04 February 2024

Park & Ride

It continues to be very quiet in terms of service registration changes so there is very little to report, however what has been submitted all appears to be Park & Ride based so lets have a recap of what's going on at the moment.


Dealtop Ltd Dartline

 Licence  Route  Start Point  End Point  Effective  Notes
PH0005305.090 NPR3 Sowton Park & Ride, Exeter Aming Drive Park & Ride, Exeter 22-Jan-2024 NEW Registration
Monday to Friday. (no new timetable published)

Nothing much to report here in that this appears to be a new registration for an existing Park & Ride service. I have yet to find a new timetable. This serves the NHS Nightingale Hospital at Exeter which has no public parking available.


Whilst aware that Taunton isnt strictly within my usual Devon & Cornwall area, this will be of interest to many readers here as it does concern two of our main operators

First South West Ltd Buses of Somerset

 Licence Route Start Point End Point Effective Notes
PH0004983.473 PR1 Gateway Park and Ride Silk Mill Park and Ride 10-Feb-2024 cancel

PARK and ride bus services in Taunton will be put under new management in the New Year after Buses of Somerset said it was pulling out of its contract.The company has been operating services from both the Silk Mills and Gateway sites since July, 2021, when it was awarded a five-year county council contract with the possibility of a two-year extension. But First South West, which trades as Buses of Somerset, has told Somerset Council it was ‘no longer viable’ for it to run the service, despite a recent increase in passenger numbers.

West Somerset Free Press

Stagecoach Devon Ltd

 Licence Route Start Point End Point Effective Notes
PH1020951.422 PR Silk Mills Park and Ride Gateway Park and Ride 12-Feb-2024 Monday to Saturday

The new Taunton Park & Ride will be provided by Stagecoach who will run it from their Tiverton base…

Stagecoach has submitted a successful bid to operate Taunton's park and ride service.The southwest based bus operator has been awarded the contract to run busses from Monday to Saturday from the Silk Mills and Gateway sites, commencing from February 12. Peter Knight, Managing Director at Stagecoach South West said: "We are proud to be delivering this Park and Ride partnership with Somerset Council and other key organisations in Taunton. We look forward to the service commencing on 12 February 2024 and meeting our new customers in Taunton, providing them with reliable, affordable and sustainable travel across the Taunton Park and Ride service."

Wellington Today

Somerset Council has awarded a new contract to run Taunton’s Park and Ride service to Stagecoach South West following a successful tendering bid.The South West-based operator will run buses Monday to Saturday from the Silk Mills and Gateway sites from 12 February 2024, taking over from First Bus South.The cost of a ticket will remain just £1 for any single journey, and whilst frequency will change slightly to every 20 minutes, larger double-decker buses in striking new livery will service the routes from 6am to 8pm Monday to Friday, with a slightly later start on Saturdays.

Somerset County Council

It remains to be seen what the ‘striking’ new livery will be!


Taunton isnt the only Park & Ride that First were wanting to drop

A reliable source within the bus industry has advised me that First Bus has given Cornwall Council notice to cease operating the Truro park and ride. The contract signed by the Council and First Bus says, at clause 43.2.1, "Without affecting any other right or remedy available to it, either Party may terminate this agreement at any time by giving six (6) months written notice.” I assume, therefore, that this is what First has done, although it has been rumoured that they may have only given 3 months’ notice. Whether it is 6 months or 3 months, this gives Cornwall Council a major problem.

Cornwall Buses August 2023

In August 2023, First Bus gave Cornwall Council 6 months’ notice to cease operating the Truro park and ride service. The notice period presumably expires some time in February 2024 but there has been no news from the Council about what it is going to happen to the service then.
However, a reliable source informs me that First has secured from the Council an improved deal for continuing to operate the service at least through the summer of 2024. After that, who knows what will happen.

Cornwall Buses January 2024

There is then a further update

"We can confirm that the Truro Park & Ride will continue to be Operated by First Kernow until at least October of 2024. We are anticipating that the service will be tendered in March for an end date of March 2028, and an indicative starting date for October 2024. The current operating model has been in place since 2015 and there is now an opportunity to revisit this, to ensure that the service is sustainable for the future. Officers are currently working on this, including seeking feedback from interested Operators and stakeholders, and this information will be used to feed into the future tender specifications. At that point we will be able to know any financial implications.”

Cornwall Buses

It does seem that Cornwall CC are not helping things when it comes to car parking policy as detailed in Cornwall Buses latest post:

When it becomes clear to motorists that it will only cost them £2.50 to park in the centre of Truro, how many of them will continue to pull into Tregurra or Langarth and delay their journey into the city by 10-15 minutes in order to save themselves 30 pence? And, of course, if there are two in the car, it will cost more to use the park and ride than parking in the city centre. Expect, therefore, to see a dramatic reduction in park and ride passenger numbers this year at the same time that the Council will have to find more money to run it following First Bus forcing the Council to increase what it was paying them to run it.

Read more here

We will be watching this story develop over the coming months!


Stagecoach Devon Ltd

 Licence Route Start Point End Point Effective Notes
PH1020951.339 91 Dartmouth P&R Dartmouth 29-Feb-2024 Cancellation accepted

This is a seasonal operation that usually runs from Easter through to October. The cancellation may just mean a new tender contract comes into force in Easter. We will have to wait and see!


Nothing much to report here really. There are plans in place to add an extra deck to the George Park & Ride site which will increase capacity as its often full especially by Derriford Hospital staff where parking is extremely limited. I have yet to see any movement on this though but Derriford staff were told it is happening.

This is just part of a raft of plans to expand Park & Ride in Plymouth as reported back in September 2023

The plan aims to deliver bus services that 'people need, can be proud of and enjoy using'. The vision is to create a thriving bus network with services that are frequent, reliable, fast, affordable, safe and clean, which will also help Plymouth to achieve its net zero goals by 2030. As part of that plan, an expansion to the existing park and ride provision serving Plymouth is in the cards. In addition to the existing sites at Coypool, The George, and Milehouse, a fourth site, to the south of the A38 and west of Deep Lane junction, is planned

Plymouth Live

Park & Ride to and from Derriford remains a big issue for hospital staff. Lack of capacity at the George. Restricted opening hours at Coypool (although hours are extended at Coypool this month apparently which should help) This is served by Stagecoach 52 which is only hourly, the alternative is a fair walk to catch the 50/51s which isnt ideal. The other big area of complain is with the Milehouse Park & Ride which now relies on the half hourly 34 since Stagecoach decided to re-route all the Park & Rides through Mutley which is now served by the 42s and the 1s so offers a very frequent service. The heady days of high quality buses running service which the council decided on have long gone sadly.

The good old days…

First 33417 WA56FTP

The old Park & Ride showed what can be done with decent funding and good cooperation between councils and operators. This is how Park & Ride should be done. Highly visible, frequent and limited stop services between large safe car parks and the City Centre / main transport hubs. I am not convinced we will see the like again in Plymouth but lets hope we can get something closer.


  1. Plymouth certainly seems to get a raw deal with it's bus services considering it's size. Bath is a smaller city yet has a better bus network, Manchester and Birmingham have trams. Plymouth can't even get a regular bus service to stop right outside the railway station entrance, instead you have to walk in the rain to the main road.

    1. Birmingham and Manchester have the advantage of size, very few cities in the UK have managed to get a tram network. As for Bath - if you read the local press you will see plenty of people complaining about the bus services there too. I am not convinced its much better than here.
      As for the railway station that's very much down to its location, and to be fair its not that much of a walk to the main bus stops. If we started routing more buses into the station it would cause more complaints from people who just want to get in and out of town without an extra loop in and out of the station.

    2. Stagecoach could route the 1/1A through there and change a few things around for a bus stop but it’s still quite an awkward solution, so many buses serve the main road making connections onward to other destinations easy anyway.

  2. A somerset bus users group has stated that first is making more cuts in somerset. 1 of these comes to Devon the 25 taunton-Dulverton which is being cut back to every 3hrs changed planned from 16th april

    1. First arent Somerset County Council are. Its not to do with buses not viable but more to do with funding. Services 54 Yeovil-Taunton and 58 Yeovil-Wincanton also are both facing the axe as part of the cuts

    2. Anon 6 Feb 1658 these are First commercial cuts not council cuts (the routes have been receiving temporary BSIP+ funding to retain in current form through winter whilst attempts were made to increase loadings).


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