Search for new bus station site in Exmouth fails
PUBLISHED: 06:30 30 May 2016
Exmouth is to be left without a full bus station, after efforts to find a new location in the town failed.
The lease for operator Stagecoach at the existing site, in Royal Avenue, owned by Devon County Council, ends on July 13, with planning permission having been granted for an M&S food store there.
Stagecoach says it has tried to find a new location, but has been unsuccessful, so buses will be split between its Exeter depot and an ‘out-station’ in Exmouth.
The company says bus services will not be affected, with the bus stops at the station being relocated to outside the leisure centre.
Bob Dennison, managing director of Stagecoach South West, said: “Firstly, I would like to assure our Exmouth customers that we are fully committed to continuing to provide our current local bus network.
“Over the last few months, we have worked tirelessly to try to find an alternative site in Exmouth, as we very much wanted to remain in the local area. We had one criteria: to find a site where there was sufficient space to park our buses overnight.
“We found nine different potential locations but, unfortunately, these proved to either be unsuitable or the agents responsible were not interested in engaging with us.
“This has been extremely disappointing and frustrating for us, to say the least. It means we now have to split our Exmouth bus parking across two locations, with around half of the buses running out of our Exeter depot and the remainder from a smaller out-station in Exmouth.
“However, from a customer perspective, we are not planning to make any changes to the routes, departure points, frequency or reliability of their bus services.”
The new arrangement means drivers now face having to travel in and out of Exeter at the beginning of some of their shifts, and also the loss of close working relationships.
An Exmouth-based driver, who asked not to be named, said: “Exmouth Bus Station has been there for 40 or 50 years. We’ve got a social club down there. It’s a really close-knit community – we all get along really well.
“At Exeter, you have got 300 to 400 drivers and nobody knows each other.
“We will have to go all the way back to Exeter to pick up our cars to get home again, which seems ludicrous.”