At a meeting on 14 January 2015, DCC Cabinet considered a report of the Head of Services for Communities – SC/15/2 Public Transport Budget: Proposed Allocation which recommended that:
(a) that the proposed approach to reviewing current DCC funded bus services set out in section 4 is agreed;
(b) that the revised Public Transport budget allocation for 2015/16 is agreed;
(c) that the proposal for the Devon Community Transport fund is noted;
(d) that a public consultation on the measures necessary to meet those budget targets is launched in January 2015
On 26 January 2015, Devon Newscentre issued a media release – Consultation underway on public transport service reductions – on the proposals to cut £1.7 million from its annual public transport budget over the next two financial years.
The proposals suggest withdrawing funding for some routes that currently receive DCC subsidy to run evening and/or Sunday services – included in this list is the P bus, that serves Cowick and Pennsylania.
So what is proposed?
Withdrawal of evening service (Mon – Sat):
– 2046 High Street – Pennsylvania; and
– 2056 Pennsylvania – Crossmead
meaning the final evening service to Crossmead would depart High Street at 2012
and the final service back to the city centre would depart Crossmead at 20:28
On Sundays and Public Holidays, the following services would be withdrawn:
– 1846 High Street – Pennsylvania; and
– 1856 Pennsylvania – Crossmead
meaning the final Sunday service to Crossmead would depart High Street at 1712
and the final service back to the city centre would depart Crossmead at 17:28
The accompanying notes suggest these proposals would affect around 17,500 one-way trips a year, giving an annual saving of £24,000.
To support their proposals, DCC carried out an Equalities Impact Assessment in November 2014, and notes:
2.1.2 Negative aspects
“…some communities are likely to have their last bus or public transport service withdrawn, and be left isolated for anyone who does not have access to a car.”
I have grave concerns about these proposals – they will increase social isolation of an elderly and ageing population (2nd highest of Exeter’s 18 wards) that also suffers from bad or very bad health (3rd highest) and where 1 in 4 households doesn’t own a car. (Key facts from 2011 census for Cowick).
There will NO parallel services – the nearest bus routes will be the E and F2 evening services running along Buddle Lane.
And many of the walking routes from Buddle Lane involve STEEP hills.
So it’s time to engage with passengers – to give them #PassengerPower.
I know for a fact that many residents of Cowick don’t or can’t use computers – yet all the consultation seems be be ON-LINE, so I am calling on DCC to place details of this consultation in St Thomas Library and other community buildings.
We need people to become passengers – it’s time to USE IT OR LOSE IT
We need to get them to respond to the consultation!
We need you to tell DCC know what you think about the proposals.
You can take part in their consultation on the Public Transport Review website until Monday 20 April 2015.
The plan would be for any accepted proposals to come into effect in the second half of 2015.