Stagecoach consultation on ‘congestion’ used as justification for service cuts, accuse Greens

14 August 2017

Exeter Green Party has slammed a Stagecoach consultation on tackling traffic congestion as a sham. Local Greens say the results of the consultation, carried out over the summer, have instead been used as justification to cut services; an announcement about a review to Exeter bus routes was made from Stagecoach South West last week [1].

Diana Moore, spokesperson for Exeter Green Party, accused Stagecoach of avoiding consulting on measures that would genuinely tackle traffic congestion in Exeter and address the city’s notorious air quality. She said this contrasted dramatically to a letter the Green Party received from Stagecoach in May which suggested local authorities should use a number of ‘levers’ to tackle traffic congestion and pollution such as parking fees, a workplace parking levy, bus priority measures and planning – in particular ensuring new developments are built in a way that encourages bus travel [2]. Ms Moore said:

“We fully support the measures that Stagecoach suggest for tackling the cities notorious congestion and terrible air quality. Indeed, they have been local Green Party policy for a number of years. But why were people not given an opportunity to comment on these proposals?

“Stagecoach presented the consultation as the most in depth analysis of Exeter’s bus network and Managing Director Bob Dennison called on politicians to take urgent action on congestion to free up road space and let buses flourish [3]. We agree, but what we got was a consultation which lacked any depth at all, presented no ideas on tackling congestion for the public to comment on, and has instead been used as a justification to trim the city’s bus services.”

Green Party city Councillor, Chris Musgrave, said:

“The public will rightly feel let down by Stagecoach over these service revisions. Billed as making the network more efficient, they actually represent cuts to services, and it is only Stagecoach’s profits that are likely to become more efficient.

“If the company is serious about tackling congestion and air pollution, it should be increasing bus provision, and making cuts only to its fares. Stagecoach had a golden opportunity through its consultation to gauge public opinion on a series of measures that would genuinely tackle the city’s terrible congestion and deadly air quality.

“We urge Stagecoach to join us in calling Exeter and Devon councils to urgently review their transport policies, which are currently a total shambles. We need walking, cycling and public transport to be prioritised and become the easy, safe and attractive travel modes in the city. A failure to do so will mean the city faces a future of gridlock.”

Notes

 [1] Summary of Service Changes (information provided by Devon County Council)

 Following their recent public consultation, Stagecoach has given notice to change some of their commercially operated Exeter area services with effect from Monday 3rd September. The main changes are as follows:

 Service A:  Alphington - St. Thomas - City Centre - Heavitree - Thornpark Rise

Main frequencies to stay the same, but a minor frequency reduction in the period in between peak and off-peak times (from Thornpark Rise between 1732 and 1916 there will be seven buses instead of eight). There will also be a small frequency reduction on Saturday afternoons.

Service B: Exminster - Marsh Barton - City Centre - Pinhoe - Exeter Business Park

Except for Monday to Friday peak-time buses, which will continue to serve Exeter Business Park (EDF Energy), the route will terminate at Pinhoe (via Parkers Cross, Causey Lane and Station Road). On the EDF Energy section, there will be four morning buses (arriving 0751, 0821, 0851 and 0911) and three afternoon buses back (1615, 1645, 1715). See references to Services E/F and J/K/T.

Services D/H: Digby - Pynes Hill - Broadfields - RD&E Hospital - St. Luke’s - City Centre - St. David’s Station - Cowley Bridge - University

Service H will terminate at St. David’s Station and will not serve Cowley Bridge (West Garth Road - Wreford’s Drive) or the University. The University will continue to be served during the same periods of the day exclusively by Service D, which will continue to run along New North Road (i.e. not linking the University with St. David’s Station or Cowley Bridge).

Cowley Bridge (West Garth Road - Wreford’s Drive) will be served by diverting the hourly Service 5 (the Exeter - Crediton service). First weekday City-bound bus will be 0653 compared with 0618 now; last weekday outbound bus will be 2330 compared with 2331 now. Service 5 runs to and from the Bus Station, not High Street. Services 5A/5B/5C and 55/55A/55B will continue to run along Cowley Bridge Road.

Services E/F: Exwick - Redhills - Lancelot Road - Savoy Hill / Whipton Summerway

The off-peak E & F frequency will be reduced from every ten minutes to every fifteen minutes.

The half-hourly arm of the F2 to Whipton Summerway will be extended via Masefield Road and Thackeray Road onto Pinhoe Road to Pinhoe (via Parkers Cross, Causey Lane and Station Road). See references to Services B and J/K/T.

Services J/K/T: Pinhoe - Whipton - City Centre - Topsham Road - The Rydons - Digby / Topsham

Services will terminate at Whipton (via Pinhoe Road, Hill Barton Road, Whipton Barton Road and Vaughan Road) and will not serve Pinhoe. See references to Services B and E/F.

Pinhoe retains Service 1 (the Exeter - Cullompton service) every twenty minutes.

Service J to The Rydons and Digby will be increased from every half-hour to every twenty minutes. (Until January 2017 this section was funded through a Section 106 planning agreement but has now been successfully taken on by Stagecoach on a commercial basis.)

Service P: Crossmead - High Meadows - St.Thomas - City Centre - Mount Pleasant - Pennsylvania

To be reduced from every twenty minutes to every half-hour. Larger buses will be allocated to the route.

Service R/S: Rifford Road - City Centre - Topsham Road – Heavitree

The peak frequency on Service S will be reduced from every ten minutes to intervals of twelve or fifteen minutes. The main daytime frequencies will remain every twelve minutes as now.

The Sunday service will be increased from every half-hour to every twenty minutes.

Red (Honiton Road) Park & Ride

Outbound stopping service (M2) will serve all stops between 0655 and 0900 instead of 0910. Inbound M2 will not alter. The service will no longer run through the Met Office site. Passengers will be able to use nearby stops.

 [2] pdf of Page 4 letter from Stagecoach  attached – fulll letter will be posted on our website or available on request.

 [3] https://www.stagecoachbus.com/news/south-west/2017/may/stagecoach-calls-for-tougher-action-on-air-quality-as-it-launches-annual-green-week-campaign