#DontMissTheBus | Some more comments regarding #CowickPBus – from Walter Brown

I would like to thank Walter Brown for his most illuminating contributions to the Devon County Council Public Transport Review in the Leave a comment section

This is what he had to say on the P bus:

Walter Brown | 19 April 2015

P. Pennsylvania/Stoke Valley circle – Exeter High St – Bowhay Lane/Crossmead circle: evening service to be withdrawn..

It must be questioned whether strict application of the financial criteria is appropriate in respect of DCC-subsidised routes P, R and S in Exeter.

“P” serves areas that involve a substantial uphill walk from alternative routes, for some people at a distance of at least a mile (if not a little over). For most of the its catchment area, anyone having to go home on an alternative route will encounter a largely uphill walk of anything up to a mile or more.

This covers Pennsylvania, Crossmead, Barley Lane and the newer estate down to Bowhay Lane; also most of Stoke Valley, Isleworth Road, Dunsford Hill and Bowhay Lane itself. Only the lowest-lying parts of these last four sections can be reached without a significant uphill walk.

By contrast, “R” and “S” circular routes (High St – Rifford Rd – Burnthouse Lane – High St & vice versa) duplicate one another, and serve a largely level area by comparison. “S” route also duplicates other services, ie. “K” from High St along Topsham Road (running just a few minutes in front of the “K”), “D” and “H” to parts of Wonford, and other routes on the “S” inbound section from Heavitree Bridge via Heavitree.

If “S” were withdrawn instead of “P”, few people would be adversely affected. As mentioned, the other-way-round circular “R” covers the whole “S” route, just 15 mins or so earlier and later. (Both routes run half-hourly along the same roads).

To have applied standard cost ratios, irrespective of whether different areas are hilly or on level ground, is grossly unfair on residents who live anywhere that involves significant uphill walking after alighting from alternative routes, when their own route has been withdrawn. For disabled and elderly people, it is far more burdensome to have to walk some distance uphill, compared to the same distance on the level. (It can be either risky or impossible with some health conditions). DCC should recognise this as a fundamental flaw in its preparation of the standardised financial criteria chosen to determine the degree of bus cuts affecting different areas.

When considered in conjunction with the plenitude of evening buses on different routes in one fairly level part of the city, compared to the intended total lack of anything in some of the hilliest areas, withdrawal of “P” (if it still goes ahead) will result in much unnecessary hardship to many people.

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