11 August 2010

Taxibuses and Target

Its not just First who are cutting back, The Taxibuses are being cut back to with the St Budeaux services already gone and the Northern Connect taxibuses also being culled shortly. Our drivers were telling us back in July that the service was due to shut down from this week, although that never happened. The St Budeaux routes did shut as as planned but the 224 continues for the time being although all no one expects it to continue for much longer. There have been lots of rumours but no official confirmation of anything, even the drivers are not sure what is going on.
Although run by Taxifast it seems that these routes are administered by Target Travel who have cancelled a load of their services in September including the popular 52A.

On the 29th July we get two route registrations pop up for target Travel:

PH0006742/40 - ROBERT JOHN RISK, 4 ARCADIA, ELBURTON, PLYMOUTH, PL9 8EF Registration Accepted by SN Starting Point: Whitleigh Finish Point: Estover Service Number: 44B Service Type: Normal Stopping Effective Date: 13-SEP-2010 Other Details: Mondays to Fridays

PH0006742/41 - ROBERT JOHN RISK, 4 ARCADIA, ELBURTON, PLYMOUTH, PL9 8EF Registration Accepted by SN Starting Point: Southway Finish Point: Belliver Service Number: 57 Service Type: Normal Stopping Effective Date: 13-SEP-2010 Other Details: Mondays to Fridays

So at least it appears that Target are not giving up on all their bus services, just most of them! There are no details of these two routes available anywhere yet but it looks like they could be replacing the Taxifast services in part at least, although there is no sign of any official cancellation for the taxibuses yet.

I have only just seen two other interesting applications on the VOSA site as I have been researching for this post:

PH1098326/1 - MARK LEGASSICK T/A ST BUDEAUX TAXI BUS, 60 SAVAGE ROAD, PLYMOUTH, PL5 1BR Registration Accepted by SN Starting Point: St Budeaux Sqaure, Plymouth Devon Finish Point: St Budeaux Square, Plymouth Devon Service Number: 223 Service Type: Hail & Ride Effective Date:

09-AUG-2010 Other Details: Mondays to Fridays only (except public holidays) Every 20 mins.
PH1098325/1 - MICHAEL FAHY T/A ST BEAUDEX TAXI BUS, 80 OCEAN STREET, PLYMOUTH, PL2 2DL Registration Accepted by SN Starting Point: St Budeaux Square, Plymouth Devon Finish Point: St Budeaux Square, Plymouth Devon Service Number: 223 Service Type: Hail & Ride Effective Date: 09-AUG-2010 Other Details: Monday to Fridays only (Except public holidays) every 20 mins.

So it appears that the St Budeaux taxibuses are still operating, just not by Taxifast. I presume its to the same timetable as the old services and I assume its still administered by Target Travel. Certainly the 222/ 223 timetables are still up on the Target web site although bot advertise a ten minute frequency so maybe it has changed, who knows!

In all this confusion we get a nice little news item in This is Plymouth last week:

A PETITION has been handed to Parliament in protest at the scrapping of a taxibus in Plymouth, branding it a disgrace.
More than 250 signatures were presented to the House of Commons urging Government action to halt the withdrawal of the service running from Glenholt to the city centre, which campaigners say is used by residents to go to the doctors, shops, and community facilities.

I am not entirely sure what they mean by this as there was no taxibus service to the City centre!

The loss of the service will cause "major inconvenience" say opponents of the move. Alison Seabeck the MP for Plymouth, Moor View, says the cuts come amid continuing concern over the reduction in bus routes and services offered by Citybus since the Conservative-led council privatised the service last year.

No mention that First have also been cutting services or that services would probably have been cut back by Citybus anyway even if not sold

The petition states people "are unhappy with the decision to withdraw the taxibus service that serves the residents in the north of Plymouth" and notes that people in St Budeaux and Weston Mill use the service "to access their GP surgery, dentist, shops and other community facilities". "I was also shocked to learn of the withdrawal of the taxibus service in the north of the city. I know how much many local people rely on this service to get them to the shops or the doctors.

"People, especially the elderly, fear the isolation caused by the withdrawal of these links. The failure of Taxi Fast to consult local residents or councillors is a disgrace.

There is of course no obligation for them to consult,. If it is losing them money then that are well within their rights to cancel. it is then down to the council to decide if its worth supporting

"I will continue to campaign for a better bus service in Plymouth and oppose local cuts in services. We've already seen that the bus companies will back down if local people make a stand as they did for route 45/A and I commit to working with residents to keep these services running."

The people of Mainstone wont be so happy about that as they loose their Citybus service next month just after First have cut their Sunday service. There is clearly a lot still hanging in the air at the moment about what services will be cut. There will clearly be a lot more angry passengers as they find out their routes get cut. Hopefully there will be decent information available in plenty of time. Citybus and First will have up to date timetables and information available, but will Target / Taxibuses?

Transport of Delight: Mr and Mrs Average
Omnibuses: Heads and Tails
News: TRANSPORT group Stagecoach yesterday provided a major boost to Scottish bus builder Alexander Dennis as part of a £50 million order for a fleet of new vehicles.


First in Devon & CornwallPLYMOUTH: Heading to the British Firework Championships on the Hoe tonight? Beat the traffic & parking problems with our extra Park & Ride services


  1. This is not a comment on the St Budueaux taxi bus scheme as I have no knowledge of it.

    Let's be honest. The red and yellow Taxibus services were heavily subsidised per cab per day. Yet despite tender conditions the cabs do not have ticketing equipment to record passenger journeys. Their attempts to show destinations were pathetic to say the least. Most of the drivers drove past bus stops making no attempt to look out for passengers even in the hospital. I have stood at the bus stops in the hospital on many occasions seeing these taxis drive straight by making no attempt to encourage pssengers.

    It seems that if you wanted to catch one you had to fling youreself into the roadway and force the taxi to stop. One cab has a female passenger riding around all day in the front passenger seat.

    Did the service carry many passengers? I don't think so. There may be certain times of the day or certain journeys where the number of passengers using the service justified the cost and maybe the somewhat stranded elderly residents of Glenholt were grateful, but in the current economic climate these services were always operating somewhat on a knife edge probably from both the operator and the Council.

    If the taxis had operated correctly from day one with suitable destination displays, ticket machines and with drivers who would actually be looking to canvas for passengers then the idea might well have developed into a successful project.

    What does need to be asked is what is the Council doing with all the money that they are about to save on the Taxibus contracts and all of the subsdised services that Target Travel are in the process of giving up?

    Answers on a postcard to ............................

  2. It's true as per last comment, the taxibus service was a joke, often mirroring existing bus routes and I for one never knew where they were going anyway. I would suggest the council use the money saved from this and the Target withdrawals to subsidise evening/Sunday swervices removed FDC and Citybus, namely a Sunday service 15 to start!!!

  3. Regarding your comment..."there is no sign of any official cancellation for the taxibuses yet" (the 226 and 227)... both these services have never been registered wioth the VOSA, so they won't show up as cancellations on the N&Ps!!!

    Spoke to Target yesterday regarding the 44B replacement for the 226 as we live in Austin Farm... they have no idea yet of the exact route or timetable, are unsure whether or not Plymouth City Coucil will be continuing to fund it (or not).

    Also spoke to the Council bus subsidy department about the 44B and they seem to know even less than Target (which is zilch), which is bit worrying when you think they're handing out taxpayer's money on a subsidy on something they haven't got a clue about!

  4. Thanks for that.

    It does seem the case that no one knows what will happen.

    The latest I have heard is that the main Crownhill - The Goerge taxibus will continue till March next year to see out the full contract. Pretty sure it wont be extended after that!


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