26 April 2021

Dartmoor Explorer–phase one

The timetables for the new Dartmoor Explorer have been eagerly awaited by many people, myself included. We now have them, and my initial reaction was one of disappointment until I sat down and looked at the timetable properly. 

Screenshot (276)

Screenshot (275)

and the map:

MAP Route-Dartmoor Explorer

The first thing you will notice is that you are not able to do a full round trip from Plymouth to Exeter and return (and vice versa) unless you use one of the Stagecoach Plymouth – Exeter services, which lets face it are not as easy as they used to be with either the very limited X38 or the more regular Falcon which involves a connection from Exeter City Centre to the Park & Ride site.

However, this timetable is very clearly a two bus service – with one bus leaving Plymouth to Moretonhampstead and then returning to Plymouth while the other  bus runs from Exeter to Tavistock and returns to Exeter.

The good news is that there are 4 buses in Dartmoor Explorer livery so this is just a start of the service which will presumably double up later at the start of the full summer season. Hopefully this will open up the full potential of a Plymouth – Exeter run? At the very least it will allow more flexibility for people who want to get up onto the Moors.

In the meantime I might just try the trip to Moretonhampstead. I don't recall there being anything much there but its many years since I last looked around the town so a few small shops selling expensive chutneys is more likely to appeal to me now!

I am looking forward to the service starting and I really do hope its a success after all the effort they are putting into the new service. I am sure it wont be long before we start getting the pointed publicity and details of the fares – which is important!

As usual your comments are welcome!

13 comments:

  1. Can you add me to list of dissapointment. Hopefully that is not just it as it does look like its to fit in with duchy college. I had a feeling it would be routed like this but was hoping for something more like how sn/rb ran the 300 back in the 1990s tho as graham points out phase 1????. It would of been nice if it did go through to exeter as it could then tie in with the open top tour and would be an enjoyable and different day

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  2. I can understand the need for the buses to interwork in between school and college journeys on weekdays, but why finish it so early at weekends? 1005 to 1435 is not even a decent shift for the drivers, even with positioning journeys.

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    1. It is a decent shift with a college run tacked on to either end! Clearly First is testing the water and will only increase the service if there proves to be demand for it - so use it.

      Incidentally First also operates GWR, so there is scope for some kind of "Round Robin" ticket between Exeter and Plymouth.

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  3. same old first just a big cock up still .wants the point in run a buses 1 trip a day .and u cant get back
    sat and sunday there could off done a few trips up and down
    bit off a joke realy

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    1. have to disagree - its a start and its not the full summer season yet. Its still fulfils its main purpose - getting passengers up onto the Moors. This is a commercial service with no guarantee that it will work and subsidy to keep it going.

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  4. The way the timetable is structured it's clearly to enable a break along the most scenic stretch of route between Mortonhampstead and Tavistock then the ability to either continue onwards or return back from where you came. That flexibility wouldn't be possible with two through journeys and I think most passengers would welcome the opportunity for stretching their legs on Dartmoor.

    Given that four buses are painted I dare say if it's a success there's scope for increasing the service most probably at weekends and that those who want to stay on the bus for the whole journey then have the opportunity to do so.

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  5. If I am reading this right, this service will not actually stop on Royal Parade, instead making use of the stop on Derrys Cross!

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  6. Whilst it is disappointing that only 1 a day, I can see First's thoughts here Try the service out, if people use it I am sure it will be increased in the Summer (Aug and Sep) and possibly at weekends. During summer no college runs etc means staff can be deployed on increased Dartmoor Ecplorer. Contrary to previous comment I think this shows how improved and professional the First approach is now compared to few years back!

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  7. First are advertising for bus drivers in Plymouth again.

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  8. Was so excited to hear it would be possible to get to central Dartmoor again by bus, but very disappointed the advertised timetable allows so little time up on the moor for a decent walk. I can only hope you are right that a fuller timetable may follow in the future. As it stands, it only really allows you to look out of the window at what you want to be out there enjoying!

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    1. they wouldn't have painted 4 buses for a two bus service, so expect an increase for the Summer holidays

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    2. Great for those able to wild-camp overnight though. It means no worry having to leave a car at some remote moorland spot, and a walking route can be from A-B rather than circular in order to return to a vehicle.

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  9. Extra Tavistock - Exeter return journey added from Saturday 3rd July - 09.50 from Tavistock and 13.50 from Exeter. There are some small changes to other timings, note the 10.05 from Exeter will now depart from St David's Station at 10.00 and run 5 minutes earlier throughout which could catch some people out. The extra journeys also give more journey opportunities from Plymouth when combined with Stagecoach route 1 in one or both directions.

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