[P Bus route] Follow-up to “Better Buses for Cowick” public meeting in June 2013

It’s probably time for an update following the Better Buses for Cowick public meeting held at St Thomas Baptist Church back in June.

One of the problems regarding bus services in Exeter is that they are run as a commercial enterprise by Stagecoach SW. That means  councillors at both Exeter City and Devon County Councillors have little or no say in the routes that Stagecoach SW run.

DCC do subsidise a limited number routes – and  the P route  only runs in the evenings and on Sundays with this financial support from DCC, as Stagecoach say they cannot operate these services at a profit.

There was  overwhelming agreement  with a suggested route  along Buddle Lane and re-routing one of the Exwick buses down Okehampton Street.

I’ve spoken with officers at DCC about the possibility of using subsidy to support the changes of the route you suggest – but financial constraints means that they cannot even look at this possibility at the moment.

Another of the hopes from our public meeting in June at St Thomas Baptist Church on our campaign to try and deliver Better Buses for Cowick  was to have a follow-up meeting with Robert Williams, the recently appointed Commercial Director for Stagecoach SW and the even more recently appointed Managing Director of Stagecoach SW, Mike Watson.

After a lot of to-ing and fro-ing over dates, the meeting finally took place last week.

When alterations were made to the P/E/F1/F2 routes back in 2006, the Stagecoach SW senior managers pointed out  there was no general public outcry at the time of the changes. They also point out that the outcome was little change to passenger numbers on the Cowick route yet there was a significant increase in passenger numbers on the Exwick routes, so they are reluctant to make any changes to the routes at present.

They have agreed to go away and look at the current figures in more depth and we hope to reconvene in a couple of weeks time, although I’m certainly not promising that they will come back with an anymore favourable outcome.

I’m sorry that this still hasn’t been resolved as yet, but I and my Labour colleagues have not let the matter drop

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