20 extra minutes to get home

PUBLISHED: 15:59 08 November 2008 | UPDATED: 09:59 10 June 2010

RESTORE the old bus service to all areas and now". This is what would be my headline and demand after eventually arriving home on the worst bus service I have ever experienced in the 10 years I have used the service here in Exmouth. Now we have, at ext

RESTORE the old bus service to all areas - and now". This is what would be my headline and demand after eventually arriving home on the worst bus service I have ever experienced in the 10 years I have used the service here in Exmouth.Now we have, at extremely short notice, had the 99 service taken away from us, there is no service for the Valley Way area of Exmouth apart from a 57 service from Exeter of all places. Although Stagecoach have issued timetables, we know the buses which serve parts of Exmouth are dependant upon what time they can get out of Exeter - yes, Exeter, not from the bus station here in Exmouth. At least with the 99 service, we all knew exactly where we stood. Coming home tonight, I had to rely on a 57 service which eventually turned up at 5.50pm from Exeter in The Parade. If the 99 service had still been running, this bus would have turned up in The Parade at just before 5.45pm. We eventually started off about 5.55pm.My nearest bus stop to the top of Valley Way is along Dinan Way itself. The 57 eventually pulled up at that stop by 6.15pm, after the bus stopped in Pines Road and stayed there for at least 10 minutes (while the driver had a fag). If the 99 service had been running, I would have been home by 5.57pm. This clearly added about another 20 minutes to my travelling time just from here in Exmouth. This is 20 minutes which has eaten into my home and free evening time. I know I am not the only one who has been made to suffer like this in Exmouth.So why it is that Stagecoach have completely made a mess of the Exmouth bus service? Why have they deprived so many of Exmouth public of the old routes? It's no good asking them, as you will not get a straight and sensible answer. Perhaps the town council can explain why? I believe the public of Exmouth deserve a straight answer.I have heard there are some routes in Exmouth which have at least four buses on them. If they can be served by four different routes, then Stagecoach can certainly serve those parts of Exmouth now left without any service at all.If Stagecoach cannot get their act together and serve the public of Exmouth, then the council should take away their licence and grant a licence to an alternative bus company on the condition they serve all parts of Exmouth. What do your readers think? I am sure there is someone out there who could run a far better and greater service for the public of Exmouth than Stagecoach.The way Stagecoach seem content to run down the Exmouth service altogether does beg the question how long will it be before the Littleham service is also linked to the 57/58 service coming out of Exeter and when will it be that Stagecoach no longer offers a service in Exmouth at all. It seems to me that is the way this is all going - unless someone can prove me wrong.I think it is about time Devon County Council stepped in now to stop the Exmouth service deteriorating even further and either demand that Stagecoach serve all parts of Exmouth with a local service (not one from Exeter) or strip Stagecoach of their licence, but only after the council have immediately granted a licence to an alternative company. I shall be interested to read the comments of your readers.T Brice,(via email).

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