Greens demand bus services be taken into public control following pathetic penalty on Stagecoach

The Green Party in Exeter has condemned as ‘feeble’ the penalty imposed on Stagecoach South West for months of poor service provision. The West of England Traffic Commissioner has instructed the company to offer four days’ free travel within the Exeter Plus ticket zone on the weekends of 10-11 and 17-18 December, a penalty valued by the company at just £120,000.

Exeter Green Party councillor Amy Sparling, who is a member of the Exeter Highways and Traffic Orders Committee (HATOC), said:

“The penalty imposed by the Traffic Commissioner lets Stagecoach off the hook and fails to guarantee that passengers in Exeter will see any improvement to our appalling bus services.  Making Stagecoach offer just two weekends of free travel is a really feeble penalty after everything that Exeter’s bus passengers have had to endure. Following savage cuts to Sunday services, there is just one bus an hour on some routes, so people will be lucky to spot a bus on Sunday anyway, free or not.

“What a contrast to Herefordshire, where the Green Party are part of the ruling administration. Here, using a Covid-19 recovery grant, free buses were available every weekend for a whole year. This proved extremely popular and a number of additional Sunday services were introduced as part of the scheme. Fare promotions at weekends continue in Herefordshire, and if Stagecoach really wanted to demonstrate a commitment to the travelling public in Exeter it would introduce permanent low fare offers at weekends.

“We don’t need to reinvent the wheel to improve our bus services. Ultimately what is needed is to take services into public control. Whether this is a bus franchise model – similar to London and Manchester – or the successful Devolution deal in Cornwall, we need local authorities to coordinate bus routes, frequencies and fares in an integrated way across the whole region. This must be one of the most pressing priorities for the proposed joint Devon, Plymouth and Torbay County Deal.

“What the travelling public in Exeter want is to be able to get to work, school or college, attend hospital appointments, socialise with friends and generally go about their daily lives on a reliable bus service that runs frequently, on time and shows up when it says it will. Passengers must no longer have to suffer from private bus providers calling the shots. We need buses that work for people, not private profit.”  


To top