Cowick’s Labour Councillors – now boosted by new Devon Councillor, Roy Hill – have been running the Cowick Deserves Better Buses campaign for many months, but the problems about the route of Stagecoach’s P Bus have long been raised on the doorstep.
We’ve sent far too many e-mails to senior Stagecoach management, even met them on occasion, but we weren’t sure that they were really getting it.
There are many concerns about the service, but the overwhelming concern is that the bus service at serves Cowick goes nowhere near the doctors’ surgery that serves Cowick.
So we held a public meeting, held earlier today. over 70 people turned up, and heard from Cllr Heather Morris, Cllr Roy Hill and myself as well as Robert Williams, Commercial Director of Stagecoach SW.
There are many issues.
Congestion, often caused by buses, at the First & Last junction
Early arrival at Crossmead terminus – meaning passengers on Bowhay Lane either have to be at the stop extremely early or risk missing the bus
Many, many more.
But the one issue being raised above all others was the route of the P bus
Our first thoughts were that you needed a quicker service to the city centre for those living close to Sylvan Heights.
Someone once told me that the current service “goes round the moon” to get to the centre.
But your views have highlighted that there is a much more serious problem for the majority of residents in this our ward of Cowick.
You need to get to your nearest doctor’s surgery – the health centre on Cowick Street – and the bus service serving Cowick currently goes nowhere near it.
The public transport service isn’t serving the public of Cowick.
It’s easier – and probably quicker – to use the P bus to get to the health centre on Mount Pleasant Road the other side of Sidwell Street than it is to get to YOUR doctor.
You have to get 2 buses, with a change at St Thomas Shopping Precinct
Stagecoach have told us that the majority of passengers trying to get to see their doctor hold a bus pass, so it doesn’t cost them any more to use the 2 buses.
But because of that move, Stagecoach has twice as many journeys from you – journeys that they get payment for from Devon County Council.
However, that doesn’t help the young mums with buggies, those that have mobility issues. Its bad enough catching one bus, let alone two.
And all that additional hassle if its raining…
Many of you have seen me on the P bus – and I’ve had the pleasure of speaking to some of you.
At times you’ve thought I work for Stagecoach. No, I work for you.
Listening to you, I now know that it is this issue above all else that concerns you.
I know – by making that journey myself – that it takes over 25 minutes to make the journey of less than a mile.
And that if you choose to make the journey by car, you are often caught in a traffic jam, often caused by buses at the First and Last.
That’s ironic isn’t it? Bus passengers from Alphington and Exwick have better public transport to your doctor’s surgery that you do. The patients that live closest, and probably use the heath centre.
How many of the passengers on the A, E, F1 and F2 get off to walk to see your doctor.
I would like to see the route of the P changed so that at least one an hour travels along Cowick Street.
That still won’t get you to the High Street any quicker – that’s probably a question for another day – but will make it easier to see your own GP.
The meeting went on to debate the many issues surrounding the service. Some of them are here on the flip charts
So lots of issues, and now the conversations begin in ernest. We’ll do our best to keep you informed.