23 March 2015
Exeter Green Party are planning a day of action on Thursday 26th March to alert passengers to the £1.7 million cuts proposed by Devon County Council to bus services. Campaigners will be talking to passengers on Exeter High Street and encouraging them to let Devon County Councillors know how the cuts will affect them. Passengers will be able to write on a postcard before dropping their views into a box on the bus. An online petition has also been launched.
The cuts will have a devastating effect on communities and individuals. As the number of people, especially the elderly, living in Devon will rise over the next ten years Exeter Green Party believe that it is vital to maintain a good network of buses across the County. Greens believe extensive cuts to bus services is misguided and are calling for measures to improve services [see note below].
Devon County Council is seeking to make savings of £1.7m from the annual public transport budget with extensive cuts to bus services across the County . Cuts are proposed to five city services: complete withdrawal of the T service between Countess Wear and Topsham Quay; cuts to night-time services on the P route and reduction of D services during University vacations affecting staff and postgraduate students and reductions to the U/M services.
Diana Moore, Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Exeter said:
“As part of a package of savage cuts to many essential services Devon County Councilors are planning to cut bus services across Devon, including many serving Exeter. The sums demanded for the spraying of weeds could pay to secure the current P, T, D and U/M bus services, all earmarked for cuts, and contribute towards preventing cuts to eighteen other buses serving the city.”
Savings from cuts to the routes are calculated at £120,847 and will affect an estimated 44,000 passengers a year. Isaac-Price Sosner, Exeter Green Party’s candidate in St James Ward, said:
“The scale of the proposed bus services cuts across Devon is truly devastating, particularly for the old, the young, job seekers and those unable to drive or who choose not to. Many of the cuts are to late afternoon and evenings. We are urging people to let their County Councillors know what they think about these cuts. Weeds will return, an axed bus service won't.”
The public have an opportunity to provide feedback on Devon County Council’s cuts by 20th April.
In Exeter the proposals are to cut/reduce the D, U/M, P & T. The greatest impact will be on the P and D services. No figures are available for the number of passengers affected by the cuts to the T service. 18 rural services serving the city are also planned for reductions.
The Green Party wants to reduce the impact of bus cuts. We believe Devon County Council must:
Withdraw proposals which affect travel to and from education and work and reconsider those which affect a high number of passengers and services.
Talk to bus operators about making cost effective changes. This will allow operators to actively increase passenger numbers or plan alternative routes and timetables in consultation with communities.
Invest in priority measures which make the bus a more attractive and faster option for travellers. This can include more bus lanes, which operate for longer, and priority signalling. Such measures make services more commercially viable.
Set aside money to support more community run bus services, such as Bob the Bus in Totnes. These services can be more flexible and feed into the main bus network.
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