (October 13) that the new plan calls for greater integration with the rail and coach network in Devon and greater cooperation with other neighbouring councils to recognise that journeys often cross geographical boundaries.

The first stage has already been achieved with the County Council and local bus operators agreeing to work towards an "Enhanced Partnership" with Devon publishing a Bus Service Improvement Plan by the end of October.

Cllr Davis added Devon was also working with the bus companies to ensure more vehicles were zero emission although this was more difficult in Devon than in a city because of the mileage range that was required.

The improvement plan would also provide opportunities to continue to work with Devon's community transport groups.

The cabinet when they meet will be asked to:

· Agree the main principles of a Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP) to be agreed in partnership with our local bus companies

· Agree the forthcoming public consultation on the main recommendations within the County Council’s Bus Service Improvement Plan

· Approve a bid to the Government of approximately £34m per year (revenue) and with a local contribution based on the emerging allocated revenue budget for 2022/23. In addition, a bid for £7.5m capital for bus priority measures with a local contribution from the Local Transport Plan.

· Give the Head of Planning, Transportation and Environment, in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Climate Change, Environment and Transport delegated authority to make minor amendments to the Bus Service Improvement Plan following the consultation and response from the Department for Transport (DfT)


There is a lot top take in here – I do wonder how much of this will come about but its nice to see them putting the effort in. There are some good ideas here – what do people think though? Will these things happen? Am I being too pessimistic? I do HOPE they will happen and the money is made available but…

04 October 2021

First South West Expands

An official announcement today:

FirstGroup plc (‘FirstGroup’) is pleased to announce that its wholly-owned subsidiary, First South West Limited, has acquired the remaining 50% shareholding in its Somerset Passenger Solutions Ltd (‘SPS’) joint venture. The shares have been acquired from JJP Holdings (South West) Limited (‘JJPH’), giving FirstGroup control over the business going forward. The consideration, being funded from FirstGroup’s existing cash resources, is £8.4m, paid on completion, with potential deferred consideration of up to £1.6m if certain conditions are met.

SPS, which started in 2016 as a joint venture with 50/50 ownership between First South West Limited, and Somerset-based JJPH, operates the contract to provide transport for workers employed at the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station near Bridgwater.

The company has grown in accordance with the increasing amount of work on site and now employs around 450 people running a 156 vehicle-strong operation, delivering shuttle services seven days a week to and from Hinkley Point C. The business has annual revenues of approximately £37.0m. The purchase of the remaining 50% of SPS shares forms part of the First Bus strategy to develop and grow its share of the business-to-business services market.

The acquisition constitutes a Class 2 transaction pursuant to the UK Listing Rules. For the purposes of the LR 10.4.1 R (Notification of class 2 transactions), as at 31 December 2020, the gross assets of SPS were £9.62m, and the profits attributable to it were £3.95m

This is clearly good news for FSW!

Meanwhile in other news they have given an update on two interesting vehicles